Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fast & Furious = Watergate with dead people


I presented in Tucson, Arizona two years ago and got an ear full from a few friends about gun running, drug trafficking and, worst of all, human trafficking.  I'll be presenting in Phoenix in October, so I've been keeping an eye on the Fast & Furious debacle.  In light of the foregoing, and the fact that a number of the readers of the blog are from Arizona, I thought a short primer on Fast & Furious might be of interest.

For those unfamiliar with the program the federal agencies that brought us Waco and Ruby Ridge, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms  (ATF) and their handlers in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) joined forces with the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and few other alphabet soup agencies to deliberately "walk" guns purchased illegally by straw purchasers with money from the federal government across the border into Mexico.  The idea, apparently, was to allow weapons sold illegally to straw purchasers - with money provided by the the feds, aka taxpayers - to "walk" across the border into Mexico.  This would, in turn, allow US District Attorneys supervising the program to identify high level targets in the Mexican drug cartels for arrest and prosecution.  "Walking" guns, that is allowing the purchaser of illegal guns to carry the guns across the border - or anywhere following the illegal purchase - contravenes established policies and protocols in the DOJ, DEA and ATF.

Not surprisingly, the feds lost track of many of the guns "walked" across the border into Mexico.  (But they can probably handle our healthcare needs on a national basis just fine)  Ultimately, a border patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed by a Rip Crew - rival gangs trying to steal drugs from another drug cartel - in a canyon along the Arizona border with Mexico.  At least one Fast & Furious weapon was found at the scene.   Purportedly, ballistics tie the bullet that killed Agent Terry to a Fast & Furious weapon.  Later, an ICE agent named Jamie Zapata was killed in Mexico, and it is believed Fast & Furious weapons may have been found at the scene of that crime as well.

This felony STUPID program began under the Bush Administration, where it was called Wide Receiver.  Wide Receiver, closely coordination with the Mexican Government, "walked" 450+ guns into Mexico.  GPS tracking devices were planted in the guns to facilitate tracking them once they were "walked" across the border.  Mexican and US law enforcement officials successfully recovered many, but not all, of the guns "walked" during Wider Receiver.  Many guns were lost because the GPS tracking devices failed and or were discovered and removed by the gun runners / gun purchasers in Mexico.  To date, there have been no reports of anyone being killed by weapons "walked" during Wide Receiver.  The fact that Wide Receiver dodged any such bullet doesn't make it any less felony STUPID.

The US and Mexican governments wound down Wide Receiver after the program failed.  All involved, it seemed, realized how STUPID the program was, and shut it down.

After the Obama Administration took office the program was revived under the code name, Fast & Furious. Importantly, those responsible for launching Fast and Furious failed to advise their counterparts in Mexico that the "gun walking" program was being reactivated.  Further, two avoid issues related to discovery of GPS tracking devices those tasked with launching Fast & Furious simply omitted GPS tracking devises completed.  According stories published today and based on portions of the wire tap applications referenced in the Congressional Record:

The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder scene.
Details of Wiretaps Placed in Congressional Record (Emphasis added)

If the wiretap applications, portions of which have now been placed in the Congressional Record, approve the tactic of "gun walking" because it "was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes" then head will, and should, roll at DOJ and the ATF.  Such tactics are beyond the pale and should never be tolerated.  Of course, Attorney General Holder has denied any and all knowledge of Fast & Furious prior to learning of it in the news a few weeks before he testified before Congress in early 2011, a few weeks after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.  Experienced federal prosecutors say the use of wiretaps is very carefully monitored by the DOJ, so Attorney General's contention that neither he nor any other higher ups were aware of the rogue program in Arizona ring hollow.

Having worked on and supervised numerous wiretapping investigations in eighteen years as a federal prosecutor in New York, I found these claims implausible. In my experience, the Justice Department reviews wiretap applications from the district U.S. attorney’s offices extremely carefully — Justice is mortally embarrassed if wiretap evidence gets suppressed due to misstatements, errors, or omissions in applications that the Justice Department headquarters has reviewed. Further, because wiretaps are resource-intensive and thus expensive and burdensome to conduct, they tend to be approved only in very important cases — the cases that get a lot of DOJ attention. Finally, Fast & Furious was an “OCDETF case”: the investigation qualified for extraordinary funding and resources under Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force — a coveted designation reserved for the Department’s most significant organized crime cases, the cases DOJ tracks most closely. (See here.)  It has been inconceivable to me that top DOJ officials would have been unaware of what was happening in Fast and Furious.
Fast & Furious Noose Tighten on DOJ (Emphasis added)

Following that testimony, DOJ sent a letter to Congress denying that "gun walking" occurred during Fast & Furious.  10 months later, DOJ withdrew that letter, expressly acknowledging the letter was false and that Fast & Furious did involve "gun walking".

Congress has now held Attorney General Holder in contempt because he has refused to release documents related to activities that occurred relative to Fast & Furious within DOJ after attorney General Holder denied knowledge of Fast and Furious, refused to acknowledge gun walking tactics were used and the date DOJ finally withdrew the false letter reiterating Attorney General's false testimony.

As always, the cover up is where the mistakes are being made.  The entire affair is reminiscent of Watergate, only the Fast & Furious scandal was triggered by the death of a Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry, rather than a bungled burglary.  Regardless, lies have been told and answers have not been forth coming.  Brian Terry's family wants to know who authorized Fast & Furious and who is responsible for his death.  Attorney General Holder and the DOJ have, to date, completely stonewalled the investigation.  Last week President Obama leaped into the fray to protect AG Hodler by invoking Executive Privilege.  Nixon, Clinton and Bush did the same, with varying degrees of success.  We'll see how it works out this time.

If you are interested in learning more the article linked below provides interesting back ground and insights, and includes a detailed timeline.

Fast and Furious Timeline

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is Blue Killing Green? Can Red Save Green?


As the blue social / government model the US and Western Europe operate crumbles, many wonder what's next.  In the built industry the blue model poisons the well in thousand different ways.  If green advocates seek success the red model - smaller government, lower taxes and more economic freedom - likely provides a better path forward.  Command and control in the built environment is proving no more successful than command and control in the broader economy.

Even if you are a Keynesian and believe that deficit spending helps the economy to grow, infrastructure projects won’t do the trick anymore. By the time you’re actually actually able to get the project off the ground, the recession has been over for years. 

And the problem runs deeper than infrastructure. Our bureaucratic institutions are ponderously slow. We need new structured interactions between laws, courts, and  agencies that can process information and make decisions in real time — rather than putting everything in bureaucratic limbo for decades.   
Why nothing is shovel ready anymore

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Oil & Gas Boom in Ohio? Crain's says yes


Ohio will experience a bit of an oil & gas boom as companies with leases in the the Utica Shale tap that formation.

Ohio's oil and natural gas producers could distribute more than $1.6 billion in royalty payments to landowners, schools, businesses and communities, based on the estimate of 2,837 new Utica wells drilled and completed between 2011 and 2015. This could exceed the total amount of royalties paid for all geological formations between 2000 and 2010.
Link to article


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Google Goggles & BUILT - BIM to FM


Google is working on goggles that will allow you to wear your computer and receive an array of information on a heads up display during your daily activities.

How cool will it be when personnel tasked with Operations & Maintenance of BIM enabled Facilities & Infrastructure can plug a heads up display, like the ones contemplated in the article linked below, into the integrated BIM for the F&I for which they deliver O&M?

Google's Goggles

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Harvard Study Says US Production of Tight Shale Oil to Boom


I've written extensively about the shale gas boom, both here in the US and around the globe.  Interestingly, tight shale formations also contain a lot of oil and advanced fracking and drilling techniques used to access shale gas are allowing access to vast new oil reserves as well.  The article quoted and linked below cites a Harvard study that highlights the coming boom.


new report out Monday from Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs should throw some more gasoline on the fire. Far from the worry over “peak oil” that helped define the 2008 presidential election amid record-high oil prices, the world is practically swimming in the stuff, the report says. 
Penned by Leonardo Maugeri, a former executive at Italy’s ENI who’s spent years arguing that technology will unleash a new wave of oil production, the report offers plenty of ammunition for pro-drilling forces. In a nutshell, thanks to new drilling techniques, once off-limits oil fields in the U.S. could yield millions of barrels of oil a day over the next decade, turning the country in the world’s second-largest oil producer. 
“The shale/tight oil boom in the United States is not a temporary bubble, but the most important revolution in the oil sector in decades,” he wrote. Greater U.S. production of those so-called unconventional oils will spur job creation and boost energy security, the report concludes, though it won’t insulate the U.S. from global price swings in the oil market or Middle East problems.

Potential US Oil Boom

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Germans Taking a Hard Look at shale Gas


Germany has estimated shale gas reserves totaling 6.8 to 22.6 trillion cubic meters.  Of those reserves, a long awaited report by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources indicates .7 to 2.3 trillion is recoverable.  I suspect GasFrac's use of liquid / gel LNG for fracking could increase the recovery rate considerably and by the time the German's begin exploration even more innovations may be available.

The moral of this story is that cheap, abundant, clean and environmentally friendly natural gas reserves exist all over the world.  This story, which has been documented in the US, Canada, Russia, China, Poland and now Germany will continue to repeat itself around the globe.


The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) said between 0.7 trillion and 2.3 trillion cbm of the gas could be technically extracted. 
This is calculated as a 10 percent extraction rate they believe is achievable from the 6.8 trillion-22.6 trillion cbm of shale gas they have located in the country. 
"Germany has a significant shale gas potential," the Hanover-based authority said in a press statement. 
It said modern drilling techniques called fracking for the exploitation of shale gas reserves could be reconciled with the need to safeguard drinking water and prevent seismic risks.


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Friday, June 22, 2012

BIG DATA Spurs Economic Growth


This is exactly what I mean when I tell institutional owners to Googlize the data associated with the procurement of facilities & infrastructure so you can leverage it in operations & maintenance!

Manufacturing Money Ball

The article is well worth the read.  Below is a quote outlining principals leaders in the built industry would do well to consider carefully.


The manufacturing equivalent of Beane’s strategy is (i) to find hidden data—and specifically real time data at both aggregate and granular levels; (ii) to apply advanced computational methods to mine that data; (iii) to understand the multivariable data’s interconnectedness; and then (iv) to optimize traditional manufacturing processes accordingly. Linda Onnen, Global Marketing Director of GE Intelligent Platforms, told me recently by phone that Big Data allows for precisely the sort of multivariable analysis required to identify those links and then analyze them to generate actionable intelligence.
A manufacturer’s ability to achieve these goals depends on the same two variables that Beane and DePodesta used to evaluate talent and turn around a franchise: good information and analytics that lead to actionable intelligence. Gartner writes:
The quality of the[se] outcomes is strongly linked to the quality of the data being collected and the manner in which it is stored, analyzed, visualized, and converted into meaningful and valuable sustainable business intelligence (BI).
The multivariable analysis to which Onnen refers depends on at least three factors:
  1. Data transparency that allows data from different manufacturing functions to be integrated. This allows executives to form a holistic view of the processes never before possible.
  2. Process visibility that allows managers to see how processes unfold as they happen, which allows for real-time adjustments.
  3. Data visualization. As analytics are applied to Big Data, the output must be analyzed mathematically and represented visually so as to allow end users such as plant managers to actually see the hidden data and its value. This is especially important in light of the fact that the data is dynamic in real time.
Multivariable analysis allows organizations to see both their informational assets and shortcomings.

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PA Seeks Shell Ethane Cracking Plant


The state of Pennsylvania is offering Shell significant tax breaks over a 25 year period to win construction of a new ethane cracking plant in the state.


The Corbett administration is mounting a full-court press to persuade Shell Chemical L.P. to build a huge petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania that officials see as the cornerstone of a manufacturing revival fueled by Marcellus Shale natural gas.
Members of Corbett's cabinet last week began pressing legislators to approve a tax credit that could exempt Shell from much of its state tax burden for a quarter-century — up to $1.65 billion over 25 years. Officials say the inducement is worth the cost because of the amount of economic activity that would be spun off by the Shell project.
 
"We're talking about building an entire petrochemical industry," said Steven Kratz, spokesman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development. "If we allow this resource to be piped out of Pennsylvania, it's a real failure on our part."

This sounds a lot like the Mini-Pearl Plants I wrote about last summer.  
Good news for economic development in western PA if it happens.
I haven't seen a similar effort by Ohio or West Va, two other states that would benefit from such an investment.



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BIM & IPD in Mining? Women say yes!


The mining industry, like the oil & gas industry, is well positioned to take advantage of IPD, BIM and lean processes that increase efficiency and productivity.  As an industry traditionally dominated by men, the growing number of women in the industry is an interesting phenomenon.  The article linked below addresses the issue in a bit more detail.

Women making strides in mining.

On a more personal level, I know several women in the IPD / BIM and lean arena who are shaking things up themselves.  Two of them, Rhonda Bulmer and Shannon Corgan are involved, directly, with BIM oriented software providers who service the mining industry.

Kelly Luttrell, who serves as Vice President of Business Development at ConXtech.

Rhonda Bulmer, who heads BIM Business Solutions and North American Sales for Micromine.

Geraldine Rayner, Director at Summit BIM Consultants in Vancouver.

Shannon Corgan who leads Channel Marketing at Hard Dollar out of Phoenix.

My apologies to the hundreds of other accomplished women who are doing great things to advance the use of IPD, BIM and lean processes, but it would take days to draft a blog post listing them all!  Rest assured, I know who you are and will reach out to you when the opportunity arises.

Meanwhile, think about the role these women are playing in bringing collaborative and integrated philosophies to bear on hide bound policies in the built industry.  And let's all work together to encourage the use of IPD, BIM and lean processes on future projects!



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The Boom in Williston ND


Williston, North Dakota is a community centrally located in the Bakken Shale formation.  The boom they are experiencing is tremendous and can be repeated around the country if the government - especially the federal government - can resist the urge to strangle innovation.

The image linked below provides a nice primer regarding the physical set up used to drill a shale oil or gas well and the process involved in fracking the well.  As with all industrial operations oil & gas exploration is dangerous, dirty, impacts the environment and has the potential to badly damage the environment.  With appropriate regulation and oversight such risks can be mitigated and the benefits of cheap and abundant energy resources far out weigh those risks so mitigated.


The video below includes interviews with local residents and leaders in Williston.  This is what success looks like!  Again, as I've said repeatedly, advocates of IPD, BIM and lean processes and sustainable development need to work with the oil and gas industry to increase efficiency and limit the environmental impact of these operations.  Green energy solutions are important but they are simply not ready for prime time.  And the BILLIONS of people scrambling up out of poverty around the globe a NOT going to pay premium to be green.  They need to be empowered to utilize fossil fuels efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner.



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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Horizontal v. Vertical Information Chains


One of the big picture issues for those of us advocating the use of IPD, BIM and lean processes is the need to avoid processes and work flows that leave information at the bottom of the silo in which it was produced.  Better yet, IPD, BIM and lean processes work best in a "Big Room" environment where the various stakeholders share information as needed on a real time basis.

The video interview below provides some great insights regarding the value of horizontal versus vertical information flow.  As Mr. Evans says:

Big data, Mr. Evans believes, has the potential to transform corporate strategy from prizing vertical integration (ie, owning parts of the value chain) to a horizontal approach, in which companies need to work more with outside firms. "It is standard, conventional wisdom that information is our biggest strategic advantage," he said.



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Saturday, June 16, 2012

GasFrac Brings Waterless Fracking to the Eagle Ford!


I first wrote about GasFrac a few months ago and have been following the company ever since.  The company, based out of Calgary, has developed a proprietary and patented process for fracking oil and gas wells in tight formations with a propane gel.

GasFrac has now signed an agreement with Blackbush Oil & Gas, LP to frack wells in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.

The process promises to significantly reduce the oil and gas industry's reliance on water as a primary component in fracking wells, which is great for the environment.


Gasfrac’s Ward said the company’s technology uses a propane gel to fracture rock instead of the usual mix of water, sand and chemicals.
“We are the only 100 percent waterless (well) stimulation process in the world. The beauty of the gel is that it becomes gas again as it returns to the surface. Because it is vaporized, there’s no disposal or cleanup. It’s a clean hole. All we leave is sand.”
The gel was developed by Chevron Corp., which patented it, while Gasfrac has patents on the process, Ward said.
“We spent two years looking at how to gel it and pump it.”
Gasfrac has landed a two-year contract with San Antonio-based BlackBrush Oil & Gas LP to provide fracturing services for the exploration company’s wells in the Carrizo Springs area.
BlackBrush officials weren’t available for comment Friday.
Ward said he believes Gasfrac’s propane gel will come into wide use when it’s better known. “We’re still the new kid on the block.”


Link to Article

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Do it for the children! Schools Need IPP


My friend Bob Heyman with Summit BIM in Vancouver noticed a new school project the other day.  Not surprisingly Bob is worried the Vancouver School Board may not fully leverage BIM.  Welcome to the frustrated parents club Bob!

I commented as follows:

Institutional owners need to leverage IPD, BIM and the lean processes that support and enable the use of those tools. Savings of 10% to 25% on planning design and construction costs are only the tip of the iceberg. The real value comes with such owners save money EVERY year on operations and maintenance costs by leveraging BIM enabled facilities and infrastructure.

It's a travesty that institutional owners, especially public owners, have resources like Bob and his team at Summit walking the halls, but they fail to tap those resources. This happens, I think, because the mechanisms by which institutional owners procure planning, design and construction services are soooo terribly broken.

Institutional owners need to adopt Integrated Procurement Programs that modify the legal framework within which built industry services - delivered throughout the life cycle of the facility - are delivered. The costs of doing so, as Bob mentions, are absolutely minuscule when measured against the costs saved over the life cycle of BIM enabled F&I.

It is soooo frustrating to watch institutional owners make these mistakes over and over and over again. I'm on the fund raising committee for my local school board and I've presented on these tipics until I'm blue in the face. The state architect's office will not budge and the officials running the good old boy network refuse to change. We built a new elementary school last year "old school style" and it ran $1.0mm + over budget. Geee. I wonder why.

Anyway, great post Bob and keep fighting the good fight.


But please, read Bob's post too.

Link to Bob's Post

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Integrated Open Source IT as an Ecosystem


Finith Jernigan, who has thought longer and harder about IPD, BIM and lean processes in the context of the built industry than most, shared the article excerpted and linked below.  It is a very interesting read.

The take away, from my perspective, is to note the author is describing a revolution in the IT service world not unlike the IPD, BIM and lean process oriented revolution needed in the built industry.  My vision for Collaborative BIM Advocates - the group I founded on LinkedIn - was to be in a position to form integrated BIM enabled teams anywhere in the world capable of coming together to deliver BIM enabled facilities and infrastructure.  Sounds a lot like what the author of the article below is arguing for in the IT realm.

Can the built industry catch up?  Let's hope so.


The ideal delivery platform for this ecosystem is a data center provider who can create an environment that supports the needs of enterprise computing, while also lowering the costs and barriers to entry for ecosystem partners. This is an environment that removes all your risks associated with disaster avoidance, regulatory concerns, capacity and security. That location should have access to national freeways and airports as well as local government support that will help facilitate worker relocation and education, while also providing considerations for your hardware taxation risks. 
It’s tough to find one place where all the above are available to the customer, but they are out there. Having these resources readily available is like having a Home Depot and a Lowes move in next to your house the day before you start a big home project. No matter what tool or resource you need, it’s all right there, immediately available, with competition, quantity and variety.

What's your IT Ecosystem Like?

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Popular Mechanics' Article on the Bakken in North Dakota


Below is a link to an excellent article detailing a number of interesting technical and economic issues related to the development of the Bakken in North Dakota.  From my perspective the excerpted quote should be of grave concern to advocates of sustainable development and of equal concern to the oil & gas industry.  Together we can address these issues.  Collaborative Construction has been researching the issue for sometime now and we will be ready to move forward soon.  I'll keep you posted.


Civic infrastructure, though, hasn't kept up, Koeser and other local mayors say. Schools and hospitals are crowded, sewage systems overwhelmed, and police flooded by service calls. The numbers of burglaries and violent crimes are on the rise. The most acute problem is the housing shortage, despite all of the hotels and condo complexes being built. Jacob Brooks, managing editor of the Williston Herald, says that many apartment dwellers have faced annual rent increases of almost 300 percent and that "seniors who had been living in Williston their whole lives were having no choice but to leave town." By necessity, more than a dozen temporary "man camps" have sprouted in the Williston Basin to house thousands of workers. I spend a night in one of them and experience an ambience that is midway between a Motel 6 and a minimum security prison. 

Read more: Oil Boom: North Dakota is the Next Hub of U.S. Energy - Popular Mechanics 


These are Wicked Problems but not insurmountable problems.  The oil & gas industry needs to pay attention to the impact they are having on the infrastructure of the communities in which they operate and help deliver positive solutions.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

IPD... Why so slow?


IPD was all the rage back in 2007 and 2008.  Sutter Health lead the way in California, ConsensuDOCS and the AIA delivered new generation form agreements to facilitate adoption and use of integrated agreements on projects and then the entire effort hit a wall.  What happened?

The article linked below argues owners never bought into IPD because designers and constructors focused on the benefits IPD brought to their processes and ignored the needs of the owner.  There is something to the theory.  Owners, after all, remain remarkably clueless regarding the benefits of IPD, opting instead, too often, to mandate BIM under an antiquated Design - Bid - Build delivery model.

The author argues advocates of IPD must focus more on the value of IPD in the operations and maintenance phase.  Readers of this blog know I agree with that assessment.

I would add the downturn in the economy, the risk averse nature of owners and their professional advisers, ad the lack of reformation in procurement process as culprits as well.  The horrible economy killed many projects in the cradle and owners found designers and constructors working cheaper than ever.  IPD is not cheap, it costs a good bit to implement the new business processes necessary to make IPD work.  Lawyers, risk managers, insurance agents, accountants and other professional advisers treat changes in business processes as an opportunity to gouge their clients, fear monger and reap the benefits of higher fees and more work.  Owners, especially in a downturn, had zero interest in incurring such costs.  Finally, owners completely ignored, and continue to ignore, the need to revamp their procurement laws, regulations and protocols to match the delivery mechanisms and processes that support and enable IPD.

That said, owners are clamoring for BIM.  The GSA, Coast Guard, USACE, DOD, NASA, DOE and the State Department, along with other federal agencies, all demanded BIM in varying degrees.  Of course, they wanted BIM delivered under the federal procurement guidelines, which are among the most antiquated and sclerotic procurement procedures on the planet.  California, Wisconsin, Alberta in Canada and other governmental entities all demanded BIM of one kind or another.  The UK government has mandated 2nd Level BIM by 2016.

Built industry professionals scrambled to respond.  And nobody bothered to revise the underlying legal agreements or to otherwise adjust the legal framework whithin which those BIM demands were made.

Collaborative Construction has argued, and continues to argue, that owners must adopt Integrated Procurement Programs that support and enable owners to solicit bids for BIM enabled facilities and infrastructure from BIM enabled teams capable of operating in an IPD environment.   Once owners recognize the true value of BIM, and realize they need IPD to fully leverage BIM, they will embrace both tools.  Dual demands from fiscal conservatives and green advocates are adding pressure to adopt these tools.  As the economy improves and more owners demand BIM and or high performance building more teams will take the plunge.

The ENR article mentioned at  the top concludes:

When thinking of long-term investment, the owner—as the stakeholder with the largest stake—may literally be thinking of something other than inching one early-phase curve on McLeamy's chart slightly to the left. Some IPD proponents argue that IPD can improve the entire owning and operating experience, and while I think that is true, for the owner, emphasizing the need to change delivery methods for construction-phase advantages may not be a compelling argument, because for the owner, conventional construction is “tried and true.”

Read the whole thing.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Methanol to Replace Gasoline.... Except it's ILLEGAL!


You just cannot make this stuff up.  This is why the meddling federal government needs to STFU and get the hell out of the way!  Methanol is cleaner, cheaper and better than gasoline.


Methanol is the simplest alcohol molecule with one hydroxyl ion (OH) attached to methane’s one carbon atom. It does not require the expensive distillation if corn ethanol or high-energy catalytic cracking of oil refining. Methane can be “reformed” into methanol by bathing it in steam. “It’s early 20th century chemistry,” says Hollander. 
We already have a thriving methanol industry. There are 18 production plants in the U.S. putting out 2.6 billion gallons a year. It is used widely as a manufacturing feedstock and makes up 30 percent of the windshield fluid in your car. Methanol is also the principle racing car fuel on the NASCAR circuit. The conversion began in the 1990s in order to avoid deadly gasoline explosions. But drivers have grown very fond of methanol because it burns cleaner and gives almost the same octane rating as gasoline. 
Of course ramping up the industry to replace a significant portion of the 136 billion gallons of gasoline we consume every year would be a monumental undertaking. But it would not involve any technological breakthroughs. “You could build a conversion facility at the end of each gas pipeline and have tanker trucks transport it to every gas station in the country,” he says. “The infrastructure wouldn’t have to change much.” 
So what’s the problem? Well, unfortunately putting methanol into car engines is illegal.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

ConXtech's Modular Pipe Rack Rocks!


You want to see IPD, BIM and lean processes all rolled into one?  Take a look at ConxTech the video below detailing ConXTech's Modular Pipe Rack.



The folks at ConxTech are delivering outstanding IPD / BIM and lean based solutions to the oil & gas industry.  They can do it in other sectors of the built industry as well.  The patented collar system ConXtech utilizes is very slick.

And they are doing it California!  Wow.  Just wow.  The entire operation reminds me of Hank Reardon's steel company in Atlas Shrugged.

ConXtech's Website

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

AIA Chicago Supporting IPD & BIM


Randy Deutsch is presenting at an AIA Chicago event tomorrow.  All you folks in Chicago need to attend if you can.  Randy is a creative forward thinker who understands IPD & BIM inside out.  Attending his presentation will be fun and informative.

Link to Itinerary


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cali Comm Colleges Leveraging Existing Data


Below is a very interesting video showing how the California Community Colleges are leveraging their existing tabular data in their FUSION system.

Kimon Onuma and the head of Facilities Planning for CCC joined forces to put on the compelling presentation below.

It is a reminder that the technology is just about ready for prime time.  We just have to start getting the people side right and may, in many instances, need a better legal framework that supports and enabled IPD and BIM rather than existing structures that inhibit the use of those tools.

Pretty cool.


FUSION CCCGIS ONUMA at SCUP from KimonOnuma on Vimeo.



Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Russian Oil Shale Boom Too?


The tight shale oil formation in the Bazhenov formation in Western Siberia may contain 80 times as much shale oil as the Bakken formation in North Dakota.  The Bakken is estimated to contain 45 billion barrels of recoverable oil.  The article excerpted and linked below includes details.

The Russian formation is further estimated to contain a thousand trillion cubic feet of natural gas as well.

The existence of the formation and the oil in the tight shale formations has been known for years.  It is advances in fracking technologies that have unlocked the shale oil and enabled its production.  The enormous find is a further reminder that oil and gas resources will remain the fuel of choice for the foreseeable future.

There will be no political or environmental factors to block development of the Russian oil and gas resources. 
Those concerned about the climate and air and water pollution effects oil and natural gas will have to hope for development of some other energy breakthrough as the economics and political interests are in line for this to be developed. Only radically cheaper nuclear fission, new nuclear fusion or some other lower cost energy will shift development from this energy. 
The BILLIONS of people around the world who are scrambling the economic ladder and trying to escape the clutches of poverty are not going to ignore the availability of cheap, abundant energy.  They will demand it.  Buy it and burn it.  As I have argued before, we must be prepared to leverage IPD and BIM to ensure responsible development of these resources.

Link to article

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Friday, June 1, 2012

Alternative Project Delivery Models Gaining Traction


Institutional owners - both public and private - continue to embrace alternative project delivery models.  While CM at Risk and Design-Build dominate the headlines, Integrated Project Delivery, accompanied by the right legal framework, remains the best delivery model for integrated teams seeking to produce BIM enabled infrastructure.

The ENR article excerpted below highlights the continuing trend.  As more owners become more aware of their options expect to see legislators approving IPD as an acceptable project delivery model as well.


The modest growth in alternate-project-delivery revenue has to do mostly with the continuing sluggishness of the overall construction market, as the acceptance of CMR and design-build continues to gain momentum. This is especially true for design-build as states continue to pass authorizing legislation allowing design-build to be used on public projects.

The latest state to pass design-build legislation was Connecticut, which on May 7 passed and sent to Gov. Malloy (D) Senate Bill 33, authorizing design-build to be used by the state Dept. of Transportation. Malloy has vowed to sign the bill. In November, New York enacted a law authorizing design-build contracts by that state's DOT and several other agencies.

"We are now down to only three states that do not authorize some form of design-build in the transportation market," says Lisa Washington, executive director of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Washington, D.C. She notes that only Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma do not specifically authorize design-build in transportation.
This growing trend toward enabling legislation has expanded the market for firms offering alternate-project-delivery systems. But the recession has resulted in a buyer's market, and construction firms are competing fiercely. So, many public agencies, facing declining tax revenue or user fees, have opted for more hard-bid proposals, trying to drive prices down.


***

There has been a lot of interest in integrated project delivery (IPD) as a delivery method. For example, IPD "has enabled us to maximize the practical applications of [building information modeling]," says Anthony Consigli, president of Consigli Construction. He says that, on one corporate headquarters project, the client colocated the entire team—owner's rep, CM, architects and key subcontractors—from the project start. "This approach facilitated an accelerated design process, with the team working side-by-side to incorporate all the information we need in the BIM model to estimate, schedule, procure and actually build the project in the field," he says.

However, IPD brings some uncertainties. "Insurance and legal requirements are significant barriers with IPD," says Steigerwald of Messer Construction. It also requires early integration and collaboration at all levels, and the various parties have to understand and get used to the new processes and attitudes necessary for IPD to succeed, which is challenging, he says.

Messer currently is working on a major IPD project—a $98 million fit-out of the Simon Family Tower at the Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Steigerwald says the project is using an IPD contract with a multiparty agreement. It is achieving a significant return on investment, he says.

Alternative Delivery Models Gaining Traction

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

Regulation: A Significant Pain Point in Business


Permitting and regulations represent two significant pain points for modern business.  In the built industry these processes represent substantial barriers to efficiency and productivity.  From my perspective government has simply become too large and meddles in affairs it does not understand leading the the rise of new problems unforeseen by the original regulators.  This, in turn, leads to more regulation, more delays and higher barriers to success.

Re-thinking this destructive paradigm benefits governmental entities that produce these rules and the citizens they serve.  Collaborative Construction's Integrated Procurement Program provides owners - public and private - with a vehicle through which many rules and regulations associated with the planning, design and procurement of  BIM enabled infrastructure can take place.

The article excerpted and linked below provides general insights into the destructive and costly nature of most many regulations.

Consider for a moment, the magnitude of the regulatory machine in Washington. In 2005, an SBA-commissioned report put the cost of regulatory compliance at $1.1 trillion and more recent estimates are closer to $1.75 trillion. And it’s no secret that the regulatory burden falls almost squarely on the shoulders of those who struggle the most to turn a profit—the small-business sector. Based on the 2005 report, firms with fewer than 20 employees pay over $7,000 per employee each year just to comply with the rules on the books, and the number of rules—and their associated costs—have skyrocketed since then.

Regulations:  The Hidden Tax on Capital and Growth


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!
James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International