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Moving at the Speed of Construction

Todd Engle, Communications Strategist, Terracon

Moving at the Speed of ConstructionTodd Engle, Communications Strategist, Terracon

Our clients and their projects are moving more rapidly than ever before, and in turn those of us supporting the construction industry are challenged to lead by developing faster, more efficient processes based on open communication and trust.

As consulting partners, the range of our services and the way we provide them also has evolved. And while experience and expertise is important, you can’t let it breed complacency. This evolution was at the forefront of Terracon’s effort to better align ourselves with the needs of our clients. The product of this effort is based on 18 months of listening to both clients and employee-owners – their pain points, perceptions and expectations.

What resulted is a refreshed brand inviting clients to join us as explorers. The answer wasn’t to overwhelm clients with a laundry list of services. What they really need from us is to listen, consult and offer innovative solutions. To better meet clients where they are in their project lifecycle, we simplified projects into four project phases – Site Selection, Design and Mitigate, Construction and Manage Assets. By recognizing each client journey is unique, we’re able to ask better questions about our clients’ needs, budgets, risk tolerance and meet their specific challenges according to their project phase.

“The future of engineering consulting requires the ability to identify and avoid potential challenges, while at the same time having the ability to swiftly respond to issues that arise”

“Breaking the project into key phases helps us have a better conversation with clients, to let them know all the ways we can help,” said Tim Anderson, Terracon’s western operating group manager. 

“It helps us to guide clients to the right solution.”From the earliest days of site selection to asset management, the concept is designed to better connect clients to solutions.

Some clients need help from the very outset of a construction project. Others might require assistance maintaining established facilities and assets. The goal in the project journey is to meet construction clients where they are with consistent, on-time deliverables and solid communication at every step along the way. The lifecycle journey is separated into four distinct phases, but like a well-designed roundabout, there is always room to merge from any direction.

Site Selection

Site Selection can be a shell game and proceeding without knowing what to expect under each shell is a potentially costly gamble. The solution is better and more data, available earlier in the site selection process. With intuitive, technology-based solutions, clients can get the accurate preliminary data needed to compare multiple sites simultaneously. Having this data is essential to making informed decisions before proceeding with standard environmental and geotechnical due diligence. 

Design and Mitigate

Design and Mitigate is for projects with pre-determined sites or clients who need help addressing inherited challenges. Whether it’s an environmental issue such as a contaminated site, asbestos and lead-based paint removal or geotechnical issues like soft soils, Terracon can help clients find the remedy. Facilities issues such as pavement management and facility condition assessments, are sometimes required as well. Terracon’s service professionals can collaborate with other members of a project team, including architects and civil and structural engineers, to connect the dots and keep all parties on the same page.

Construction

It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting a project built correctly the first time. When considering construction in a client’s journey. Large projects such as stadiums, power plants and

logistics sites can benefit from a GIS-based solution that places materials testing and special inspection results on an interactive map of the project. This helps clients find a particular piece of data(or report) and eliminates the need to sort through thousands of entries on a spreadsheet or delivered in separate emails Facilities services are also important at this juncture. Failure to meet local and state building codes related to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act can result in costly errors, as can a leaky roof or windows. Finding a partner who can address all these issues makes for a smoother journey.

Manage Assets

The return on construction investment is often found in the efficient, long-term performance of a facility. The Manage Assets step is designed around helping clients find the best solutions for their facility. Neglected parking lots across multiple facilities can be a costly expenditure for maintenance and repair, especially if repairs are simultaneously required. Additionally, the efficient design and performance of HVAC and similar systems can help save money, especially as facilities age and needs change.

The future of engineering consulting requires the ability to identify and avoid potential challenges, while at the same time having the ability to swiftly respond to issues that arise. This versatility is at the heart of simplifying the client journey.

“Terracon’s journey from a small Midwest geotechnical and materials testing firm to a large multi-disciplined consulting firm with more than 5,000 employee-owners in more than175 locations across the United States has been enabled, in part, to being open to self-examination and change,” Anderson said. “It takes time and resources to go through the process but the end result with this rebrand has been a more partner-friendly and efficient project approach that lets the team go right to where the client is in their project lifecycle and focus on their needs.”

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