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หมายเลขบันทึก: 246405เขียนเมื่อ 5 มีนาคม 2009 08:56 น. ()แก้ไขเมื่อ 13 มิถุนายน 2012 12:36 น. ()สัญญาอนุญาต: สงวนสิทธิ์ทุกประการ


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Extreme Engineering: The Tallest Skyscraper

Even the worst economy in decades can’t suppress the human urge to build. Today’s most ambitious projects are bigger and wilder than ever!

The Tallest Skyscraper: The centerpiece of Kuwait’s entirely new City of Silk will be the Burj Mubarak skyscraper. Nick Kaloterakis

Name: Burj Mubarak al Kabir
Where: Kuwait
Cost: $7.37 billion
Estimated Completion: 2016
The Challenge: Erect a 3,300-foot building that’s strong enough to withstand 150mph winds

The Empire State Building claimed the world’s-tallest title for four decades. Today’s record-holder, the more-than-2,300-foot Burj Dubai, will be lucky to keep it for four years. The Kuwaiti government is about to break ground on the City of Silk, a designed-from-scratch metropolis on the Tigris and Euphrates river delta with a 3,284-foot tower as its centerpiece. At that height, winds could sway a conventional skyscraper like a tree branch and turbulent vortices could shake it to smithereens.

So instead of building one shaky tower, London-based architect Eric Kuhne designed the Mubarak skyscraper as three interlocking towers, each twisting 45 degrees top to bottom to help stabilize it. The inside edges of the buildings meet in the center to form a triangular shaft through the middle. No matter which way the wind blows, two of the three towers will always brace the building.

Although the three-pronged design keeps the high-rise from swaying, it doesn’t counter the choppy winds that whip around the uppermost stories, which can cause damaging vibrations. So Kuhne is trying something never before done on a building: giving it vertical ailerons, the normally horizontal flaps on the trailing edge of aircraft wings that control rolling motion. The ailerons, which are only three to six feet wide, run the full length of each edge of the towers and mechanically adjust to redirect the changing winds around the structure and scatter the vortices, mitigating vibrations.

The Mubarak’s size is intended to accommodate Kuwait’s explosive population growth, with seven 30-story neighborhoods stacked atop one another, each with apartments, offices and hotels, and four-story “town squares” linking them. Even the height has a cultural significance, Kuhne says. “One thousand and one meters for [the classic Arabian fairy tale] One Thousand and One Nights. It’s the difference between bragging rights and telling a story.”

See more extreme engineering projects in PopSci's look at the Future of Building!

Highway Upgrade Goes Private

Florida Deal With Spanish-Led Group Serves as a Model for Cash-Strapped States

Cash-strapped Florida is paying a private contractor to fix up and operate a toll road instead of doing the work itself -- and other states might follow.

In a deal struck last week, a Spanish-led group will be paid as much as $1.8 billion over 35 years to design, build, operate and maintain three new toll lanes along traffic-clogged Interstate 595 near Fort Lauderdale. The agreement came as something of a surprise during a period of turmoil in credit markets, and many experts called it a model for how states and private investors can work together to upgrade the nation's aging roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

"This project is a harbinger of what we may be seeing over the next decade or so, as we don't have enough money for major construction," said Robert Poole, director of transportation studies at the Reason Foundation, a free-market think tank.

Mike Stocker/The Sun-Sentinel

Interstate 595 near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will get three new toll lanes as part of a deal struck last week.

Florida, Texas, Virginia and many other states are increasingly looking to road-privatization deals to close a growing gap between their infrastructure needs and their available resources. Even with an additional $48 billion in stimulus funds on its way to states for transportation work, many states are being forced to cut projects because traditional sources of such funding, such as gasoline taxes and levies on vehicle sales, have declined.

Some privatization deals have advanced in recent years, but many others, including an unsuccessful effort to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike last year, have stalled amid concerns over handing key roads and transportation assets to foreign investors, which have the most experience on such projects. Transportation officials said the Florida deal, thanks to a financial model that hasn't been tried in the U.S. before, provides a new and politically palatable way forward.

Florida is shielded from the risk of cost overruns during construction. Once the road opens, Madrid-based Actividades de Construcción & Servicios SA, the leader of the consortium, will operate and maintain it, but the state will set toll rates and pocket the revenue. ACS will get paid back over the length of the 35-year contract based on performance measures tied to how well it builds and maintains the lanes. Lawyers involved in the deal said ACS could get a maximum 12% return on its investment if it meets every performance goal.

Some critics of privatization deals said the Florida 595 deal was less objectionable than many previous proposals like the Pennsylvania Turnpike lease. Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-advocacy group, singled out the creation of a bus rapid-transit service along the route as a positive. Still, he said, "the long-term costs would likely be lower by cutting out the private middleman."

Stephanie Kopelousos, Florida's transportation secretary, said the state couldn't have completed such a project anytime soon on its own because of its deteriorating funding picture.

"It would take us 15 years to do this," she said. "We do pieces at a time. That's all we can afford."

ACS said in a statement that it is "honored to be a part of this important project which will positively affect the quality of life of millions of Floridians."

Ms. Kopelousos said the state, which has been spending an average of about $8 billion per year in transportation work, has trimmed its five-year spending plan by $7.3 billion. "We've almost had to take out a whole year in our work program," she said.

[transport funding]

To compensate for the shortfall, Florida has been talking with a variety of mostly foreign investment groups to provide funding for several other large-scale projects, including a lease of Alligator Alley, the section of Interstate 75 that cuts across South Florida. The state is one of 23 that have passed legislation in recent years allowing transportation officials to partner with the private sector on innovative financing deals.

Florida's funding issue is a microcosm of a national problem, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said the government should support public-private partnerships as one way to solve it. The administration has agreed to provide Florida with $600 million in low-interest loans to support the 595 deal under a program established by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or Tifia. Last week, Mr. LaHood called the Florida deal "part of the Obama administration's commitment to reviving the economy and putting Americans back to work."

Lawyers involved in the matter said the Tifia loans were a key development that made the project affordable for Florida. Under Mr. Obama's recently passed economic-stimulus package, Mr. LaHood can steer as much as $200 million in new funding into the Tifia program this year, on top of stimulus transportation funding already going to the states. Many transportation experts are urging the Obama administration to expand Tifia lending, which averages about $1 billion per year.

The Obama administration has rejected the idea of increasing the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gasoline tax to raise revenue for infrastructure projects. That could lead states to pursue more private-funding options.

COLOGNE ARCHIVE CATASTROPHE

Were Subway Builders Cautious Enough?

By SPIEGEL Staff

Many in Germany's fourth biggest city are asking if the collapse of one of Europe's most important historical archives was caused by the construction of an underground railway line. One report suggests work on the line wasn't done as carefully as it should have been.

Early on Sunday morning, emergency workers in Cologne recovered the body of one of the two men missing following the dramatic collapse of the city's historical archive on March 3. He was a 17-year-old baker's apprentice who is believed to have been sleeping in one of the apartments next to the archive that were also destroyed in the disaster. On Monday, firefighters and emergency workers continued the search for a second man believed perished.

Last Tuesday afternoon, the Cologne Historical Archive, one of Europe's most important collections of records dating as far back as 922, suddenly disappeared into a cloud of dust and a pile of rubble. After the sounds of buckling began, archive staff and visitors had enough time to escape the building, but its vast historical holdings didn't prove as fortunate.

 

PHOTO GALLERY: SALVAGING COLOGNE'S DESTROYED HISTORICAL ARCHIVE

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (10 Photos)

 

Increasingly, evidence is suggesting the catastrophe was caused by construction of an underground railway line beneath a densely populated street in Germany's fourth-largest city. The Cologne-based Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper and SPIEGEL both reported over the weekend that city officials may not have taken earlier expert reports warning of potential problems seriously enough.

On Sunday, the head of the Cologne public transport operator Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe (KVB), apologized to the families of victims as well as neighbors in the city's Severin Quarter neighborhood. He said regardless of questions of guilt and responsibility, "These have been terrible days and horrible hours."

 

Quoting an unnamed source close to the investigation into the accident, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported Monday that the tragedy was likely caused by ground water seepage at the construction site. "Everything points to a problem with the ground water," the source told the paper. City prosecutors have now appointed several experts to determine exactly what happened at the underground railway construction site. They are trying to determine whether water seeped in through the more than one-meter thick concrete side wall or came up through the floor, which hadn't been finished. They are also looking into whether the problems might be related to rising levels of the Rhine River, which is located very close to the archive.

Last week's disaster has left residents in the city, which recently celebrated its world-famous Carnival season, shaken and angry. A nearby school remains evacuated and apartments next to the archive were also sucked into the 28-meter sinkhole. Many locals are afraid of the next accident.

"I have lost trust," said retiree Eva Böll. After all, engineers, politicians and managers at KVB had kept on making assurances that the construction of the city's north-south underground railway line was absolutely safe. They continued to make that claim even as an increasing number of residents whose homes were located above the 4 kilometer-long tunnel reported cracks and subsidence in their homes, and costs soared from a planned €630 million to close to €1 billion.

 

PHOTO GALLERY: COLOGNE TRIES TO SAVE ITS PAST

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (13 Photos)

 

Doubts began to surface right at the beginning over whether the Cologne underground line was being constructed using the utmost professional standards.

In autumn 2004, experts commissioned by the company that insures KVB began to investigate the nearby St. Johann Baptist Church, whose tower (just a few hundred meters down the street from the archive), was suddenly listing like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The listing church steeple was the first sign in the city that construction of the underground line might be creating serious problems for the Severin neighborhood.

The highly technical 90-page findings weren't exactly reassuring. The experts warned of "loosening of the ground and cavity formations" caused by the construction of the underground line that was inevitable in some areas, but could have been avoided in others. If a little more care had been taken, the report warned, construction workers might have been able to prevent a situation where a church tower suddenly threatened to topple into several apartment buildings.

Another report from experts at the engineering firm Zorn soberly noted that the soil beneath the church hadn't always been sufficiently reinforced during tunneling work. For example, during the construction of a supply tunnel, fast-hardening bentonite rings weren't always immediately put in place. That, the report warned, left a "cavity that could pull in surrounding ground." The result was that the tower listed by 77 centimeters -- 15 times greater than had been previously calculated.

In the end, the experts concluded there was no danger of collapse, and the city's public prosecutor's office closed its investigation in 2004 into the possibility the church building had been placed in danger by the construction. In light of Tuesday's historical archive disaster, however, prosecutors now want to review the study again.

Now the city's public prosecutor's office is investigating possible charges of manslaughter, bodily harm and endangering buildings, but it hasn't named any suspects or organizations yet.

So far, city officials, KVB and companies involved in the construction are deflecting responsibility or blame for the deadly accident that also saw the loss of much of the city's historical legacy. Among those backpeddling was Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma, who right after the accident decried the tunneling of an underground train line in such a densly populated area to be "almost irresponsible," only to back away from his statement later under pressure from public transport officials.

A spokesman for the mayor did concede last week, however, that spot tests of the soil around the city archive had only been conducted before the city made the tender offer and prior to the begin of construction on the underground line. There were no subsequent soil tests once construction work had started. The city followed the standard procedure. But given the nature of Cologne's soil -- a mixture of gravel and sand -- and its abundant ground water, many are now asking if standard procedures had been enough.

Workers at Bilfinger Berger, the German company leading construction of this part of the underground line, have said internally that planners may have forgotten to take account of the particular impact that the weight of the books and the water were having on this problematic soil.

 

PHOTO GALLERY: 'IT LOOKED LIKE SEPT. 11'

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (9 Photos)

 

It's also possible that city administrators failed to take a recent report on structural damage at the city archive as seriously as it should have. A worker at an engineering firm in the nearby city of Leverkusen inspected eight conspicuous areas within the building: an expansion joint in the concrete ceiling, in which a crack the size of a hand had formed, and cracks in the flooring in the basement boiler room. In a "static respect, harmless," the expert wrote. In order to "prevent further damage to the structure," though, he advised that other experts be brought in.

At the time, the head of the city's building department, Bernd Streitberger, didn't see "any reason" to do so. Today, he says, "you would read a sentence like that differently than you would have back then."

Meanwhile, efforts are now beginning to salvage whatever cultural heritage may have survived the disaster -- but it is slow going, since the site of the collapse is still dangerous and rainfall threatens to cause further damage to delicate documents and artifacts. The archive held documents from over 1,000 years of Cologne history, and the damage caused by the collapse is expected to be worse than the 2004 fire at Weimar's Anna Amalia library, which saw the destruction of 50,000 books mostly from the 19th century.

 

The archive documents Cologne's history back to 922. Right up into the late Middle Ages, Cologne was, along with Paris, the most important city in Europe north of the Alps. Around 25,000 of the 65,000 public records held in the archive are now believed to be among the rubble. The archive also included 780 bequests, 104,000 historical maps and plans, 50,000 posters, 500,000 photos and 26 kilometers of files.

One of the most valuable documents in the collection is a parchment letter from Albertus Magnus (dating from between 1200 and 1280), a famous Dominican monch who taught in Cologne. It includes a commentary on St. Matthew's Gospel and its value is estimated at €4 million. In addition to its wealth of medieval documents, the archive also included the bequests of numerous collectors, architects, authors and celebrities. They included the papers of the man responsible for construction of the Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, handwritten scores by composers Jacques Offenbach and Max Bruch, manuscripts by Karl Marx and 380 boxes of documents from Nobel Prize for literature recipient Heinrich Böll. Together, the archive's holdings are valued at an estimated €400 million.

For archivists, archeologists and restorers, the work in the coming months of finding artifacts that haven't been totally destroyed will be like piecing together a puzzle from the dust and rubble.

Reported by Matthias Bartsch, Andrea Brandt, Guido Kleinhubbert and Mathias Schreiber.

รถไฟฟ้าอาถรรพ์ ใช้ผู้ว่าฯ เปลือง 4 คน บีอาร์ที..วันนี้ยังไปไม่ถึงไหน

โดย ASTVผู้จัดการออนไลน์ 20 เมษายน 2552 07:51 น.
       รายงานพิเศษ โดย....สาริน จันทะรัง
        
       นับ ถอยหลังอีกไม่กี่วัน ที่คนไทยทั้งประเทศ โดยเฉพาะคนกรุงเทพมหานคร (กทม.) จะมีโอกาสได้ขึ้นรถไฟฟ้าบีทีเอสส่วนต่อขยายสายสีลมจากสถานีตากสิน ถึงสถานีวงเวียนใหญ่ ระยะทาง 2.2 กิโลเมตร รถไฟลอยฟ้าสายประวัติศาสตร์สายแรกที่ข้ามแม่น้ำเจ้าพระยามาฝั่งธน ที่ทุกคนต่างรอคอยมานานเกือบ 10 ปีนับแต่จรดปากกาอนุมัติโครงการดังกล่าวช่วงปลายสมัย นายพิจิตต รัตตกุล เป็นผู้ว่าฯ กทม.ก็จะเสร็จสิ้นสมบูรณ์แล้ว โดยจะเปิดให้ประชาชนทดลองใช้ระบบเต็มรูปแบบอย่างเป็นทางการในวันที่ 15 พฤษภาคมนี้
       

       แต่รู้หรือไม่ว่าก่อนที่จะวันที่ทุกคนได้ใช้บริการรถไฟฟ้าสมใจนึกนั้น มันสาหัสสากรรจ์ขนาดไหน !!
       
       เพราะนับแต่มีการอนุมัติโครงการเมื่อเดือนมิถุนายน 2543 กระทั่งผ่านเข้าสู่ยุคของนายสมัคร สุนทรเวช เป็นผู้ว่าฯ กทม.ที่ได้เห็นทางยกระดับแต่ไร้รางยันรถวิ่ง จนล่วงเข้าสู่สมัยนายอภิรักษ์ โกษะโยธิน เป็นผู้ว่าฯ กทม.ซึ่งในสมัยนี้ต้องใช้พลังวัตต์อย่างหนัก ในการต่อสู้เพื่อให้ส่วนต่อขยายดังกล่าวขับเคลื่อนต่อไปตามนโยบายที่ นายอภิรักษ์ ประกาศไว้ในขณะที่เป็นผู้ว่าฯ ที่มาจากพรรคตรงข้ามกับรัฐบาล เพราะท้ายที่สุด นายอภิรักษ์ ตัดสินใจประกาศเดินหน้าส่วนต่อขยายดังกล่าวเองโดยไม่ต้องรอให้รัฐบาลของพ.ต.ท.ทักษิณ ชินวัตร เปลี่ยนแปลงมติคณะรัฐมนตรี แต่ขอให้สภา กทม.เห็นชอบให้ กทม.สามารถลงทุนเองทั้งหมด 100%

       และถึงแม้จะสามารถเดินหน้าโครงการได้เป็นผลสำเร็จ รถไฟลอยฟ้าสายอาถรรพ์ช่วงนี้ ก็ยังประสบกับปัญหาการติดตั้งระบบอาณัติสัญญาณว่าจะใช้ระบบใด เพราะเดิมที่บริษัท ระบบขนส่งมวลชนกรุงเทพ จำกัด (มหาชน) หรือบีทีเอสซี ใช้ระบบฟิกซ์บอกซ์ แต่จะเปลี่ยนมาใช้ระบบมูฟวิ่งบอกซ์ ดังนั้น จึงจำเป็นที่ กทม.จะต้องจัดหาระบบให้ตรงกับที่บีทีเอสซีจะใช้ เพื่อไม่ให้เกิดปัญหาการเชื่อมต่อสัญญาณเดินรถ ซึ่งท้ายที่สุดก็ได้ใช้บริการจาก บ.บอมบาดิเอร์ ประเทศเยอรมนี เหมือนบีทีเอสซี
       
       จนท้ายที่สุด เมื่อ ม.ร.ว.สุขุมพันธุ์ บริพัตร เข้ามารับตำแหน่งผู้ว่าฯ กทม.ซึ่งนับเป็นพ่อเมืองคนที่ 4 สำหรับรถไฟฟ้าสายประวัติศาสตร์นี้ ก็เปรียบเสมือนมารับช่วงต่อของงานที่อดีตผู้ว่าฯจากพรรคเดียวกันทำไว้ใกล้ เสร็จแล้ว โดยคว้าตัวอดีตรองผู้ว่าฯ กทม.“ธีระชน มโนมัยพิบูลย์” สมัย นายพิจิตต ซึ่งเป็นคนลงนามเดินหน้าโครงการเข้ามาดูแล 2.2 กิโลเมตรนี้ ให้สำเร็จด้วยตนเองอีกครั้ง
       
       และ ก็ไม่ผิดหวัง เพราะเมื่อวันที่ 1 มีนาคม ที่ผ่านมาคนฝั่งธน มีโอกาสเห็นรถไฟฟ้าวิ่งบนราง แม้จะเป็นการทดลองระบบจากสถานีกรุงธนบุรี มายังสถานีวงเวียนใหญ่ จากเดิมที่กำหนดไว้จะทดลองในเดือนเมษายนนี้โดยผลการทดลองไร้ปัญหา ดังนั้น ในวันที่ 15 พฤษภาคมนี้ คนไทยทั้งประเทศจะได้นั่งรถไฟฟ้าข้ามแม่น้ำเจ้าพระยาเป็นครั้งแรกของแท้และ แน่นอน !!
       
       ขณะที่ส่วนต่อขยายจากหมอชิตไปสะพานใหม่ และจากแบริ่งไปสมุทรปราการ ที่ กทม.ทำเรื่องถึงรัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงมหาดไทย เพื่อให้นำเข้าที่ประชุมคณะรัฐมนตรีพิจารณายกเลิกมติที่ให้การรถไฟฟ้าขนส่ง มวลชนแห่งประเทศไทย (รฟม.) รับผิดชอบทั้ง 2 สาย ให้อนุมัติกลับมาอยู่ในความรับผิดชอบของ กทม.ก็ถูกตีกันจาก มท.1 ที่ชื่อ “ชวรัตน์ ชาญวีรกูล” ที่เห็นว่าควรที่จะให้ รฟม.ทำต่อไป ขณะที่เจ้ากระทรวงคมนาคม เด็กในคาถา “เนวิน ชิดชอบ” ที่ชื่อ “โสภณ ซารัมย์” ก็แสดงท่าทีชัดเจนไม่เห็นด้วยที่จะให้โอนกลับ กทม.คมนาคมดูแลนั้นเหมาะสมแล้ว
       
       ฉะนั้น ดูเหมือนจะเป็นเรื่องยากที่ กทม.จะได้ 2 สายทางกลับมาอยู่ในความรับผิดชอบ เพราะแม้จะฉวยโอกาสที่พรรคประชาธิปัตย์ (ปชป.) เป็นรัฐบาลเสนอเรื่องนี้ไป แต่ก็ต้องพบกับอุปสรรค เพราะคนคุมกระทรวงที่เกี่ยวข้องหาใช่คนของ ปชป.ไม่ ดังนั้น จึงเป็นการบ้านที่คุณชายต้องคิดหนักว่าจะทำอย่างไรให้มันกลับมาอยู่ในอุ้ง มือ กทม.!?
       
       ตามมาที่โครงการรถเมล์ด่วนพิเศษ (บีอาร์ที) สายแรกช่องนนทรี-ราชพฤกษ์ เพราะนับแต่ “คุณหญิงณัษฐนนท ทวีสิน” อดีตปลัด กทม.ยื่นเรื่องต่อกรมสอบสวนคดีพิเศษ (ดีเอสไอ) ขอให้ตรวจสอบการประกวดราคาจัดซื้อรถเมล์ด่วนพิเศษบีอาร์ที จำนวน 45 คัน มูลค่า 387 ล้านบาท ส่อเข้าข่ายกระทำความผิด พ.ร.บ.ว่าด้วยความผิดเกี่ยวกับการเสนอราคาต่อหน่วยงานของรัฐ พ.ศ.2542 (พ.ร.บ.ฮั้ว) เหตุจัดซื้อแพงเกินจริง ซึ่งปาเข้าไป 1 ปีเต็มๆ ที่ดีเอสไอรับคดีนี้เป็นคดีพิเศษแล้วก็ยังไม่มีวี่แววว่าจะได้บทสรุปว่าฮั้ว กันจริงหรือไม่ แม้จะมีกระแสข่าวในเชิงลึกว่าดีเอสไอเตรียมสรุปสำนวนว่าการจัดซื้อรถบีอา ร์ที ที่ บ.เบสท์ริน กรุ๊ป เป็นผู้ชนะการประมูลนั้นเป็นการฮั้วประมูล...
       
       ก่อนหน้านี้ คณะผู้บริหาร กทม.ออกมาระบุว่า จะเดินหน้าโครงการนี้ต่อ และจะเปิดให้บริการในวันที่ 5 ธันวาคม 2552 โดยในส่วนของการตรวจสอบทุจริตก็ให้ดีเอสไอเดินหน้าตรวจสอบจนกว่าจะได้ข้อ สรุป ส่วน กทม.จะเร่งประกวดราคาหาบริษัทมาเดินรถแทนจัดซื้อรถที่มีปัญหาอยู่ แม้ก่อนหน้านี้ ทางสำนักการจราจรและขนส่ง (สจส.) กทม.จะเคยเสนอให้ยกเลิกสัญญาจัดซื้อรถเพื่อประกวดราคาซื้อรถรายใหม่ แต่อัยการกลับเห็นแย้งเกรงกทม.ถูกฟ้องแพ่งเพราะผลตรวจสอบยังไม่แล้วเสร็จ ซึ่ง กทม.ก็เห็นด้วยจึงหันมาใช้วิธีการนี้แทน
       
       ทว่า เมื่อดีเอสไอเตรียมฟันธงฮั้วประมูลและพร้อมส่งต่อให้คณะกรรมการป้องกันและ ปราบปรามการทุจริตแห่งชาติ (ป.ป.ช.) ชี้มูลความผิด  กระบวนการจัดหาจ้างผู้เดินรถต้องหยุดชะงักทันที ความฝันที่จะเปิดให้ใช้บริการในวันพ่อแห่งชาติก็มีอันต้องพับใส่กระเป๋ากิน แห้วอีกครั้ง หลังต้องชะลอโครงการกันข้ามปี งานนี้คนที่นึกสมน้ำหน้าอยู่ในใจคงไม่ใช่ใครที่ไหน หากแต่เราๆ ท่านๆ คงรู้กันดีเพราะเขาคนนี้คือ....? 

American Institute of Architects Releases New Contracts Documents

05/01/2009

Nadine M. Post

On April 30 at its national convention in San Francisco, the American Institute of Architects released replacement construction manager documents and an updated version of AIA Contracts Documents software. The CM documents cover CM as advisor and CM as constructor.

The CM documents replace those released in 2007 and 2008. They include dispute resolution check box that enables parties to select the method of binding dispute resolution. They incorporate the concept of an initial decision maker fill point where the owner and contractor may identify a third neutral party IDM other than the architect. The documents include digital data provisions the encourage project participants to establish protocols governing transmission and use of digital data. The CMa documents also contain a contractor payment check box. This allows the owner and contractor to select the method of payment from three choices: they stipulate sum, cost of the work plus a fee with a guaranteed maximum price or cost of the work plus a fee without a guaranteed maximum price. More information is available at www.aia.org/contractdocs.

The software has easier project and document management, flexible dialogs allowing for easier document completion, Microsoft Excel capabilities in several forms and one-click custom template creation, says AIA. The software allows users to view, select and manage projects and documents from a centralized screen. A new way to enter information helps users complete required project-specific data "quickly and accurately," says AIA.

Study Finds Branding Top Use Of Social Networking Tools

07/29/2009

Construction industry firms and individuals who use social networking face confusion both about how to use the tools and how to measure success, according to research rolled out last month at the Society for Marketing Professional Services’ Build Business conference.

How Firms Use Social Networking
Source: Society for Marketing Professional Services Foundation; based on Zoomerang® social networking survey of 576 members, conducted January 2009

Funded by SMPS Foundation, the open Internet-based survey was conducted between Jan. 30 and Feb. 15, netting 371 complete and 205 partial responses from SMPS members. Some respondents clearly confused electronic social networking with going to conferences or other offline networking events, says Barbara Shuck, vice president of marketing for Emc2 Group Architects Planners, Mesa, Ariz., one of the co-authors of the white paper “Social Networking for Competitive Advantage.”

Firms that use blogs, LinkedIn (linkedin.com), Facebook (facebook.com) and Twitter (twitter.com) use them primarily for marketing individual professionals (62%), firms (50%) and, to a lesser degree, for employee recruitment (20%) and retention (7%), the study found.

The largest factor preventing AEC firms from using social media is lack of understanding of what it is and how it works, the study says. Still, understanding and use are soaring as current users spread the word and sites get more coverage by media. LinkedIn reportedly has more than 40 million users and Facebook more than 250 million. Twitter doesn’t release statistics but clearly is growing exponentially. Shuck sees social media growing among members as well. “Our study is already out of date,” she says.

One firm that embraces social networking is HOK . Despite presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Delicious and VisualCV, “I think we haven’t even scratched the surface of its potential,” says Mike Plotnick, media relations manager in St. Louis. Four corporate communications staffers manage the social media sites and engage about 30 staffers worldwide as HOK bloggers on hoklife.com. Plotnick and his colleagues are aware they may be ahead of their time, but he says social media already has helped HOK win some business.

The tone of the conference, which drew 600 people July 16-18 in Las Vegas, was cautious but not grim. “We do hear of firms that are hiring, especially in business development,” says SMPS President-elect Thomas E. Smith Jr., president of BonTerra Consulting, Pasadena, Calif.

SMPS now has 58 chapters, including three new ones in the U.S. and its first international chapter in Ontario, Canada. It conducts seven regional conferences, as well as the annual national conference, with an eighth planned in 2010, says SMPS President Dana Birkes, vice president at The Flintco Cos., Tulsa, Okla. And, SMPS has a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Productivity Report Calls For Integrated, Efficient Approach

07/29/2009

A widespread adoption of lean techniques, integrated teaming and virtual design and construction could be the keys to improving productivity in the construction industry, according to a new report released by the National Research Council. The report, “Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry,” focuses on reducing waste in time, cost, materials, energy, skills and labor and offers recommendations on how to promote industry-wide adoption over the next 20 years.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of labor statistics
Construction and non-farm labor productivity index

“This is the most important topic in the industry right now, but it’s one that has continued to falter, and ultimately no one does anything substantive about it,” says Pat Galloway, CEO of Pegasus-Global Holdings in Cle Elum, Wash., and a member of the committee that oversaw the study.

Productivity has been a hot-button issue in recent years, particularly following a 2004 analysis by Dr. Paul Teicholz of Stanford University. It suggested that construction labor productivity declined by nearly 20% between 1964 and 2003, while other non-farm industries improved by more than 200%.

Drawing from three white papers and a two-day workshop with industry experts, the committee homed in on five connected approaches that represent “opportunities for breakthrough improvements” in efficiency over the next two to 10 years. Among the techniques promoted in the report are greater use of prefabrication, preassembly, modularization and offsite fabrication, as well as widespread use of interoperable technology, such as building information modeling.

Greater integration between team members is also listed as an opportunity to improve jobsite efficiency through effective interfacing of people, process, materials, equipment and information.

Although many such approaches have gained momentum in recent years, they’ve yet to reach critical mass, some experts say. Kevin Bredeson, director of virtual construction at Providence, R.I.-based Gilbane Building, says his company has seen high return on investment in projects that use building information modeling.

“New England is our largest region by revenue, and yet it is farther behind than most areas in adoption [of BIM],” he says. “That keeps us from being fully integrated on every project and realizing even better results… It’s a major cultural shift getting so many of these industry veterans to not fight change.”

David Morris, director of virtual construction at Norwalk, Conn.-based­ EMCOR Group and chair of the BIM Forum’s Subcontractors Subforum, says BIM’s cost of entry remains a barrier.

“A smaller guy that pays list price could rack up $40,000 in hardware and software costs,” he says. “Add in [other factors and] you’re in over $100,000 quickly. For a five- to six-man shop that does $5 million to $10 million in revenue per year, it’s tough to bite that off.”

The report also called on the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which commissioned the NRC study, to gather industry stakeholders to develop a collaborative strategy for implementing the highlighted approaches.

“As long as we’re all pulling in the same direction, the more people, the better,” says Deke Smith, executive director of the buildingSMART alliance that was formed to address these issues.

The report also suggests that NIST work with federal bureaus to develop a “technology readiness index” for innovations with high risk, cost and impact.

Huw Roberts, global marketing director at Exton, Pa.-based technology provider Bentley Systems, believes that NIST is well positioned to create such standards, but he warns that a rating index could be difficult to develop.

The “definition of readiness,” Roberts says, could be very fluid depending on the objectives that are being sought.

18 Feet Done, Many More to Go

Building a Metrorail Tunnel at Tysons Corner Takes Brute Force Applied With a Deft Touch

By Lisa Rein

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, October 18, 2009

 

Cars crawl down Route 123 in the afternoon rush. Forty feet below them, giant machines and men wearing yellow hard hats begin their advance under Tysons Corner to bring Northern Virginia commuters their holy grail: a new subway.

At $85 million, the half-mile tunnel is the costliest and most complex engineering feat of the 23-mile Metro extension to Dulles International Airport. It will be built while 3,500 cars and trucks cross its path each hour, while the Courtyard Marriott serves breakfast and guests swim in its pool, while hands are shaken over aerospace deals at BAE Systems. It will carry on under two miles of tangled utility lines that convey to Tysons everything from electricity to some of the nation's most secret intelligence. As of Friday, after three months of digging and prep work, workers had hollowed out the half-mile tunnel's first 18 feet.

 

One wrong move and the foundation of an office garage could settle, a top-secret communique through the U.S. Army's microwave tower right above the tunnel's path by Clyde's restaurant could be lost.

"You've got gas lines, water lines, drainage lines, electrical duct banks, black wires and a lot more in a busy urban area, which makes for a very challenging tunneling environment," says Dominic Cerulli, the engineer for Bechtel in charge of building the tunnel. He guides visitors on the first tour of the project on a recent weekday. "I've been on jobs where you're tunneling out in the middle of a parking lot. Here you've got to keep businesses up and running."

When it opens in 2013, the first leg of the rail line will extend 11.5 miles from East Falls Church through Tysons to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. The tunnel, scheduled for completion in late 2011, will connect two of the four Metro stations in Tysons. Cerulli likes to say his project is the toughest part of the line. "But don't say I said that, because the guideway is also complicated," he jokes, referring to the elevated section, still 18 months off, that will carry the trains 55 feet above the Capital Beltway.

As the $3.2 billion project was submitted for federal money, many landowners and local officials had hoped for a four-mile tunnel beneath Tysons, but the cost threatened to sink it. "People are always surprised when they find out" a tunnel is still in the plan, says Marcia McAllister, spokeswoman for the rail project.

All summer, Cerulli's crews dug next to the intersection of Route 123 and International Drive so they could build the shorter tunnel's face. Just over the green construction mesh on the side of the road, the tunnel's main ingredients are scattered over a three-acre staging area behind Tysons II Galleria: a concrete-mixing plant, 60-foot steel tubes and girders piled like firewood. "These improve structural strength," Cerulli says, showing off the materials as he might a new car, never mind that an untrained eye might mistake them for junk. At the top of the hole in the earth, he points to a spot where his crew is about to lower a shaft so workers below the surface can breathe fresh air.

Next, it's down a narrow stairway to the face, two circles side by side like giant bicycle wheels that will open the inbound and outbound tubes, each 22 feet wide. Before mining began, workers had to secure the top of each arch. Only then could they begin a tightly choreographed movement of concrete and earth, digging through the soft Piedmont soil three feet at a clip before it could cave back in. About 100,000 cubic yards of sand, gravel and clay will be excavated before the tunnelers emerge in the Route 7 median and the tracks continue along the Dulles Toll Road.

The 2,400-foot tunnel will solve one of the most vexing problems for engineers who designed the first stretch of the new Silver Line: It must navigate Fairfax County's summit, a slope that rises 515 feet above sea level in the middle of Tysons. The climb would have been too steep for the trains, and tracks for the subway would have intruded on the already crowded visual landscape.

The solution was to send the trains underground.

From the look of the drawings taped to the walls in Cerulli's construction trailer, it's a complicated endeavor. The task involves precision at every step, anticipating what-ifs, staying on schedule -- "Saturday's my make-up day," he says -- and methodically ensuring the safety of workers once they start the dangerous work of crawling into small, unstable spaces.

At its peak, the Tysons tunnel will employ 70 laborers and a dozen engineers. The yellow hard hats are a tight and transient community, skilled workers from all over the world who go where the tunnels are. Cerulli, a 45-year-old civil engineer from Gainesville with "20 years pretty much focused on tunnels," handpicked the crew from his last job, the four-mile AeroTrain that will start transporting passengers to gates at Dulles Airport late this year. The work is dawn to dawn, 24 hours every weekday.

 "There's certain people down here with pedigrees," he says as two men on the crew haul away muck on a conveyor belt. "They know how to read the face."

Cerulli has gone over with them dozens of times how much soil they need to excavate before they can crawl under the earth and spray the tunnel walls with shotcrete, the Cadillac of concrete that will form 10-inch-thick arches to support the ceilings of the two tubes the trains will run through. A narrow service passage will run in each tunnel to allow for ventilation, maintenance and an exit.

Workers once mounted drills on legs and hand-powered them as they dug. This tunnel is being built with million-dollar rigs that can drill in pipes, spray concrete, remove muck, insert supports, pump in grout and spray water. Like the laborers and engineers that drive them, the electricity-driven machines come from far-off places and have exotic names to match: the ITC 312 "knuckle boom" from Germany; the Putzmeister Sika PM 500 from Spain; the ETC18, a.k.a. "drill jumbo," from Sweden, a colossus that can bore through anything from bedrock to clay, Cerulli says. They're impressive. But, as Cerulli notes, "every one is operated by one or two guys."

Other tunneling methods involve moving precast segments of concrete into the hole as it is dug. Or workers excavate soil, build the tunnel and cover it back up, the most straightforward method, used to build subways before development made that impossible. Seven hundred feet of the Tysons tunnel, half at each end, will be dug by the cut-and-cover method.

The machines are surpassed only by the technology that will watch for cave-ins or other movements of the earth. Cerulli will depend on surveyors and computers to analyze readings from lasers fixed to the tunnel wall, signaling to engineers whether a misalignment has occurred and how to correct it.

"Millimeters is okay. Feet is not okay," says Howard N. Menaker, the rail project's communications manager.

One of the most sensitive gizmos is a little robot that sits on top of a beam 25 feet in the air. It turns hourly, detecting unwanted shifts in the earth to the millimeter. If there's unexpected movement in the ground, Cerulli's team can tell the crew they'll have to tighten the excavation area, going in smaller increments.

He loves the challenge and uncertainty.

"I have built buildings," he says. "I think it's boring."

Constructing a virtual building site

 

by LJ Rich

London's Olympic dream is less than three years away.

But before history is made, the project needs to be completed.

Planning the construction of a suitably impressive arena requires a lot of thought and manpower.

Olympic Stadium in construction
London's Olympic Stadium is already halfway to being completed

And construction, one of the biggest industries, is also one of the most hazardous. In Britain, it is responsible for nearly one third of deaths in the workplace.

The 2012 site is the largest construction site in Europe and Ian Crockford, project manager for the Olympic Stadium, offers training to his staff to minimise accidents.

Virtual sites

A new project which offers training on a virtual building site could prove invaluable for sites such as the Olympic Stadium.

Screen monitoring training
Trainers monitor what happens on screen and score the scenarios

The simulation is based on two real construction projects - a housing estate and a high rise block.

Over a two-year period, 50,000 reference photographs have been taken and rendered as 3D models.

The resulting five gigabytes of graphics are projected onto a 12-metre, 180-degree curved screen.

Nick Wood, director of 3D services at Make Media, discussed the difficulty with moving training to a virtual site.

"The challenge is getting the variety but keep the realism at the same time so that the trainees have a fully immersive feel as they are flying around the virtual sites," he said.

Beyond the screen, the training includes site huts and actors so that soon-to-be construction project managers can get their hands virtually dirty in a selection of realistic scenarios.

Trainees react to disgruntled builders or happy clients, while people in the control room monitor what is happening and will score them based on how they are doing.

A typical session lasts about 90 minutes, giving trainees plenty of time to become immersed.

Dangerous profession

Michiel Schrijver, managing director of ACT-UK, said that the secret of the training was in its realism:

Olympic construction site
Nearly one third of work-related deaths occur in the construction industry

"A simulator is not only excitement - sometimes it's difficult like real life, sometimes it's dull like real life," he said.

"You show us how you are really acting, that's the most important thing of the simulator."

Research following trainees who have been through the simulator in the Netherlands showed there was a significant drop in controllable incidents and building defects.

But until the machines are able to do the site managing and building for us, we will still need humans.

So, for the time at least, there is no chance of needing a simulated tea break.

Watch Click on BBC News Channel, Saturday 17 October at 11.30 (BST).

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