Introduction and Implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management is a management approach that originated in the 1950’s and has steadily become more popular since the early 1980’s. Total Quality is a description of the culture, attitude and organization of a company that strives to provide customers with products and services that satisfy their needs. The culture requires quality in all aspects of the company’s operations, with processes being done right the first time and defects and waste eradicated from operations. [Read more…]

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Being a Client

A successful project requires a good client. Each project is unique and to achieve the right design outcome and design quality a strong team of designers need to work with a strong client group with focus and leadership. Delivering a capital project from start to finish is complex and challenging but also hugely rewarding. The role of the client is fundamental to its success. [Read more…]

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Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis
Sometimes when you try to resolve a problem, you find that what you thought was a root cause is really a related symptom, not the actual cause of the problem itself. Consider the following classic example.
A plant manager walks past the assembly line and notices a puddle of water on the floor. Knowing that the water is a safety hazard, he asks the supervisor to have someone get a mop and clean up the puddle. The plant manager is proud of himself for “fixing” a potential safety problem.
The supervisor, however, is suspicious. He is not sure why the puddle is there. It wasn’t there yesterday. He wonders what caused the puddle to be there today. Therefore, he looks for a root cause by asking ‘why?’ He discovers that the water puddle is caused by a leak in an overhead pipe. He asks ‘why’ again, and discovers that the pipe is leaking because the water pressure is set too high. He asks ‘why?’ again and discovers that the water pressure valve is faulty. He asks ‘why?’ again, and does not get a further answer. The faulty valve is the root cause of the problem. So, the valve is replaced, which solves the symptom of water on the factory floor.
Root cause analysis is a way to identify the ultimate cause of a problem. In the example above, there were many opportunities for solving the wrong problem. First, the plant manager could have ordered more mops to be available on the factory floor. The supervisor likewise could have ordered that the overhead pipe be replaced. However, these solutions would have ultimately been wasteful and they would not have solved the problem since they only addressed symptoms – not the problem itself.
Root cause analysis is usually accomplished by asking a series of ‘why’ questions. Just as the example above illustrates, you ask yourself ‘why’ a problem exists. Then you come up with one or more causes. For each of these causes, ask ‘why’ again. If you can answer that question again, then the first answer is probably a symptom brought on by the more fundamental cause. Continue to ask ‘why’ for each answer until you can no longer generate a logical response. This lowest level is likely to be a root cause and is what generates the observed symptoms. You may discover more than one root cause through this analysis.
When you have identified the root cause(s), put an action plan in place to solve the problem. The symptoms should go away as well.
tenstep

Sometimes when you try to resolve a problem, you find that what you thought was a root cause is really a related symptom, not the actual cause of the problem itself. Consider the following classic example. [Read more…]

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Procurement Methods for projects

There are various methods of procurement which can be broadly classified under the following headings:
Traditional
Design and Build
Two Stage Tendering
Public Private Partnerships / Private Finance Initiative
Management Contracting
Construction Management
Framework Agreements

There are various methods of procurement which can be broadly classified under the following headings: [Read more…]

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EPC / EPCM Definition & Comparison

Many different terms are tossed around the construction industry loosely describing the different methodology used to design and construct new facilities and turnarounds.  Unfortunately, there are no tried and true definitions for the different methods and numerous variations of each of the most popular methods. [Read more…]

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Analyzing Failure on Projects

Success and failure are integral to individual and corporate growth. Success is relatively easy to handle. Few individuals or companies fail to appreciate and gain confidence from successes. On the other hand, we are not usually equipped to deal with failures. [Read more…]

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FIDIC Red Book comes to contractors’ rescue

FIDIC Red Book comes to contractors’ rescueIn the current climate, many contractors are concerned that they may not get paid on time or at all, for work carried out on construction projects in the region. MARTIN PRESTON* looks at what remedies may be available to a contractor in such a situation.
CONSIDERATIONS of the rights of a party for non-payment require an analysis of both the contract that that party has entered into and the underlying law governing the contract.
For the purpose of this article, the governing law is assumed to be that of the UAE and, therefore, reference is made to the UAE Civil Code. Other GCC countries have provisions broadly similar to the UAE Civil Code but there will be differences between the various jurisdictions that the parties will need to be aware of.The most commonly used construction contract in the region remains the Fidic Red Book (1999 edition) – known as the Red Book.In its unamended form, this contract contains a number of key provisions relating to payment, supervision and termination. This article will look at the interaction between these provisions and the UAE Civil Code.Under the Red Book, payment is due within 56 days of the issue of a payment certificate. Late payment attracts “financing charges” (interest) at an annual rate equivalent to three per cent above the discount rate of the central bank of the country of the currency of payment (clause 14.8).Some GCC countries, notably Saudi Arabia, do not permit the payment of interest, and hence this clause will not be enforceable in those jurisdictions.
However, there is no blanket prohibition on the payment of interest under UAE law, although there are certain restrictions that the parties should be aware of. For example, regardless of the rate of interest charged, the amount of interest cannot exceed the principal amount due.If payment is not made within the 56-day payment period, the contractor has two options: give 21 days notice of its intention to suspend the works (clause 16.1); or after 42 days, give notice of its intention to terminate the contract (clause 16.2).During any period of suspension, financing charges continue to accrue on the unpaid amount. The contractor is also entitled to an extension of time and additional cost to cover any delays and/or additional costs occasioned by such suspension.Should the standard Red Book provision covering suspension for non-payment have been deleted, then the contractor may be able to look to Article 247 of the UAE Civil Code, which allows a party to refuse to perform its obligations under a contract if the other contracting party does not perform its obligations under the contract.This does not give a specific right to suspend for non-payment (as the Red Book does) and exercising this right may put the contractor in breach (if, for example, the employer has good grounds for not making payment). This right should, therefore, be exercised with caution. Injudicious reliance on this article could lead to the contractor being liable for delays and additional costs and, ultimately, lead to termination of the contract for contractor default.Clause 16.2 permits the contractor to terminate the contract if payment is outstanding 42 days after the date for payment. At the expiry of this 42-day period, the contractor must serve a further notice on the employer and the contract will terminate 14 days after the date of that notice.Interestingly, clause 16.2 makes specific reference to the employer being able to make deductions under clause 2.5 if the employer considers that it has a claim against the contractor.
But this is not referred to in either clause 14.8 (financing charges) or 16.1 (suspension).This raises the prospect that any counterclaim or set-off advanced by the employer in relation to an unpaid invoice can be ignored for the purposes of charging interest and/or suspending the works. However, it is unlikely that this would survive the requirement that a party must perform its contractual obligations in a manner consistent with the requirements of good faith under Article 246 of the UAE Civil Code.Another provision that may be of particular interest to contractors is clause 2.4. This entitles the contractor to require reasonable evidence that financial arrangements are in place to enable the employer to pay the contract price.If the employer fails to provide this information within 28 days of a request from the contractor, the contractor can suspend work after having given the employer 21 days notice of its intention to do so (clause 16.1).If within 42 days after giving notice that it intends to suspend work under clause 16.1, the contractor has still not been provided with this information, the contractor may terminate the contract on giving the employer a further 14 days notice of its intention to do so.Therefore, if a contractor is concerned that a developer may not have sufficient funds to complete a project, the contractor can request that the developer provide evidence that funding is in place to pay the contractor.The advantage to the contractor of this provision over the standard remedies for non-payment is twofold. Firstly, it allows the contractor to take action before incurring costs it is concerned it may not be paid for. Secondly, termination can take place 84 days after the contractor requests the financial information from the employer whereas termination for non-payment can occur only after 112 days have elapsed from the date of the invoice.Unfortunately for contractors, this is also one of the most frequently deleted clauses in the Red Book and so this avenue of redress may not be available in the majority of instances.
The Red Book provisions concerning termination are subject to the UAE Civil Code. This states, in Article 892, that a construction contract may only be terminated on completion of the works, by mutual consent or by an order of the court. This cuts across the termination provisions in the Red Book and could operate to prevent or delay a contractor from exercising what it thought was an enforceable contractual right to terminate for non-payment.A common amendment to overcome this is the insertion of a clause stating that if one of the parties to a contract has a contractual right to terminate that contract, the parties agree that that right can be exercised without the need to obtain a court order.Such provisions have not been tested in the UAE courts and it is questionable whether such a clause would be sufficient to constitute mutual consent at the time of termination or obviate the need for a court order, but it is currently considered best practice to include such wording to give the parties the best chance of enforcing their contractual rights to terminate.If a contractor is not being paid, then dialogue with the employer should always be the preferred first option. Suspension and termination of the contract are remedies fraught with difficulty and should only be considered after taking legal advice as to the rights and restrictions on exercising those remedies and considering the commercial consequences of taking such action.Gulf Construction
In the current climate, many contractors are concerned that they may not get paid on time or at all, for work carried out on construction projects in the region. MARTIN PRESTON* looks at what remedies may be available to a contractor in such a situation.
CONSIDERATIONS of the rights of a party for non-payment require an analysis of both the contract that that party has entered into and the underlying law governing the contract.
For the purpose of this article, the governing law is assumed to be that of the UAE and, therefore, reference is made to the UAE Civil Code. Other GCC countries have provisions broadly similar to the UAE Civil Code but there will be differences between the various jurisdictions that the parties will need to be aware of.
The most commonly used construction contract in the region remains the Fidic Red Book (1999 edition) – known as the Red Book.
In its unamended form, this contract contains a number of key provisions relating to payment, supervision and termination. This article will look at the interaction between these provisions and the UAE Civil Code.
Under the Red Book, payment is due within 56 days of the issue of a payment certificate. Late payment attracts “financing charges” (interest) at an annual rate equivalent to three per cent above the discount rate of the central bank of the country of the currency of payment (clause 14.8).
Some GCC countries, notably Saudi Arabia, do not permit the payment of interest, and hence this clause will not be enforceable in those jurisdictions. However, there is no blanket prohibition on the payment of interest under UAE law, although there are certain restrictions that the parties should be aware of. For example, regardless of the rate of interest charged, the amount of interest cannot exceed the principal amount due.
If payment is not made within the 56-day payment period, the contractor has two options: give 21 days notice of its intention to suspend the works (clause 16.1); or after 42 days, give notice of its intention to terminate the contract (clause 16.2).
During any period of suspension, financing charges continue to accrue on the unpaid amount. The contractor is also entitled to an extension of time and additional cost to cover any delays and/or additional costs occasioned by such suspension.
Should the standard Red Book provision covering suspension for non-payment have been deleted, then the contractor may be able to look to Article 247 of the UAE Civil Code, which allows a party to refuse to perform its obligations under a contract if the other contracting party does not perform its obligations under the contract.
This does not give a specific right to suspend for non-payment (as the Red Book does) and exercising this right may put the contractor in breach (if, for example, the employer has good grounds for not making payment). This right should, therefore, be exercised with caution. Injudicious reliance on this article could lead to the contractor being liable for delays and additional costs and, ultimately, lead to termination of the contract for contractor default.
Clause 16.2 permits the contractor to terminate the contract if payment is outstanding 42 days after the date for payment. At the expiry of this 42-day period, the contractor must serve a further notice on the employer and the contract will terminate 14 days after the date of that notice.
Interestingly, clause 16.2 makes specific reference to the employer being able to make deductions under clause 2.5 if the employer considers that it has a claim against the contractor. But this is not referred to in either clause 14.8 (financing charges) or 16.1 (suspension).
This raises the prospect that any counterclaim or set-off advanced by the employer in relation to an unpaid invoice can be ignored for the purposes of charging interest and/or suspending the works. However, it is unlikely that this would survive the requirement that a party must perform its contractual obligations in a manner consistent with the requirements of good faith under Article 246 of the UAE Civil Code.
Another provision that may be of particular interest to contractors is clause 2.4. This entitles the contractor to require reasonable evidence that financial arrangements are in place to enable the employer to pay the contract price.
If the employer fails to provide this information within 28 days of a request from the contractor, the contractor can suspend work after having given the employer 21 days notice of its intention to do so (clause 16.1).
If within 42 days after giving notice that it intends to suspend work under clause 16.1, the contractor has still not been provided with this information, the contractor may terminate the contract on giving the employer a further 14 days notice of its intention to do so.
Therefore, if a contractor is concerned that a developer may not have sufficient funds to complete a project, the contractor can request that the developer provide evidence that funding is in place to pay the contractor.
The advantage to the contractor of this provision over the standard remedies for non-payment is twofold. Firstly, it allows the contractor to take action before incurring costs it is concerned it may not be paid for. Secondly, termination can take place 84 days after the contractor requests the financial information from the employer whereas termination for non-payment can occur only after 112 days have elapsed from the date of the invoice.
Unfortunately for contractors, this is also one of the most frequently deleted clauses in the Red Book and so this avenue of redress may not be available in the majority of instances.
The Red Book provisions concerning termination are subject to the UAE Civil Code. This states, in Article 892, that a construction contract may only be terminated on completion of the works, by mutual consent or by an order of the court. This cuts across the termination provisions in the Red Book and could operate to prevent or delay a contractor from exercising what it thought was an enforceable contractual right to terminate for non-payment.
A common amendment to overcome this is the insertion of a clause stating that if one of the parties to a contract has a contractual right to terminate that contract, the parties agree that that right can be exercised without the need to obtain a court order.
Such provisions have not been tested in the UAE courts and it is questionable whether such a clause would be sufficient to constitute mutual consent at the time of termination or obviate the need for a court order, but it is currently considered best practice to include such wording to give the parties the best chance of enforcing their contractual rights to terminate.
If a contractor is not being paid, then dialogue with the employer should always be the preferred first option. Suspension and termination of the contract are remedies fraught with difficulty and should only be considered after taking legal advice as to the rights and restrictions on exercising those remedies and considering the commercial consequences of taking such action.
Gulf Construction

In the current climate, many contractors are concerned that they may not get paid on time or at all, for work carried out on construction projects in the region. MARTIN PRESTON* looks at what remedies may be available to a contractor in such a situation. [Read more…]

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Completion and Occupation of projects

The requirements for defining when the project is practically complete should be included in the contract requirements, including requirements for testing, commissioning and handing over the building. Prior to handover the Client should ensure that he is ready to take over and manage the facility with regard to such issues as: [Read more…]

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How to write an Academic Essay?

Written work is the dominant means of assessment required of a student. This note is intended to assist you in preparing and presenting essays and reports for all of the modules you take. It will also assist you in preparing papers for tutorial discussions, in writing essay-type examination answers, and in the final year dissertation. [Read more…]

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Contex a weapon against corrosion

Contex a weapon against corrosion
Hempel has been on the road promoting its solution to the harmful environmental effects on reinforced concrete. Its anti-carbonation coating system Contex is a proven ‘first line of defence’ against corrosion, says the leading paints and coatings manufacturer.
HEMPEL, a global leader in the production and sales of protective and decorative coatings, recently organised a Middle East roadshow as part of its efforts to communicate with specifiers and customers and introduce new solutions to solve certain engineering problems.
The roadshow seminars, held last month (May 4 to 17) in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah), covered two topics that concern both civil and architectural interests – concrete protection and colour trends.
Moataz Kamel, marketing manager for Hempel Middle East (West), spoke about concrete protection, focusing on the aggressive environmental elements that concrete is exposed to and the damage that can occur through exposure to these aggressive agents.
He also presented Contex, Hempel’s highly effective solution for the protection of reinforced concrete against these elements.
A proven ‘first line of defence’, Contex is an anti-carbonation coating system that provides proactive protection to concrete against a wide range of possible attacks and in turn protects steel rebar from corrosion, maintaining both the compressive and tensile strengths of the concrete structure.
Says Kamel: “Reinforced concrete, as an engineering material, is widely used in most civil structures. When used in various structural elements, it needs to withstand various loads that the skeleton of the building is subjected to.
“Reinforced concrete consists of concrete mix comprising cement, water and aggregate in addition to steel rebar. After hardening and curing, the concrete mix acts as a passive layer protecting the steel rebar from corrosion. This protection comes mainly due to the alkalinity of the concrete, which exceeds pH12.”
Reinforced concrete in buildings may come under attack from a number of elements in the environment. These include liquid water, intrusion of carbon dioxide (CO2) and chloride ions, and sulphate attack.”
Carbonation
Elaborating on the process of carbonation, he says: “Carbon dioxide ingresses through pores in the concrete and in the presence of liquid water, it reduces the pH value of the concrete down to pH9. This reduced alkalinity makes the media aggressive on the steel rebar, which starts to corrode.
This apart, the CO2 reacts with calcium hydroxide (CaOH3), one of the chemical compounds in concrete, to produce calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which weakens the material and causes spalling of the concrete cover.
“Also when steel rebar corrodes, its cross-section increases, resulting in internal stresses, which in turn causes cracks in the concrete cover. This process leads to cracking and spalling of the concrete cover, which will further expose the steel rebar to the environment.”
Chloride intrusion
The highly alkaline environment of good quality concrete forms a passive layer surrounding the embedded rebar, which normally prevents the steel from corroding. However, chloride ions if present in the concrete facilitate a local breakdown of the passive layer when the pH value is reduced, resulting in pitting of the steel rebar. Pitting is a form of localised corrosion and occurs mainly in the presence of neutral or acidic solutions containing chlorides or other halides.
Other factors
Concrete surfaces may also crack due to various reasons, such as volumetric changes taking place due to drying of concrete; thermal cracks and tension cracks due to tensile stresses, says Kamel.
“These cracks also contribute the process of corrosion by allowing aggressive elements to get inside the concrete section and reach the steel rebar,” he adds.
Contex’s range of acrylic coating systems provides the most comprehensive solution for these problems within the civil industry, providing both water-borne and solvent-borne systems in a wide variety of finishes.
“Contex prevents liquid water, CO2 and chlorides from reaching both the concrete and steel rebar, thus preventing all expected chemical reactions that could cause concrete degradation and initiate steel rebar corrosion,” says Kamel.
At the same time, Contex allows the entrapped humidity to be released from the concrete section, facilitating the breathability of the building.
Finally, Contex has a crack-bridging ability to overcome cracks which may occur on the concrete surface due to previously-mentioned causes. This ability ensures the integrity of the coating system, preventing it from cracking and leaving the concrete section exposed to aggressive environmental effects.
Each of Hempel’s Contex anti-carbonation coating systems has been independently tested and certified by Taylor Woodrow laboratories in the UK, as being able to provide proactive protection to concrete structures against a wide range of possible attacks and defects, he says.
These include chloride intrusion, concrete carbonation, alkali degradation, rebar corrosion, water/vapour entrapment, crack-bridging ability, ultraviolet degradation, and mechanical/impact damage.
Colour trends
As part of the road show, Hempel also focused on the latest colour trends, which will shape the fashion, interiors and many other disciplines during autumn/winter of this year. Mohamed Baitie, regional brand manager, Hempel Middle East (West), presented four main trends to the audience – Contour, Punch, Opal and Roma.
With his presentation, Baitie took the audience on a journey of how the trends were identified before they were finally presented to designers. This was achieved through workshops that brought together selected designers from different industries to create colour palettes to represent the colour trends.
The workshops were conducted by the UK-based Global Colour Research Company, which is one of the leading colour research bureaus in the world in the field of shaping the colour trends globally.
Baitie also went through the concept of every colour trend and its main elements, pointing out however that these trends do not represent certain colour schemes and hence cannot be used directly as colour cards by designers. The four palettes represent the trends of colour, texture, transparency and glossiness, which Hempel takes and translates into its colour proposition through different colour cards that are provided to its customers.
“Hempel as a worldwide leader in the paint industry is keen to base its colour proposition on the latest colour trends created by the most reliable colour research company worldwide,” Baitie concluded.

Hempel has been on the road promoting its solution to the harmful environmental effects on reinforced concrete. Its anti-carbonation coating system Contex is a proven ‘first line of defence’ against corrosion, says the leading paints and coatings manufacturer. [Read more…]

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