Construction management thought leader addresses the benefits and risks facing the industry in building large offshore wind farms in the US.
(NEW JERSEY) Large-scale offshore wind farms are finally moving forward in the United States, with New Jersey leading the way in transforming the American power grid. Contracts are being awarded, local training and research is underway, yet venturing into this newer area of the construction industry also means encountering many of the issues typical across a range of projects. As the initial phases of a program are subject to the most uncertainty, effective project management guided by an expert’s deeper analysis will be crucial to minimizing risks and liabilities.
“With so much already invested in an undertaking of this size, there’s greater likelihood that working to meet anticipated goals – for an increased and diverse workforce, specialized research and training, on-time completion – can lead to further risks and liabilities,” explains Jeff Kozek, Principal at Resolution Management Consultants, LLC. “As a still developing industry in the US, there are a number of new and familiar factors that need to be addressed early so you don’t end up with extensive problems in the end.”
The first offshore wind farm is due to begin operation in 2024 and features new Haliade-X turbines that have the potential to power 16,000 homes each. But in addition to the new technology, offshore wind projects may also experience the same types of problems encountered across construction – namely, procurement/supply delays or shortages, lack of skilled workers, unanticipated conditions and changes in government regulations.
Kozek offers 5 ways that construction consultants’ industry expertise can benefit offshore wind power projects that will be blending new needs in this area of construction with existing potential construction issues:
– Prior Experience & Expertise – after years of working on after-the-fact claim scenarios as well as working with clients during the job on an ongoing basis, consultants have accumulated diverse experience with the negatively impacting factors that can lead to or escalate disputes and delays. Their knowledge and experience can help parties to foresee and mitigate potential problems.
– Scope of Abilities – from watching for cost and schedule issues to keeping up with government-imposed requirements, experts are able to help keep project partners on track across a broad range of potential pitfalls. Working with a consultant skilled in monitoring and oversight that protects a developer’s interests can set the pieces in place for a more successful outcome.
– Thorough Analysis – technical elements of construction issues may not be initially understood by all participants, including some of the decision-makers. Not only can consultants’ experience help strip away extraneous details and focus proceedings on a lynchpin element of the dispute, but their expertise can help bring everyone to the same degree of understanding about the project or conflict.
– Deeper Insights – the addition of consultants’ knowledge gained from past project experience to current work projections allows for the ability to more accurately see trends, enabling parties to be aware of issues before they occur, rather than after it may be too late to economically address them. Often too, addressing these issues early can lead parties to be more willing to resolve disputes, rather than risk the time, cost, and aggravation of proceeding with the litigation.
– Reduce Litigation Risk – proper practices and safeguards are essential to help reduce the likelihood of litigation, with consultants’ expertise identifying potential risks prior to construction to aid in avoiding issues altogether, minimizing them from happening and/or placing the client in a better position with their documentation if a dispute arises that cannot be amicably resolved during the job.
Notes Kozek, “this is an incredibly important undertaking for sustainable energy in New Jersey and the country, which means less room for error in building a solid foundation for the industry. Expanded record keeping and project monitoring from pre-construction planning through turnover will be essential.”
About Resolution Management Consultants, Inc.
Resolution Management Consultants, Inc. (RMC) is a nationally recognized consulting firm headquartered in Marlton, NJ. There are two sides to the business: the construction planning and management aspect − helping clients build more successful projects − and the litigation aspect − should matters go to court, providing analysis and testimony as expert witnesses. Founded in 1993 by veterans in the construction, contracting and engineering professions, RMC has assisted numerous private owners, public agencies and contractors in either achieving project goals or resolving cost and time disputes between the contracting parties.