ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/395356
IN-HOUSE EXPERTISE KEEPS FLATIRON THRIVING Infrastructure contractor adapts to needs for complex, high-budget projects while maintaining high safety standards by Craig A. Shutt Bridge projects are evolving in many ways, including delivery methods, complexity, and increased environmental sensitivity. Project teams are required to adapt and use technical expertise that often wins the day. We prefer that to innovate. Infrastructure contractor approach—it’s competitive in a way that Flatiron meets the needs of this plays to our strengths.” evolution through a determined focus on constructability, which is enhanced Flatiron has participated in traditional by using in-house resources to design bid-build projects, as is shown by a best-value concept for clients. The its current work on a bypass project company also prides itself on having award-winning safety procedures that minimize the risk of accidents. “Our technical expertise and in-house engineering capabilities make us stand out,” says Allan Brayley, chief engineer at the Firestone, Colo.-based firm. “We do a lot of construction engineering in-house and have access to a lot of specialized equipment for all types of bridges, including segmental and those requiring falsework and formwork. It gives us an edge because we work closely with the estimators in the office at bid time and with the field people at construction time to ensure the plans come together efficiently.” Adds Richard Grabinski, vice president of Flatiron’s western region, “We’re respected as being good builders. We build the projects ourselves—we’re out there with the tools doing it. We compete for bid-build projects, but we also win many based on our best-value proposals. We offer our services, skills, experience, ingenuity, and people, and that often wins the day. We prefer that approach—it’s competitive in a way that plays to our strengths.” Flatiron has participated in traditional bid-build projects, as is shown by its current work on a bypass project in Willits, Calif., for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). A joint venture, the $107.9-million project provides a new segment for Route 101. Two interchanges and 15 bridges are included, most consisting of cast-in-place concrete box girder bridges with one having a length of 6000 ft. ALTERNATIVE METHODS The company also specializes in other delivery methods, which provide more opportunity to utilize their skills and to innovate, while increasing efficiency, lowering cost, and decreasing risk for clients. Owners are noticing. “More states are open to design-build projects today,” says Brayley. The firm worked on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s first design-build project, the I-35W St. Anthony Falls replacement bridge, which used construction speed as a deciding factor. (See ASPIRE Fall 2008.)