Blog   |   May 8th, 2017 Coal Ash Construction Roles: Three Approaches to Project Management

Placing And Spreading CCR

When it comes to managing coal combustion residuals (CCR) mitigation and closure projects, site owners have multiple options for engagement and managing costs. The key questions to answer are: How much direct control do owners want to keep over the project and how much are they willing to spend partnering with professional assistance?

Three of the leading options are to retain: a Prime Contractor who serves as the single point of contact overseeing the entire project; a Construction Manager who oversees a prime contractor as the owner’s agent; a Construction Quality Assurance Consultant who is responsible for traditional third-party construction observation and documentation for compliance with contract documents and requirements.

At a high level, some of the key elements to retaining a Prime Contractor, Construction Manager, or Construction Quality Assurance Consultant, and how they differ, are as follows:

  • Prime Contractor:  A prime contractor (sometimes called a general contractor) provides, through a single contract, continuous professional management of all phases of a project. The prime contractor will assume responsibility for the direction, supervision, implementation, and contracting of suppliers and subcontractors to ensure the successful completion of the work.Typically, a prime contractor will assume most or all the financial risk of delays or cost overruns on a project. The owner relies on the Prime Contractor for nearly all aspects of the project, including facilitating timely solutions to unexpected problems, thereby avoiding construction delays and additional costs.
  • Construction Manager:  A construction manager provides management oversight of contractors hired by the owner. The construction manager acts in the best interest of the owner on all aspects of the project. This arrangement may make sense for owners who have successfully established relationships with contractors. This option provides traditional construction quality assurance services and construction management services related to contract administration and oversight of the contractors.  The owner maintains control over key monetary and scheduling decisions.
  • Construction Quality Assurance Consultant:  A Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) consultant observes, monitors, and documents the work of a prime contractor, who may or may not be overseen by a construction manager. The CQA consultant does not take a hands-on role supervising the prime contractor as a construction manager would, and may make periodic visits to a job site rather than being on site every day. Their role is to guard against potential defects or deficiencies in the contractor’s work, document that the work has been performed in substantial compliance with plans and specifications, and provide technical advice to the owner, as needed.  

No two CCR construction projects are ever the same and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for owners when it comes to retaining the right kind of professional expertise to complete a CCR construction project. Owners should evaluate potential contracting options/level of engagement early-on in the CCR process based on project complexity, data availability, internal resources, past history and potential project risk.  

Related Topics

Coal Ash

Related Services

Coal Ash Management

Blog Authors

Michael Amstadt, P.E.

Michael Amstadt, P.E.

Mike Amstadt has more than 25 years of permitting, design, and construction experience with solid waste management, environmental, and remediation projects. His roles have included technical coordinator, lead engineer, designer, and project manager. He has managed solid waste staffing needs for project managers in multiple offices for over 15 years.  Mike has also served as the department manager for TRC’s solid waste management team, providing leadership for project managers and mentoring junior staff. Mike is an experienced project and client manager and has served as the client manager for multiple large accounts. As client manager, he coordinates all of the project work for these clients, managing project teams and budgets and making sure that client needs and expectations are understood and met. Mike has a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. 

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Douglas Genthe, P.E., D.GE

Douglas Genthe, P.E., D.GE

Doug Genthe has more than 29 years of project management and lead design experience in civil and environmental engineering, with particular emphasis in geotechnical engineering and solid and hazardous waste management. Doug has served as a project manager, a professional engineer of record, an office/review engineer, a technical coordinator, a lead design engineer, and a resident construction engineer. As unit leader of the Geotechnical Engineering and Solid Waste Management unit of TRC’s Environmental Business, he manages the overall delivery operations and leads the business development activities in the geo-environmental engineering service offerings. He manages several key accounts for TRC, most of which he has managed for many continuous years.

His technical responsibilities have ranged from initial field investigations through final design and construction, including the development of work plans, feasibility studies, permit applications, conceptual and final designs, operating plans, cost estimates, construction plans, bid documents, and project manuals; regulatory liaison; public relations; expert testimony; forensic engineering; and the preparation of construction quality assurance documents, closure plans, and construction observation and documentation reports for municipal, industrial, hazardous waste landfills, and containment systems.

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