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Implementation of a Risk Management Program to Address Public Policy Issues in Mega Projects

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy II

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.695.1 - 23.695.21



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Paper Authors


Andrew J Bates Polytechnic Institute of New York University

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Professor Andrew Bates is an experienced senior construction manager with a proven ability to plan, direct and complete construction and engineering projects safely, on time and within budget. His ability to communicate, motivate people and devise successful action plans in both small and large organizations has allowed him to thrive in high stress, fast-paced work environments requiring multi-tasking and immediate decision making skills. Since 2009, Mr. Bates has been passing his knowledge and experience onto students in the Civil Engineering Department at Polytechnic Institute of New York University in subject areas of Strategic Planning, Infrastructure Planning, Construction Planning, Risk Analysis and Risk Management. Prior to joining the faculty at NYU Poly, he was a Professor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where he taught Introduction to Engineering, Air Base Design and Performance, Construction Project Management, Project Management and Contract Administration and Software Applications for Civil Engineers. During his four years there, he was the Deputy for Plans and Programs and the Construction Division Chief for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
As a retired U.S. Air Force Major, Mr. Bates has compiled an impressive leadership portfolio which includes many achievements. As the Deputy of Plans and Programs at the Air Force Academy he was responsible for long range planning and budget issues for the Academy’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He also worked directly for the Dean of the Faculty as an Owner’s Representative on three $15M phases on the 1.2M SF academic building renovations. During those renovations he submitted change orders on the end-users’ behalf to correct design omissions and errors as well as incorporate changes resulting from changes to end-user mission requirements, he monitored construction schedules and continually communicated progress to all appropriate stakeholders, and designed a construction lay down area with the Army Corps of Engineers and the contractor and coordinated alternative traffic flow with emergency response and facility personnel.

Mr. Bates’ career in the Air Force provided experience with several Department of Defense construction projects where he was able to refine his leadership and construction management skills. He planned, resourced, and executed the design-build of over thirty construction projects involving airfield pavements, base facilities, maintenance and repair ranging from $25K to $180M. He wrote project statements of work, performed periodic design reviews, developed feasibility reports, schedule updates, executed the change-order process, and validated progress payments. He also conducted inspections to ensure zero violations of environmental and OSHA standards. All of these projects required refinements of the skills he acquired while completing his B.S. in Civil Engineering at the USAF Academy and his M.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder

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Implementation of a Risk Management Program to Address Public Policy Issues in Mega ProjectsDiscussing risk raises many different questions. What is risk? Why are so many types of riskdeveloped? How are the quantitative modeling aspects of risk and the mathematical models usedto communicate risk information as well as the opinions and judgments of the evaluators? In theend, the more fundamental question is why do we perform risk analysis in the first place?As an advanced economy and developed nation, the US has embraced risk management in manyareas, primarily in insurance and more recently in the financial industry. Now the concept of riskis being extended into physical infrastructure projects and transportation in particular. Clearlywhat is driving this is the complexity of today’s megaprojects. These projects are planned andbuilt with enormous quantities of data and information. Underlying this is the reality that not alldata is of the same quality and often the planning is insufficient or inadequate.What’s driving this? What are the expectations of the stakeholders? After all, they are pouringresources into this effort with some expectation of a return. The value received from performinga risk analysis offers advantages compared to marching forward blindly thru the fog without thebenefit of a “risk radar” for guidance. Why spend the effort to analyze past experience and applythese lessons learned in a systemic manner to the current project? Isn’t this after all, somethingthat we do intuitively? Do we really need another management discipline that will invariablymean more work?In reality, there are limits to our abilities to deliver projects using strictly intuitive methods.Engineers don’t design bridges or systems that have been developed in their heads. We havedeveloped formalized methods and models to take advantage of our creativity and analyticalabilities. Doing so allows society to allocate precious resources with a greater sense ofconfidence that this project will meet our expectations for the resources we commit to it. At amore elemental level, that is the answer, we have evolved as a society where given the choices tospend our resources, we expect professional managers to deliver on their promises. The projectperforms as promised, within budget and on schedule.Risk can be identified as part of a disciplined practice; can communicate complexity and itsassociated uncertainties more effectively. In the context of project delivery for infrastructureprojects risk management can outperform project execution delivered on an intuitive basis.This paper will address the need for developing a risk management program that is formalizedand data driven. More than that, this paper will present and discuss some options forunderstanding the often unarticulated business model that underlays some contemporary riskpractices within current public policy framework. In the end, the value of risk management aspresented in this paper is the ability to offer better performance in terms of cost and schedulethan without it.

Bates, A. J. (2013, June), Implementation of a Risk Management Program to Address Public Policy Issues in Mega Projects Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19710

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