Keeping lines of communication open is key to controlling costs and managing construction schedules in today’s social distancing/working remotely environment. Ulteig engineers are regularly onsite with our clients to collaborate on project details and work through design challenges in person and look forward to working that way again soon. In the meantime, we’re providing our clients with complimentary online access to their project information, anytime and anywhere, whether they’re in the office, in a trailer, or onsite.
To increase efficiency, improve quality and reduce risk during this pandemic and going forward, Ulteig engineers are working with clients utilizing the BIM 360™ cloud-based document management system. By leveraging this software internally and externally with our clients, we are able to collaborate throughout the design and construction of projects with computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) schematics, drawings and documents through the BIM 360™portal on a computer and/or through an app on a tablet or smartphone. Using this collaborative system virtually eliminates the need for communicating via emails on a project. This unique value-added benefit gives the client’s remote team instant access to designs, project details, and documents while reviewing construction plans (with versions, edits and times clearly marked) whenever and wherever necessary to keep the project flowing and their staff working effectively.
What if a client uses a different cloud-based system?
Ulteig has found that BIM 360™ platform is a great tool for design coordination and collaboration as it allows our clients, as well as other required organizations access to project information quickly and efficiently without additional fees or licenses subscriptions. Clients may already utilize a different platform like Procore®, SharePoint®, or Box.com., which Ulteig has and is willing to support to ensure collaborative page turns and quality reviews.
Creating technical solutions to meet current business challenges
Ulteig engineers use BIM 360™ to organize, distribute, and share documents with project teams in real-time. By using this cloud-based management platform, our engineers can circulate designs and collaborate with project stakeholders anytime and anywhere to help keep everyone in sync throughout the project.
Author: Chris Smaaladen, PE, M. ASCE, Technical Manager
Developing and maintaining effective partnerships has been at the cornerstone of Ulteig’s identity for more than seventy-five years. With today’s rapidly changing marketplace, Ulteig remains steadfast in our commitment to providing the solutions and innovative ideas you need to navigate through these tumultuous times.
Social distancing and stay-at-home requirements have forced trade show cancellations and travel plan disruptions. But while in-person meetings and events are not taking place, vital industry conversations must continue. That’s why we’re introducing a new “Energy & Infrastructure” 8-part podcast series. Our goal is simple: to inspire you, through new ideas and conversations, to think differently about industry challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting financial crisis.
The new series, spanning our Lifeline Sectors® of Power, Renewables, Transportation and Water, offers thought-provoking and engaging conversations with key industry stakeholders on technology, innovation, policy and funding. There will also be lively discussion mixed in about the latest hot button issues facing our industries.
In our first podcast, “Lessons Learned from 2009: Be Prepared for a COVID-19 Infrastructure Stimulus Package,” Aaron Lauinger, Market Director at Ulteig, examines infrastructure investments in 2020. This discourse addresses how stimulus funding could incubate and modernize infrastructure or be lost or exasperated if companies do not prepare ahead of time. The stimulus’s potential impact on transportation, water, and renewables sectors is also covered.
The second podcast continues the discussion of COVID-19 with special guest Dan Whitten, VP of Public Affairs, SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association), as we focus on what a repeat of the 2009 ARRA Renewable Tax Credits would do for the industry (as 09 ARRA catapulted renewables) and SEIA’s strategy for federal stimulus. Future podcasts will include discussions with industry leaders on smart grids, battery storage, USACE stimulus flooding and much more.
Ulteig remains committed to being a thoughtful and innovative partner for our clients. We hope the Energy & Infrastructure podcast series provides the insights and creative ideas you need to overcome the COVID-19 crisis now and afterward as we face what will more than likely be a changed landscape.
Meeting the commissioning and testing requirements of a project’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system can be demanding due to current social distancing protocols. For Ulteig, performing SCADA integration for clients traditionally involves sending engineers to project locations throughout the U.S. to verify the full functionality of the final systems necessary to connect to the grid. But due to current COVID-19 travel restrictions and “stay at home” safety requirements, that’s a less desirable solution.
On a recent project for a generation owner in Texas, Ulteig implemented a remote solution to handle the requirements of the job. Ulteig engineers worked with the asset owner to deploy a laptop–accessible by Ulteig–to the project site. They then worked one-on-one with onsite personnel to connect to individual devices to program, troubleshoot and access the site’s Local Area Network.
The key to Ulteig’s solution was working with the asset owner to document the cybersecurity and malware management Standard Operating Procedures. The remote laptop fits the definition of a Transient Cyber Asset under NERC-CIP-003-7, so the owner must implement plans to address “Transient Cyber Asset and Removable Media Malicious Code Risk Mitigation.” The integration was performed from a thousand miles away, and the utility was able to stay on track with their construction schedule.
Sending a laptop to the remote site was just one of the options developed to meet the needs of Ulteig clients. A renewable generation owner of a wind farm in Nebraska required SCADA integration completed to meet their Commercial Operation Date but wanted to minimize bringing new people onto the job site. Ulteig’s engineers worked with the owner’s IT department to establish a VPN connection to the project site.
Superior communication and coordination between critical staff already onsite (and all offtakers of data from the substation) were required to integrate the project remotely. This was an effective and safe solution, keeping unnecessary personnel offsite and avoiding travel.
Every company is dealing with business disruptions due to Coronavirus. And when this is all over, companies will get back to business as usual. Today, and in the years to come, Ulteig will continue to develop innovative solutions to meet the business needs of its clients.
Author: Seth Maslowski, Technical Manager