As a project manager at Twining probably one of the areas of greatest interest to our clients is how well we are able to manage the testing and inspection budget for their project. Yes, they want us to provide competent, multi-certified inspectors and to accurately report test results, but many of our clients aren’t technical experts and something that we all understand even in our personal lives is the importance of staying within budget.
First and foremost, it must be said that it is not uncommon for potential clients to have unrealistic expectations in regards to the cost for our services. In these instances we will do our best to educate the client as to why their number is not achievable but unfortunately we are not always successful. While the marble in the lobby of a building can be appreciated by everyone, not everyone will readily appreciate the fact that our services have helped to ensure that the structure will perform safely and as expected during it’s designed service life.
Secondly, our services, both the scope and the frequencies are dictated by the Building Code, approved plans, and specifications and the contractor controls the schedule for which our work will be needed. Therefore, we are oftentimes at the mercy of things which we cannot control.
With that being said, there are things that we can do to help control costs and to keep our clients informed when issues are out of our control and it all starts with communication. We do the following:
- Communicate with the Twining salesperson to understand the proposed scope and budget (they already have the clients trust and we need to understand why)
- Communicate directly with the client once we have been assigned as the PM (we are your single point of contact to Twining so we want to know who you are and want you to know who we are)
- Review the plans and specifications to see if any tests frequencies or required inspections are above or beyond what the code requires and make our client and the structural engineer of record aware of them (they may be there for very good reason or they may be left over from another project)
- Work with our dispatch to assign inspectors that have multiple certifications so that they can inspect as many disciplines as possible
- Review every shop, field, and lab report (is everything in scope, were there re-inspections needed, is all work being performed during typical/expected hours)
- Detailed review of the invoice before it is sent (are the rates correct, is the scope as expected, are hours for specific scope items trending as we would expect)
- Notify our clients immediately once we think that there may be an issue with the budget
Every job is different and they all have unique challenges but by performing the above tasks we can at least help to mitigate any undue costs to our clients.
Linas Vitkus is a civil and geotechnical engineer and serves as Twining’s Senior Vice President of Operations. Before beginning his career as an engineer, Linas worked nights and weekends during high school driving the Zamboni machine at his local ice skating rink. Linas received his Bachelors degree from UCLA in both Civil and Environmental Engineering. He started his career as an engineer, and he joined Twining in 2006, as a Civil Engineer. He was quickly promoted to Twining’s Director of Laboratory Operations, and then to Senior Vice President of Operations. Linas also serves as Project Manager on many of Twining’s high profile projects, including the Port of Long Beach’s $1.31 billion Middle Harbor upgrade, as well as the Wilshire Grand, and multiple projects for UCLA, UCI, and Kaiser, and over 100 DSA projects in Southern California. Linas specializes in working on projects from the initial planning and conceptualization phase through to final design and construction. He also provides operational management of Twining’s five offices and laboratories throughout California. In what little downtime he has, Linas enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons playing soccer and Lithuanian school on Saturdays.