Design + Construction Strategies CEO Barbara Heller Featured in Government Executive Magazine

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Apr 03, 2009 -- In an interview with Government Executive magazine, Barbara Heller, President and CEO of Design + Construction Strategies, discussed how federal and state agencies can better manage the billions of dollars in the federal stimulus package targeted at major infrastructure projects such as buildings, roads, highways and bridges.

Government Executive is a Washington-based publication whose target audience is high-level officials in federal and state government.

Implementing new technologies to increase efficiency while also managing the data coming from contractors and subcontractors are two of the biggest problems facing federal agencies and managers charged with distributing billions of stimulus dollars to shovel-ready construction projects, Government Executive reported.

"I've seen a lot of innovation, I've seen a lot of creativity, and I've also seen how our political leadership has, in some cases, sort of squashed a lot of that innovative drive among government personnel," said Heller. "It's to the point where I think that some of the agencies are suffering from a form of battered wife syndrome and now they're being asked to make a U-turn and become change agents. It's a huge emotional shift."

Heller emphasized that agencies are not entirely opposed to incorporating new technologies and practices. She said government has taken the lead in adopting new visualization software like building information modeling which uses three-dimensional, real-time modeling as opposed to architectural CAD drawings.

"When used effectively, building information modeling is a huge cost saver," said Heller, saving as much as 20 percent on construction costs and delivering projects up to 15 percent ahead of schedule.

Management may prove a bigger issue, Heller cautioned. Adopting new technologies and overseeing construction projects requires government personnel to understand the "odd" construction industry culture, she said, which consists of predominantly small businesses. Major infrastructure programs bring hundreds of the small businesses together in temporary arrangements, she added.

"It's a project-based industry with no central management," said Heller. "Groups of companies come together to do a project -- they may never work together again -- and then they go their own ways. The idea of applying management protocols or accountability across the whole process, that's not in anybody's job description."

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About Design + Construction Strategies

Design + Construction Strategies drives innovation across the built environment, enabling clients to leverage technology, streamline management and improve business processes to enhance operations. Clients include government agencies, businesses and institutions.

W. John Moore

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