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The Department of Energy (DOE) is engaged in numerous multimillion- and even multibillion-dollar projects that are one of a kind or first of a kind and require cutting-edge technology. The projects represent the diverse nature of DOE's missions, which encompass energy systems, nuclear weapons stewardship, environmental restoration, and basic research. Few other government or private organizations are challenged by projects of a similar magnitude, diversity, and complexity. To complete these complex projects on schedule, on budget, and in scope, the DOE needs highly developed project management capabilities. This report is an assessment of the status of project management in the Department of Energy as of mid-2001 and the progress DOE has made in this area since the National Research Council (NRC) report Improving Project Management in the Department of Energy (Phase II report) was published in June 1999.
The Blast Mitigation for Structures Program (BMSP) is a research and development activity conducted by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to improve the performance of buildings that are targets of terrorist attack. The primary goal of the BMSP is to reduce loss of life and injuries to the occupants of these buildings through the development of innovative techniques for new structures and retrofitting existing facilities. The committee's findings and recommendations are contained in this initial assessment report.
In response to HUD's request, the NRC assembled a panel of experts, the Committee for Oversight and Assessment of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, under the auspices of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment. Over an initial term of three years, the committee was asked to review and comment on the following aspects of the PATH program: overall goals; proposed approach to meeting the goals and the likelihood of achieving them; and measurements of progress toward achieving the goals.
Evidence has accumulated that shows that the quality of indoor environments can affect the health and productivity of adults and children. One consequence is that a movement has emerged to promote the design of schools that have fewer adverse environmental effects. To examine the potential of such design for improving education, several private organizations asked the NRC to review and assess the health and productivity benefits of green schools. This report provides an analysis of the complexity of making such a determination; and an assessment of the potential human health and performance benefits of improvements in the building envelope, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustical quality. The report also presents an assessment of the overall building condition and student achievement, and offers an analysis of and recommendations for planning and maintaining green schools including research considerations.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
conducts construction-relevant research activities. From 1996
through 2005, the program focused on four research goals:
The United States Department of Energy's (DOE) facilities stewardship is extremely important to the department's ability to achieve its mission of protecting national, energy, and economic security with advanced science and technology and ensuring environmental cleanup. Intelligent Sustainment and Renewal of Department of Energy Facilities and Infrastructure evaluates the steps the department is taking to improve its facilities and infrastructure management. This report develops best-practice techniques for DOE real property asset management and guidelines for deciding when to repair, renovate, or replace DOE buildings.
The U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C., comprises some of the
most historic and symbolic buildings in the nation. The steam and
chilled water required to heat and cool these buildings and related
equipment is generated and distributed by the Capitol Power Plant
(CPP) district energy system. Portions of the CPP system are now 50
to 100 years old and require renewal so that reliable utility
services can be provided to the U.S. Capitol Complex for the
The Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is scheduled to become operational in 2004. These network sites will perform a range of experiments to test and validate complex computer models being developed to simulate the behavior of structures subjected to earthquakes. To assist in this effort, the NSF requested the National Research Council (NRC) to frame the major questions to be addressed by and to develop a long-term research agenda for NEES. "Preventing Earthquake Disasters presents an overview of the grand challenge, including six critical research problems making up that challenge. The report also provides an assessment of earthquake engineering research issues and the role of information technology in that research effort, and a research plan for NEES.
Some educational professionals have suggested that so-called green schools would result in superior performance and increased health for students and teachers. While there is no commonly accepted definition of a green school, there are a number of attributes that such schools appear to have: low cost operations, security, healthy and comfortable, and an environment that enhances learning are among them. To determine the health and productivity benefits of green schools, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Barr and Kendall Foundations, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, and the U.S. Green Building Council asked the NRC to examine available studies about the effects of green schools on student learning and teacher productivity. This interim report presents an evaluation of evidence for relationships between various health, learning, and productivity outcomes and five characteristics of green schools: the building envelope, ventilation, lighting, acoustics, and condition. The final report will present evaluations for additional characteristics, a synthesis of the results of all assessments, and promising areas of research.
Facilities now owned by the Federal Government are valued at over $300 billion. It also spends over $25 billion per year for acquisition, renovation, and upkeep. Despite the size of these sums, there is a growing litany of problems with federal facilities that continues to put a drain on the federal budget and compromise the effectiveness of federal services. To examine ways to address these problems, the sponsoring agencies of the Federal Facilities Council (FFC) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to develop guidelines for making improved decisions about investment in and renewal, maintenance, and replacement of federal facilities. This report provides the result of that assessment. It presents a review of both public and private practices used to support such decision making, and identifies appropriate objectives, practices, and performance measures. The report presents a series of recommendations designed to assist federal agencies and departments improve management of and investment decision making for their facilities.
Effective risk management is essential for the success of large projects built and operated by the Department of Energy (DOE), particularly for the one-of-a-kind projects that characterize much of its mission. To enhance DOEa (TM)s risk management efforts, the department asked the NRC to prepare a summary of the most effective practices used by leading owner organizations. The studya (TM)s primary objective was to provide DOE project managers with a basic understanding of both the project ownera (TM)s risk management role and effective oversight of those risk management activities delegated to contractors.
The deteriorating condition of federal facilities poses economic,
safety, operational, and environmental risks to the federal
government, to the achievement of the missions of federal agencies,
and to the achievement of public policy goals. Primary factors
underlying this deterioration are the age of federal
facilities--about half are at least 50 years old--and decades of
inadequate investment for their maintenance and repair. These
issues are not new and there are no quick fixes. However, the
current operating environment provides both the impetus and the
opportunity to place investments in federal facilities' maintenance
and repair on a new, more sustainable course for the 21st Century.
Despite the magnitude of investments, funding for the maintenance
and repair of federal facilities has been inadequate for many
years, and myriad projects have been deferred.
Peer review is an essential component of engineering practice and
other scientific and technical undertakings. Peer reviews are
conducted to ensure that activities are technically adequate,
competently performed, and properly documented; to validate
assumptions, calculations, and extrapolations; and to assess
alternative interpretations, methodologies, acceptance criteria,
and other aspects of the work products and the documentation that
support them. Effective peer reviews are conducted in an
environment of mutual respect, recognizing the contributions of all
participants. Their primary objective is to help the project team
achieve its goals. Reviews also contribute to quality assurance,
risk management, and overall improvement of the management process.
In 1997, Congress, in the conference report, H.R. 105-271, to the FY1998 Energy and Water Development Appropriation Bill, directed the National Research Council (NRC) to carry out a series of assessments of project management at the Department of Energy (DOE). The final report in that series noted that DOE lacked an objective set of measures for assessing project management quality. The department set up a committee to develop performance measures and benchmarking procedures and asked the NRC for assistance in this effort. This report presents information and guidance for use as a first step toward development of a viable methodology to suit DOEa (TM)s needs. It provides a number of possible performance measures, an analysis of the benchmarking process, and a description ways to implement the measures and benchmarking process.
Recurrent problems with project performance in the U.S. Department
of Energy (DOE) in the 1990s raised questions in Congress about the
practices and processes used by the department to manage projects.
The 105th Committee of Conference on Energy and Water Resources
directed DOE to investigate establishing a project review process.
Many of the findings and recommendations in this series of reports
identified the need for improved planning in the early project
stages (front-end planning) to get the project off to the right
start, and the continuous monitoring of projects by senior
management to make sure the project stays on course. These reports
also stressed the need for DOE to act as an owner, not a
contractor, and to train its personnel to function not as
traditional project managers but as knowledgeable owner's
representatives in dealing with projects and contractors.
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