Our Approach

 

At Spectrum, our first concern is to meet the stated goals of your electric power, telecommunications, or SCADA / Smart Grid project within the timeframe specified and from the perspective of complete ownership. We also recognize how vitally important it is to involve and support you – our client, our Engineering Partner – in every aspect of the project, including …

  • evaluation
  • design
  • specification and procurement
  • support service

Total Support

Many facets of each project we undertake are relational in nature and require a thorough understanding of the specific audience’s needs. We offer our total support in addressing every facet, the most obvious of them being …

  • identifying and assessing the viability of partnerships to better deliver the services being considered
  • preparing contracts, agreements, and related supportive documentation with service providers and customers
  • conducting market-based focus-group research to best fit offerings with needs
  • coordinating legal liaison to ensure the most efficient use of legal expertise
  • developing marketing packages, pricing, and promotions
  • integrating back-office billing with existing utility services
  • recommending staffing requirements, qualifications, selection, and training
  • coordinating contractor oversight, testing, and provisioning of services

Elements of Our Design Process

Design Criteria:

  • We develop a detailed Design Criterion document for each project.
  • This document details all construction, assignment, and validation criteria pertaining to the project.
  • Permitting authorities also are identified therein.
  • The completed Design Criterion document becomes the controlling authority for all project design elements.
  • We also work with the owner to establish general methods of installation and phased deployment strategies.

Preliminary Design:

  • We develop a Preliminary Design for each project.
  • This design is based on the Design Criterion, which has been mutually agreed upon by the project engineer and the client.
  • The Preliminary Design includes all preliminary drawings, specifications, and bid documents for major equipment purchase.
  • For initial review by the project decision makers, we typically design just a small section of the proposed product. This is to ensure that both the client and the financial approval authorities are satisfied with the product and its corresponding output before any work proceeds.

Detail Design:

  • Once the appropriate authorities have approved the Preliminary Design and all corresponding output, full production begins.
  • The Detail Design is based upon the approved Preliminary Design, which has been mutually agreed upon by the project engineer and the client.
  • The Detail Design includes all detail drawings, specifications, and bid documents for construction.
  • This design is reviewed with the client, and minor revisions are incorporated into a final set of bid/construction documents.

Cost Control Measures

The goal of any engineering design project is to respond affirmatively to the question, “Do the design documents clearly promote construction of the project in an organized, efficient manner, at a reasonable cost within budget?”

  • To say “yes” to this question, we assign an experienced project manager to oversee each project and ensure that we’re following the Quality Assurance steps outlined for every phase.
  • An engineer takes the client’s budget and project scope as the starting point and develops an estimate of cost at the conclusion of the Preliminary Design.
  • This estimate is updated upon completion of the Detail and Final Design phases.
  • We conduct continuous and regular internal reviews to address all components of the  design, relative to construction efficiency and completeness.
 
Elements of Internal Reviews

Each project we undertake is reviewed for completeness and accuracy at regular intervals.

  • Design Criterion Review – performed by the project engineer. Once the Design Criterion is approved by the project engineer, a request is made for the client to review and approve the Design Criterion.

  • Preliminary Design Review – usually performed as the project reaches the 25% to 30% complete mark. The project engineer reviews the preliminary package(s) for accuracy and completeness. Once the package(s) is/(are) approved by the project engineer, a request is made for the client to review and approve the Preliminary Design.

  • Detail Design Review – usually performed as the project reaches the 50% to 60% complete mark. The project engineer will review the Detail Design and bid preliminary package(s) for accuracy and completeness. Once the bid document(s) and package(s) is/(are) approved, a request is made for the client to review and approve the Detail Design.

  • Final Review – usually performed as the project reaches the 85% to 90% complete mark. The project engineer will review all drawings and package(s) for accuracy and completeness. Once the drawings and package(s) are approved, the Final Documents are prepared.

  • Post-Construction Review – usually performed after the construction is complete and the drawings have been revised with the field-record markups.

At each stage of the construction process, Spectrum is normally involved – either through direct support (project oversight) or on an as-needed basis. Invariably, questions will arise specific to actual field conditions in the construction application of the design. It is critically important that the client and the construction contractor have open access to the designing engineer(s) in order to ensure that the project is completed as designed.


Applied Principles in Construction Plans, Specifications & Procurement Standards

Selecting best-in-class materials for a project requires paying attention to the details provided in the specifications. Open bidding forums, common on public projects, do not typically eliminate unqualified parties from submitting a bid or proposal. Tight standards and clearly stated eligibility requirements are the protections a client has against succumbing to the “lowest” bid instead of latching onto the “lowest and best.”

Qualifying and quantifying what meets the “best” requirement is vital to a successful project from a long-term vantage point. Spectrum views the total cost of ownership as the measure for establishing tight specification standards. From there, it becomes necessary to properly and thoroughly evaluate bidders based on those established criteria. The total cost of ownership begins with receipt of the contracted product and doesn’t end until that device is retired.

In addition to the normal application of our stringent standards, we at Spectrum typically review hardware specifications to ensure that the client’s standard stock items are included. This saves the client from stocking similar parts that offer no advantage and only raise operating costs.

If you’d like further details on our approach to the projects we undertake and how this approach can benefit you, contact Spectrum Engineering.