Deep Foundations Practitioner Normand Cites Working Platform Safety as Priority Issue
Orange Park, FL (August 24, 2020): So far, it has been a "great, enjoyable 14-year run" for Chris Normand, P.E. (pictured) who took a job as Project Manager at Cajun Industries, LLC in Baton Rouge in 2006. Since then, he has developed significant expertise in the pile driving industry and currently is Director of Operations for the Cajun Deep Foundations division. New to Mr. Normand's resume is his August 2020 appointment as the Chair of the PDCA Safety & Environmental Committee for which he has already devised a working strategy to bolster the panel's impact on the industry.
"The S&E committee can play a key role with DFI and ADSC on the development of an industry wide set of best practices and guidelines for Working Platform safety," explained Normand. "This issue is of key importance to stakeholders in the deep foundation industry. Having a consistent, industry-driven document could form the national discussion at many levels regarding expectations for deep foundations operational safety."
Expecting "continuity" in the transition, Normand credits his Cajun Industries colleague Senior Vice President Scott Callaway for getting him involved in PDCA; he will now succeed Scott at the helm of the Safety & Environmental Committee.
"The S&E Committee will continue to build on its past efforts to provide reference documents such as pre-job plans, lift plans, JHAs and similar best practices could help others in the industry form a culture with safety at the top," added Normand.
Safety culture for companies and organizations everywhere has taken on a new, yet necessary dimension in 2020. When asked about the ongoing health crisis impacting America, Normand said, "PDCA can serve as a forum for peer input and shared solutions for COVID-19 related challenges. Examples could include challenges with implementing site-specific COVID-19 safe work plans, transportation and site access solutions, specialized PPE use, employee screening protocols, and other general safe work practices."
A Baton Rouge native, Normand is a double graduate of Louisiana State University from which he holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and an M.B.A. He and Jennifer, his wife of 18 years, are raising their three children in his hometown where he has become involved with his son's scouting organization. Chris enjoys opportunities for professional travel and is active in the Deep Foundations Institute, among other industry groups. In his free time, he enthusiastically supports LSU athletics and is a self-proclaimed "outdoors enthusiast" who likes backpacking in the mountains, participating in triathlons, and distance running opportunities.
"September is National Suicide Prevention month, which is why I am asking you today to please remember to look up from the bids, books, plans and contracts to think about the men and women on our jobsites or working from home that need us, now more than ever. I am asking that you put the resources in place on your jobsites and across our industry to proactively engage our employees--who are our best resources--beyond their physical health and safety, but their mental health and safety as well."The CIASP website provides a tremendous resources for employers who are working to implement a plan to avoid a suicide related tragedy in their workplaces; in particular is this comprehensive list of Integration Resources. For more information and additional resources, visit CIASP online.
You might recall PileDriver magazine's Issue #1 of 2020 which featured an in depth article about some of the causes of workplace suicide as well as some of the prevention measures that employers can take. Outgoing CIASP Chair Michelle Walker (right) is quoted throughout.
The conference is primarily designed for general and sub-contractors, geotechnical, structural, and civil engineers, and other firms or individuals who conduct business, support or are associated with the deep foundations, earth retention and/ or driven pile industry. Licensed PE's can earn up to 7.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs).
This educational event is offered live over four days in September, each day will be comprised of two hour sessions.The dates for Virtual DICEP 2020 are September 16-17 (Steel Sheet Pile presentations) and again September 23-24 (Wave Equation courses). These dates are two consecutive Wednesdays and Thursdays during the hours of 3:00 - 5:00 pm ET (12:00 - 2:00 pm PT). Utilizing the Zoom platform, attendees can attend sessions, engage with presenters, earn PDH's and connect with other industry practitioners. For more information or to register for Virtual DICEP 2020, click here.
International Building Code: Louisville
(Pictured, left to right; Garland Likins, Dan Stevenson, and Dale Biggers)
It all started innocently in the spring of 2012. An engineer from California proposed a change to a load testing section of the International Building Code. Lori Simpson of Langan Engineers, Dan Stevenson of Berkel and Company, and I attended the IBC hearings in Dallas, Texas. We convinced the engineer to withdraw his proposal because it caused conflicts with other sections of the code.
"Let's change lots of the code," we said. [Note: Garland Likins of GRL Engineers called and got me involved in this Dallas trip, but no hard feelings.]
Unexpected at the time, that cavalier comment started a seven-year odyssey.
We formed the GeoCoalition, which became a collection of 37 structural engineers, geotechnical engineers and foundation contractors from across the country. The PDCA Technical Committee was an important part of the effort. It also included other groups, such as several DFI committees and ADSC. We knew that a well-rounded industry effort would be more respected by the International Code Council (ICC) than any individual proposals.
Every two weeks or less, we had a web conference set up by the PDCA office. The computer screen was controlled by Garland Likins or Anna Sellountou of PDI. They put up a paragraph and the peanut gallery on the phone made suggestions. Changes were done in the ICC format deletions were shown by strike outs, and additions were underlined. Sometimes consensus was difficult as we looked at each and every sentence, one by one.
The interaction of people from various parts of the country in different disciplines mixed with regional variations of rules, foundation types and viewpoints was a wonderful learning experience. We made more than 40 changes to the code. So confident of success, we marched to the ICC hearings in Louisville knowing that our hearts were pure, and our cause was just.
Little did we know how little we knew. [Continue reading in Issue #3 of PileDriver]
by Dale Biggers of Boh Bros. Construction and Chair, PDCA Technical Committee
This is the first of a multi-part review of the changes to 1810, the Deep Foundation section of the International Building Code
Veteran construction lawyer and PDCA Conference presenter Kalson elevates from Vice Chairman
Orange Park, FL (August 5, 2020): With nearly 30 years of construction law and litigation experience behind him, 22 years exclusively as a full-time construction lawyer, Richard D. Kalson, Esq. is named the new Chairman for the PDCA Contracts and Risk Committee. Mr. Kalson is a Partner at national firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP and practices from Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA. The PDCA Board of Directors ratified the new chairmanship with a unanimous vote in June 2020.
[Mr. Kalson (pictured) presented "Effects of Substance Abuse on the Construction Industry" for the opening program in the PDCA 2020 Annual Conference Webinar Series on August 5, 2020. The Series resumes September 2nd, and again the first Wednesday of each month through December.]
"Through my experience serving as Vice Chair for the Contracts and Risk Committee, we have worked to build a framework to provide necessary information to PDCA members so they become equipped to help themselves navigate the variety of legal risks they face every day," stated Mr. Kalson. "I look forward to collaborating with all PDCA members on formulating a list of key contractual provisions for their consideration when negotiating a subcontract."
In his law practice, Mr. Kalson provides counsel to subcontractors, contractors, suppliers and project owners in litigation and business consultation matters, including many ENR 400 contractors and ENR 600 specialty contractors, on all phases of the construction process on projects throughout the United States. He has represented clients in construction disputes involving infrastructure, bridges, petrochemical plants, commercial buildings, hotels, and government buildings, among many others, before courts and arbitrators in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Virginia, California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Georgia and many other states across the country.
A construction lawyer for 27 years, Mr. Kalson earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota School of Law following a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin where he continues a relationship as a visiting lecturer and loyal fan of Badger athletics. He also holds prominent positions in the construction industry including a Board seat with the Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors and a Vice-Chairmanship at the Deep Foundations Institute.
Many now consider virtual events as "the new normal," therefore the 2020 Pile Driving Contractors Association Annual Conference launches this week under a modfied name; the PDCA 2020 Annual Conference Webinar Series. It is a five-part, interactive, online event taking place the first Wednesday of every month, August through December. This Wednesday, August 5th from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT), the series begins with the first two sessions.
Forthcoming sessions for the PDCA 2020 Annual Conference Webinar Series will cover a variety of other essential subjects concerning business practices and the deep foundations industry (all times Eastern):
- September 2, 2020 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Dedicated Pile Driving Certification Requirements by Toya Brown of NCCCO
October 7, 2020 (time, TBA) Working Platforms Update by Peggy Hagerty Duffy of ADSC
November 4, 2020 (time, TBA) You've Stopped Getting Paid, Now What? by Ryan Maloney, Esq. of Jimerson Birr
December 2, 2020 (time, TBA) Tilting at Windmills: Don Quixote Meets the International Building Code by Dale Biggers of Boh Bros. Construction
All segments of the PDCA 2020 Annual Conference Webinar Series are provided to members of PDCA at no cost; non-members can register for any or all events which require a $50 per session registration fee (please note - registration for the August 5th event that includes two sessions carries a $100 fee). Non-members are encouraged to contact PDCA to learn how to apply their event registration(s) to a new PDCA membership. All participants will be awarded Professional Development Hours for completing the scheduled events. Note to participants; all webinars will be conducted through the Zoom platform.
PDCA's Manager of Education and Events Kathy Harper (pictured above supporting a presenter during the 2019 PDCA Annual Conference) continues to migrate 2020 Association conferences and educational opportunities to virtual events. You are encouraged to contact Kathy with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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