Association News

September 2009 » Columns

Advisories seek to prevent disputes
Silver Spring, MD. — ASFE published two new model advisories for firms that provide construction materials engineering and testing (CoMET) services.

“Important Information about This CoMET Quality-Assurance Proposal” was developed by ASFE’s CoMET Committee for insertion into member firms’ CoMET proposals to help prevent misunderstandings and the disputes misunderstandings can lead to. According to ASFE Executive Vice President John P. Bachner, “CoMET services are among the most important insofar as project risk management is concerned. They commonly represent the last line of defense for all parties to a project. Nonetheless, owners and other design professionals make some unfortunate mistakes and assumptions about these services, and so compromise their value. This document is designed to provide a ‘heads-up’ and clarity.”

“Important Information about This CoMET Quality-Assurance Report” is structured similarly. According to Bachner, “Assumptions and misunderstandings about CoMET reports continue to lead to a variety of unfortunate consequences. This new advisory is designed to prevent that from happening.” The report advisory can be used as a stand-alone document or can be printed onto the back of an ASFE-member firm’s daily field report and similar forms.

Only ASFE-member firms are permitted to use the documents as insert sheets. Others can use them to develop language of their own. For non-members, the cost of the two documents is $50 each and can be ordered from ASFE’s website at

The Society of Women Engineers to meet in Calif.
CHICAGO — The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Annual Conference (WE09) will take place in Long Beach, Calif., Oct. 15-17, 2009. More than 6,000 engineering professionals, collegians, educators, and recruiters are expected to attend the event featuring more than 200 exhibitors, 120 seminars, and networking opportunities.

Keynote speaker Darlene Solomon of Agilent Technologies will address the importance of women working together and innovating to advance the world of technology. Solomon is responsible for developing Agilent’s long-term technology strategy and overseeing its research and development activities.

Workshops and seminars will cover a wide range of topics such as career and life transitions, inclusion and cultural awareness, and innovations in technology and business. Attendees can search the full conference schedule by event type, track, and audience using the WE09 website at

HDPE pipe approved for nuclear plants
IRVING, TEXAS — The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI) said that high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe was given “a paramount approval and an official welcome by the nuclear power plant community.” Applications include safety-related piping for cooling water systems.

“The implementation of HDPE pipe in nuclear power plants, with all the stringent guidelines, regulations, rules, and inspection practices that this industry has developed and followed for decades, certainly is a vote of confidence for the integrity and performance of HDPE pipe,” said Tony Radoszewski, executive director of the PPI.

The PPI and its members worked with the industry and American Society of Mechanical Engineers on performance standards, test procedures, fusion processes, and other criteria culminating with the inclusion of details in Code Case N-755 for the use of HDPE pipe in nuclear power plants.

New website for stormwater equipment information
St. Paul, MinN. — The Stormwater Equipment Manufacturers Association launched a new website — The website contains information about the association’s activities, membership, technical information, and a buyers guide. The buyers guide is a free resource for end users needing information about stormwater equipment and other services. The association website was developed to assist end users of stormwater best management practices in specifying and using manufactured products to keep watersheds clean.

AWWA supports water infrastructure bank
DENVER — The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is urging members of Congress to create a federal water infrastructure bank to help America invest in its aging water systems. In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Chips Barry, a former member of AWWA’s Water Utility Council and current manager of Denver Water, told the committee that the United States is best served by water systems that sustain themselves through consumer rates and other local financing. However, the federal government can help by providing access to low-interest loans.

“The federal water infrastructure bank would provide direct low-interest financing or loan guarantees for projects of regional or national significance, or which were simply too large for the state to accommodate,” Barry said in delivering AWWA’s testimony.

The federal water infrastructure bank would be authorized to borrow money through the federal treasury system at very low rates, just as commercial banks do. In turn, the water infrastructure bank would make low-interest loans for larger water projects.

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