Orbital Energy Group launches specialist drilling subsidiary
Orbital Energy Group, the Houston-based construction engineering company, has launched Eclipse Foundation Group, a drilled shaft foundation company, and a subsidiary that will specialise in providing services to the electric transmission and substation, industrial, communication towers, and disaster restoration market sectors.
Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Eclipse team is known for successfully executing projects in difficult environments, utilising amphibious equipment, and vibratory caissons to construct up to 16-foot diameter shafts at depths greater than 80-feet in marshland and deeper waters, as well as working from barges.
The team also has the expertise and equipment to successfully drill through hard rock and granite, a statement from Orbital Energy Group says. It adds that the new subsidiary’s services also include:
- Furnishing and installing rebar cages and anchor bolt cages
- Driving caissons
- Setting structures with its fleet of specialized hydraulic cranes
“There is a growing need for experienced foundation drilling contractors to help upgrade and expand the energy and telecommunication infrastructure across the Southern U.S. Eclipse’s management boasts 30 years of industry experience, with an excellent working record and a highly qualified staff.
“Eclipse has significant experience drilling projects in extremely difficult terrain, which differentiates their capabilities from others in the industry. The Eclipse team has established relationships with engineers and utility owners that share a common goal, completing vital energy projects safely and on time and budget," says Jim O'Neil, Orbital Energy Group's vice-chairman and CEO. Eclipse will be led by president Michael Cutrone, a leader in drilled shaft foundations with nearly 30 years' experience.
“Eclipse prioritises safety, quality and client service to provide ongoing maintenance to aging power lines and constructing new projects as the grid is reconfigured to serve new power sources, such as renewables and expanded to serve the growth of metropolitan areas in the southern US,” adds Cutrone.
“Additionally, the southern states are vulnerable to severe storms, such as hurricanes, and utility customers are focused on hardening their electric power systems to maximize the reliability of power delivery to their customers. Eclipse partners with EPC companies to provide drilled shaft foundation solutions in an environment where our services are in high demand.”
“The addition of Eclipse to our OEG platform, including Powerline Services, Foundation Services, Solar Services, Gas Systems and Renewable Gas Solutions, enhances our overall service offerings while serving as a valuable asset to many of our other companies where synergies exist,” said Nicholas Clough, OEG operations director.
Orbital Energy Group's gross profit for Q3 2020 was $2.4 million, up $1 million year-on-year.
O'Neil said it continues to become a diversified infratructure services provider, acquiring Reach Construction Group - a solar engineering, procurement and construction services company - and creating an Orbital Power Services division, focusing on electric transmission and distribution services.
Contractor issues head disputes list in 2020: Arcadis report
The average value of disputes globally rose from $30.7 million in 2019 to $54.26 million in 2020, while the length of disputes fell from 15 months in 2019 to 13.4 months, according to an Arcadis report.
The data, featured in Arcadis' 11th annual report, illustrates industry-wide ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic although interestingly the overall volume of disputes stayed relatively the same in 2020 as in 2019.
While trends in the value and length of disputes varied from region to region, all regions surveyed saw an increase in "mega disputes" related to bigger capital programs and private projects. Notably, more than 60% of survey respondents encountered project impacts due to COVID-19.
Owners, contractors, or subcontractors failing to understand and/or comply with their contractual obligations became the leading cause of construction disputes in 2020 (jumping from 3rd place in 2019), followed by owner-directed changes and third-party or force-majeure changes as the second and third-leading causes, respectively.
Highlights from the report include:
- Proper contract administration was a theme across the globe for the successful and early resolution of disputes
- Most disputes were settled through party-to-party negotiation, and a willingness to compromise played a key role in early resolution
- Among regions surveyed, the buildings (education, healthcare, retail/commercial, government) sector saw the most disputes
- In North America, construction dispute value rose from $18.8 million in 2019 to $37.9 million in 2020, while the length of disputes shortened from 17.6 to 14.2 months.
While cost and length have changed since 2019, risk management was still seen as the most effective claims avoidance tactic, while owner/contractor willingness to compromise was once again the top-ranked factor for the mitigation/early resolution of disputes.
"COVID-19 irrevocably changed every industry," said Roy Cooper, head of contract solutions for Arcadis North America. "Construction disputes experts will have to continue to adapt, even post-pandemic, as workforce expectations, climate events and government infrastructure funding change how projects are designed and contracted in the future."
The research presented in the report was compiled by Arcadis based on survey responses, global construction disputes the team handled in 2020 and contributions from industry experts.