May 16, 2020

Arcadis US Awarded $71.86m California High-speed Rail Construction Management Contract

California High-Speed Rail Authority
Rail construc
2 min
Artist's impression of California high-speed train
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has awarded a $71.86 million contract for construction management of the Fresno to Bakersfield high-speed rail...

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has awarded a $71.86 million contract for construction management of the Fresno to Bakersfield high-speed rail line to Arcadis US.

The Colorado-based branch of the Dutch design and consultancy firm beat four other bids for Construction Package 2-3, which covers a 65-mile stretch from American Avenue, south of Fresno to just north of the Tulare-Kern county line via King’s County.

As part of the contract, ARCADIS will, over a five-year period, provide engineering and consulting services for the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the as-yet unconfirmed contractor that will design and build the package.

Construction of this section is estimated to cost between $1.5bn and $2bn, with bids from contractors due in October. The stretch will be subject to environmental considerations before construction can commence.

California High-Speed Rail Authority selected the two-company team of Wong/Harris to oversee the first 23-mile package from Madera to Fresno. A consortium of Tutor Perini, Zachry and Parsons won the $985 design-build contract for this section, and construction works are already underway, having begun in July.

The start of heavy construction works has been delayed by the state’s slow acquisition of the necessary land needed in the Central Valley area for an initial 29-mile segment that will pass through Fresno. Jeff Morales, Chief Executive of the California High-Speed Rail Authority has revealed the authority has been forced to hire more staff devoted to acquiring property.

Users of California's high-speed rail system will be able to travel from Los Angeles and San Francisco in about two hours and 40 minutes. The $68 billion system is expected to be completed by 2029.


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Mar 5, 2021

International Code Council focuses on energy efficiency

Dominic Ellis
3 min
New International Code Council framework will drive energy efficiencies but climate change demands quicker implementation
New International Code Council framework will drive energy efficiencies but climate change demands quicker implementation...

The International Code Council has released a new framework to assist governments and building industry stakeholders in meeting energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals.  

The Code Council Board of Directors, which consists of 18 government code officials who were elected by their peers, adopted the framework, Leading the Way to Energy Efficiency: A Path Forward on Energy and Sustainability to Confront a Changing Climate

This framework includes using the Code Council’s American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved standards process to update the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  

Future editions of the IECC will build on prior successes including an increase of efficiency requirements by about 40%, or an average of 8% a cycle from 2006 to 2021, allowing the IECC to remain a strong avenue for communities to reach their energy efficiency and sustainability goals globally. 

With the base 2021 IECC efficiency requirements just 10% away from net zero for residential buildings, under the new framework future editions of the IECC will increase base efficiency using a balancing test proposed in bipartisan legislation that has cleared the US House and Senate and has been supported by energy efficiency advocates and the building industry

The IECC will be developed under a revised scope and be part of a portfolio of greenhouse gas reduction solutions that could address electric vehicles, electrification and decarbonization, integration of renewable energy and energy storage, existing buildings performance standards and more. 

The Code Council’s new framework will also provide optional requirements aimed at achieving net zero energy buildings presently and by 2030. Using a tiered approach, the framework offers adopting jurisdictions a menu of options, from a set of minimum requirements to pathways to net zero energy and additional greenhouse gas reduction policies.   

The Code Council has also announced the establishment of an Energy and Carbon Advisory Council which will consist of governmental and industry leaders to inform the Code Council’s efforts. 

The Energy and Carbon Advisory Council will advise on which additional greenhouse gas reduction policies the IECC should integrate, the pace that the IECC’s baseline efficiency requirements should advance, plus needs and gaps that the Code Council should work to address. The Code Council will begin outreach to fill the Energy and Carbon Advisory Council in March. 

Focus on climate and energy efficiency globally

The Use of Climate Data and Assessment of Extreme Weather Event Risks in Building Codes Around the World was published last month. 

Climate data is frequently only updated on a 10-year cycle on average, so as weather becomes more severe from year to year, the underlying data simply does not accurately reflect the risk to the building of these extreme weather-related events. International Codes are updated on a three-year cycle.

Climate change, coupled with net zero emission targets, is focusing minds to act faster.

From the end of this year, all new buildings in Singapore will face higher minimum energy performance requirements, according to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). It will raise the minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings and existing buildings that undergo major retrofit, to be 50% and 40% more energy efficient respectively, compared with 2005 levels. The city state aims to 'green' 80% of buildings by 2030.

The Net Zero Home standard developed by CCG (Scotland) is intended to deliver a standard of specification that reduces greenhouse gas emissions arising from regulated operational energy use to a rate less than or equal to 0kg C02/m2/year. 

A new construction products national regulator is imminent in the UK, in a bid to bolster standards following the Grenfell inquiry.  

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