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This report was commissioned to examine all operational aspects of two different size consulting firms in the region of Hamilton, S. Llewellyn Associates Limited and Hallex Engineering Limited, and to establish any significant conclusions.
S. Llewellyn & Associates Limited is relatively a small-sized firm which has focused itself distinctively in hydraulic engineering to provide specialized storm water management services. Contrary, Hallex Engineering Limited is relatively a large-sized firm that provides multi-discipline engineering services in the fields of civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental and cost-management. The report is extensively based on the contributions of the PLP officers: Mr. Scott Llewellyn from S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. and Mr. Patrick Mottola from Hallex Eng. Ltd.
In order to conduct successful conclusions, the report is widely based on the following six driving operational factors found in any-sized firm:
Breadth of Engineering services
Size of a firm
The research draws attention to the fact that the variety of engineering services attracts a broader range of clients, consequently, increasing the firm's growth, revenue and profit. The report proposes that it is highly more practical to work in a small-sized firm than a large-sized as it significantly exposes one to a wider aspect of a project. Further investigation reveals that it is extremely crucial to provide clients with both an exceptional work and dominant relationship in order to grasp future projects from the client. Moreover, the firm must exceed its competition by assuring a balance between the quality and the cost of the project. Finally, the report advises that a firm must conduct serious investigation and examination of the project for not only better engineering ethics but also to avoid any liability issues. These appear to be the major conclusions driven from the operational analysis of both firms in this report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS............................................................................................................ iv
S. LLEWELLYN & ASSOCIATE LIMITEDâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦...2
Percent of project divisionâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦3
Woodward Avenue Environmental Laboratoryâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦...7
HALLEX ENGINEERING LIMITEDâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦...9
List of all disciplinesâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..â€¦...12
Sherwin-Williams Training Facilityâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦...15
Eurocopter Facility Expansionâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦...15
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PLP PRGRAMâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.17
The purpose of the following detailed report is to analyze the various operations being performed at S. Llewellyn & Associates Limited and Hallex Engineering Limited. The report first introduces the nature of each consulting firm, it then moves on to examine the operating structure, and the scope of services each provides. It further expands on the client-relationship and liability aspects of each firm. Lastly the report studies the competition each firm faces, and outlines some of the previous significant projects accomplished.
S. Llewellyn & Associates Limited is a small-sized firm which has concentrated itself particularly in hydraulic engineering to provide specialized storm water management services to its clients. On the other hand, Hallex Engineering Limited is a much bigger firm which has taken the initiative to provide clients with multi-discipline engineering services. As S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. is compelled to complete only the sub-contract work of the whole project, its size is relatively ideal for the operations it performs. However, Hallex Eng. Ltd. is an ideal consulting firm for many architects and contractors as it provides all kinds of services, and therefore mostly acquires full-scale contracts rather than sub-contracts. Both consulting firms believe in maintaining strong, reputable client-relationship and therefore most projects come from the same satisfied clients. In terms of competition, S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. encounters a greater deal because of the various firms in the region that offer the same storm water management services, including Hallex Eng. Ltd. This report further emphasis on each of the above factors mentioned.
During the preparation of this report, the following assumptions/limitations were applied:
The report is primarily based on the contributions of PLP officers: Mr. Scott Llewellyn from S. Llewellyn & Associates Limited and Mr. Patrick Mottola from Hallex Engineering Limited.
The report also further includes the research conducted on the past projects of each consulting firm, and has been referenced.
Detailed interviewing of PLP officers and minor research were the methods used to collect the information for this report.
S. LLEWELLYN & ASSOCIATES LIMITED
S. Llewellyn & Associates Limited is a private company categorized under engineering consultants and has a single location in Burlington, ON, Canada. It provides services such as municipal engineering services, construction management, inspection services but particularly specializes in storm water management. The company has focused itself to provide specialized services to clients in the fields of flood studies and storm water management. As a small-sized firm, their range of operations are limited due to only one specialized service, while Hallex Engineering Limited, with its multi-discipline services, encounters a wide breadth of operations.
Since its beginning 12 years ago, S. Llewellyn & Associates Limited has been involved in thousands of projects and been a top service provider to both municipal and private sectors for its service. The scope of their projects lies mainly in the province of Ontario, and particularly around their single location which includes areas such as Burlington, Oakville, Grimsby and Hamilton (Stoney Creek and Southeast parts of Hamilton).
Scott Llewellyn is the president of the company, and has extensive background in developing comprehensive storm water management plans, storm water policies, design manuals and drainage improvements for flood control, erosion control, habitat protection and water quality enhancement. Before Mr. Llewellyn initiated his company in the year 2000, he had acquired his Professional Engineering certificate, and 14 years of experience in the field of storm water management and had established working relationships with a number of experts in Ontario to provide assistance in groundwater, hydrology, soil mechanics, environmental protection and best management practices.
Scott has kept the division of their previous and current projects to a generally 20% related to Hamilton, Stoney Creek and Grimsby municipalities, and 80% to private-sectors and home-developers. It is noticeable that despite the fact that Scott Llewellyn initiated his company long before Hallex Engineering Limited came into being, it is almost in the company's policies to remain of the same size, and offer the same service.
Percent of project division
The purpose of this pie-chart is to represent visually a rough division of all the projects operated at S. Llewellyn & Associates Ltd.
Figure 2.1: Project Division at S. Llewellyn & Associates (data acquired during the interview)
Due to the nature of the services S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. provides, it is compelled to complete only the sub-division work of the whole project, and are usually hired by an architect or a bigger firm. Correspondingly, in order for the company to do their part of the work, it is sometimes necessary to initially perform surveying and modelling and therefore this particular type of work is further sub-contracted to other local surveying companies.
In this section, the operations of the company and any significant work performed by each department will be outlined. The company has a variety of engineering specialities in the office which includes two Professional Engineers (P. Eng.), 3 on-site inspectors, 4 draft-men and a designer. The size of the company is relatively small, but ideal for the operations it performs. As the president of the company, Scott is responsible not only for the completion of every project on timely basis but also for ensuring that quality work is being performed. In addition, Scott and the other professional engineer in the firm both act as the project managers for all projects, and therefore review all the work accomplished by the firm inside-out. In order to deal with the municipal and private sector policies, Scott himself deals with the perspective of the storm design to stay within the standards. On top of everything, it is Scott's responsibility to address all monthly invoices to the firm's employers, and accordingly forward monthly paycheques to the firm's employees; this summarizes the financial perspective of the firm.
In order to operate smoothly, each department is compelled to carry out their functions of the project which are listed below:
Professional Engineers: Both act as the main rotating gears of this firm. They review, certify, outline all required components of the design, and any changes to be made.
Inspectors: The firm and the municipal or private sectors policies demand the attendance of an inspector at all times during the construction of the storm water projects. In technical terms, their job requires them to have a significant knowledge of curve, intensity, duration, frequency for the particular storm design. In addition, they are required to know the quality, the standards of the pipes (copper or plastic) being used during the construction of the project. They are also responsible to ensure that quality work is being performed.
Designers and drafters: They are mainly accountable for on-site storm water detention systems, designing of storm-water systems and control. Furthermore, it is required of them to have advanced knowledge in the software modelling of storm water. Technically, the main software used in the firm is a combination of both Sydney and AutoCAD.
For a firm size of S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd., client-relationship perhaps becomes the most fundamental aspect of the work. Of course many companies lose clients for many reasons but particularly due to bad client-relationships. Taking this in account, the company constantly aims to create an outstanding relationship with their clients, to perform excellent engineering services and to offer a suitable working environment.
From all the projects completed to-date, their biggest projects in terms of size, revenue and profit come from their clients: Losani Homes and Binbrook developers.
Over the last 21 years, Losani Homes have won some of the most coveted awards for home design and quality building in Ontario, including the most recent 'Best Home builder' in 2012. Losani Homes has an outstanding reputation for innovative home design and services, part of these services are operated by S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. On the same token, Binbrook is a real estate developer that requires storm water management services in the construction of their plans. These services are also handled by S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd.
In case of any liability issues, the firm stands accountable for it, although in the history of the firm, such issues have never existed.
The company faces many competitors alone in the area it provides services to, of which mainly are the Stantec and Amec.
Stantec has acquired more than 58 years of experience in consultancy, and has developed from just a local engineering firm, such as both PLP firms, into a global professional organization serving several thousands of clients across North America and internationally. On the other side, Amec also has a long history of 160 years as a construction company. Its operations vary from supplying consultancy, engineering, and project management's services in around 40 countries in the globe.
The reason why Stantec and Amec provide intensive competition to a small firm like S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd., is not only because they provide same services in the region but mainly because of the reputation they have gained in the years of their services. Regardless of the competition, these companies do not always target a small-scale project such as storm water management project, and most importantly, it is the price factor that the client is interested in the most, which wins the case for S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. as the company has comparably significant lower overhead and management costs.
In case of any competition for a certain project in the area, these companies compete with together and the following factors are considered: best proposal, best bid and best ability to leave a good client-relationship.
As for every sector that is involved with construction in Canada, there is a seasonality aspect of projects. The same applies for S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. To deal with the seasonality issue, the design perspective of the projects takes place during December-April season of the year while the construction of the designs takes place from April-December. Beside the season effect, the firm had had also hard times during the last recession, but extreme precautions and optimization of operations resulted in surviving through the recession.
Due to the nature of the completion time of construction projects, it is sometimes difficult to analyze the number of completed projects a year, but in a typical year, the company simultaneously handles 30 on-going projects and completes 7-9 a year.
The following is the summary of the past available projects constructed by S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd., the information below is extremely limited due to lack of resources but yet still informative:
Table 2.1: This table shows the firm's most significant past projects. (from ref  )
McMaster Engineering Building (IT)
McMaster Innovation Park
Woodward Avenue Environmental Laboratory
Woodward Avenue Environmental Laboratory
This wastewater facility was completed in 2007, and the firm handled the storm water management perspective of the project. This is significant because this facility is part of the City of Hamilton's central sewage treatment plant. Since this is a wastewater testing facility, water conservation was a critical driving component of the project. S. Llewellyn storm water management strategy directed water flow through a series of vegetated swales to return 99% of all the site water back into the ground. Furthermore, all roof water was collected, filtered and finally sent back to the toilets for flushing, this strategy is a step towards sustainable storm water management as it minimizes the use of fresh water in the toilets.
The south-west corner. All storm water stays on the site and is returned to the water table, while roof water is directed to a grey water cistern.
Figure 2.2 : This figure shows the firm's final result and storm water management drawing of Woodward Avenue Environmental Laboratory. All storm water stays on the site and is returned to the water table, while roof water is directed to a grey water cistern. (from ref  )
HALLEX ENGINEERING LIMITED
Hallex Engineering Limited is an integrated firm that provides multi-discipline engineering services at both of its locations, Niagara Falls and Stoney Creek. It provides professional engineering services in the fields of civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, environmental and even cost management. Comparably, Hallex Eng. Ltd. provides a wide scope of services than S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd. It is the combined efforts of the co-owners Jim Halucha and Tom Keszthelvi to provide the regions of Niagara Falls and GTA with incorporated in-house engineering services. While the second office in Stoney Creek was constructed as the company continued to expand, the office itself is a resemblance of the main office in Niagara Falls. A multi-discipline engineering firm is an ideal choice of many architects and contractors as all engineering services are provided under one roof which makes it efficient and time-saving for clients compare to acquiring consultancy from each different specialized engineering firm.
Hallex Eng. Ltd. was launched in 2005 by Jim Halucha providing only civil and structural aspects of consultancy. It then expanded with an addition of another co-owner, Tom Keszthelvi, who brought the mechanical discipline into the firm. Since then, the firm has been expanding over many other disciplines with the most recent addition of environmental engineering. Since the expansion, the firm has faced a boost in success in terms of growth, revenue and profit. In only a few years, the firm has serviced a long line of projects, including hospitals, factories, residential developments, retail outlets and schools. By putting its focus on all the disciplines, Hallex Eng. Ltd. has opened its doors to a variety of projects, from small renovation projects to multi-million dollar projects.
Beside Jim and Tom's over 40 years of combined experience, the firm has been expanding since 2005, rapidly hiring young innovative engineers. At this time, the firm has over 35 employees at both of its locations, consisting of the following departments: Administration, engineering, designing, technologist and cost management. Within last year, Hallex has introduced 10 more employees to its roster due to increasing workforce demand at both of its locations. The engineers in the top management are certified Professional Engineers (P.Eng.), and the other employees, beside their engineering speciality, have a strong background in construction supervision and project finance.
Although every project requires different combination of steps for completion, in general at Hallex, the grading first takes place in the civil department, it then moves to the mechanical aspect of the project, such as water and heat flow systems, then structural department takes over to create a basic infrastructure such as analysis of loads and supports, and finally the electrical department lays down their foundation such as electrical lines, and the process goes back and forth until the final draft is ready. With all the required disciplines of a project within one roof, the result is an effortless process of communication with the other discipline.
This section will go in further detail on all the services provided by Hallex Eng. Ltd. in both regions. With all kinds of services available within Hallex, the firm therefore mostly acquires full-scale contracts rather than cut out sub-contracts to other smaller firms. These contracts come from a variety of clients which will be discussed in the later part of the report. Following are the detailed professional services that Hallex Eng. Ltd. offers:
This department deals with the design, construction and maintenance of new or existing buildings and plans. The civil team at Hallex has experience from small civil projects such as single lot grading and drainage, to the grading, drainage and servicing of full-scale sub-divisions. Additionally, the team is also equipped with the knowledge required for storm-water management (which is the speciality of S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd.), subdivision layouts, as well as roadways and parking lot designs.
With an increasing demand for projects to acquire sustainability within, Hallex Eng. Ltd. has exceptionally more to offer. The firm provides mechanical design services including HVAC, plumbing, sprinkler systems, feasibility studies and energy modelling. In practice, the team can offer from a simple heat-loss calculation to much more complex conventional heating systems. This leads to optimization of energy, a decrease in utilization cost and a step towards sustainable construction.
Hallex under this service provides its clients with a wide variety of options. These options may vary from electrical load studies, firm alarm system design, voltage distribution, emergency power, and parking lot and site plan lightening and servicing. In addition to this, the team offers power quality studies, exterior and interior site lighting photometric designs (measurement of visible light).
The structural team consists of employees, in which four have a Master's in structural engineering. This shows the firm's strongest and perhaps the project's most fundamental aspect. The team is experienced to follow up feasibility studies, conceptual drawings and foundation designs. On top of this, the firm is up-to-date with the most innovative and structural analysis software, such as STAAD and RISA3D, to produce state-of-the-art structures without hesitation.
For a seamless transition between design and construction, this service is vital as it provides the hiring and managing of sub-contractors, scheduling and supervising, on-site inspections, budget and quality control.
Before a project gets a 'green light', there's a list of essential aspects to care of, and that is also provided by Hallex Eng. Ltd. This list contains the following: construction and engineering budget development, cost planning services, construction estimating, load monitoring and as well as payment certificates.
List of all disciplines
The purpose of this pie-chart is to visually illustrate the six engineering discipline services offered at Hallex Engineering Limited.
Figure 3.1: All engineering disciplines offered at Hallex Engineering Limited (from ref )
With the variety of services being offered at Hallex Engineering Limited., the firm is open to all kinds of clients. These clients can be categorized as: architects, contractors and industrial-related.
In most cases, the overall general designs are created by an architect or a firm of architects and are passed down to Hallex which uses its power of multi-discipline services to carry out the design. The contractors need services especially for structural purposes while industrial-related services are mostly related to mechanical and environmental disciplines. Furthermore, the branch at Niagara Falls provides walk-in services to promote healthy growth. Even though Hallex is a bigger consulting firm than S. Llewellyn & Assoc. Ltd., it still needs to maintain reputable client-relationships. While working with their clients, the firm is constantly looking at ways to improve their strengths and weaknesses, and to fulfill any demands outlined in the agreement to an extent that most of the clients return for additional services.
Some of the repeated architect clients are: Raimondo & Assoc. Architects Inc. and Allen-Chui Architects. The contractors include Centennial construction and PCL contractors, and MMFX Steel Company of Canada is an example of their industrial-related clients. The list shown above is merely a very short list of their clients; the purpose is to familiarize with what kind of clients approach the firm. Hallex Eng. Ltd. offers three types of billing procedures, which also depends on the type of project. It bills total amount towards the end of a small project, sends invoice after every phase of a multi-phase project, and for a huge project, monthly invoices are billed.
Even the most reputable firm can find itself in a problem with the client, some of the most common problems include: layout and coordination issues with the architect, allocation between different disciplines within the firm and the fact that not every piece of design goes into construction.
With its doors open to all kinds of clients, the firm also exposes itself to all kinds of liability issues. Each service department is solely responsible for any liability issues that they have caused. It is essential in the firm to follow the regulations, such as National Building Code and Ontario Building Code. Beside the codes, the firm itself has released a 'check-list' that allows each employee to confirm the completion of all aspects of the work before the project moves further. These checklists include confirmations such as, baring pressure assumption, strength of the concrete, instruments and grades, and the labelling of columns and beams.
The quality control of the firm accounts for various ways and points at which a mistake can be fixed. First, each drafter must double, triple check their work before it is forwarded. Second, the firm assigns multiple drafters to each project to fix the mistakes of others. Third, a certified Professional Engineer reviews the blueprint/ design and stamps on it. The blueprint then leaves to be confirmed by the city for any further review and confirmation.
Since the opening in 2005, Hallex Eng. Ltd. has carried out projects from small renovations to multi-million projects. The firm is proud of the fact that it has about 400 on-going projects a year of varying magnitudes. This report will cover only the most significant projects that made Hallex stand where it is today.
Table 3.1: This table shows only some of the significant projects conducted by Hallex Engineering Limited (from ref )
Pinewood Homes (Niagara) Ltd.
Structural/ Mechanical/ Electrical
Sherwin-Williams Training Facility
Civil/ Structural/ Mechanical/ Electrical
Wing- McMaster Clinical Teaching Unit
Eurocopter Facility Expansion
Structural/ Mechanical/ Electrical
Structural/ Mechanical/ Electrical
Some of these projects have a great amount of research available, the research is referenced in the reference page, and only two will covered below:
Sherwin-Williams Training Facility
Mechanical: General HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) and plumbing. Fire protection, drainage of hazardous liquids and compressed air.
Electrical: Layout of electrical lines in the training facility, grounding design to code, extension of firm alarm/ detection system, communications layout
Civil/Structural: Parking lot and entrance designs, structural building with concrete foundation and steel superstructure with columns.
Figure 3.2: This figure shows the firm's final results of Sherwin-Williams Training Facility (from ref )
Eurocopter Facility Expansion
Mechanical: General HVAC and plumbing. Fire protection, pressure control, upgraded gas service, and humidity control,
Electrical: Extension of fire alarm/ detection system, layout of electrical room in the new facility, layout of receptacles, fixtures, switches and communication layout.
Structural: Reinforced concrete footings and piers for pre-engineering steel structure, structural steel support for equipment and loading dock design.
Figure 3.3: This figure shows the firm's final results of Eurocopter Facility Expansion (from ref )
The following conclusions were established based on the interviews and investigation of operations evaluated in this report:
It was recognized how work proceeds and many operation aspects handled by a firm; administration, engineering services, client-relationships, competition, and liability issues.
Engineering Services: The variety of services offered in a multi-discipline firm vs. a single specialized discipline firm; it is studied that the diversity of engineering services opens doors to a wide category of clients, thus, simultaneously increasing your business growth, profit and revenues.
Firm size: It is more practical to work in a small-sized firm where you are in-charge of a vast aspect of a project than work in a large-sized firm where your contributions are merely a part of the whole project. This experience in a small-sized firm can be beneficial for a junior engineer.
Client-relationships: It is recommended to provide constant effort to improve your work, and to leave a valuable long-lasting impression of your work on the client to acquire their loyalty.
Competition: In order to simply win the competition, the firm must balance between the quality and the cost of the project.
Liability issues: It is advised that the firm must conduct serious investigation and analysis of the project and must review all aspects of it in order to avoid any liability issues.
Technical aspect of writing an engineering report.
The importance of PLP program in order to prepare the students for the future.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PLP PROGRAM
With the help of Professional Liaison Program (PLP), the PLP officers not only represented the students with an introduction to Civil Engineering professions but further went on to enlighten them with more knowledge on the scope of options one has in the broad discipline of Civil Engineering. It is an honor to have such unique experience of visiting and extracting valuable information from each firm which certainly would benefit the students in the future. The following recommendations are made as a result of the investigation and conclusions presented in this report:
To tell students to conduct a mock interview before they go to their firms, it would help generate logical flow, and prepare them to ask questions in an order.
To provide the students with a short summary of their assigned firms, as most small firms fail to market, forcing the students to walk-in clueless to interview the PLP officer.
To honor the PLP officer with more than just a thank you memo, possibly a McMaster souvenir as a gift for their crucial time.
Significant contributions of this report were provided by Scott Llewellyn, President of S. Llewellyn & Associates Ltd., and Peter Mottola, Engineering in Training (EIT) at Hallex Engineering Limited.