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Details from the board chair!

This message is an update about recent activities at Fiatech – both in collaboration with Construction Industry Institute (CII) and in furtherance of our current projects and initiatives. Fiatech is on a course to strengthen our ability to deliver projects in a timely manner while deepening our capabilities to meaningfully impact the industry. This email is meant to bring you up-to-date on our current status and path forward. The Fiatech Board of Advisors (BOA) wishes to emphasize that we are maintaining continuity of operations as we strive to achieve greater results.

Q: Fiatech and CII – Why collaborate now?
A: At the recent Fiatech Leadership Forum, the topic of stronger collaboration with CII was presented. Fiatech has been affiliated with CII since its inception but each organization operated separately. While there were many reasons for this separation at the founding of Fiatech, it is clear that there have been many missed opportunities over the years for Fiatech and CII to better collaborate. 

As technology has developed and broadened its reach into capital projects work processes, there are ever more opportunities for Fiatech and CII to coordinate their efforts for the betterment of the industry. As such, the Fiatech BOA believes collaboration is crucial for the ongoing success of Fiatech and that it will further the mission of both Fiatech and CII by accelerating results to industry.

It is important to note that CII has dramatically changed its own operating structure over the past year and now provides a stronger partner for Fiatech than in the past. CII has focused on industry sectors and each sector has identified technology related research opportunities as part of initiatives to drive improvement within their sector. The CII Board of Advisors recent meeting further affirmed the need for technology opportunities as central to driving breakthrough results for industry. Dr. Stephen Mulva, CII Director, often cites a triad of accomplishment in "People-Process-Technology", and CII and Fiatech together are poised to deliver such results.

Q: Who is developing the new governance plans for Fiatech/CII collaboration?
A: A team of six Fiatech Board members – representing two Owners, two EPCs, and two Solution Providers is meeting jointly with a similarly constituted peer group from CII and is working together to develop details of a new governance plan.

A central tenet of the working group is to maintain Fiatech’s key differentiators but gain access to the broader CII effort to leverage innovative technologies and drive productivity gains in the capital projects industry.

Q: What is the time frame for the changes?
A: Fiatech/CII are working to enact the new governance plan and associated changes over the next few months.

Q: What are the interim changes at Fiatech?
A: One result of the new governance direction is the consolidation of the Director positions and, as such, Ray Topping's service as Director of Fiatech has ended. We all wish Ray the very best and thank him for his dedication over the years.

Dr. Bill O'Brien, Professor of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, is serving as the Transition Manager for Fiatech. Many of you know Bill personally and all of you have seen Bill at our events. Bill has served in official capacities in both Fiatech and CII and has a role in University oversight of CII. There is no better person to oversee the future of Fiatech than Bill.

As part of the interim plans, we wish to stress continuity of operations on projects and initiatives. Fiatech staff are currently realigning to fully support existing initiatives. Focus is on support for current projects and Productivity Advancement Targets (PATs), as well as planning for the Annual Technology Conference & Showcase. Handover activities are largely complete and will be finalized in November.

Q: How is Fiatech operating in the interim?
A: Fiatech is continuing to operate as a separate entity from CII and is serving our existing projects and initiatives. Our funding model remains separate. We expect that a shared governance model between Fiatech and CII will necessitate some changes to our funding model going forward. However, it is reasonable to expect grandfathering of dues for 2017 and rationalization in 2018.
It is imperative that, to continue Fiatech’s mission and operations, members continue to participate with their energy and financial support through the transition.

Q: What are the tangible benefits my organization will see from closer collaboration between Fiatech and CII?
A: Looking to an end-state where Fiatech and CII members act cooperatively, we have initiated several activities that leverage the strengths of both organizations.

These include:
• Challenging and energizing the Horizon 360 team with CII member participation. This joint team has met and is moving forward. Horizon 360 is poised to become the “look ahead” arm of both Fiatech and CII.
• We are making plans to hold the 2017 Annual Technology Conference & Showcase adjoining the CII Spring Board of Advisors (all CII companies) meeting. This is an opportunity to showcase Fiatech to CII members and similarly have Fiatech members participate in CII meetings.
• The initiation of collaborative activities between Fiatech initiatives and CII research projects . This includes Fiatech support for CII’s technology related research projects, developing a joint survey between Fiatech Integrated Material Management (IMM) efforts and CII RT344 focusing on supply chain visibility.
We expect further activities around sharing PAT work with CII sector committees, and, of course, making CII knowledge resources available to Fiatech PAT teams. Additional synergistic opportunities will arise naturally with closer collaboration.

More broadly, working more closely with CII will enable us to leverage the services of a large organization, including staff and standing committees on implementation, research, and communications. Beyond deeper expertise, we are investigating opportunities for sharing staff resources to economize on operating expenses and focus resources on member projects.

Changes in governance are crucial in bringing support to projects and related initiatives such as the PATs. Not only do we want to bring more intellectual resources from CII members to support our projects, we want to ensure the best use of member funds. Current realized changes in our operating model allow us to direct more resources to support projects. Moving forward, we expect changes in our governance will free more funds for direct support of our initiatives. This will have great benefit to the organization in terms of timely and quality deliverables.

I recently had the opportunity to present on the PAT progress at the Bentley Year In Infrastructure Conference. Following my presentation I was told by a senior project executive at a global Oil and Gas company that the goals were appropriately bold and he felt that the PATs would help to galvanize positive change in the Capital Project Industry. This observation is a very significant validation of the importance and direction of Fiatech purpose and plans.

Fiatech exists to serve its members and advance the industry. As we move forward, we welcome your comments and input. You can expect more communication as we manage the transition and implement the new governance structure. We are committed to the Fiatech mission and are confident that closer collaboration with CII will enhance our ability to deliver on that mission.


Jim Purvis, Fiatech Chair