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Due Diligence in Engineering Projects

Discuss about the Wastewater Treatment Plant for Due Diligence of Galveston.

Due diligence involves facilitating efficient and safe operations by using legal principles behind the court’s judgment in ensuring effective decision making in the organization. In every project in engineering, the due diligence concept adopted should satisfy the legal proceedings in case an incident occurs. Due diligence seeks to provide guidance in analyzing the reliability, safety, and effectiveness of processes and equipment used in a project. It involves the evaluation of the current conditions of equipment and analyzing their remaining life span (ROBINSON 2013). These assessments include corrosion, damage caused by ruptures, technologies used by plant life components and equipment’s fatigue.

Galveston central wastewater treatment plant, is a multiple project located in Texas, US.    It deals with the different division of work; sanitation, water supply, wastewater treatment engineering, plumbing, drainage and recycling, construction services and water and sewer utilities (WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL AND WATER RESOURCES CONGRESS 2007). In the past, this project has faced risks and other violations.

This a tool that used in identifying and recognizing vulnerabilities that are present in a project or an organization. It used to assess and provide appropriate solutions to the risks affecting the organization. It helps in informing teams on preexisting faults in the project and the specific sectors they are found. It further assesses these limitations in an organization and identifies the risks that are likely to link to the constraints. This technique in a project is likely to point out hazards associated with it. Teams always use this vulnerability tool because they realize the benefits it comes with (Anon 2013). These organizations are always aware of the availability of security hazards, and they do understand the need to recognize these issues and solve them early enough.

Vulnerability techniques are mainly tied to the impact of the business and are very beneficial in the performance of any project or business. This vulnerability technique works in defining the assets of the organization and the threats to the assets. For any vulnerability assessment to succeed, it involves some steps (FRANCHIN 2013).

  • Recognizing and learning the business processes

This first step involves understanding the processes in the business or organization and identifying the critical areas of business. For example, in Galveston wastewater treatment project, there is need to understand the processes that are carried out in the project and understand the key areas that could face vulnerabilities such as the competitive position in the market (ANDERSON 2013).  Many companies can come up with strategies for mitigating risks by bringing all ideas to the members of the organization altogether. This member of the organization has to work together to have a clear understanding of the organization processes.

  • Identification of applications that business processes are dependent on

The Galveston Central Wastewater Treatment Plant Project

The second step is characterized by pointing out the applications that the critical areas of business depend upon. For example, in Galveston Wastewater Treatment Plant, one of the applications identified is that of technological control of facilities and equipment. This application is the use of equipment which is up to date as well as those in good condition (MOOSBRUGGER 2012).

  • Discover all project facilities

   This step involves finding out all the facilities that are engaged in the processes in the organization. Getting to know  the auxiliary facilities that are rarely used. This step aims at being able to find vulnerabilities in the equipment such as tampering and damages.

  • Mapping the structure of the flow system

   This step focuses on understanding the structure of the flow system. That is both the underground and surface structures on a project. For example in the case of Galveston wastewater treatment plant, there should be a full understanding of the ground-water flow system and the hydrogeological framework involved.

  • Identification of solutions to risks already in place

  In the vulnerability assessment, there need to identify the solutions that have been put into place for control of hazards already in the organization and pinpointing the risks managed (HAGIHARA, 2016).

  • Execution of vulnerability scans

  After carrying out the above steps, it now the time to execute vulnerability scan to identify the opportunities and threats in the organization (CHIN, 2008). This is the final step.

Organizational Assets

 In the vulnerability assessment, it is crucial to define the organization’s assets (ADAM, 2016). Various vital success factors characterize Galveston wastewater treatment plant.  In assessing the organizational assets, dependency trees are the best method to do so. These factors include:  

 This factor is the most crucial asset of the business. These staff resources determine the direction of the organization, its performance, and success.

In accessing the vulnerabilities in business, it’s vital to consider the equipment and facilities used in the organization to know how vulnerable to risks they are in the firm. For example, in Galveston wastewater treatment plant, the machines used in the process of sanitation should always be considered for the healthy condition, storage facilities, treatment facilities and distribution and canal systems.

This factor makes up the market assets of the organization. This asset should be put into considerations in the company’s vulnerabilities assessment; this is because for a project to realize its goals it must have a broad market. Maintaining customers to your brand is important (SESSELMANN, 2016). For example, Galveston main wastewater treatment plant embarked on building more improved structures after the climate hazard to maintain their customers. 

The Importance of Vulnerability Assessment in Organizations

The public image of an organization is a critical success factor. Consumers always consider organizations with positive brand image compared to others. Having an appealing image attracts more customers and creates awareness for the business. Thus in the vulnerability analysis, an organization reputation is essential. 

Another critical success factor in an organization is that of its ability to perform.  An organization should be able to deliver its functions satisfied (OERTEL, 2010). This element determines its productivity, work output, and performance. This factor may be vulnerable to some risks.

Threats Facing The Organization

They are various threats that have faced the Galveston central wastewater treatment plant in the past, and this organization is still mitigating the risks realized by this threats. These threats include;

Galveston Texas was struck by Hurricane in 2008 leading to main failures in the structures and equipment in the wastewater treatment plant. This failure primarily affected the functionality of the treatment plant and services were not offered for a while. This threat was realized through analyzing the environmental changes in the area. Other natural hazards that pose a threat to organizations are earthquakes, snow, heavy rains and stormy winds (MCCONNELL, 2008). This threat leads to instability in offering services and a temporary closure of the treatment plant to repair and build better structures that can withstand future storms. There was total damage of the distribution systems and storage facilities that lead to high costs of repairing them and also replacing them. The ideal method used to identify the threat is vulnerability matrix

There was a critical plant failure due to damaged structures. This risk was a major threat to the organization as it incurred the organization significant losses. This failure was essential because this structures had not undergone maintenance for an extended period. This method was realized after assessing the physical vulnerabilities. The critical failure of the plant lead to a major setback in productivity, and the organization realized massive losses which up to date is still trying to recuperate.

Galveston central wastewater treatment plant faced the threat of finances. This threat was from the profits fluctuations. This condition was realized due to the decrease in productivity after the facilities in the plant were damaged by hurricanes. This threat was recognized from assessing the notional vulnerabilities in the organization (LE COURTOIS 2014). The decrease in profits leads the organization to incur more costs in re-branding the organization a new.

Steps in Vulnerability Assessment

In this organization, this threat arises from the turnover of employees in the organization after the environmental hazard stroke the treatment plant. This risk is realized in the reduction of workforce thus a likely hood to lower productivity. This threat comes with other risks such as loss of customers as well as a realization of small profits.

There three categories of vulnerabilities applicable to Galveston central wastewater treatment plant. These categories include; notional, physical and personal vulnerabilities. Hypothetical vulnerabilities are those that involves finances, plant failure, and disruption of activities in business and business reputation. Physical vulnerabilities are those that are involved in facilities and equipment in the business, environment and climate change as well as money. Also, personal weaknesses include turnover of employees and injury within the organization among others. These vulnerabilities can be managed using the following strategies; risk transfer, risk control, risk acceptance as well as risk avoidance (WISNER 2012). 

Precautionary analysis acts as an immediate feedback to the new. This tool targets on preventing harm rather than managing it when it happens. This study involves the protecting of a new occurrence. This is a policy that seeks to protect the health of individuals as well as the does not call for specific measures, but it is close to governance, it consists of three factors: intermediate between innovation and precaution, management in risk and combinations of science policy (BOURGUIGNON 2016). The principle of precautionary enables those making decisions in the organization to take into account preventive measures when scientific evidence is uncertain in environmental and human hazards.  

The precautionary analysis is made up of various elements that aim at preventing harm from reversing and causing damage to humans and the environment. These elements include:

  1. Right to knowledge

The public around the organization has a right to information pertaining the hazards to the environment and to the people that might occur due to processes in the organization. The organization is responsible for educating the society around.

  1. Democratic decision making

Decisions made through the precautionary analysis tool should be democratic and transparent. It should be backed up by reliable information.

  • Costs incurred

In every decision-making process, all decisions made should consider all costs incurred and other costs likely to occur.

  1. Prompt action

There is need to act promptly to prevent harm. Everyone is responsible for taking action, that is, the business, the public, the society as well as the government.  

In this case, the top-down technique is applied in the precautionary analysis in order to come up with the appropriate decisions by analyzing the community around as well as using the augmented SWOT analysis. For the above-assessed vulnerability, the following are the preventive recommendations put in place: First there is need to construct a structure that withstands environmental factors especially winds up to 140mph. This recommendation will cater for the protection of health for the working staff as well as offer security for its customers. This structures should portray the high level of efficiency to avoid the occurrence of the same incident in future. Secondly, due to the contamination caused by the rupture of this structures during the hurricane storm, the organization should employ the use of ultraviolet sanitation facility. This disinfection strategy would be a new approach used in the industry (JABLONOWSKI 2006).

Organizational Assets and Threats

Thirdly, the recommended new buildings of the Galveston central wastewater treatment plant should be constructed in a high raised and elevated position to curb future storms from damaging this structures. Lastly, this organization should put measures to educate its employees on the likely risks to face the organization and train them on how to mitigate the risks to reduce the employee turnover.

Fourthly, the directors of the Galveston main wastewater treatment plant should think of changing the organization to a place that is not affected by environmental hazards to prevent this harm from taking place once more. This recommendation aims at targeting to solve this problem of natural hazards completely. Another fifth way is through characterizing risks, this way, the organization can determine what risks are likely to face an organization in future and aid in making progressive decisions on how to curb this risks in preventing reoccurrence. Lastly, there is also need to establish control options in the decision-making process in finding ways to prevent harm to humans and the environment.  


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