Large projects – especially public works undertakings – require many different entities to cooperate. This results in numerous monetary transactions, some of which could be sizable, and laws to protect all parties. This book outlines such issues, as well as common pitfalls for working on public works projects in the state of California.
Best suited for newcomers to the field, the book offers chapters arranged chronologically to follow the main stages of a public works project. The first chapter defines the most frequently used terms in a project, some specific to California’s public projects. The next chapter focuses on project assessment (priorities, stakeholders, project impact). Other chapters discuss project risks, financing and partnerships, writing a project proposal, California law regarding awarding public works projects, the types of insurance available to mitigate risk, the bidding process, project disputes and more. The book ends with a glossary of civil engineering and infrastructure terms.
Most reference works that intersect with politics and legislation quickly become outdated as things change in both fields. Because this book is more general, focusing on project management, it should have a longer shelf life. The text is well-informed and provides considerable breadth. Additionally, the chapters are logically arranged (although the material within each chapter could be better organized). The index at the front of the book is helpful for navigating which sections to reference; it would be useful to also have chapter indices at each chapter’s start.
When it comes to liability, the author outlines areas of responsibility (and by extension liability), but examples of specific cases would have been helpful in exploring the nuances of the issue, especially in later chapters covering what could—and does—go wrong in these projects.
Overall, though, author Ernest C. Brown provides useful material in California Infrastructure Projects. While most professionals already working in the field (i.e., project managers, civil engineers, technical personnel) will be familiar with the material covered here, newcomers should find it a helpful reference.
Also available as an ebook.