Candidate Strategies to Reduce Risks in Large Engineering & Construction Programs

By Bob Prieto


Every large engineering and construction program is different as are the risks it faces. There are no silver bullets for managing and reducing risks in these large programs but there are some recurrent strategies. This paper lays out some candidate strategies organized from a “Triple Bottom Line” or sustainability perspective.

I have chosen this sustainability framework in recognition that a more holistic, life-cycle approach is characteristic in these emerging “giga” programs and consistent with the strategic program management approach I have written about previously.

Not every candidate strategy is viable, necessary or desirable on every large engineering and construction program. Nor is the list of such strategies complete. The purpose of this article is to get the reader started on the process of identify strategic options and tactics to reduce the risks that a major program faces.

While many risks will be driven by externalities, internal performance based risks should not be ignored as they represent some of the greatest risks in the successful delivery of any large scale program…

Let’s look at these risks and potential candidate strategies utilizing the following sustainability framework:

  • Economic
  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Management


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Author

Bob Prieto


Bob Prieto is a senior vice president of Fluor, one of the largest, publicly traded engineering and construction companies in the world. He is responsible for strategy for the firm’s Industrial & Infrastructure group which focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide. The group encompasses three major business lines including Infrastructure, with an emphasis on Public Private Partnerships; Mining; and Manufacturing and Life Sciences.

Bob consults with owner’s of large engineering & construction capital construction programs across all market sectors in the development of programmatic delivery strategies encompassing planning, engineering, procurement, construction and financing. He is author of “Strategic Program Management” and “The Giga Factor: Program Management in the Engineering and Construction Industry” published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and “Topics in Strategic Program Management” as well as over 400 other papers and presentations.

Bob’s industry involvement includes recent and ongoing roles on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council’s Critical Infrastructure Resiliency Workgroup and the National Academy Committee “Toward Sustainable Critical Infrastructure Systems: Framing the Challenges”. He is a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction and a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America.

Bob served until 2006 as one of three U.S. presidential appointees to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), working with U.S. and Asia-Pacific business leaders to shape the framework for trade and economic growth and had previously served as both as Chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce.

Previously, as a senior industry executive, he established a 20-year record of building and sustaining global revenue and earnings growth.  As Chairman at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), one of the world’s leading engineering companies, Bob shaped business strategy and led its execution.  Bob Prieto can be contacted at [email protected].