Civil Engineering projects: from beginning to end

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Whether in an office building or on the road, the work of the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron is highly visible.

Yet most people probably know very little about how the work actually gets done, who plans the projects and how they are funded. Rodney Trees, 90th CES base-side engineering chief, provided a bit of insight into the CE process.

"Either our shops on our operations side or facility managers identify a requirement or need," he said of a common first step in their process, adding that needs can be identified by other people, as well.

If the work is beyond a set limit of dollars and man-hours, which varies based on the type of work in question, then the next step in the process is for the requester to fill out an Air Force Form 332, said Tech. Sgt. William Workman, 90th CES Pavements and Equipment NCO-in-charge.

Much of CE's work falls under three categories: maintenance, construction and requirements optimization, Trees said. For many projects, the requirements optimization shop works with facility managers to define needs and fill out the AFF 332, but others can fill out the form as well.

Any individual who perceives a need for CE support should coordinate with their facility manager to get the work requested, Workman said.

Whoever is requesting CE support can fill out the form to request any of the wide range of support functions provided by the CES, Workman said. This includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical work, road work and structure work.

The next step is for the requester's commander to sign the AFF 332, Trees said.

"We ask people to go to their commander so the commander is aware that there is a need within that organization," he said. "Then the commander takes it over to our customer service organization."

Civil engineering customer service then takes the requests and organizes them based on requirements and assigns each request a work number, Trees said. Later, if the project goes to engineering operations, it receives a project number.

However, not all projects receive project numbers because some projects get farmed out to contractors, he said. Customer service has a meeting called a work order review board in which they divide the requests into projects that can be accomplished by the CE shops on base and the projects that must be farmed out.

For the bigger projects, the engineers in the squadron decide whether to finish the design portion before contracting it out or if they will also contract out the design portion to an architectural engineering firm, he said.

Next up, CE must secure funding to get any project off the ground, Trees said. In order to do so, they prioritize several fiscal years' worth of upcoming projects and submit them to Air Force-level consideration, and they compete with other organizations for funding based on the importance and feasibility of the projects.

The most important work for the 90th Missile Wing is the work done in the missile complex, Workman said. CE Airmen maintain the missile sites as well as the roads to ensure operations run smoothly.

Whether it is base or missile complex work, once the funding comes down for projects needed to be contracted out, the CES works with the 90th Contracting Squadron to find and hire contractors to complete the work.

Once a contractor is selected, many agencies work with CE to ensure they have base access and are knowledgeable about security and safety procedures, Trees said.

Trees said he understands people's concerns about the interference CE projects sometimes have on their lives and work.

"Construction's always painful for somebody," he said. "It always is. If we don't continue to do the maintenance, the sustainment for the base infrastructure, things really start to fall apart. We want to do it as inexpensively as we can because you can actually lengthen the life of a project from 10 years to 20 years if we just do some maintenance."

When their work is completed, CE Airmen hope they've made the base better for everyone overall, Trees said.