Build August PDF

Build Magazine 47 Building the Digital Skyscraper oday’s construction creates buildings and structures of which their predecessors could only dream. Modern engineering and materials are enabling buildings which are taller, bridges which are longer, and architectural achievements which are changing the face of cities. It’s not the only change, as builders are also adapting to globalisation with more international, multi-geographical contracting. Many multinational construction and engineering groups are going from strength to strength. Business and, particularly, project leadership are becoming increasingly tough roles. Adding an extra dimension is the rapid evolution of BIM and digital construction. While business leaders look at the long term implications of digital construction change, not to mention the rising challenges of being in business in a digital economy, project leaders are already grappling with the transition to BIM working. Today, not only must senior project leaders oversee challenging projects, or direct multiple projects in different places, they must have an eye to collaborative working with competitors, suppliers and subcontractors too. Project leaders must now manage a multitude of construction challenges comprising increasingly complex projects, and collaboration. Contractor businesses rely on the ability of their project leadership to not miss a step, and deliver every project on time, on budget. So, the need to rely upon a single, shared version of the truth of the state of a build or project has never been greater. The importance of project data as a company asset has never been higher, either, meaning that its integrity must be protected and secured – at the same time as ensuring that the right people have access to the project management tools and information to keep everything on track. Larger projects require larger teams of planners who may work in geographically distributed zones or hold different responsibilities. For distributed infrastructure services, such as the highways maintenance and street lighting management services provided by Skanska, this is certainly the case. Skanska’s chief planner for Infrastructure Services, Graham Roebuck, explains: “we may have 200 different critical paths which don’t interact at all, yet we need to monitor and track resources and cash-flow within the whole contract.” With the help of our Asta Powerproject enterprise solution, all his team can now immediately see the impact of amends to the project plan and quickly come up with a collaborative solution. Connected multi-site and multi-use developments require individual project programmes; the shape of a programme for a high rise tower of flats will be very different for that of a mixed-use commercial and leisure complex, yet the two may often be running in tandem under the aegis of a single main contractor and contract. For example, Mace, the contractor responsible for creating the Shard, might at any time be managing a vast array of disparate projects. Teams can share dependencies on shared services or infrastructure, requiring logical links between disparate project programmes that show vital information to individual project planners. FM Conway, the infrastructure services company, uses our enterprise product to share information more easily as well as keep track of 2000 staff, more than 4000 vehicles and plant for up to 500 projects. The major projects or contracts director of a full services group operating in multiple countries may hold high- level responsibility for numerous dissimilar developments underway at the same time. Easy access to a high level view of each as-built project plan and visualisations can help them not only maintain T By Jason Ruddle, Chief Operating Officer, Elecosoft awareness, but report against key business metrics using dashboard insights. Making the transition from individual tools to a project platform with a centralised project data repository can usually be smooth. This may require training and a slight adjustment in working practices, though this can be helped with commitment and focus and a good supplier to assist you through the process. There may be a need for training around the protocols of a new platform, no matter how similar to the standalone application. This aims to support the business, not just projects; each company is different and may need further support to ensure that the PM software aligns with its ways of working so if choosing this approach it is best to select a provider with a good support team available to help with transition and development of customization as required. This could include creating templates or custom integration with enterprise systems of record, such as ERP. The benefits that come from a project-centric business’ transition to a more holistic way of working include not just the ability to see into and manage individual projects effectively or for managers to see multiple projects at once. It is also an opportunity to move the company further along the path towards digital construction, by embracing more digital technology benefits into current operations. This might be making sure every site manager can quickly track and report back progress via a mobile app, or enabling collaboration and joint decision-making by team members because they can all see the same information at the same time, on site or in the office. Project information flow becomes easier within teams. Project leaders can more easily set up access for important partners, or export and share information easily to other constituents such as sub-contractors. Everyone’s ability to contribute to project success and to meet deadlines is enhanced. Digital technologies are transforming the construction industry and giving it new opportunities to be successful. The software sector is supporting this in several ways: not just developing new solutions but shaping up existing ones to work more closely together. Not only must they now integrate and inter-operate, to enable the flow of data between different disciplines, but do more to help business effectiveness too. BIM has already driven 3D CAD and project management closer together, giving rise to powerful, fully integrated 4D project management views. We have already evolved that view even further into a 5D solution that helps companies plan and manage costs in a way that is fit for the future. The digital transformation of construction has more than broken ground – it is starting to rise and is several storeys high. Organisations are starting to take on board emerging technologies to help them improve how they manage projects on an enterprise-wide level – and they must continue to do so if they are to realise their full skyscraper business potential. By fully embracing digital construction the industry will keep rising to the challenge and find better, more efficient ways to manage complex project management data. Construction