SPECIAL BLOG SERIES: GREAT IDEAS FROM THE DCW LABS
Part 3 of 4
Author: Alex Dengenis, Senior Technology Specialist – Data Science
Our four-part series from the Labs, examining how a digital integrator helps overcome common industry problem, continues with a look at one of the most critical aspects of any project—time management in construction. In this third installment, Alex Dengenis, Senior Technology Specialist – Data Science shares insights into the challenge faced by firms on every job.
Time management in construction is a difficult subject to address because there are so many factors that can cause delays for a project. No two projects are ever the same and no project ever happens in the same conditions as another. Delays can come in any shape or form, some of our own doing and others completely outside of our control.
Events outside our control can come in the form of weather, conflicts between nations, or even the outbreak of a new disease. As projects become more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to plan and manage. At DCW, we believe that in order to deliver the best projects, we need to be working smarter and more efficiently than we have in the past.
Planning with Understanding
You will always hear we need to plan better, anticipate what is outside our control, and make sure we can make adjustments and plan accordingly. After experiencing a global pandemic the last several months, we have seen we cannot always do that. So what is it that we can do?
We can gain a better understanding of how we are executing our plan. We can understand that what is done in the first phases of the project will have a big impact on what we build in the final stages. And we can use all the best practices, tools, and technology at our disposal to communicate, anticipate, and adapt better to what is happening. Advanced 4D/5D Visual Planning and Scheduling capabilities can accelerate the team’s understanding of the project.
Tools for Understanding
At Digital Construction Works, we have been working to address these problems, utilizing our methodologies and third-party, fit-for-purpose tools like Bentley Synchro 4D and Topcon’s Magnet Project.
We have created construction monitoring and reporting tools to utilize reality capture data to compare the as-built to the 3D model. And we have been working to develop construction workflows that help facilitate the management of that data. This can be done much more frequently than in the past so that mistakes are caught sooner, decreasing the amount of rework required for corrections and avoiding schedule delays and cost overruns.
We need tools like these to work towards understanding the as-built within the first days and hours of the project to the as-planned. When a piece of steel is installed , but it is questionable as to whether it is inline or off measure and if acceptable and not, we need to review and discuss how that will impact the rest of the project and what changes might need to be made at the moment to minimize any future risks and issues it might cause, if not corrected.
We utilize the reality capture data from Topcon’s ClearEdge 3D Verity and import that data into Bentley Synchro 4D. Once that data is in Synchro, we bring it into our common data environment, build reports to take advantage of this data, and keep our offsite users informed on how the project is progressing. Understanding where mistakes are being made with the latest possible data allows our users to quickly act on current issues and take steps to minimize any potential setbacks that might cause later in the project.
The reports above are an example of the reporting we have developed based on Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) methods. AWP is a process that starts in the early planning phase of the project and continues through to project delivery.
With these reports, you can quickly understand what work is being done, what work can be started, and what factors might soon be creating delays on the project. From this readily available information, you can take steps to minimize downtimes on the jobsite and quickly address current and future issues.
On the Horizon
At DCW, we encourage our users to be taking advantage of our industry knowledge to be able to create and execute to the best of their ability. We have been studying other areas of industry and developed reports based on methodologies we believe can improve how projects are planned, managed, and delivered.
We are continually developing more tools to keep you better informed and more agile with your decision making. For example, we are currently developing an integrated up to the minute weather reporting and forecasting feature, allowing you to stay on top of what work can and can’t be done with the current and future weather conditions at the jobsite.
We are also working to make it easier to access your data through our common data environment and platform. Our future platform will create a centralized location to access and manage your project data, workflows, and reports.
Though I don’t disagree with the statement we need to plan our projects better, we also need to utilize the tools, resources, and methods that we have at our disposal. Being able to understand better what is happening in the field, and being able to make quick, informed decisions based on the latest possible information – and not two-day or week-old data – can be the difference between delivering a timely project or not. At the end of the day, it’s all about delivering a project that is completed to specifications, on time, and on budget.
Utilizing the full capabilities of a digital solution brings much-needed insight and control to time and other important elements of any construction project. Next, in the final post of this series, we will take a look at Construction Project Improvement through Safety Analytics.
Optimized construction processes can help put time on your side. Contact us today to discover how.