By Matt Desmond
Being awarded the next big job can be a time for celebration or can keep you up at night worrying. Whether you’re a contractor, working on a lump sum bid, or managing unit price contracts, understanding the unit quantities for all volumes, lengths, areas, and counts is the cornerstone of winning profitable work and avoiding a costly project. Then comes the hard part of allocating resources (financial and human capital) and creating a detailed plan before breaking ground.
Common points of project failure and overruns include:
- Design complexity.
- Unforeseen design changes and revisions.
- Complexity of the terrain and underlying strata.
- Availability of resources (men and machines).
- Data and equipment management.
- Documentation of progress.
- Training and skills development of the workforce.
Technology can help minimize a number of these risks by adopting the Advanced Digital Construction Management processes.
What is Advanced Digital Construction Management (ADCM)?
ADCM is a set of technologies used to help minimise project risks and provide transparency of project progress throughout the construction life cycle. It’s about placing digital technologies in the hands of construction stakeholders to help:
- Boost productivity.
- Manage complexity.
- Reduce project delays and cost overruns.
- Enhance safety and quality.
ADCM is highlighted as a key component in the U.S. Infrastructure Bill (section 13006) signed into law in 2021. The aim is to fast-track the adoption of technology throughout the construction lifecycle. To quote the bill, one of the goals of ADCM is:
“More timely and productive information-sharing among stakeholders through reduced reliance on paper to manage construction processes and deliverables…”
The Building Blocks of Advanced Digital Construction Management Success?
Every project is unique and requires different elements of advanced digital construction management.
Here are eight areas proven to determine project success.
1. Construction Design
By understanding your design and its complexity, you can make informed decisions and adopt the best approach to complete the project.
Missing or incomplete information can be a cause for concern. Using accurate positioning technology to capture or validate existing conditions helps prevent costly delays and incorrect bids.
2. Revisions And Change Requests
Whether it’s design updates, change requests or scope adjustments, revisions are a common occurrence. Through adequate planning you can reduce unnecessary trips to a job site when changes can be affected remotely in real time and shared with all necessary stakeholders.
3. Back-up (IT, data, technical, components)
Challenges are inevitable on every site and that’s why you need back-up when things don’t go as planned. Support can range from simple plans such as user-guides and spare components to complex methods such as cloud enabled data recovery.
It’s everyone’s wish to have a flat, balanced, accessible location, without rock and with dependable network and satellite coverage. But that’s rarely the case.
Job sites can be in hard-to-access areas with challenging ground conditions, or in limited locations with no internet access or GNSS availability. The key: avoid and prepare for those challenges before they become time-consuming and costly.
5. Construction Resources
With today’s rising material costs, supply chain constraints, and low unemployment, it’s harder than ever to assemble the required construction resources to get the job done. Easy-to-use software solutions can help speed up estimates and planning of construction materials.
6. Data Management
There’s no need to collect data if you’re not putting it to good use. The magic happens when data is turned into insights that result in informed decisions to ultimately increase productivity, save costs, ensure safety on-site, and the quality of the job.
7. As-Built Information
Many projects carried out do not match those initially planned, some due to implementation issues or challenges encountered during the construction phase. Thus, it is inevitable that the tool you use should provide real-time and accurate information on the project’s progress versus the milestones agreed before breaking ground.
8. Team Preparation
It’s about supporting the personnel to do their jobs efficiently through training and up-skilling where necessary. Most contractors anticipate a growing quantitative and qualitative skill shortage. Successfully implemented technologies are easy-to-use and collaborative, allowing generalists to quickly be productive. Providing a modern working environment and embracing digital technology attracts a skilled workforce and also retains talent.
Get Ready for Your Next Project
Efficiency is where money is made. To achieve that, get the various project stakeholders on the same page. And, as shown above, the eight building blocks can be potential profit makers or breakers on your upcoming project.
The big question is: Are you ready to find out what your project needs?
Answer a few questions about your next project and receive a personalised assessment that will help you complete your next job safely, sustainably and profitably. Start your assessment.
Matt Desmond is President Agtek, Vice President Heavy Construction, Construction Management Solution at Hexagon.