By Eric Crivella, Director of Business Development for Digital Construction Works, Inc. (DCW)
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Construction projects in industrial facilities carry unique risks in terms of complexity, productivity, and safety. Moreover, digital construction capabilities enable firms to visualize and predict potential problems before they occur and plan for avoidance in the safety of a virtual environment.
Data and Integrated Digital Workflows Drive Measurable and Predictable Outcomes.
Digital project delivery has been shown to deliver better project outcomes by improving predictability, transparency, and accountability. Thus, integrating disparate project IT systems and stakeholders using a model-centric and construction-driven approach enables better planning, sequencing, constraint analysis, and change management to improve the delivery of capital projects of all project types, sizes, and locations.
Research from the Construction Industry Institute (CII) (RT 324) reference on average integrated model save 3-5% of the total construction cost. Indeed, if properly and purposefully planned and executed, digital project delivery includes creating a twin of the asset. Thus, having a digital twin enables you to compare the as-planned to the as-built, reduce rework, improve the asset’s reliability, improve safety and efficiency, reduce operations and maintenance costs, and lead to cost savings and on-time project delivery. All of which drive improvements in project performance, value, and results. Here are some vital tips for moving to a solution.
Avoid Piecemeal Solutions:
By assessing your firm’s current people, processes, and technologies, a well-conceived digital strategy identifies the applications and technologies that are the best fit for your firm’s success. Therefore, it’s critical to understand your organization’s priorities and current state of construction capabilities. Besides, map it to a desired state to enable your team to create a crawl-walk-run phased implementation plan. Besides, including an outside consultative approach avoids problems inherent in bending processes and people to match technology and desired outcomes internally.
Work with a Digital Integrator:
A digital integration, automation, and services company provide access to subject matter experts who can help do this for you. Moreover, Integrator teams have backgrounds in construction, software and hardware, computer science and analytics, project management; and a multitude of engineering specialties from civil, mechanical, chemical, geotechnical, and surveying. Hence, integration experts utilize best practices to deploy solutions, construction workflows, and services that ensure companies realize their transformation goals.
Understand Your Workforce:
With the aging out of the current workforce, firms are finding it difficult to replace these skilled and experienced workers. Even in firms with a ready pool of younger workers; the system of older workers passing on their knowledge and experience is not holding up well; leaving significant gaps in capabilities and reducing competitiveness. Recent research performed by Dodge Data and Analytics, illustrates the challenge of finding skilled construction workers remained consistent with levels reported in Q2 2020.
The adoption of solutions can help attract the digital natives needed for the future of construction. In fact, those who respond will find no lack of opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, openings for construction managers alone are expected to rise by 10 percent from 2018-2028; therefore, double the average rate for most occupations. Even with the recent pandemic, there is still a shortage of skilled construction labor.
Take Environmental Changes into Consideration:
Distant or remote work initiatives are causing firms to look at how digital construction workflows can help meet compliance orders. Out of times of challenge often comes innovation. Thus, these initiatives are opening doors to a more permanent transformation in the industry.
Examine the Benefits of Digital Advanced Work Packaging:
Data drives predictable outcomes. Therefore, the digital revolution in capital projects is about creating integrated; and automated digital workflows that can be measured and closed out. Moreover, in the energy sector, several major owner-operators have started game-changing capital project improvement programs. For instance, with well-defined processes, connected data environments, as well as contracts. Besides, with people aligned around a disciplined and agile project execution framework called Advanced Work Packaging (AWP).
Moreover, AWP is a project execution methodology that aligns project stakeholders, people, processes; and technology over the project lifecycle to get to more predictable outcomes. Therefore, the goal is to align engineering and construction around the 4D/5D path of construction. Besides, to bring in planning resources early to create work packages (area, discipline, crew, test, system levels); and then make sure all constraints are addressed before releasing contracts and work to the field.
AWP is a proven best practice and can improve field productivity by up to 25%; save up to 10% of the total installed cost; and reduce safety incidents by up to 30%. It aligns engineering, procurement, and construction and drives construction planning efforts earlier in the project lifecycle. Thus, leading to improvements in cost and schedule performance. Furthermore, a 1-2% investment in the total installed cost of the project has proven to improve field productivity; this, by up to 25%, resulting in 8-9% net savings. It’s a multi-year and project journey, and there is a maturity curve to realized benefits. However, digital AWP project delivery is proven, and there is no excuse for not starting the journey.
Develop a Digital Twin
When AWP is implemented programmatically, owners and EPCs can deliver predictable outcomes. Besides, they can purposefully develop a construction digital twin of the asset. Taking advantage of AWP data requirements and digital threads enables projects to integrate their project IT systems into a data-rich and continuously up-to-date Virtual Construction Model.
A well-integrated and model-centric approach enables the visualization of planned work vs. actual progress vs. as-is conditions with actionable dashboards and analytics. Therefore, a construction digital twin is a closed feedback loop from the field back to the virtual construction model; in fact, to enable greater situational awareness and predictability. Digital AWP facilitates continuous handover of data and the development of a construction digital twin. Thus, feeding the performance digital twin to drive improvements in reliability in operations over the lifecycle of the asset.
Evaluate a Project’s Complexity:
Many construction projects today are in urban, already constructed, and congested areas. Furthermore, project workspace is tighter, and budgets and schedules are smaller. The growing intricacy of projects demands more speed and precision in data collection and sharing. Moreover, the sheer volume of data to track may be a critical factor in creating construction’s digital future; as managers are called on to improve project and firm performance. A digital integrator will help you identify and implement the best processes and technology. Thus, it will help automate and optimize your construction operations for improved and predictable project results; and for on-time, on-budget project delivery.
The adoption of digital construction helps firms overcome project challenges by improving predictability, transparency, and accountability. Therefore, a change to how things are done is required internally or through an outside service provider. In brief, by providing visual insights into every aspect of a project and real-time monitoring capabilities, digital solutions produce more accurate work. Besides, they eliminate rework, aiding cost reductions, on-time delivery, and profitability.
About the Author:
Eric Crivella is Director of Business Development for Digital Construction Works, Inc. (DCW). Mr. Crivella is an enterprise software executive with a successful track record of improving productivity and delivering on desired business outcomes. Also, with extensive subject matter expertise in AWP / WFP, BIM, and construction automation solutions; making owner operators, EPCs, CMs and constructors safer, effective and more efficient. He has a business degree and minor in MIS from Pennsylvania State University. He currently serves as the Chair of the CII AWP Community of Business Advancement.
About Digital Construction Works:
Digital Construction Works, Inc., (DCW) is a leading services and application and technology integration company. Moreover, it enables the use of digital automated workflows and processes, digital twinning, and fit-for-purpose or prepackaged turn-key solutions. Therefore, these automate and optimize the construction process from planning to design through to operations. Finally, DCW is a Bentley Systems and Topcon Positioning Systems joint venture company. www.digitalconstructionworks.com