9 Best Practices to Successfully Deliver Infrastructure Megaprojects

infrastructure project managementAlternative delivery methods are on the rise for large infrastructure megaprojects because they’ve proven effective in moving schedules forward and spreading risk among multiple entities.

In Canada, a standard approach to delivering public-private partnerships has led to some of the most predictably successful projects in the world. According to a 2013 report by the Conference Board of Canada, 35 out of 42 projects reviewed by the board were completed on time or early and 40 out of 42 projects, or 95 percent, were no more than six months late.

Project owners in Canada and elsewhere are realizing better outcomes by taking steps to improve control of information and processes across a project team. The following best practices are pulled from a recent Aconex whitepaper “Sharing Risk and Building Trust: Lessons Learned from Alternative Delivery of Very Large Infrastructure Projects.

Best practice #1: Move to a neutral, third-party platform

Project information can lead to friction and intensify disputes when it is stored in a proprietary system controlled by a single member of the project team. By requiring teams to collaborate on a single, neutral, third-party platform, owners make it possible for each member of the team to retain control of their information. This builds trust, drives adoption, produces a more complete project record and dramatically increases collaboration.

Best practice #2: Make it easy to collect project information

Traditional methods of distributing bid packages and tracking responses via email, spreadsheet and FTP sites do not scale effectively for large infrastructure projects. Instead, project teams are turning to cloud and mobile technologies to handle processes ranging from bidding to field inspections and commissioning.

Best practice #3: Make it easy to find and share information

In public-private partnerships information flows constantly between owners, financing entities, designers, contractors, subcontractors and other members of the project team. A single platform that allows authorized members of the project team to find the information they need using Google-like keywords or metadata-based searches virtually eliminates the bottlenecks that are created when information is stored in separate systems and requires dedicated team members for management and retrieval.

Best practice #4: Manage communications and documents with a single system

One of the most common causes of project confusion and inefficiency is the use of separate systems for communication and document control.  Why manage a drawing separately from the RFIs and approvals that relate to it? A single system eliminates duplication, simplifies searches and makes it easy for new team members to get on board.

Best practice #5: Make information available from anywhere

The nature of infrastructure projects means work is completed on-site, in real time, and often in remote areas. In these environments, access to project information on a mobile device can have a dramatic effect on a project team’s productivity.

Best practice #6: Enforce standard project-wide processes

Successful megaprojects build accountability into their processes during the earliest days of their existence. This means establishing roles, responsibilities and timeframes before a project gets underway and enforcing these agreements across the entire project team.

Best practice #7: Automate the creation of a full audit trail

An audit trail that automatically captures every project action can be enormously effective in heading off disputes and demonstrating compliance with contractual agreements and regulatory requirements.

Best practice #8: Design and build for a smart handover

Instead of compiling handover information at a project’s completion, relevant documents are tagged as they are created. This ensures handover materials are always up to date, and it also allows for changes that optimize a building’s design for efficient operation and maintenance over its lifecycle.

Best practice #9: Invest in BIM

BIM, or building information modeling, is a process for creating and managing all the information on a project before, during and after construction. By allowing members of the project team to first collaborate in a virtual space, BIM can lead to striking improvements in design collaboration and clash detection.

Like what you’ve read? Check out our other recent blog posts in this series:

  1. Owners turn to PPPs, JVs, and Alternative Delivery Methods as Projects Get More Complex
  2. Public-Private Partnerships & The Global Infrastructure Challenges of 2016
  3. Top 4 Pitfalls of Alternative Delivery Methods and How to Avoid Them
Dexter Bachelder

Dexter Bachelder

Senior Vice President at Aconex
Dexter Bachelder is the General Manager of Business Development for Aconex, the world's leading collaborative construction management software.
Dexter Bachelder