Managing Construction Megaprojects

Battersea Power Station - Managing Megaproject RiskLast year, Aconex announced its appointment as the construction management software provider for the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, an iconic landmark in central London. By any measure, this is a construction megaproject – seven phases over a 10-to-15-year period and a total value of £8 billion GBP (US$13.6 billion).

Engineering News-Record (ENR) recently published a brief video of the Battersea Power Station project and the new community that will result from it.

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Construction Project Disputes: How to Resolve Them…and How to Avoid Them – Part II

Construction Project Disputes EC Harris ReportEC Harris, a global built asset consultancy based in the U.K., has published its third annual report on construction disputes around the world – Global Construction Disputes: A Longer Resolution. The report reviews construction dispute costs, durations, causes, and methods of resolution across Asia, Mainland Europe, the Middle East, the U.K., and the U.S. for 2012, with comparisons to data for 2011 and 2010.

As indicated in the report’s subtitle, global construction project disputes are taking longer to resolve – an average of 12.8 months in 2012, up from 10.6 months in 2011 and 9.1 months in 2010. At the same time, their average costs are showing a modest but steady decline – from US$35.1 million in 2010 to $32.2 million in 2011 to $31.7 million in 2012. In 2012, the Middle East led in both categories, with an average dispute duration of 14.6 months and an average dispute cost of $65 million – most likely a reflection of the growing number, size and complexity of construction projects in the region.

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Why You Need Construction Project Management Software

construction management in ancient Egypt

Image: GEICO

If construction software had existed in ancient Egypt, the building of the pyramids would have gone much more smoothly. However, they may not have been pyramids!

A U.S. insurance company called GEICO has been running a series of comedic television commercials. The theme of the campaign is that 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on your car insurance premiums.

One of the current commercials starts with two contemporary construction workers talking on their lunch break. It ends with a pharaoh in ancient Egypt discovering that the newly built pyramids in the distance don’t match the cubic design on the blueprint in his hands. Continue reading

Construction in the Cloud

Industry Cloud Adoption

Image: Emergence Capital Partners

Gordon Ritter, founder and general partner of Emergence Capital Partners, recently published an article in TechCrunch, titled “How to Tell if You’re in a Cloud-Friendly Industry”. In it, Ritter ranks industries that are more or less conducive to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) strategies and factors that make them so.

In the top tier of ‘cloud-friendliness’, Ritter places healthcare and education. He indicates that SaaS solutions help healthcare companies stay current in a strongly regulated industry, while educational institutions require applications that are designed for non-desk workers and leverage big data. Continue reading

Slaying the Monster: Running Projects with a Single Pane of Glass

I was recently brought into a discussion with a prospective client who is evaluating our Aconex Smart Manuals suite of solutions for adoption across its entire portfolio of construction projects. I sat down with the company’s GM of operations to work through some of the more detailed questions. Together, we identified seven different systems – internal and external – that the prospect was currently using to manage the operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals handover process for its projects.

Implementing our Smart Manuals solution would not only provide superior deliverables, with higher visibility and more thorough review, but also remove five of those other systems, leaving only the custom-built CRM and project costing solutions.

Project information management systems can sometimes be like Frankenstein’s monster: a well-intended but ill-fitting and ugly ecosystem of specialized tools. In IT circles, there’s a lot of noise around slaying this monster by managing through a ‘single pane of glass’. But the conversation often focuses only on enterprise savings in total cost of ownership (TCO), and, if you believe articles like this, the jury’s still out on the value and whether it’s achievable.

What’s often forgotten in all of the number-crunching is the value to the multi-organizational team working on the project. Imagine giving everyone a single pane of glass through which to view each project and collaborate transparently for successful project delivery.

While it may not be possible to do away with all of the internal systems a company has today, trying to achieve a ’single pane’ approach to project information management still offers tangible benefits. For example, would simplification around a multiparty collaboration platform deliver savings beyond TCO by lowering project costs, reducing errors and keeping everyone on schedule? Clearly. Would it reduce project delivery risk? Many times over. Would it improve project quality? How could it not?   

If you’re going to slay the monster, then you need to start by making sure you have the right weapons.