Across the board, large construction projects take an average of 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled, and are up to 80 percent over budget. That’s according to a recent McKinsey report on the future of construction technology.
Most of the construction project management issues that lead to over-budget, past-due projects become obvious late in the construction process. But if done correctly, most of them can be prevented during preconstruction. It’s just that most companies are doing precon wrong.
Advances in technology and process give us greater ability to get it right when it matters most. Here are 5 ways to make sure you’re saving yourself time and money in preconsruction.
How to Get Construction Project Management Right in the Preconstruction Phase
Addressing common setbacks during preconstruction has a huge positive impact on final delivery
1: Give It the Time It’s Due
Time spent planning carefully at the outset will pay off in fewer delays later. Don’t rush through planning in order to get started sooner.
2: Promote Early Collaboration
Use tools like BIM 360 to promote early team collaboration between design and construction teams, to ensure everyone’s expertise is applied to the planning process. Starting constructability reviews as soon as possible gives everyone time to work out challenges and produce the best, most practical design possible.
3: Integrate Design with Construction
Traditionally, design and construction teams exchanged information by “throwing it over the wall.” BIM 360 allows design and construction teams to easily share files and work from the same single source of truth, eliminating delays and conflicts.
4: Use the Latest Clash Detection Tools
Tools like BIM 360 Glue provide automated crowd sourced clash detection capabilities, and integrate with robust tools like Navisworks, ensuring that problems and issues are detected early when solutions are easiest and least costly to implement. This allows teams to solve issues on paper before getting on site where they further impact budget and schedule.
5: Give Teams Everywhere Visibility
Give your teams access to mobile cloud-based file sharing so they can exchange information and collaborate on design and constructability reviews in real time, no matter where they’re located.
Here’s What Happens When You Get Precon Right
Get precon right and enjoy the benefits of smooth project delivery and a better bottom line
1. Maximize Your Bottom Line
Working through constructability reviews early and providing everyone with document accessibility ensures that problems are identified early, before they escalate. It gives everyone time to rework the schedule and design before construction begins, which allows for improved cost reliability.
Without this process, it’s easy to lose money later in the project when schedule delays inflate project costs. By building the project on paper before stepping on site, you’ll save money and maximize the bottom line.
2. Control Parallel Iteration
We can’t eliminate parallel iteration, its a necessary part of the design development process. What we can do is control it. Eliminate the “hide and seek” games of the past and automate change discovery processes that enable all parties to quickly and easily identify any and all changes and their impact on cost, time, and constructability. By focusing on building accurate models and tracking changes through document compare functions, teams are able to use tools like BIM 360 to better visualize the end results.
Additionally, teams gain a historical reference point and documentation to refer back to at each phase of the project. You get a single source of truth, and a record of when changes are made.
Finally, visualization of changes. Often its not enough to see just the cost of a change, the schedule impact of a change, or the constructability challenges of change: we need to see what it will look like if we build it that way.
3. Enhance Team Communication
When everyone has their role clearly identified in the preconstruction process, it creates a sense of personal responsibility and ownership. This early involvement and buy-in from key team members and stakeholders is critical in improving team communication.
One of the most critical aspects of preconstruction is how the information is transferred from the precon team to the construction team. The precon team’s goal is to get to a price that works for everyone involved but the construction team has to build it. Streamlining the information, making it easily consumable, so the construction team can understand what the challenges and opportunities will be during construction. This handoff can make or break the value of the precon process.
Giving access to a single platform for design and construction data ensures that everyone is in the loop at all times, and makes it easy to transfer information between design, precon, and construction teams.
4. Leverage Data Driven Decisions
Preconstruction is about making the right decisions early to ensure the project is set up for success. When you have a single source of truth for all project data from design to precon to construction to turnover, data can be captured at every phase and used to make decisions in the moment, as well as on future projects.
This makes it possible to gain proactive insights into project performance. Tools like BIM 360 can help you systematically drive decision making based on historical data, so you can influence fast, effective decision making at every part of the process. Connecting project operations activities to financial performance enable the team to make “in-game” changes instead of waiting for lagging financial performance data.
On-time, on-budget projects should be the norm, not the exception. Proper preconstruction, aided by the right tools and driven by strategic leadership, is the answer.
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