Gaining the most visibility into capital projects is often reliant upon the types of models being used. 

Organisations unable to get the clearest picture could be leveraging outdated modelling tools – so the answer lies in one federated model for a single source of project truth.

As capital projects become more complex, visibility into these projects remains largely obscured for the industry, costing construction companies and project owners in wasted time, money and resources. 

Traditionally speaking, a substantial portion of the problem centers around the lack of appropriate models. 

The capital project industry, at times, faces pushback from engineers and architects wary of sharing potentially out-of-date model data, pushback from stakeholders who fear change, plus the overarching issue of owners and contractors who don’t have the right software to make model data accessible to today’s increasingly diverse project teams.

So how can you clear up these problems and start gaining crucial visibility into your projects for all stakeholders – from day one?

The answer is today’s best modeling technology, however you need to know where you plan to go with that technology. 

Traditional practices may be holding you back

In some industries, there is a lack of digital model usage to support construction. 

This is partly due to the lack of experience or desire to utilise models, and not understanding how models can bring value to the project. In addition, there is often a mindset that states you must hire new people with model skills to manage this, making avoidance the easier option. It may be that teams have experienced model technology that doesn’t use enough metadata to bring real value to the project.

There may also be workflow problems. Some current workflows, according to the needs of utilising a model for pre-construction and during construction, require models be required to be uploaded or imported into different, siloed products, such as Microsoft Excel® – in order to utilise the model for different reasons, making engineers and architects wary of sharing it. 

Manually updating models separate from construction activities is also practiced. 

If your model is not connected to construction software capturing completed tasks, then construction status tracking must be updated within a model separately from completed work in a different system. 

Streamlining to add value, visibility and trust

All of the above practices have one thing in common – the need for duplicate work, leading to a lot of wasted time and effort, which are the biggest problems with traditional methods. 

Utilising multiple model software systems for specific tasks does not allow for capturing true construction status in a model, if it is housed in multiple locations. Some companies try to solve this problem by adding additional personnel, which usually end up wasting company resources in the end. 

The addition of personnel just to run the model may improve the process and communication slightly in the beginning, but that person will have to disseminate project data out to your stakeholders who are still working in silos from each other.

Through hiring an appointed ‘model person’ you’ve actually added yet another layer of potential confusion. As for data trust, lagging model updates from disparate systems are a drag on accuracy and collaboration. 

Are all stakeholders utilising the latest project models? Is there confusion on your project because some are looking at different model versions? 

This goes back to my initial comment on why you can get pushback from engineers and architects. No one trusts the data due to lack of visibility into the system. 

The answer to these issues? 

Streamlining workflows around the use of a model to create a single source of project truth, creating just one federated project model within one model software tool as opposed to multiple point solution software systems are both solutions. 

This will establish a single source of truth in your data and in the project’s status for your stakeholders, making it easier to access information when they need it. 

Integrating the project model into the management and control tasks also instills a sense of trust and reliability not only in the model data, but in the process used to access and share that data. 

Encouraging easier adoption through empowerment

No matter how tempting it may be to simply add a BIM, VDC or data manager to a project and then try to incorporate new processes within that one person, resist that temptation. 

Empowering your current team members within a model software system allows for real collaboration, making model adoption smoother and more lasting for all stakeholders, also saving time, money and frustration along the way. 

As each team member benefits from using the right model tool, you will:

  • Empower the document controller to link received documents to the related model objects 

The document controller gains a more in-depth understanding of the project and the linked documents are accessible by all stakeholders via the model

  • Empower the estimators to link the model to the estimate to extract available quantities so the estimator can incorporate your model quantities into your estimating software.  

This is faster than following the traditional method of downloading model data into Excel, for instance, then uploading it into an estimate.

  • Empower the superintendents, foremen and project engineers to utilize the model alongside of creating items like construction work packaging or workface planning and installation work packaging

Through enabling individual empowerment, team members will not use a model as a one-off, but to connect and pass information in real time between them as work planning and packaging are being created and executed in the field. 

The result? No more duplicate work in disparate systems holding teams and the project itself back.

Streamlining the process with one federated project model and utilising that project model in current workflows will enhance your stakeholders’ capabilities in executing their tasks. 

Using one model for different use cases within the same project will equate to a single source of truth and enhanced collaboration. 

Such a model can also be used in pre-construction activities, construction, commissioning activities and then handed over to the owner for facility and asset management throughout the asset’s life. 

With all of this within one VDC model software system, your key to clearer project visibility from day one – and beyond – is now yours to claim. 

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by InEight. For further information please visit https://ineight.com/ 

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