Taming the daily deluge of documents, drawings & data for improved project performance
Project information management and document control is easy, right? Since the late 1990’s and the advent of the world wide web, the opportunities presented to construction to revolutionise project delivery through technology adoption have been significant. Fast forward to the present day and we see UK Construction going through its own digital transformation, with many organisations embracing change by reinvigorating and systemising processes and upskilling their people. But practically, how far have we progressed over the last 20 years in the way we manage projects?
In this webinar, Pauline Dickinson, part of the GroupBC professional services team, gave practical insights on document management based on her experience as a Project Admin / Document Controller, and discussed with Stephen Crompton, Chief Product Officer at GroupBC, the practicalities of traditional project delivery through to the heavier weight document control demands of BIM and level 2 compliance.
In this Q&A session, Pauline first discussed her background in document control, from the early days organising microfilm and hard copy manuals, mainly in the Oil and Gas, and Finance industries, moving through to digital over the past decade, and how her experience from both sides can help others overcome their own business challenges.
Pauline then looked at why one of the key requirements for successful project mobilisation is spending time at the beginning setting up the right processes, structures and workflows that will enable a project to progress smoothly from start to handover and O&M. “Start with the end in mind’ is a phrase we use often, reminding project teams to spend the time fully understanding the client brief, and ensuring that, as the project progresses and new teams are bought on board, they are fully aware of what’s expected of them and when.
Throughout the webinar, Steve demonstrated examples of how BC can help set up an engaging space that will meet the diverse demands of your project teams, clients, design teams and supply chain and ensure they are driven to deliver the right information at the right time, whether in the formal BIM Level 2 environment or as a more informal file sharing system.
Another challenge many teams face is how to build engagement levels in the business and across the wider project stakeholders when it comes to collaboration. Pauline recommends everyone has access to online user guides and training via Common Rooms, essential for staff and project churn, where they can find FAQs, Project Standards, training materials and booking options etc, and Steve demonstrated Sainsbury’s own Common Rooms and explains how effective these have been in reducing training requirements.
Keeping track of the volumes of documents, drawings and data that is produced on even a modest project can be difficult and time-consuming. As the project progresses, people want to know where that information is, and when its available. The Saved Searches functionality is invaluable for helping with this. Document Controllers can set these up for project members so they can simply click on the search and bring up the latest results, or see if there are any bottlenecks that might be holding up a project. The saved searches can also be used to organise document by their status, such as WIP, Shared, Published and Archived.
Steve demonstrated setting up saved searches and also the visual Dashboard functionality that is powered by the reports and offers at-a-glance project updates and transparency of information.
The most common challenge is getting people to use a new system, rather than emailing or the generic file sharing systems that they are used to. Pauline explains her techniques for overcoming this and stresses the importance to the business, especially if your project has a bonus or penalty clause in the contract, or as we’ve seen recently in Grenfell, if there may be a serious legal requirement to access data about an asset at any time over its lifecycle to check audit trails or compliance of materials.
Finally, they discussed typical client requirements for asset information delivery today compared to the days when Pauline had to organise and find storage space for approx. 1500 boxes filled with lever arch files and CD / DVDs, compared to recent projects where all that information was stored on BC, saving time searching for the right information, plus reducing storage costs. All the final data could also be moved from project to operation if set up correctly in the first place. Again, ‘start with the end in mind’ by defining standards and processes upfront will save time and effort at asset handover or even across multiple projects.
All the information related to the asset is built up and handed to the client as a ‘digital twin’, viewable on our online 3D viewer, with all related documents and data such as warranties and O&M manuals plus full audit trail available at any time.
Thanks to Pauline and Steve for their useful insights and sharing their knowledge on design and document control.
Click here to view the webinar now.
GroupBC has helped customers such as Balfour Beatty, Sainsbury’s, Thames Water, Mackley, JD Sports, ALIGN JV and others improve their document control and make better decisions. Contact us to discuss how we can help you too.