ECC ’17: Gain capital efficiency on projects with technology

Two speakers, with owner and EPC cost engineering and construction management experience, shared their best practices in improving insight and understanding on projects. A good example is streamlining design walkthroughs. Exporting the estimate into tools that can quickly drill into cost, materials of construction, equipment, piping size and labor. This helps focus the design walkthrough on items / activities with significant cost and schedule implications. It helps to decide when, for example, to go from one exchanger shell to two, based on price break points from project historical costs. Piping layouts can be optimized pre-FEED, which saves on design effort, on insulation and pipe supports, less field labor.

Visualization software uses dashboard style pie charts and bar graphs. Information now at the design team’s fingertips includes direct summaries, discipline hours, effort by work area, and piping breakdown, with plans to add electrical and instrumentation (E&I). They also developed a dashboard for examining Stage Gate 2 vs. Stage Gate  3 estimates with variable contingency, and to drill down into changes in e.g. total pipe length and total hours per cost basis. Having a complete work breakdown system for the project also speeds up recasting.

The owner and EPC collaborated on tools or Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) which employs iPads at the construction site. Within an hour after trying out the iPads, construction foremen quickly became enamored of the ease and intuitive user interface of the iPad. The field project engineers could more rapidly submit Requests for Information (RFIs) with a photo taken on site displaying the issue needing resolution. Foremen spend more of their time in the field with the Installation Work Package information at their fingertips. Data input forms on the iPad allow for instant completion in the field, saving time by not having to go back to the construction trailer. Any 3D model “walk-through” can be done in the field using the iPad screen.

Pilot project feedback shows 80% of the mobility users found the experience to be very positive – this included foremen, field engineers, QA/QC subcontract supervision. The ultimate target of this initiative is fewer construction hours per project, and hoping for faster execution.

Soft benefits included lower craft personnel attrition, finding a better planned project to be more satisfying. They experience fewer RFIs from better planned construction having fewer clashes. Construction was more efficient due to materials arriving in the order needed.

This initiative exemplifies the conference theme of doing more with less.

ECC 2017

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