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Jun 242013
 

While the more traditional project plan of design-bid-build is still popular in Florida, lately there has a sharp increase in the demand for alternate project delivery methods l. These alternative project delivery methods include:

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  • Design-Build
  • Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3)
  • Construction Manager at Risk (CM-at-Risk)

More and more owners are seeking these alternative methods because they offer greater efficiencies and less risk in the construction process. Even state government agencies have begun using more alternate project delivery methods, especially design-build and CM-at-Risk.

The maturation of new delivery technologies is also increasing demand for alternative project delivery methods. Some such technologies include:

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)
  • Lean Planning
  • 4-D Scheduling

These technologies work best in collaborative settings, where all parties involved in the construction process have input from the start of the project. Owners who are looking for this type of setup will search for a team that has previous experience with these technologies and team organizations.

From 2009-2011, Florida experienced a significant decrease in the amount of design-build projects, as the decline in the economy gave owners a strong incentive to save money by using the more traditional hard-bid design-bid-build project method. But over the last six months we have seen a dramatic resurgence in alternate project delivery proposals and more qualifications-based selections. Price is no longer the deciding factor in many projects in Florida and owners are free to choose the most qualified teams for their specific needs.

In the future, we expect to see an increase of all alternative project delivery methods, especially with integrated project delivery (IPD). With IPD, the owner, designers, contractor, and major subs all agree to sign a single contract between all the parties and share the risks and rewards on the project. This has been rare in Florida up until recently, when some very sophisticated owners in Florida have procured large projects using IPD. Although many of the players are still learning the process “on the fly,” we should expect to see more of IPD, especially as it becomes more familiar to owners and construction firms in Florida.

At Florida Consultants, we are experienced in IPD methods as well as the other alternative project delivery methods. If you are a contractor we can help you with the new delivery technologies, such as Lean Planning and 4D Scheduling. If you’re an owner, we can help you to choose method that will work best for your project and see it through to the end. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Jun 092013
 

As mentioned in this recent article on Planning and Managing Complex Construction Projects, the Florida construction industry is seeing a renewed interest in interactive planning techniques, especially pull planning. In a pull planning session, the people responsible for supervising the various aspects of the work into a room to answer one simple question

What do we have to do, and when, to meet the project’s completion date?

A simple question but not a simple answer. Pull planning techniques involve using sticky notes to mark essential elements of work, working backwards from the end-date. A large white board is used with a timescale on top. The time scale is usually broken down by weeks (Week 1, Week 2, etc.). It’s effective because it uses key players to define and sequence work tasks needed to get the work done and avoid delays.

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In the past two weeks I have attended two pull planning sessions involving Florida theme park construction projects. Both projects were in their final stages and under strict deadlines. Pull planning is very effective in these scheduling scenarios as everyone can agree on the common goal of completing the remaining work so as to finish the project on time. Here are 4 key points I took away from these sessions.

  1. Get the right people there. The pull planning session should be made up of the people who supervise construction on a daily basis – not the crew foremen or the supervisor’s supervisor. You need the people who know the workers, equipment, and materials and know what can and cannot actually be accomplished.
  2. No substitutes. Having a substitute for a key individual definitely hampers the ability to complete the pull planning session. In short, hearing “I’ll have to get back to you on that” over and over just doesn’t cut it.
  3. Promote a global understanding. Everyone needs to thoroughly understand the work. Not just their own scope of work but the scopes of work of other trades. Why? Because on a construction project the various trades are inter-dependent on one another and each individual must know the preceding and succeeding trades to contribute.
  4. Lay down the Conditions of Satisfaction (COS) first. Every attendee must be on board for which COS are required to meet the deadline. The difference between what is 100% required for COS what may not be required is important so that the right resources can be assigned to the right tasks without any wasted effort.

Pull planning is a very effective technique for outlining and meeting scheduling deadlines for construction projects. When handled correctly, pull planning eliminates miscommunications and allows every key player to be integrally involved in the planning process. Try different colored stickies for the various trades so people can quickly and easily visualize where their part of the plan falls within the whole of the project.

May 102013
 

Construction projects and becoming more and more complex. In the coming years and decades, the construction industry will be faced with the monumental task of repairing and replacing our aging infrastructure as well as constructing the communities and facilities of the future. All of this in the midst of dwindling resources, changing labor demographics and fiscal and environmental restraints.

The successful completion of a construction project is defined as delivering a facility that meets the owner’s specified needs and requirements on time and within budget. To achieve this the construction industry must embrace modern management practices and processes. At the top of the list is a renewed interest in the application of modern planning and scheduling techniques.

It is hard to under estimate the important role that planning and scheduling plays in the successful completion of a construction project.

The successful completion of a construction project is defined as delivering a facility that meets the owner’s specified needs and requirements on time and within budget.

As the projects get more complex it puts tremendous pressure on the management team to properly plan their projects and communicate the plan to all interested parties. We are seeing renewed interest in various interactive planning techniques such as “Pull Planning.” Pull Planning it is a collaborative approach that includes those who are directly responsible for supervising the work on the project. Using sticky-notes, the team participants work from the target milestone completion date backwards, defining and sequencing tasks.

Different technologies are emerging and being adopted, giving contractors more choices than they had just a few years ago. We are also seeing tremendous growth in 4D scheduling, where the schedule is linked to the 3D model to generate an animation of the project. With 4D scheduling, a project manager, owner and contractor are able to see what the project will look like at any stage of development, and they are able to visually compare the planned work versus the actual work that has been completed on the project.

Other techniques such as flowline or linear scheduling techniques allow contractors to better plan for optimal productivity of each trade contractor and crew. The advantage of linear scheduling over traditional CPM methods is that it more easily ensures work locations are available and clear of unnecessary materials and other crews.

Contractors who apply these and other modern planning and scheduling techniques will have a better chance of delivering a successful construction project.