Measuring Construction Project Success
Rhumbix is based in San Francisco, where it seems that every neighborhood is dotted with cranes or scaffolding. For most people, a successful construction project is simply one that is completed. They consider construction a nuisance because it slows traffic or is a loud distraction outside their window and are therefore relieved when the project is complete and life returns to normal. But in reality, there is so much more that goes into creating and delivering successful projects.
At Rhumbix, our employees have worked on major construction endeavours all over the world, and have experienced first-hand successes and failures on the jobsite. Below are a few areas we focus on when planning for project success, and by extension, what we are building into our mobile platform.
Health and Safety: First and foremost, did our friends, colleagues and workers experience incidents or injuries while on the jobsite. At Rhumbix we believe productive projects are safe projects, and vice versa, so planning for project success will always rely on an effective health, safety and environmental management program. All incidents and accidents are preventable, and appropriate safety management techniques and practices form the foundation upon which project success is built.
Budgeting and Forecasting: Construction involves so many moving parts that delivering projects at or under budget will always be a challenge. Cost is obviously a major resource constraint when procuring and executing construction, but at Rhumbix we believe that value delivered to the customer is a better metric for measuring price than simply the lowest cost. The lowest bid is rarely the best price for the owner, and often masks a significant risk that costs will rise. Contractors often bid on work knowing that design changes will enable the price to grow as the project scope is more clearly defined.
At Rhumbix we believe that value delivered to the customer is a better metric for measuring price than simply the lowest cost.
Construction is such a dynamic process that changes in scope are difficult to avoid, which is why real-time visibility and a transparent understanding of site operations goes a long way towards identifying the true factors impacting project cost performance, and enabling more insightful and intelligent decisions that support budgeting and forecasting efforts.
Planning: Effective planning is without doubt the most important control tool for construction. Scheduling and cost management support project execution, and planning gets them built. Planning is, however, complicated by the use of different systems and processes. High level milestone schedules and management or control schedules exist in programs like Primavera, however more detailed look ahead and weekly work plans are often developed in Excel or on Post-it notes in pull planning sessions. Disconnects between schedules and plans, and offices and the field all complicate the development, distribution, consumption and feedback into construction planning.
Rhumbix facilitates the sharing of information between developers of the plan, and the people that actually have to use them by creating a feedback loop from foremen in the field to planners and supervisors. Assuring that plans reflect the reality of what can be built, and what is actually getting built is key to effective project planning.
Productivity: Efficient use of resources is key to productive construction, yet there are a myriad of factors that can hinder productivity. From incorrect or missing materials to design clashes, broken equipment to unexpected weather, obstacles for work crews exist around every corner.
Construction is all about getting the right people and materials to the right place at the right time, and effective communication plays a big role in making this happen.
At Rhumbix, we know we don’t have all the answers, but the craftsmen at the work face probably do. Construction is all about getting the right people and materials to the right place at the right time, and effective communication plays a big role in making this happen. Rhumbix provides a means for project stakeholders to communicate issues impacting productivity like never before. We’ve built customised workflows and processes that aid in the identification of changing conditions, and allow them to be recorded and quantified so meaningful action can be taken.
There is no such thing as a standardized construction project, and there is rarely a template you can overlay from a previous project that guarantees success. Projects that are large in scope and scale inevitably have lots of challenges and growing pains, and even smaller projects can be enormously complex.
The extent to which you can tie process and people together is going a long way to build the foundations and conditions that lead to success.
This is why it’s so important to have the data you need when you need it. Success really hinges on connecting the dynamics of crews and project teams through sharing timely and accurate data.
The extent to which you can tie process and people together is going a long way to build the foundations and conditions that lead to success for everyone involved, whether you’re the worker who built it, or the person who inhabits the built environment once it is completed.
Written by Guy Skillett, Director of Construction at Rhumbix.