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Expert Insight

Inspiration tech: Rebeka Thomas, Bentley Systems

Rebeka Thomas - Product Marketer - Bentley SystemsTechnology is transforming industries and creating opportunities for more efficient and productive operations. The engineering, architecture, and construction (AEC) industry is no exception. Parsons International and DAR Engineering are two organisations that streamlined their operations and improved collaboration with project delivery software.

Everyone acknowledges the importance of project data management. After all, well-run projects result in better margins. However, there is still an opportunity to make measurable improvements in this area. As a project moves through its lifecycle phases, there are many potential points of failure if workflows are not managed effectively. For example, individuals might spend hours trying to find a file or someone might view and approve the wrong files. Teams run the risk of errors, delays, and costly budget overruns.

Enforce business process standards

What if you could accelerate your design workflows with a central point where you can enforce business process standards, configure project requirements, and instantaneously see where projects are in their lifecycle? With a project data management system, you can.

At a project’s inception, content approval workflows are established and information follows this workflow before it is consumed by other users. This automated, multi-discipline process speeds the sharing of project documents, tracking the chain of custody right down to the user. It is a closed-loop system that keeps projects on a fast and efficient timeline, all while enforcing project, organisation, and industry standards in a secure environment.

To accommodate growth and advancement in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, Parsons International chose to implement a common set of CAD standards using ProjectWise, Bentley Systems project data management system.

The team coordinated with design offices across the region to gather, review, and incorporate regional quality control methodologies and requirements. Their final set of standards, known as ParSTAND, was implemented to produce consistent, quality deliverables with minimal re-work. Parsons then integrated these standards into ProjectWise, with the goal to improve quality and consistency in deliverables.

Meet project requirements

Each project is designed against a defined set of requirements and specifications. Should a team deviate, the firm could face rework and delays. With a project data management system, engineers do not worry about project workspace standards; they are built-in and automatically delivered to them.

These data management systems track both the application used to create drawings and models, and the standards and requirements for content, delivering the final product to the end user. With a single source of truth, teams can reduce errors by adhering to requirements throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Parsons International used Bentley Systems project data management system to enforce business process standards and meet project requirements. A key project objective was to reduce operational costs without sacrificing quality. The team achieved that goal and by reducing re-work and printing by more than 60%. The use of ProjectWise and ParSTAND improved quality and consistency in deliverables. It has extended Parson’s ability to leverage resources globally while reducing delivery time and travel cost, saving approximately $10,000 per project.

This enabled the Parsons team to operate under a consistent quality control process. File naming and numbering followed set conventions, and design documents were consistent in quality and appearance. Parsons estimate that they saved approximately $3mn through this initiative.

Remove application constraints

Since engineers typically use their own discipline-specific applications when working on a project, it can be difficult to share documents with other team members or offices because of interoperability issues.

Because some project data management systems are file agnostic, everyone involved in a project can use their software of choice and still share that file. Others will not be required to have that same design application to view it. This sharing means that designers have the freedom to work in a known environment, resulting in improved quality and productivity.

DAR Engineering provides design and engineering services to Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), the utility company of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Coordination among various disciplines was difficult, as the organisation has 300 engineers and designers across the globe working on multiple projects. The teams spent time resolving coordination issues such as the interoperability of software from different vendors and different file formats. To increase efficiency in delivering multiple projects using distributed resources and utilising BIM technology, DAR Engineering migrated from a 2D-based environment into a collaborated BIM-based platform.

ProjectWise was implemented with all custom-designed workflows to create a collaborative environment that enables the distributed teams to work on multiple projects in real time.  The organisation then procured additional software to support BIM integration. ProjectWise helped to remove application constraints on the DAR engineering team, allowing them to collaborate efficiently with vendors.

Collaborate without chaos

Communication and collaboration challenges from teams siloed by discipline, project, and geography have not been eliminated with the advancement of technology. The problem lies in consistency of process.

Varying workflows, data type and locations, naming conventions, and lack of structure create discord when collaborating with teams, the owner, or the extended supply chain. The subsequent breakdown in communication and process can lead to costly mistakes, confusion, and significant delays.

With a project data management system, you can collaborate without chaos by aligning the entire project ecosystem in a connected data environment. Like Parsons International, DAR Engineering used its data management to improve team collaboration and efficiency across its various projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

DAR Engineering executed the design for approximately 70 substations in Saudi Arabia. Strategically, most of the project work was shared with its off-shore offices. With the application of a streamlined design platform, concurrent design work shortened the design period and reduced the interdisciplinary coordination issues, which was normally consuming around 15% of total resource-hours. Further, mark up comments within the team using the overlay files helped reduce stationary cost incurred on the hard copies. The accuracy in the data also resulted in 30% reduction in design review cycle with the client.

With this implementation, DAR Engineering pioneered the use of BIM workflows in substation design in the region. Its globally distributed teams relied on the system to handle multiple projects effectively and the company was able to deliver more projects under stringent time frames.

Provide a structured framework

In the world of engineering, data comes in many different shapes and sizes. One change can have a huge ripple effect on design review and approvals. By inputting data into a management system, teams can manage dependencies based on file ID instead of on path or file name.

Beyond finding the right file, you get a holistic view and access to all references, files, and dependencies.  Designers are always working on the latest version, and everyone can see detailed records of how files reference other files—to, from, and what version. Data management systems ensure more than the ability to find the right file, but also all the intelligent attributes of that file. This kind of dependency management is critical when ensuring a highly-integrated collaborative environment.

Modern project delivery

Technology is transforming the way that AEC firms manage information. Companies like Parsons International and DAR Engineering have significantly improved their collaboration and efficiency by implementing project delivery solutions like ProjectWise. Project delivery software can empower teams to meet project requirements and collaborate effectively by removing application constraints and building a structured data framework.

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