With the use of construction technology, firms can access data to drive better and more informed decision-making. But what happens when project data is not used or readily accessible across individuals involved in a project? Unpredictability.
Disjointed solutions and a lack of interoperability leads to broken lines of communication and silos that can cause rework that leads to cost overruns and schedule delays. While the construction industry is traditionally known as a high risk, low margins business, a single product on a unified platform can help the industry move to being a low risk, high margins business.
In November, we announced Autodesk Build – a project management, cost control, and field collaboration solution – to better connect the office to the field and help the construction industry overcome potential challenges that impact their bottom line.
Today, Autodesk Build is now generally available to contractors, subcontractors, and owners to unify key workflows on one platform to seamlessly connect project teams from design through operations. With a unified platform, teams can leverage data across the project lifecycle to make more informed decisions that benefit project outcomes.
Traditionally, key performance indicators have lagged in construction. When it comes to key performance indicators, traditionally, construction has measured lagging indicators. These are a measurement of output and you can’t do anything about these metrics because they already happened. To truly improve project performance, it's essential to track leading indicators, or predictive measurements. At Autodesk, we spoke with our construction customers, and they helped us identify and define five value drivers that impact their business:
Each value driver is supported by a defined set of desired outcomes that construction companies want to achieve. For example, if you look at winning business, that's all about maintaining or increasing revenue and ensuring a steady pipeline of business opportunities. Under the value of winning business are outcomes like expanded service offerings or an increase in successful projects.
Under the value of quality, cost, and schedule, the outcomes are about managing risk and reducing potential overruns that impact budget and schedule, while making sure that you're delivering to a perceived level of quality.
For health, safety, and the environment, that means ensuring your organization follows legislative and industry requirements to minimize risk exposure. A safety or environmental incident can stop production, but more importantly, it can negatively impact an organization's reputation, resulting in the inability to win work or repeat business.
Today, construction firms of all types and sizes are digitizing workflows to minimize risk and create greater project predictability. The advantage of focusing on these value drivers is that they affect everybody from those who manage the jobsite to the executive level.
As a technology partner, our goal is to understand the workflows and how our customers execute tasks on the jobsite. To improve stakeholder accountability, we've created a unified solution to connect workflows that enable our customers to work more efficiently.
With Autodesk Build, our customers have access to a common data environment that centralizes project data to improve collaboration between project teams. With data connected seamlessly across one platform, teams can move from being reactive to proactive by tracking and addressing issues before they negatively impact a project.
"Having a unified platform where workflows and data are connected increases visibility across project stakeholders," says Hung Nguyen, Senior Virtual Design Construction Process Manager at Herrero Builders. "By bringing all parties and workflows together on a single platform, we can make more informed decisions and improve the efficiency of communication and collaboration."
Connected workflows are used to coordinate tasks between people and keep information and systems in sync. They play a major role in executing tasks and bringing projects to life, which is why it’s important to optimize them.
For example, an issue can escalate to an RFI that can then escalate to a change order. But with a platform that connects workflows, project teams have a unified experience where data moves seamlessly across teams, enabling them to be proactive instead of reactive to drive safer outcomes. Here are four workflows in Autodesk Build that will connect the project experience on a unified platform and help contractors achieve the value drivers of cost, quality, schedule, and safety, leading to winning more business through better and more predictable project outcomes:
Autodesk Build will enable customers to standardize how issues are captured across a project. With standardization, teams can better interpret data to understand the root cause of an issue and how it changed over its lifetime.
With centralized issue management in Autodesk Build, project teams can resolve quality issues proactively instead of reactively, before moving on to the next phase in the project. This reduces rework and defects at handover resulting in a higher quality deliverable.
“I’m excited about being able to effortlessly track how the project team interacts with a particular issue,” says Amy Kozlowski, Project Manager at Herrero Builders. “By centralizing issues on one platform, we can easily track an issue’s progression in real-time to manage any roadblocks immediately.”
There is a massive reliance on the design supply chain to provide the right information to build a project. And if you don't get that information promptly, it can impact the project schedule.
By better managing RFIs, it helps improve schedule control and can help in optimizing the schedule duration. With Autodesk Build, teams have more transparency into an RFI status and can escalate an RFI if it's taking too long to close out to get a resolution.
“Autodesk Build will improve the RFI workflow by ensuring there's a better connection between the design and construction teams,” says Weston Short, VP of Engineering and Innovation at Gaylor Electric. “With seamless RFI management, project teams have access to the same dashboard and can track the progress of an RFI over the course of its life.”
Change orders are one of the key components that need to be managed and measured throughout a project as it can become a point of contention towards the end of a project.
“With paper-based processes, it’s easy to lose track of a change order. The cost feature in Autodesk Build creates transparency by gathering cost management activity in a central location to easily track the status and see how a change order is progressing and impacting budget,” says Emily Rech, Program Manager at Pond & Company. “Creating efficiencies in cost management helps to manage and mitigate risk by removing information silos and ensuring accountability across project teams.”
With Autodesk Build, change orders are more visible for everybody on the project. More importantly, teams have access to data to see how those change orders are managed and eventually closed out. Tracking those potential change orders helps in driving cost control and reducing non-recoverable costs.
Construction is a dangerous industry, and safety issues can have a lasting impact on project teams.
Construction teams need to build a culture of safety where they learn from and use data to inform processes on the jobsite. One of the things that's important when it comes to encouraging teams to raise safety observations is making it easy for them to do so. With the ability to quickly assign safety issues and standardize safety plans in Autodesk Build, teams can work towards reducing incidents and improving safety awareness and education.
“Safety is the biggest priority at Barton Malow, and we want to ensure that it’s easy for our teams to contribute to improving safety by tracking issues or observations in one place. Autodesk Build is the tool that our teams need to easily contribute information to drive safer jobsites,” says Ted Jennings, Senior VDC Manager at Barton Malow.
Autodesk Build was designed with our customers in mind to create a familiar user experience while delivering on the workflows that are core to their business. With a single product on a unified platform, contractors, subcontractors, and owners can move from being a high risk, low margins business to being a low risk, high margins business.
With data readily accessible on a unified platform, the construction industry can measure the leading indicators and the outcomes associated with cost, quality, schedule, and safety, to drive predictability, resulting in winning more business based.
Learn more about how Autodesk Build can help your teams stay connected.