Ensuring safety, quality and cost is not compromised on a critical vaccine production facility
Blue Projects is a highly experienced project management company and a preferred strategic project partner for the world’s leading blue-chip international companies. The complexity of multi-disciplinary projects inspired Blue Projects’ founders to surround themselves with a highly innovative and flexible team of leading professional engineers that shared the same passion and commitment to project excellence.
Today, the team continues to push the boundaries of project excellence, and has since expanded to operations covering Romania, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Africa and North America. Providing project and engineering solutions across industry sectors for a number of major global players, their services include construction management; design and engineering; health and safety management; commercial management and production lines relocation.
“When it came to our project details, we knew that digital construction solutions could play an important role in ensuring communication and collaboration was seamless and smooth given we had to work to such tight timescales.”
As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world over, there was a collective sigh of relief when national health regulators began approving the use of a number of vaccines which provide immunity against the Coronavirus. The global demand for this vaccine far outstripped supply, and with a worsening picture during the winter months of 2020 and early 2021, it was imperative that the construction of production facilities was stepped up.
Michal Zajac, Senior Architect and BIM Manager for Blue Projects partnered with their client to support the design and construction of a vaccine production facility at lightning speed which contributed to the global effort to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable people in our societies. Blue Project’s role was to integrate design solutions, coordinate the project and support the client’s engineering and on-site teams in the construction phase. For Michal and the Blue Projects team, the task at hand was clear but an even bigger challenge lay ahead.
What can we do to accelerate the construction of this facility without compromising on quality, safety, and cost?
“When it came to our project details, we knew that digital construction solutions could play an important role in ensuring communication and collaboration was seamless and smooth given we had to work to such tight timescales,” reflects Michal. For Blue Projects, there were several essential factors that a construction technology solution needed to support them to achieve. These included: coordinating teams across different geographies and timezones, improving the design process to aid collaboration between design and site teams as well as improving communication with supply chain partners.
Working in a 3D environment on design models to better manage the project, as well as track issues resolution and design changes, was another aspect the team knew needed to be set up correctly from the beginning. “The team had to get this project up and running quickly as the outcomes we were delivering would have a direct impact on the global health crisis so making sure we had the right technology implemented from the beginning of the project was very important,” says Michal.
“To deliver the production facility quickly, the project was set up with the design and construction phases running in tandem.”
A key requirement of the client on this project was to use Autodesk’s BIM 360 platform as their common data environment to aid communication and improve collaboration between teams as well as work collaboratively on 3D models in a BIM environment. However, the coordination team needed support in implementing these workflows in the most effective and streamlined way that would support real-time collaboration in both the design and construction phase of the project which were running in tandem. “We worked with the team at Autodesk to connect our design authoring tools like Revit and Navisworks into BIM 360 for maximum impact,” says Michal. “We needed to be able to track progress on any issues or design changes which BIM 360 supported. But, what was really fantastic is that we could link all of the data we captured in BIM 360 and visualise how it affected our model in Navisworks”, Michal continues.
Designing and delivering in real-time and at lightning speed
The complexity of the project meant time was of the essence. The design phase was delivered alongside the execution phase due to the need to move swiftly on the production facility. This meant that the design team needed to deliver on an exact project schedule and as accurately as possible so that the designs could be executed immediately. “Delivering to schedule was so crucial as the project was live straight away,” says Michael. “Not only this, when it came to the quality we delivered, we had to ensure that we focused on delivering with complete precision as we could not afford to have any major reworks or defects,” continues Michal.
To do this effectively, identifying and capturing issues as early as possible in the design phase meant that cost and time savings were realised as the project got underway. “Collaborating across geographies during a global pandemic where teams were working remotely and on-site is a challenge for any project,” says Michal. “But working collaboratively in this way with extremely tight project timescales made it that much more difficult. However, using a common data environment like BIM 360 meant all project collaborators had access to real-time project data from anywhere.”
Using BIM 360 as the single source of truth for the project team meant that design changes could be communicated amongst project partners quickly through proactive clash and issue detection. “We needed to move at lightning speed on this project as it has such a critical role to play in supporting the Covid-19 crisis. Being able to keep all project team members informed of progress, changes and issues in a timely manner was imperative. As well as this, knowing that everyone was working from a single source of truth allowed us to be confident in decision-making and handing over execution,” affirms Michal.
“If we had not used BIM 360, we would have needed…thousands more hours to dedicate to manually identifying clash and issues detection to avoid the need for re-work on site.”
When it came to achieving their goals, Blue Projects have been able to deliver not only to their original project schedule, but exactly on time. The design phase of the project was completed earlier than planned schedule based on the experience of similar projects, meaning that Blue Projects not only completed this critical stage of the project earlier than planned, but also gained time to focus on the construction phase and support the teams responsible for installing key production equipment
Over the last eight months, the team have opened nearly 1700 coordination issues to reduce the number of hard clashes that would have happened on site. The team were able to use technology to speed up the time it took to carry out key processes without risking the quality they delivered for their client. By saving project time as well as resolving a number of project defining errors upfront, the project’s schedule and costs were not adversely impacted at all.
Michal reflects: “If the solution had not been provided by Blue Projects, we would have needed hundreds and thousands more hours to dedicate to manually identifying clash and issues detection to avoid the need for re-work on site. The team have been able to do this quicker and easier using BIM 360 not only saving valuable project time, but this has also led to reduced project costs in the long term.”
Collaboration between stakeholders has improved, remote communication practices have been established and working in 3D has been enabled. But vitally, and most importantly of all, a major vaccine production facility has kept to its project schedule meaning much needed vaccines will be able to be produced, delivered, and distributed to countries and individuals who need them most.