Think Piece: Breaking down the barriers of project delivery

October 15, 2018 10:45 am

Waldeck was invited to a global thought leadership event discussing ‘breaking down the barriers of project delivery’, organised by Autodesk.

Being at the forefront of project delivery, Graham Butler, Mechanical and Electrical BIM Coordinator was invited to the event, engaging with industry experts in a thought-provoking session aimed at identifying the challenges we face in the effective delivery of projects.

Graham Butler

As an M&E BIM Coordinator, Graham works on delivering a wide variety of projects with varied levels of BIM adoption. This immediately asks the question, should BIM level 2 be implemented on all construction projects to improve consistency across the construction industry?

Here, Graham discusses some questions that arose and thoughts around how we can work collaboratively as an industry to overcome these barriers.

What are the barriers?

Following two very interesting provocations and subsequent discussions surrounding the UK construction industry, it is clear that we all experience barriers which effect the delivery of construction projects. Of course, on a topic so broad, we all have our own opinions on the challenges we face when trying to deliver projects successfully. In an age of technological advancement and increased accountability for our design and construction of an asset, there’s a lot we need to digest:

  • Differing interpretations of BIM and ‘successful’ project delivery
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Risk vs reward and long-term value

Analysing these barriers

BIM brings a lot of theoretical benefits. We are equipped with all the tools needed to design and collaborate, and we have all the standards and guidance at our fingertips to work with a common approach.

But what makes a project a success? Is success measured by time and money, the mitigation of risk, or the added long-term value of the project to the end client? To some, it may be one of these points, but to others, success might be something different. We all have our understanding and interpretations of how we procure these projects, but is it these different ideas and interpretations of project delivery that could be starting to create these barriers.

Who is the client?

A debate where some perceive the client to be the ones initiating the project, but not using the facility. Others may perceive the client to be the end user, or those who will use the facility on a daily basis. This is another example of how we perceive and interpret, where barriers could be introduced depending on our understanding

Is the client informed?

Does the client know what they want or are design teams telling the client what they need to deliver the project? If the client isn’t informed in BIM, how will they see the benefit from any added long-term value in the processes that are undertaken at the design stage?

How much risk is the design team willing to take?

How much risk in terms of roles, responsibility and accountability are we willing to take on, confident in knowing other members of the design team will share that risk? Is it true to say the more risk we take in pushing the boundaries of design, the greater the value we will see in a project?

Is risk often mitigated for fear of failing? Why carry out a process that’s not been tried and tested. Risk could be one of the main reasons why there are barriers. There are those who mitigate risk, those who manage risk, and those who embrace risk. If a project team consists of stakeholders who perceive risks in different ways, will there be barriers?

Are we working in collaboration or working in silo’s?

There’s no doubt that BIM allows us to work collaboratively. All project information can be found in one place within a Common Data Environment (CDE) and we can make use of each disciplines models to aid design and coordination. But it’s the ideas, technologies and workflows that are developed within our own business silo’s that potentially hold the key to breaking down project delivery barriers across the industry. How far are we willing to collaborate or will there always be an element of working in a silo to gain competitive advantage?

Final thought

We all perceive and interpret differently.

If we all had the same level of understanding and knowledge BIM, clients, facilities managers and end users included, there may be fewer barriers when delivering projects. We’d all have a common understanding in seeing added project value and the theoretical benefits of BIM would be fully justified. It’s how we perceive and adapt to working and sharing in a collaborative manner and the risks we’re willing to take to embrace a technologically evolving industry.

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