You think coordinating your busy schedule with that of your child’s and their extracurricular activities is difficult? Try pulling together turnover packages for capital projects where you have countless deliverables and dependencies across a whole spectrum of owner requirements and expectations.
The good news is there are digital tools that can ease the burden. In fact, by bridging quality, commissioning and closeout activities in one platform, we can help project teams create turnover packages that exceed their owner’s project requirements.
Integrating an owner’s project requirements, plus expected phase and project deliverables, into the construction quality and construction commissioning process helps solve some of the problems we’ve seen when contractors try to coordinate and execute commissioning on large-scale projects.
The biggest challenges contractors encounter with turnover packages pertain to communication: making sure teams have the latest information, managing changes of scope and, finally, maintaining compliance.
PROBLEM 1: Team communication and access to the latest information
Project teams are often inundated with meetings and ad hoc interactions that don’t produce the desired outcomes. Frequently, a lack of structure or an outcome-based focus can lead to wasted time and missed opportunities.
It’s 2020 and yet we still have teams who can’t get quick access to data in real time. Email is slow and phone calls are dependent upon on the recipient remembering exactly what was said. More often than not, you must leave voicemail messages and these games of phone tag don’t do much to instill confidence in the project’s progress with stakeholders. Sometimes these forms of communication can make it nearly impossible to figure out what the source of truth actually is!
Then there is the issue of geography. Imagine having a project team with members spread across 10 different time zones that need to contribute and coordinate in the same project space. The challenge seems daunting, but there is a fix for this.
SOLUTION: Structured collaboration and centralised digital access
Structured collaboration combines elements of content, business process and task management into an integrated work process that coordinates multiple activities from multiple workers to produce the desired business outcome. Key to this is making certain you invite every stakeholder to be a participant in the project data. Yes, you want them to participate directly, but you must limit access to data appropriately.
Once you have implemented structured collaboration, it’s time to centralise the information so your project can benefit from real-time technology. Keep a construction project dashboard of KPIs up to date, or better yet, give the stakeholders their own access to the data so they can create and maintain reports that are meaningful to the project team.
Tip: Project team members can benefit when a combination of structured and unstructured collaboration (like brainstorming) is in use. Finding the right balance will be key in getting the best results for your project.
PROBLEM 2: Managing scope changes
You can imagine that in multi-year projects, there are going to be changes in personnel. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the construction industry has one of the highest annual turnover rates. It grew to almost 65 per cent for 2019 and could show an even higher number for 2020 because of COVID-19. And what about the scope of the actual project itself? In a large-scale project, the scope of commissionable systems, and equipment and schedule requirements, is also a moving target. This is only heightened when commissioning providers must manage multiple related projects across a large facility or campus.
SOLUTION: Real-time scope management
Scope management ensures a project’s scope is accurately defined and enables project managers to allocate the proper labour and costs necessary to complete the project. The areas that can be enhanced by real-time monitoring are planning (when you capture and define the work to be done), controlling (focused on tracking, scope creep and project change management) and completing (audit and assessment outcomes).
Tip: Use a method that distributes scope changes to your project team immediately (using invalid flag to hide activities). Don’t delete or trash those removed scopes, as they may contain valuable information. If you’re in a digital program, turn them off or hide them.
PROBLEM 3: Maintaining compliance
Many complex capital projects hold very sensitive data, such as the locations of security cameras, or systems that contain specific chemical percentages that the owner would consider intellectual property. Owners have extremely measured requirements that project teams often have tremendous difficulty understanding, which leads to challenges when tracking compliance and the completion of those requirements.
Additionally, one of the most difficult challenges in compliance management is knowing who is supposed to take the next step. Questions arise such as: who is responsible for this system or deliverable at the end of the day? Who’s signing off on your inspection or acceptance of that emergency panel board? Does the trade know?
SOLUTION: Process enforcement and guidance
Building a process that enforces compliance and guides the teams through the required workflows is instrumental in resolving these issues. In some cases, it might be a bit much to lock down behaviour, so use a tool that allows you to create workflow exceptions as needed.
Where security is concerned, it’s wise to seek a solution that can control what each person and team can access and edit. As your project team grows, use a permissions management scheme that is dependent upon severity and project phase.
Tip: Think seriously about integrating quality, commissioning and turnover procedures and activities into your digital plan. Look to create actionable work packages that contain relevant project data so your field team doesn’t need to hunt for drawings, manuals or equipment.
If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, applying the solutions laid out above should help smooth your path to resolution. With the right technology, you’ll be on your way to closing out with confidence and turning over a construction commissioning report with the certainty that it’s exactly what your client wants.
For more information on field-tested capital project management solutions, visit InEight.com.