How Laing O’Rourke implemented BIMcollab on the Everton Stadium project in Liverpool
With BIMcollab Nexus, the internationally renowned company Laing O’Rourke has embraced collaboration and agile frameworks to increase efficiency when managing project communication and design coordination. However, introducing new workflows presented a set of challenges when it came to the implementation, the development of a long-term strategy, and user adoption.
Here is how the Laing O’Rourke team approached the implementation of cloud-based issue management in their projects, and how they overcame some of the challenges.
About Laing O’Rourke
Laing O’Rourke is an engineering and construction company formed in 2001, bringing together the experience of the contractor John Laing Plc, established in 1848, and formwork and concrete specialist R O’Rourke & Son back founded in 1978.
Excellence in engineering is a core principle of Laing O’Rourke, investing in technology and people over the last two decades, pioneering modern methods of construction to deliver world-class solutions, and delivering projects quicker, greener, and more safely. Project certainty and productivity are enhanced by Digital Engineering solutions, where each project is built twice – virtually and then physically.
Historically, Laing O’Rourke’s project coordination processes relied on email-based communication and manual spreadsheet updates. However, this traditional approach had its typical limitations: absence of automated notifications, frequent human errors, duplicated issues, lack of control over versions, etc. Consequently, the coordination process became complex and very hard to manage and keep track of critical issues, as Harriet Belk, Everton project Design Manager explains: “Critical information was becoming misplaced and hard to handle, leading to misunderstandings and important matters being disregarded or lost. We needed a new way of working using a data-driven approach for decision-making and managing actions with a full audit trail”.
Laing O’Rourke’s team first tested issue management with BIMcollab Nexus back in 2015. Since then, as a result of better BIM coordination with time and cost-saving evidence, the BIMcollab workflow is becoming the standard across various projects and teams.
Challenges of implementing new issue management workflows across projects
With the use of BIMcollab Nexus, Laing O’Rourke’s objective was to move towards a trusted collaborative environment to ensure efficient project delivery. However, the challenges attached to the widespread implementation of a new tool led some users to be reluctant to embrace technological change.
These were some of the challenges that Laing O’Rourke had to overcome when BIMcollab Nexus was implemented:
- Changing the cultural mindsets and convincing users about the added value
- Moving towards a collaborative, trusted environment and not using it as a blame tool
- Getting internal and external teams fully engaged
- The need for software training
- Users feeling vulnerable as comments and actions can be seen by all project stakeholders
- License limitations due to the scale of the project
How Laing O’Rourke approached the implementation challenges
The first full-scale project implementation of BIMcollab Nexus was the Everton Stadium project in Liverpool. Based on previous experience, the Everton project team leaders knew that before introducing a new tool, they needed to plan for a smooth implementation and adoption.
“Key to the success of the project was mapping out the process, involving people throughout the process, and developing the implementation and adoption plan”.
– Estefania Alves, Everton Stadium project Digital Engineer Lead
Here are some of the actions taken by the Laing O’Rourke team to achieve that:
- Standards and protocols contractually agreed upon – Responsibilities and practical agreements, including that BIMcollab Nexus would be the communication tool for all design commentary, were defined in a contractual document and communicated to all users from the outset.
- Process map for guidance and comments – With a detailed process map in place and available to all project stakeholders, the project was able to streamline coordination and support the integration and adoption of BIMcollab.
- RACI (Responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) matrix – The RACI matrix ensured that each team member was clear about their specific role and responsibilities at each stage of the project. The value of the RACI matrix is that it has simplified the process of transitions and handovers and encouraged good communication through BIMcollab Nexus at all levels.
- Various training options – Offering different training formats, tailored for different disciplines using different BIM design tools, was crucial for the success of the Everton project. In addition, a variety of learning preferences were available such as one-to-one, group sessions, remote, face-to-face, guided or self-paced, tutorials and videos.
“We wanted to make sure that we could offer a variety of tailored training to meet people’s learning preferences and capabilities. The training was focused on the different disciplines, so they could use BIMcollab within their authoring design tools, but additionally on the use of the web platform for users with no design responsibilities”.
Estefania Alves, Everton Stadium project Digital Engineer Lead
- Constant support available – For the Everton team, BIMcollab technical support was provided both internally and externally. All questions and issues were escalated to the project champion, ensuring that the team always had a point of contact and that their questions did not fall through the cracks.
“BIMcollab’s support team really goes a long way to help. They provide excellent support service with quick and effective responses via live chat, emails, or video calls for complex issues.“
-Estefania Alves, Everton Stadium project Digital Engineer Lead
- User feedback collection – Gathering and applying the end-user feedback, being flexible and continually improving the process was critical to the success of the Everton project.
Project success in the long run
As a result of Laing O’Rourke’s focused efforts, the Everton Project team achieved great success in applying the BIMcollab coordination process and established a consistent and standardized way of working for future projects. Value added was measured in review and coordination meetings, where three-hour meetings were reduced to just one hour. BIMcollab Nexus is used as a meeting agenda, prioritizing key points for each meeting, and a live audit trail, which ensures clarity on the responsibilities.
Laing O’Rourke’s team has taken full advantage of BIMcollab Nexus’s extended functionality. For example, regulatory bodies use BIMcollab Nexus in collaboration with project stakeholders for building control for review and approvals, including tracking submissions and commentary review. Additionally, BIMcollab Nexus was used to ensure the traceability of design decision-making regarding fire and digitally integrated into the golden thread of information. Furthermore, the use of BIMcollab’s Power BI integration has been key to ensuring transparency to internal and external parties through live progress monitoring, creating an automated report of critical and outstanding actions with the various stakeholders.
Laing O’Rourke’s example of implementing BIMcollab Nexus on a large-scale project like Everton provides an effective framework for collaboration and communication between stakeholders. As a single source of truth, it improves the efficiency and certainty of design and construction processes.