How a top UK contractor implemented BIMcollab for all of their projects
Want to learn from the best? In our Driving Model Quality event series we invite BIM professionals to walk us through their successful way of working. This customer story is a summary of the highlights of this event starring Sir Robert McAlpine. Are you interested in the video of this event? You can watch the recording here.
Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM) is a contractor company with more than 150 years experience, that works both on building and infrastructure areas, and which has delivered numerous iconic projects in the UK. They work with a whole multitude of different clients, ranging from health care, to land owners to the whole civil, having clients like Highways England.
Nick Leach, Head of Digital Construction at SRM, says that they have BIM mandated across many projects, but they identified that an improvement on how they recorded and adopted issue management within their coordination process with BIM was still necessary. They saw that they needed to reduce the admin and move to a more digitalized method and approach for the issue management delivery. It was clear to them that they needed a management tool that could help them move that process forward, and that was when they decided to implement BIMcollab within the company.
Missing issue management
Having identified the need for an issue management platform, they undertook an evaluation process of the solutions available on the market, and after considering various factors, decided to launch a pilot project with BIMcollab and obtain feedback from the project teams on that pilot project.
At first, they got resistance from their supply chain for various reasons, and they had to take time to demonstrate the tool to them. Once that was done, the stakeholders recognized the benefits that BIMcollab unlocked for them, and this resulted in a much greater acceptance among the teams, so SRM decided to implement BIMcollab throughout their process.
Nick believes that communication is one of the key factors for a successful project. He highlights that even if you have the greatest processes and the best guidance and a great technology product, if you don’t communicate that well to your wider teams, you can fundamentally fail at the first hurdle.
Currently, BIMcollab is part of SRM´s standard process for quite some time now, and SRM has moved on and decided to evolve their process. With the introduction of BIMcollab´s Power BI connector, they saw an opportunity as they already had the vision to bring the information gathered in BIMcollab to a much wider audience.
SRM looked at how they could automate the data flow process from BIMcollab to Power BI without the need for any manual input download or intervention. They didn’t want each project to have its own Power BI dashboard, they wanted a consistent business-wide standard dashboard.
“We wanted to take away that manual extraction and to automate our process, so we could have live dashboard reporting to reduce risk and increase efficiency by repurposing that data, so we could create multiple customized dashboards and move forward as an organization.” – Nick Leach, Head of Digital Construction at SRM
So how did that end up? Well, SRM broke that dashboard down into three kinds of tabs within BIMcollab:
- The Business Dashboard, gives a high-level insight into projects or regions.
- The Dedicated project dashboard, is dedicated to people that are based on a project focus on the data of their specific project.
- The supply chain dashboard, shows the performance of the supply chain, whether that being in a region, on a project, or across multiple projects.
This way, they provide a dashboard that reflected the kind of wants and needs of each stakeholder. By doing this, SRM achieves their goals:
- Make sure that all that data that’s going on back and forth between design teams, supply chain, and their teams wasn’t becoming a kind of insular and close-knit community.
- Resurface that information around the dashboard in an automated way, so the information could be opened up to more parties and decision makers.
- Make the information available, especially to those that are probably not going into the tools on a regular basis like directors, managing directors, and even functional leads.
Finally, SRM found that this automated way of making information available through dashboards has provided the best value to their leadership and project teams.
Next to the implementation story, we also heard from Sassi Stark, Digital Construction Manager at SRM, about her experience as a user with BIMcollab. Sassi has been using BIMcollab for a couple of years, both at SRM and at her previous workplace. She believes that BIMcollab is an absolutely essential tool to her and because BIMcollab has been used in all SRM´s projects, it enables them to implement uniform templates in all of their projects.
Sassy highlighted that due to BIMcollab’s easy user interface, SRM had great success with the wider product team across all of their projects.
“It has really reduced the amount of time we needed to close out flagged issues, which is fantastic. It’s been so easy for the team to get involved with us and it’s been a big benefit.” – Sassi Stark, Digital Construction Manager at SRM
Another important aspect is that BIMcollab is very accessible and well integrated into software applications that their supply chain and consultants can use. The fact that they have access to BIMcollab´s issues from pretty much any device and platform brings greater transparency and traceability for all parties. Sassy believes that it is thanks to BIMcollab´s wide-ranging compatibility that they were able to get the whole design team on board with using it efficiently. The BCF managers create a live link between BIMcollab Cloud and whichever specialist software a person may be using.
“The project team interaction is so outstanding compared to older software’s or even the current competitors of BIMcollab, the BCF Managers are accessible to everyone, it’s such an amazing tool.”
Overall, they found that the degree of accessibility has led to a great reduction in turnaround times for issues, and they related it primarily to the fact that the communication provided by BIMcollab allows a very defined and refined process, in terms of addressing that issue very specifically.
“It has drastically improved the amount of time it takes, and we’re able to close out issues very quickly.”
Another advantage highlighted by Sassy is that the teams don´t waste much of their time chasing problems and resolving conflicts on the site, and these issues are actually getting addressed much sooner and fixed most of the time before they hit site.
Sassy considers the filtering feature a powerful tool. She particularly likes to use it to create reports that only include the filtered issues that she wants to include. And the fact that it is really simply by getting the desired filters and just pressing ‘report’, and choosing whether to have it in PDF or Excel is also seen as a major benefit. Sassy likes to include live links to the BIMcollab website in her PDF reports, which she thinks is really handy for review meetings.
Why is BIMcollab the best issue management tool for SRM?
Nick has pointed out why SRM considers BIMcollab the best issue management tool for them:
- BIMcollab provides security to our process.
- The transparency of looking at the performance of the supply chain offered by BIMcollab has enabled us to have constructive conversations around performance, especially when that performance is happening on multiple projects.
- BIMcollab is a single source of truth for all coordination data and information.
- BIMcollab provides us with risk reduction through the audit trail of the design accountability.
- BIMcollab gives project assurance beyond what’s going on around design. The information collected can influence money and many other KPIs around future procurement decisions.
- Since SRM holds ISO 19650 accreditation in the UK, it is necessary to assure all the digital and BIM processes, procedures, methods, and guidance that have been put in place, and BIMcollab is a key component to help ensure it, to keep that accreditation.
- The utilization of BIMcollab under design review is a fundamental key component for ensuring best practices are being driven on projects.
Looking to the future
SRM is also looking at going forward and they want to develop a standardized project dashboard for various different aspects that they have in the organization, from health and safety to sustainability, and the dashboard that they have formed around design coordination is a key component of that.
The supply chain performance data is also an aspect that is going to be key. The idea is to leave behind the days where a specific supply chain partner was constantly being just based on cost. Nick believes that they need to look at how they’re performing.
SRM is currently piloting some workflows in BIMcollab ZOOM and testing it around. So, we have a great chance of having a second Customer Story with SRM in the near future to find out how their experience is with BIMcollab ZOOM… Looking forward to it!