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3 ways we can start to fix pre-construction planning now

At Digital Construction Week 2019, Kreo ran a BIM Workshop: Stop the Blame Game: Fix Pre-Construction Planning.

Magomed Galaev, CEO & Founder of Kreo, collaborated with Tony Gosling, Chief Digital Officer of Pell Frischmann to run this workshop. Neither of the two business leaders’ professional backgrounds stems from construction. For this reason, both of them find the problems in the pre-construction stage baffling. Rather than accept the status quo, they decided to partner on a BIM Workshop to start solving the problems. The best place to source attendees for the workshop would be the UK's biggest event for digital construction.

In this post, we’ll outline why this topic is important. Then we’ll go straight into the conclusions of the group as to how to fix pre-construction planning. If you want to know more about the group and the introduction to the concept of “systems thinking”, download the slides from the event.

Why is Pre-Construction Planning Important? 

There are many arguments as to why construction project outcomes are hard to predict. But the fact of the matter is, a huge proportion of projects end up running significantly over budget and duration. 

If the pre-construction phase was executed more successfully, we would likely see an increase in successful project outcomes. If resources were planned more accurately, we would reduce site waste and increase site health & safety. If project plans were more detailed before starting on site, we’d have less need for value engineering during the construction phase. This would result in fewer last-minute cost-cutting exercises and potentially result in higher quality building. 

3 Ways to Start Fixing Pre-Construction Planning

1. Involve the Client more in pre-construction planning discussions

pre-construction planning group at DCW - architectsThe main feeling of the workshop was that the blame game starts and ends with the Client. We forced the groups to accept some responsibility in fixing the problem. Blame is not a solution.

By involving the Client in more pre-construction planning discussions, you bring up the difficult conversations. For example, some architects in the group told us how Clients hand over building cost estimates to them and then expect to haggle! By offering more options to the Client and talking about cost more openly, they would have more chance of educating them. The Client needs to truly understand why they need to spend more up front in order to keep longer-term costs down. If we as an industry can’t explain that, who can?

The same architects also discussed that if they gave the Client more cost options, this would take time. A simple solution here is to utilise technology to reach the desired outcomes. With generative design tools, such as Kreo Design, architects would be able to offer several designs and high-level cost estimates. The advanced technology allows them to do that in the same amount of time it would have taken to offer one traditional design.

2. Collaborate more cross-industry earlier on 

Lack of collaboration is a well-known problem in the construction industry, especially pre-construction. The blame game is rife here! Several participants again blamed the Client for not giving enough time for project teams to collaborate. 

One simple solution to this was to find projects to work on that had a tight time deadline. Some consultants in the group told us that this is a good indication that the Client will spend more money on planning. If the project is time critical, the Client is more likely to reserve a higher budget upfront to make sure the project succeeds.

Another aspect of this is that it’s still hard to collaborate cross-industry. This can also be resolved through better use of technology. For example, companies can now go as far as having a virtual reality experience from the start with Soluis’ Reality Portal. Cross-industry teams can physically look at the same building together - before it has even been built.

3. Increase diversity of experience within the industry 

pre-construction planning workshop at DCW - diverse experienceThis solution was suggested by a group of professionals ranging from QS to project managers and technology experts. It could be the biggest key to fixing pre-construction planning. 

Taking the problem in itself, the “blame game” stems from a lack of understanding about other sectors' roles and responsibilities. If everyone were to experience other professions in the industry, we would rapidly see a change in our thinking. It would solve the problem of collaboration. It would likely enable individuals to speak with more authority to the Client about predicted project cost. 

Kreo Plan aims to bring more people together by knocking down the barriers to collaboration. Kreo enables your team to do more with BIM, without the need for extensive training. By working from one model on the cloud, with in-built reporting, project leads can see what their teams are working on in real time. If they’re getting their own job done more quickly, why stop them from taking on more? 

Technology and change management

All the proposed solutions suggested by the workshop involved change management. Not an easy solution… but luckily, there’s technology to facilitate each change management issue. 

By collaborating, educating and blurring the lines of our professions, we will see the construction industry transform. Unless we gain more time and money, this will only be achievable by speeding up existing processes. The only way to speed up existing processes is by embracing technology.

Get the full deck from the workshop

To find out how the conclusions were made and bit more about the groups, download the full presentation from the workshop. If you’d like to get in touch about any of these issues, or learn more about Kreo, set up a meeting here.

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