Government pledges another £81m for cycle lanes

The government has boosted its “active travel” budget by another £81m to £338m.

The money will promote cycling and walking across the country and further increase the construction of bike lanes.

The government said: “This funding will help see the construction of hundreds of miles of new high-quality cycle lanes.”

A new version of the Highway Code is also being published which “ensures road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others.”

The new code will also give “guidance on safe passing distances and speeds and ensuring that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment.

“As we build back greener from the pandemic, we’re determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.

“This £338 million package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of cycling and walking, enabling more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and cities greener.”

Did you miss our previous article…

Campaigners win court fight to block £1.7bn Stonehenge tunnel

Campaigners have won a court battle to block the £1.7bn construction of a road tunnel near Stonehenge.

Mr Justice Holgate has ruled that a decision to allow a dual carriage way road and tunnel to be built within the ancient World Heritage Site was unlawful.

The judgment effectively quashes development consent for the A303 improvement project which was granted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Shapps will now have to decide whether to appeal against the judge’s ruling that he had not properly assessed the risk of harm to the World Heritage Site

The judge further concluded that Shapps had made an error of law by failing to consider alternatives to the scheme, such as a longer tunnel, which may have been less damaging to the Stonehenge.

Highways England said: “We now have to wait while the Department for Transport considers its options.

“This is a setback, but we remain confident our project is the best solution to the ongoing issues along the A303 past Stonehenge and was developed after a long and extensive collaboration with our key stakeholders.

“We are hugely disappointed by the decision, and we know this will also dismay many people in the local community who have waited decades for a solution and all those who use the road to travel to work or on holiday in the south west.”

John Adams, Acting Chairman of the Stonehenge Alliance, said: “We could not be more pleased about the outcome of the legal challenge.

“The Stonehenge Alliance has campaigned from the start for a longer tunnel if a tunnel should be considered necessary. Ideally, such a tunnel would begin and end outside the WHS.

“But now that we are facing a climate emergency, it is all the more important that this ruling should be a wake-up call for the Government. It should look again at its roads programme and take action to reduce road traffic and eliminate any need to build new and wider roads that threaten the environment as well as our cultural heritage.”

Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith said: “This is a huge victory, which means, for now, Stonehenge is safe.

“The judgment is a clear vindication of our client’s tremendous efforts in campaigning to protect the World Heritage Site.

“The development consent for this damaging tunnel has been declared unlawful and is now quashed, and the Government will have to go back to the drawing board before a new decision can be made. Meanwhile, one of the country’s most cherished heritage assets cannot be harmed.”

Did you miss our previous article…

5 Reasons Construction Projects Fail

For commercial contractors, both GCs and subs, a successful project is one completed on time and within budget. The client is happy with the finished product and the contractor walks away with a tidy profit. Everybody wins. When a project fails, it’s typically due to conflicts and issues that cause cost overruns and delays in the schedule.

Did you miss our previous article…

Multiple Layers to the Inflation Watch Story

There are two major questions overhanging the economies of the U.S. and Canada. (1) Will a reemergence of coronavirus infections, mainly among the unvaccinated and tied to the Delta variant of the disease, force a slowdown in what was proving to be exceptional gross domestic product (GDP) growth? And (2), the subject of this article, will rapid price increases compel the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada to move more aggressively on interest rates?

Did you miss our previous article…

Delivering a Major Vaccine Production Facility on Time, Without Compromising Quality

Blue Projects is a highly experienced project management company and a preferred strategic project partner for the world’s leading blue-chip companies. The complexity of multi-disciplinary projects inspired Blue Project’s founders to surround themselves with a highly innovative and flexible team of leading professional engineers that shared the same passion and commitment to project excellence. 

The problem

Blue Projects is a project management company with a global footprint covering Romania, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Africa and North America. The team provides project and engineering solutions across industry sectors for a number of major global players. Their services include construction management, design and engineering, health and safety management, commercial management and production lines relocation. 

During 2020, the global Covid-19 pandemic caused chaos across the globe. As the end of the year drew to a close, there was a collective sigh of relief when national health regulators began approving the use of a number of vaccines which provide immunity against the highly transmissible and potentially fatal virus. Nevertheless, the global demand for this vaccine far outstripped supply, and with a worsening picture during the winter months of early 2021, it was imperative that the construction of production facilities was stepped up. 

“When it came to our project details, we knew that digital construction solutions could play an important role in ensuring communication and collaboration was seamless and smooth given we had to work to such tight timescales.”

Michal Zajac, Senior Architect and BIM Manager for Blue Projects was a lead partner in supporting the design and construction of a vaccine production facility to contribute to the global effort to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable people in our societies. Blue Projects needed to make sure this facility was built quickly; the design and construction phase would run in tandem but it was absolutely essential that safety and quality was not compromised. 

When it came to our project details, we knew that digital construction solutions could play an important role in ensuring communication and collaboration was seamless and smooth given we had to work to such tight timescales,” reflects Michal. The technology solution needed to facilitate several factors including coordinating teams across different geographies and time zones, improving the design process to aid collaboration between design and site teams as well as improving communication with supply chain partners. 

We needed to be able to work in a 3D environment on design models to better manage the project schedule, as well as track issues resolution and design changes,” says Michal. For Blue Projects, setting the project up correctly from the outset would be crucial as it would have a direct impact on contributing to the global health crisis. 

The solution

Blue Projects’ client, a major healthcare manufacturer, specified that a common data environment should be used on the project to ensure communication between stakeholders was the best it could be. Many of the project team members were working remotely from different locations, so finding a solution that supports seamless collaboration in a virtual world was key. The team could not risk time being lost due to miscommunication or confusion about project data. Blue Projects started using Autodesk Construction Cloud’s BIM 360 solution from the start of the project as their single source of truth for project data and established a number of digital workflows using the technology. 

To deliver the production facility quickly, the project was set up with the design and construction phases running in tandem.”

To be able to communicate effectively, we needed one central repository for all project documentation,” says Michal. “But to collaborate effectively and efficiently, we needed to set up a number of digital workflows.” The team used BIM 360 for review and approval processes with their client to quickly agree and communicate design changes. In fact, more than 700 design reviews were created on the project. 

As well as this, Blue Projects partnered with Autodesk’s customer success team to apply enhanced design and coordination workflows. “Autodesk’s deployment specialists were on hand to support us whenever we needed help,” reflects Michal. “The customer success team also supported us to get our teams set up for success early. They offered project team and champion training. The training enabled us to kick off the project and get started with internal and external users straight away,” says Michal. 

When it came to planning and executing, using BIM 360 as the single source of truth for the project team meant that design changes could be communicated amongst project partners quickly through proactive clash and issue detection. Michal comments: “To deliver the production facility quickly, the project was set up with the design and construction phases running in tandem. Our coordination team needed support in implementing workflows that would identify design clashes early and the customer success team at Autodesk supported us in connecting our design authoring tools like Revit and Navisworks into BIM 360 so all the data we captured could be reflected in our model. This meant we could detect clashes before these go out to the teams on sire.  This ultimately saved us hundreds of hours of time.” 

For Blue Projects, delivering to the project schedule was crucial to not slow down progress but quality could not be compromised either. “We needed to deliver to absolute precision as we could not afford to have any major reword or defects,” reflects Michal. Using the issues management feature in BIM 360 to report design clashes meant the team were able to avoid costly reworks that could delay project progress. As well as this, internal and external collaborators like supply chain partners had access to critical project information wherever and whenever they needed it. 

Michal says: “Collaborating across geographies during a global pandemic where teams were working remotely and on-site is a challenge for any project. But working collaboratively in this way with extremely tight project timescales made it that much more difficult. BIM 360 allowed all project collaborators to have access to real-time project data from anywhere.”

The results

The design phase of the project was completed earlier than planned schedule based on the experience of similar projects, meaning that Blue Projects not only completed this critical stage of the project earlier than planned, but also gained time to focus on the construction phase and support the teams responsible for installing key production equipment. These time savings meant the execution phase started earlier and the onsite construction got underway quicker on certain milestones. 

“If we had not used BIM 360, we would have needed…thousands more hours to dedicate to manually identifying clash and issues detection to avoid the need for re-work on site.”

By capturing issues early through proactive clash and issues detection using BIM 360, Blue Projects and their client were able to gain time which they could focus towards supporting other critical construction programmes.  With 1700 coordination clashes detected during the design phase and over 700 reviews and approval workflows executed with their client, Blue Projects have been able to prioritise quality and safety through a more connected construction process.

Reducing the number of hard clashes that would have happened on site has meant that the team were able to use technology to speed up the time it took to carry out key processes without risking the quality we delivered for our client. If we had not used BIM 360, we would have needed hundreds and thousands more hours to dedicate to manually identifying clash and issues detection to avoid the need for re-work on site,” says Michal.

Gaining valuable project time without compromising on quality and incurring additional project costs means Blue Projects have been able to work more effectively with their client to improve project outcomes like improved design solutions and materials. Not only this, but the project team have also improved remote communication practices and improved the way they collaborate in a virtual world. “With the major changes we’ve witnessed over the last year in how and where we work, it’s been fantastic to work on a project that has delivered valuable outcomes for our client and established better ways of working in a virtual environment,” states Michal. 

Not forgetting, and most importantly of all, a major vaccine production facility has kept to its project schedule. This means much needed vaccines will be able to be produced, delivered, and distributed on time to countries and individuals who need them most. 

The post Delivering a Major Vaccine Production Facility on Time, Without Compromising Quality appeared first on Digital Builder.

Guide to Construction Equipment Management: Everything You Need to Know

Construction only grows more complex each passing year, if not each quarter. As these complexities increase and timelines grow tighter, the management of resources becomes increasingly important. Equipment makes up some of the most valuable assets in this category. These items are not only expensive to purchase but also to maintain. Studies show that the maintenance of construction equipment plays a role in about 40% of total project overrun costs.

Broken equipment has a domino effect on projects, leading to downtime, additional expenses, and frustrated owners. Putting more effort into planning the management of your equipment and its maintenance can improve project and financial outcomes. 

Fortunately, prioritizing construction equipment management has proven to pay off. Today, we’ll take a look at what successful equipment management looks like and the innovations to make the management process much more efficient. 

What Is Construction Equipment Management?

As you probably guessed, construction equipment management refers to the administration of equipment used on construction projects. At a more detailed level, the practice encompasses the review of the equipment, its costs, and usage. 

Construction managers want to ensure that the cost of the equipment pays off in the long run. Besides the cost of the equipment itself, there are expenses associated with operation, maintenance, usage, and storage. Construction managers study this information alongside upcoming and current projects to inform decision-making. Ultimately, the goal of these decisions is to generate the highest possible ROI. 

Tips for Effective Equipment Management

Your construction equipment management system will vary depending on your needs. However, here are some key tips to making your system a success::

Determine the Right Tracking Workflows

To manage construction equipment successfully, start by establishing the right tracking workflows. This information should be used to drive decisions made by project managers, professional engineers, superintendents, owners, inspectors, etc. 

Basically, you need insights to determine in real time if:

  • The right equipment has been delivered
  • The equipment has been installed
  • The equipment has been inspected
  • The appropriate data has been collected

With the right tracking workflows in place, this information can also be harnessed for more efficient handover and operations. 

Set Up a Preventative Maintenance Program

Next, prioritize maintenance. Preventative maintenance is essential to extending the life of your equipment and avoiding costly repairs. As MacAllister puts it, “Preventive maintenance is more than regular maintenance like lubricating moving parts and changing filters. A proper preventive maintenance (PM) program is all-inclusive. It’s an intentional approach to equipment management from the time equipment is purchased until the end of its useful life.”

PM programs take action before wear and tear lead to major expenses or equipment failure. Through regular inspections, part replacement, testing, and analysis, you can improve the reliability, performance, and resale value of your fleet. 

Create Collaborative Communications Plans for Equipment

Your frontline workers are the ones most likely to identify issues with equipment or delivery. For optimal usage, your team needs to be notified when equipment is on-site, on its way, or if any changes take place. By creating a collaborative communications plan, this information can get in the right hands at the right time. 

The benefits of this type of plan for construction equipment management include:

  • Proactively addressing damages, repairs, and delays
  • Preventing people from using inoperable or damaged equipment
  • Facilitating ordering of parts

Be sure to integrate cloud-based construction technology into your communications plan; that way, you can collaborate with stakeholders in real time and have a single source of information. 

Monitor Your Equipment Smartly

Managing a fleet can make it difficult to know where your equipment is at all times. The same is true for scheduling maintenance across multiple items. IoT sensors can help to reduce the manual nature of monitoring equipment and planning maintenance.

According to Leverege, construction equipment managers can leverage IoT technology to:

  • Track equipment status and utilization
  • Identify the location and status of equipment in real time
  • Get instant notifications when equipment is moved off-site
  • Monitor engine runtime

Benefits of Successful Construction Equipment Management 

Setting up an equipment management system takes time. You might be wondering, “Is it really worth the effort?”

The answer, of course, depends on the benefits received by the system. You can expect to achieve the following advantages from successful equipment management:

  • Better visibility into where equipment is located, its status, and how it’s being used.
  • Fewer delays and cost overruns. With real-time information at their fingertips, teams can make quick decisions about how to use equipment. 
  • Better safety standards as the equipment is kept up-to-date and maintained.
  • Less downtime as equipment can be used as soon as it’s available. 
  • Reduced expenses in the form of costly repairs and project overtime. 
  • Cohesive data to help inform decisions about retiring, selling, or upgrading assets. 

The Top Technology for Construction Equipment Management 

As managers look for ways to improve the efficiency of their construction equipment, new innovations are coming to the forefront. Here are some solutions to keep in mind while building your system:

Intelliwave: With their SiteSense platform, you can manage all of your owned and rented assets in one single location. The software makes it easy to locate, maintain, and track the utilization of equipment.

Atlas RFID from Jovix: Atlas RFID  is an award-winning Material Readiness application from Jovix. Atlas RFID provides real-time visibility to all stakeholders throughout the supply chain. Employing a combination of web-based server software, mobile devices, and smart RFID tags and barcode labels, Atlas RFID removes impediments to productivity and ensures workers have the materials they need to spend more time on tools.

Milwaukee OneKey: As the industry’s largest tracking network, ONE-KEY streamlines everything from tool tracking to maintenance planning for Milwaukee tools and products. The solution includes asset ID tagging, equipment trackers, barcode scanning, and geofencing capabilities.

Linxup: Linxup helps you track data points for visibility into your fleet’s location in real time, driver and operator behavior, maintenance, electronic driver logs, and more. Its devices use vehicle power, solar power, or rechargeable batteries to tell you where your assets are, where they’re going, and how they’re getting there. 

TruckIt: TruckIt is a dispatching and electronic ticketing cloud-based platform. The dispatch side gives insights into owned and rented assets for optimal utilization. Its ticketing system automates paper tickets, time sheets, billing, and payments. This data can then be used for material delivery verification, driver performance insights, project yield, and ticket reconciliation.

Enhance Equipment Management Processes

Construction equipment management will help you reduce downtime and delays. In the event that you do encounter some downtime, you can use your time effectively based on the information gathered through your management system. That may look like scheduling maintenance, moving equipment into storage, or swapping out parts. As you refine your system, you’ll discover ways to optimize the processes around construction equipment management. 

For more insights into the construction industry, subscribe to our blog

The post Guide to Construction Equipment Management: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Digital Builder.

Did you miss our previous article…

IDH opens Bahrain office

Engineering design consultancy Independent Design House (IDH) has expanded with the launch of IDH Bahrain in the Middle East.

IDH Bahrain is based in the Gulf, and will also service markets in nearby Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.  

IDH provides both temporary and permanent works design, with full 2D draughting and 3D modelling services along with all BIM requirements. Clients include ISG and Laing O’Rourk.

The Bahrain office will be run by Hany Ibrahim who brings with him 20 years of industry experience.

He said: “Middle East is presenting excellent business opportunities this year and even more in the next few years. Mega projects are set to come live and some of these projects include those in alignment with Vision 2030 plans that Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have in place, which aim to help create a thriving post-hydrocarbon economy for the region.

“Our vision is not only to establish the business in Bahrain but to expand it to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.”

IDH CEO, Tim Burt, added “I am extremely excited about the opportunities opening IDH Bahrain will generate for us, and I believe it will take us to the next level as a business. We foresee continued growth over the coming months as IDH North and IDH Bahrain come on-stream, and we are genuinely forming an international business.” 

Did you miss our previous article…

Economic Heavy Lifting by U.S. & Canadian Homebuilders

Texas is in a League of its Own

Through the first half of 2021, the monthly average of seasonally adjusted and annualized (SAAR) housing starts in the U.S. has been +23.2% compared with January-June 2020. The one-quarter increase in groundbreakings warrants the ‘mini-boom’ description being applied to the U.S. homebuilding market.

Did you miss our previous article…