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Featured in Engineering News: “Digital construction management system offers integrated view of complex projects”

Posted on September 25, 2015

Large construction and infrastructure projects are complex, detailed develop- ments requiring excellent communications channels and the orchestration of designers, architects, developers, engineering consultants, contractors and subcontractors efficiently and effectively is difficult and time-consuming.

The OnSiteIMS system provides a single, integrated project management, communications, administration and verification system that helps organisations to manage the troublesome parts of project management more effectively, enabling them to focus on the development and construction of the projects, says development management systems company Onsite Control Systems MD John Haefele.

The synchronisation of supplies, labour and design; the propagation of design or schedule changes from designers through all links to the subcontractors; and the complex administration of the role-players in these projects require digital solutions.

“The industry requires a change to reduce complexity, increase real-time accountability and streamline key administration processes to reduce nonperformance and free up limited resources and time that can be better spent on other aspects of the project.”

Onsite Control Systems is developing the twenty-fourth module of its OnSiteIMS system. This module will allow for technical workshop drawings to be displayed and tracked for construction project partners. Each module in the OnSiteIMS system handles specific types of construction-related information and collectively forms a fully-fledged integrated project management system.

The system is based upon the standard and legally required best practices of project management, including contractual obligations, hierarchy of disciplines and the communication chains of construction projects.

“The main barrier to effective and efficient project management remains the administration of the information once issued to site. Construction management methodology has not changed in the past 15 to 20 years, despite these problems being common and well known,” explains Haefele, who is a senior project manager with significant experience in working on large-scale developments.

He notes that there can be hundreds of small and large organisations involved in a large-scale project and that, despite the best efforts and hard work of project team members often beyond normal working hours, it can be exceedingly difficult to ensure that the coordination of such comprehensive involvement of organisations and their functions is effectively managed, often leading to inefficiency and delays.

Significantly, Onsite Control Systems says the large consulting engineering and project management firms that have used the OnSiteIMS system have requested the deployment of the system for their newest projects, as it effectively mitigates the known project management issues of large-scale developments.

“The OnSiteIMS system is currently deployed on 34 projects to the combined value of R 10-billion, five of which being valued at over R1-billion. We are experiencing a high level of repeat business from our clients, who have realised the benefits of digital information management over standard paper-based methods.”

The main benefits reported by clients include improved time management and a reduction in costs and resources required to control the project, because every instruction, request, action, document or drawing is digitally available, tracked and traceable. Users can interact with each item on the system in real-time through online and mobile interfaces, making the daily communication channels between principle designers, consultants and contractors more effective and enforceable.

Real-time accountability is key, not only for construction firms but also for consultants and, importantly, investors.