What would be the impact of having teams working on several projects that have similar yet slightly different processes?
Would that delta be small enough to pose no problems or would that little difference be a stumbling rock that could lead to repeated inattention mistake?
What if the delta was greater? Would the teams need to learn each project process and comply with it? Would that not lead to many more mistakes?
No one can dispute that a company can be working on several projects. There might be companies with the size and the project type allowing them to devote every team member to work 100% on one project. But is that the norm?
As far as my knowledge on the Swiss construction industry goes, there are not many companies able to do that. Most of the engineering companies create task team to respond to a particular project. Each task team is composed of engineers and draftsman, and each employee will be assigned to multiple task team. Most of the time the projects are not at the same stage nor have the same scale.
Architectural companies’ set ups are pretty much the same as the engineering ones. The only differences are in the title and the length of the project they follow.
The construction companies might be the least affected but even they would find it hard to change filing system on each project. How would they keep track and archive their work?
The FM might be the most affected. How would they be able to give the right input at the right time when they might have so many projects to work on.?
One can argue that it is difficult to train people to understand and comply with the QA system.
Then, how much more difficult would it be to train and monitor within a QA system that allows enough variance as to comply with each project CDE?
Is there a way to utilise technology so that it would allow us a nicer working experience? In other words, how to setup a quality assurance system and processes that can be synced with any type of CDE created for each project? Is it even feasible and/or cost effective?
Those thoughts and questions have driven my searches.
In April 2013 ITcon published anarticle regarding BIM collaboration requirements and available features in existing model collaboration systems. At that time only 60% of the software tested were able to support “workflow management”. Three years later, the software providers have probably greatly improved their capabilities and some new solutions have emerged, like BIMaaS.
BIMaaS offers a platform that resembles a CDE, plus many services. In my opinion, the strong point of BIMaaS service provider is the fully configurable and open source approach; no solution for in house data management is offered though.
In my search, I came to discover that 4P rojects is a Viewpoint Construction Software Company with a suite of product ranging from finance to project management. In January 2014, they announced a partnership with Solibri to provide Comprehensive OpenBIM Solutions.
In an online article from April 2015, Elaine Knutt from BIM+ interviewed John Adams, the BIM manager at 4Projects, regarding 4Projects developing a platform that would allow many CDE to communicate. John Adam was then challenged by Terry Gough via a comment to the article: he argued that the idea of multiple CDEs goes against core principles of what the CDE is supposed to be.
In reply to Terry’s comment, John Adams answered: “ ...These are interlinked CDEs which are intended to add speed, clarity and accountability to the project supply chain for processes such as return of tender and submission of model objects. In my mind this looks like a project ‘nervous system’ with the master CDE as the ‘brain’.”
What if the internal QA and processes were considered as a CDE? Processes and checks would be aligned from platform to platform while the company’s employees only had to worry about following one set of rule. This would reduce risks of error and enhance speed.
4BIM “satellite” CDEs solution is expected to be available on the market by autumn 2016. If this solution is linked to accounting and operation, then instantaneous monitoring and planning adjustment can be achieved. A very attractive thought for anyone who is involved in management.
As a business practitioner, I would be very interested in testing any system that facilitates those tasks.