Suppliers to Construction must "up their game"
In a recent Construction News article Russell Down, Chief Executive of Speedy Hire, gave some interesting insights into the world of BIM, productivity and how real time suppliers to construction must “up their game.”
The article titled ‘Real-time construction means suppliers must up their game’ said that
“productivity and the effects on project timelines have always been important issues for businesses across the industry.”
As we know all too well, an entire project could be put into jeopardy by thin margins that threaten deadlines and success or financial performance as a result.
The article quotes its findings from a recent poll of construction firms by Cornerstone Projects, which found that missed project deadlines increase costs by up to 20 per cent, while more than 85 per cent of companies said they experienced delays on recent jobs. Delays at early stages put projects under disproportionate pressure from the beginning and despite every partner wanting their return as quickly as possible, delays persist.
Of course, we now know that offsite construction and BIM can offer opportunities to actively make these processes more efficient. BIM is a smart tool in construction that speeds up timeframes and identifies errors before the build gets off the ground. This naturally alleviates delays onsite.
Offsite construction refers to the planning, design, fabrication, and assembly of building elements at a location other than their final installed location to support the rapid construction of a permanent building. Panellised LGS systems, modular systems, components such as concrete beams etc. can all be manufactured in factories, and whole structures are created in controlled and measured environments. Many companies are choosing to use offsite to avoid costly time delays especially where space is restricted – as it often is in building projects. There are also weather implications to consider and offsite offers solutions so that the uncertain/adverse weather conditions do not affect productivity to the same extent. At the same time, contractors need flexibility and to be able to change or modify schedules at short notice.
Timed construction jobs are possible with 4D scheduling and sequencing tools that aid the industry. Offsite is something that requires monitoring and - with little contingency built into timelines in the modern marketplace - it is important not to allow poor practices to undo any performance gains achieved by these advances in technology. Companies are obliged to deliver projects on time and the supply chain is directly affected by their role. They should work to avoid being “the weakest link” according to the article as it has significant negative effects on clients down the line.
Russell Down says,
“While the availability and reliability of equipment have always been important, these factors are now critical”
and he goes on to describe how suppliers should recognise and effectively target these known issues in productivity. Also, investment in customer projects (systems, equipment, people and of course, logistics) is vital for success.
Equipment hire suppliers must concentrate on the entirety and not just the start of clients’ projects as delayed delivery times, or incomplete deliveries, are intolerable. The availability and reliability of equipment have always been imperative, but the impact of delays or improper planning is now perilous. To keep within plans, construction managers need to know that equipment is available for their timetables, and that it will be unfailing. There is a risk that expensive and experienced workers will be on site without the right equipment or tools. Everything must be organised in a process that works. For example, if a delivery is not properly organised, a site may turn it away and then there are significant issues to rebook another time. This level of service and efficiency is increasingly what contractors are demanding from the supply chain.
Modern methods of construction (MMC) such as 3D volumetric construction, alongside strong supplier relationships, will accelerate the move towards a more ‘real-time’ industry model according to Construction News.
The industry is adapting to innovative and efficient ways to work and suppliers are under pressure to deliver in the age of Amazon and its quick turnaround response. Russell concludes, “If the industry is under pressure to become more efficient, productive and profitable, it needs to bring its surrounding ecosystem up to speed alongside it.” The latest technologies alongside real-time service, reliability and efficiency is the future and it is here to stay.