Nov 30 2012

International construction projects made possible by cloud collaboration

Looking back to the year 2000 when CONJECT was founded, one of the primary goals for the software was to facilitate and encourage collaboration between international project teams in the AEC (Architecture Engineering Construction) market, reducing the number and duration of meetings and the need for overseas business travel. With the AEC community embracing IT tools and the improvement of internet infrastructure around the world, the past decade has seen this goal realised in spectacular fashion.

Before internet based collaboration was possible, construction work would typically demand that the architect, project manager and contractor would work in close proximity, often setting up permanent offices in major cities and locations around the world. This approach required a substantial investment and demand on resources, with cost, distance and compliance with local law being significant barriers and risks when giving consideration to setting up shop.

The change in this approach took place around a decade ago and coincided with the growth of projects in Middle-East regions such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With ambitious plans and seemingly limitless funding there was a massive demand for construction services. The volume and scope of such projects required a wide discipline of AEC services and with the advent of internet technologies a global workforce could now collaborate to deliver these mega projects without having to travel great distances.

Initially supporting projects from the UK and Germany infrastructures, CONJECT set up office in Dubai in 2006 and have been supporting clients and landmark developments in the region ever since with our project control software applications. The supply chain for such projects typically includes teams from Australia, the US, Middle-East., Asia and Europe who all collaborate with the project information online. Despite the financial downturn in 2009 we’ve continued to see growth in the Middle-East market, particularly in the states of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

On projects within the UK, our software tools are being used in increasing numbers by international clients and supply chains. For instance, the construction of the £350m Park Plaza Hotel in London involved project teams from the UK, Israel, China, Italy and Turkey. From the outset, the project managers GC Project Management had concerns that team members weren’t working on the latest designs. Compounded by team members operating from different time-zones, it was imperative that on what was a complex project, everyone was working on the most up-to-date documents and drawings (find out more about project click here).

Other examples of where construction collaboration software has helped  to bring international project teams together on UK projects include Easter Bush Research Centre – where clients and architects in the US worked with UK contractors to deliver a new bio-science facility in Edinburgh managed with the  NEC3 contract (click here for the case study) and Shangri-La’s new luxury hotel within the Shard (another conject Project Control project) where we’re supporting collaboration between teams based in London and Shanghai.

This style of collaboration takes place throughout the other regions CONJECT is active, such as Europe, North America, Australasia and South Africa. However, due to limited internet coverage or oversubscribed telecom networks, there are still areas such as Central and Western Africa and parts of South America where at present it’s difficult to implement such web-based software.

As well as ensuring that all parties are working to the latest revisions of drawings and documents, there other significant benefits from international collaboration on construction projects such as:

  • Streamlining and speeding up design process
  • Having a central, accessible and complete resource of project information
  • Increasing productivity due to remote and instant access to the very latest project data
  • Cost and time savings due to streamlined information workflows, i.e. RFI’s, change orders, etc
  • Better control and forecasting of project related cashflow
  • Less time spent filling in forms due to automation of administration

To find out more about other projects where CONJECT have helped with international collaboration, check out the reference page on our website.

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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