The first speaker for 2011 was Alastair Blois-Brooke, Director of Whytecliff Consultants. The topic he addressed on the 18th of January is Right first time Providing compliance and assurance support for large scale projects, reducing risks and ensuring cost-effective control.
Alastair has 40-years experience in the construction industry globally. It covers a variety of disciplines from project management for oil field and power station contracts in the Middle East to the implementation of the specialist systems of running the airport in Hong Kong for 15 years. The event was held with a good attendance of 45 persons.
Alastair firstly highlighted that up to 30% of a buildings construction cost could be wasted. Problems occurring during the building development and delivery typically include inadequate planning, lack of change control, poor management information, knock-on delays, and asset information deficiencies at closeout. At each stage of the construction, project managers need to know the exact status of the project. They should ensure that the work meets statutory requirements before moving forward to later phases in the project lifecycle.
Alastair demonstrated a piece of software, NodalSure, used in the Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 project. It is a structured system to identify and control the activities, using a series of gateways or hold points called authority to proceed (ATP). The key feature is that each ATP has a set of pre-requisites that have to be completed before proceeding to the next stage. Examples are from design to procurement; to installation, commission; and to sign off. In so doing, project managers can focus on the exceptions that are impeding progress. Throughout the process, issues and problems can be identified in good time to mitigate the risks of programme and cost overruns.
Relevant documentation is uploaded via intuitive screens and is visible to the project team to provide assurance of the process. Authorized users can review and approve documents and the system also solves the data management and integration issues created by paperwork.
Alastair revealed that NodalSure was an open system for any particular form of activity, not necessarily construction specific. Finally, he remarked that no system could give a final solution and NodalSure was no exception. It is a tool to help structure the programmes and to give more flexibility to the project team to fix these problems, all within one system.