How Infrastructure Project Owners are Responding to Increasing Project Demand
by Dan Conery | August 26, 2022
The passing of the recent infrastructure bills has inundated government organizations and capital project owners with millions, to hundreds of millions of dollars specifically allocated for infrastructure-related projects, providing spending incremental to money typically available. Owners are struggling to respond to increasing infrastructure project demand, with the same resources. Owners are working to fill workforce gaps, account for an increase in reporting requirements to the funding agencies, and help manage the impact of increasing project demand for contractors.
Leveraging Infrastructure Funding to Invest in Technology
With the help of advanced digital construction management systems, organizations and government agencies in charge of infrastructure projects can use funding from the recent infrastructure bills to procure technology for their digital project delivery needs.
Upon adoption of digital project delivery technology, or project management information systems (PMIS), the ability to design, build, operate, and maintain infrastructure assets can be greatly improved. Reducing project delays, managing complexity, and enhancing safety, improving resilience, superior transparency and quality all lead to increased productivity with the adoption of digital construction technology.
“...it's very heartening to know that there's several hundred million dollars or a hundred million dollars set aside for businesses and institutions to adopt digital technologies. And I...know, that change management...will become much easier because we've kind of adapted to the use of digital tools.”
- Hardeep Anaand, Director, One Water Strategy | Miami-Dade County
How to Scale Internal Teams for Infrastructure Projects
How to scale your internal teams when there is a material increase in the capital improvement program budget: You cannot order Project Managers via Amazon Prime.
Infrastructure asset owners are exploring methods of scaling internal teams to meet project demand with a combination of hiring effectively and using existing staff more efficiently.
Hardeep Anaand, Director, One Water Strategy, Miami-Dade County, and Christopher Haite, Sr. PMIS Implementation Analyst, AECOM, sat down with Dan Conery, the Sr. Director of Product Strategy from Trimble, to discuss established best practices in their businesses to scale internal teams for infrastructure projects. Watch the full webinar Impact Panel: Owners Responding to Increasing Project Demand.
“In the post pandemic world, we've all become more savvy in terms of understanding that, yes, there's a lot more to be accomplished in the customer experience and the business experience of the internal and external stakeholders.”
- Christopher Haite, Sr. PMIS Implementation Analyst | AECOM
Understand Employee Pain Points & Promote Flexibility
The trio discussed that having a clear understanding of the pain points of the staff helps management hire more effectively for infrastructure projects. By understanding employee pain points, the right decisions can be made around hiring - for example, it might make more sense to open a clerical position instead of a project engineering position. Finding candidates has become increasingly difficult, so encouraging employee flexibility during the hiring process would allow for current employees to support the workload and increase the effectiveness of the existing workforce.
Have an Internal PMIS Change Agent
The importance of an internal “champion” to support the change management process was discussed. This person would understand legacy systems, as well as the pain points driving the new PMIS. Working with management, the champion will help to sufficiently prepare current employees for the upcoming changes - specifically when the system requires a team to switch from paper-based, siloed systems to a fully connected, digital PMIS.
Watch: The impact e-Builder has on a project
Use Construction Technology
Construction project technology can be used to maximize time, save money, and increase connectivity and transparency between stakeholders. With an effective PMIS and adoption strategy, the amount of time it takes to complete processes such as approving change orders, sending and approving drawings, responding to Requests for Information (RFIs), connecting the home office with those in the field, and paying subcontractors can all be reduced.
Connecting digitally can save days of work-hours by reducing the time spent on in-person meetings. When processes are automated and the right people are assigned to the task workflows, weeks or months can be saved from processes notorious for causing projects to fall behind schedule.
Increasing Reporting Ability and Delivering Transparency
With infrastructure funding comes increased reporting requirements over a larger spectrum of projects and the need for transparency between stakeholders. Once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure project opportunities also create an increased amount of documents to track, a need to share, store, and find large electronic files, and a high-level view of the project for better decision making abilities to minimize project risk.
Without a PMIS, thousands of files are spread across inboxes, hard drives, shared drives, and paper files, causing schedule delays and unexpected expenditures. The abilities of e-Builder’s PMIS allow organizations to prioritize digital storage organization with an intuitive file structure. Files too large to be emailed, such as drawings or markups, can be granted controlled access.
Effective digital document storage also provides a 360-degree consistent single source of truth - all decisions are based on the latest information.
Impact of an Effective PMIS on Your Contractors
A successful PMIS implementation will have upline effects on your organization by increasing transparency and reporting abilities. When used effectively, a PMIS can also have a downline impact on contractors.
It all boils down to the money: Contractors will choose the agencies that are more likely to pay them on time, which is typical of companies who have fully gone through a digital transformation. Abilities such as contractors being able login and see exactly when they’re getting paid after meeting project milestones is a desirable benefit for contractors. When contractors are paid on time, it helps them retain their workforce, supporting an owner’s schedule and project timeline.
Gain an advantage over infrastructure projects with a digital transformation of your construction management capabilities. e-Builder Enterprise is a PMIS built specifically for owners seeking to effectively manage the budget, schedule, tracking and reporting.
Watch the full webinar: Impact Panel: Owners Responding to Increasing Project Demand.
Key Topics Covered: infrastructure