When sparks from a welder’s torch ignited tarps and plastic piping stored on the Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh, the $80 million bridge rehabilitation project was put on hold for weeks. Adding insult to injury, the general contractor faced $213,000 in liquidated damages per day—damages that might have been avoided through proper use of project management tools.
Today’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) and project management technology enables managers and principals to anticipate issues that could lead to disaster. Here are 4 ways your firm can use BIM and PM tools avoid these catastrophes:
- Plan the job using project management software. Project management technology includes clash detection and other features that help you avoid catastrophes and re-work, and it enables owners, designers, supervisors, managers and tradesmen all to be simultaneously on the same virtual page.
- Employ BIM (Building Information Modeling). BIM lets you visualize the project in 3D before, during, and after construction is complete. By seeing beforehand that highly flammable construction materials (such as tarps and plastic piping) will be placed near an area where welding will be done, a manager can help a firm avoid catastrophes like the Liberty Bridge fire.
- Take a virtual walk-through of the project. Being able to virtually move through through the structure as it will appear during and after construction highlights problems you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Principals, architects and others now have the advantage of mentally placing themselves in the scene of the virtual model and while doing so, think about how workers will perform their tasks in that space.
- Create a checklist of areas that are potentially hazardous. Such a list might include obvious areas, e.g., where flammable materials are stored or are particularly unsafe due to structural conditions. But tech lets you take these precautions farther. These tool let you conceptualize how that electrician, ironworker, plumber, or painter will perform his job in that space and whether there are unforeseen hazards.
No technology is a fail-safe for logical thinking, and construction workers shouldn’t put the burden of human reasoning on project management tech tools. But relying on Excel and Outlook for avoiding construction halts is hard to justify when there are tools available that can save money and lives.
Interested in leveraging BIM or Project Management software on your next project? Yes, I’d like to take advantage of these tools.