Construction sites can be safer and more cost-efficient through better planning

Lloyd Rankin, president of Ascension Systems and member of the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA), has a must-read article in the latest issue of Insight magazine. COAA is a pioneer in making the construction site a safer place to work, and over 15 years, has reduced injury and death rates on projects by more than 50 percent.

COAA took lessons learned from the Channel Tunnel project, and workface planning (or work package planning) entered the construction lexicon.

Engineers ran into difficulty with both schedule and cost on the huge Chunnel project. At the same time, they found that they were having a higher incidence of injuries and accidents than they had anticipated.

An initiative was undertaken to reduce accidents at the job site. This involved making sure the site was clean, organized and safe.

Not only did the safety improve, but engineers were surprised to receive as a side benefit that the schedule and budget improved as well, without any reduction in quality. This violated conventional wisdom.

COAA decided to apply the same approach to improving how construction projects are planned and executed. I have been a member of the COAA Workface Planning Committee for the past five years and have helped to develop workface planning to its current state.

COAA estimates that through workface planning (also known as work package planning), an average construction project can expect to see a 25-percent reduction in labor-related costs which will reduce the total project costs by 10 percent.

Read the full Insight article here.

Intergraph’s soon-to-be-released SmartPlant Construction was developed to help improve work package planning, among other things. It’s not too late to register for one of two webinars scheduled for this Thursday, October 1 (October 2 in Asia-Pacific).

See this GetSmart! post for registration details.

UPDATE: The recordings for the SmartPlant Construction webinars held on October 1 are now available for downloading.