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Innovation Mindset

Infrastructure Project Delivery was organised to understand how stakeholders stress on design and why it matters so much.

BY Jayashree kini mendes

At the heart of any construction project, it’s
important that efficiencies and rigours are
met efficaciously so that owners and contractors go away satisfied. With increasing complexity of projects, and novel methods of building them, not to forget approvals from authorities, there
are increasing chances of project delays. But more often than not, what causes prolonged delays is the inability
to finalise the design of the project. Design changes are not uncommon.
To understand the importance of Performance Through Collaboration, Construction Week India along with Bentley Systems came together to speak on Infrastructure
Project Delivery. Gathering under one roof on November 29 at St Regis, Mumbai, the attendees included project
and procurement heads from infrastructure, rail and
metro companies.
Introducing the concept of Performance Through Collaboration, Indrajeet Saoji, director, ITP Media Group (India), welcomed the delegates and said that today’s volatile markets are putting more projects in peril. The agenda is to understand the importance of getting the design right at the outset before venturing into uncharted waters.

Indrajeet Saoji welcomes the delegates.

Meeting of minds
The keynote address was delivered by PRK Murthy, director, metro projects, MMRDA. Speaking about Mumbai’s ambitious 277kms metro rail project, he said that this project should ideally have happened more than a decade ago. “The target is to meet more than 200kms by 2021. Mumbai is notorious for its traffic congestion. It’s in this aspect that we have invested much time and money into creating the metro transport. MMRDA paid acute attention to design. This is because chances of redesigning in Mumbai are higher as utilities and other factors need to be taken into consideration. Land acquisition is another issue that has a separate committee. The high-tension lines that came with the development of Mumbai often causes tremendous constraints. In such cases, design plays a very important role which remains the mainstay of any large, complex project,” he added.
In a succinct presentation, Avishek Chaudhuri, technical manager, presales, project delivery, Asia Pacific Region, Bentley Systems, highlighted how the software available in Bentley Systems’ stable can help stakeholders accomplish the mission of project execution without a hitch. With strong case studies, Chaudhuri said that in the case of Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, it was ProjectWise that helped them lay the foundation hand in the project. “The contractors and other stakeholders wanted their own data to stay secure while enabling them to talk to each other. We created four projects for them in ProjectWise. One for MMRDA and general contractors, and three for the other sub-contractors. We channelised their communications through ProjectWise communication services. We sewed all the documents in a simple mail system that was editable,” he added.
In another case study, Chaudhuri highlighted the JICA case study on Mumbai Ahmedabad high-speed rail project. Despite the language barriers, Bentley Systems collaborated through its global team and conducted trainings, workflows, among other things.

The panellists concurred that suppliers must be fully involved in the design stage so as to source right and avoid delays.

The final session for the day was a panel discussion that focussed on Excellence in project delivery through collaboration. Moderated by Jayashree Mendes, editor, Construction Week India, the panellists comprised Amit Shrivastava, director, customer success, Bentley Systems; Vidyadhar Vengurlekar, principal engineer, NJS; Amiya Kumar Verma, head, procurement, L&T; Suresh C, GM, BIM, Tata Projects; and Arundhati Bhowmick, GM, project head, Engineering Projects India (EPIL).
Vengurlekar spoke about how new government norms could upset designs of upcoming and ongoing projects, thus leading to design changes. “Today, more projects are Design Build, and this is to ensure that one company is leading the charge in terms of overseeing the design of the project and understands its effects on construction, in case of changes to the design,” he added.
Verma pointed out that there needs to be integration from the design process and supply chain. In terms of any new project, there’s concurrent engineering where one collaborates with the suppliers right at the design stage. A good design is built for manufacturability and relevant sourcing. “With one of the large commercial centres that we were building, we did the design based on the client’s expectations. But it was only after the design was finalised that we realised that a certain material was not available here and would require to be imported. We had to redo the entire design or tweak certain aspects of it to incorporate the change in raw material,” he added.
Everyone concurred that it’s important that suppliers too must be involved in the design stage so as to avoid delays. Interestingly, there was general agreement that sometimes better quality raw materials at a cheaper cost can also be available abroad.

The delegates watch the proceedings on stage.

Shrivastava highlighted sustainable design as one of the missing factors. “One needs to spend more time on a design that sustains the project for a long time to come. Today, design cost is not more than 20% across the whole lifecycle, whereas running a facility will incur 80% of the cost. There are various stakeholders and one needs to determine ways to engage all of them and have a well-integrated approach. When we work from a technology perspective, we help create a digital twin that helps emulate the entire project end to end.
Speaking about documenting design and project details, Bhowmick said that as someone handling project management, “there is immense suffering when dealing with long lead or large projects where design is core. Sometimes, the project management team is handed a project whose designs are not final. It would help if consultants handling the design were more interactive with the clients and paid minute attention towards knowing the project site such as geographical location, background of the project, etc.”
There were general questions on the kind of innovations that most designs do not bring to the table. Exploring novel technologies is another aspect that most stakeholders are unwilling to do so. While digitisation is on the rise, there is a need that other constituents of a project are shared with everyone involved with a project. It’s through deployment of latest technologies that one can aptly decide the completion of projects and expect to complete them on time.
The event ended with Manideep Saha, senior regional director, South Asia, Bentley Systems, thanking the delegates for taking time out of their schedule. Everyone moved to lunch and networking.

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