By Jason Schaefer
When it comes to designing and constructing water and wastewater treatment plants, predictable outcomes are a crucial element for project management teams. Accurately monitoring a project’s schedule and budget is critical to successful delivery.
To keep communication of a project’s moving pieces with key stakeholders a top priority, a team with the right tools and technology can leverage the power of real-time data. Visual dashboards enhance communication and decision-making tools, as cost and schedule impacts are viewed in real time by a project management team. Here’s how:
Keeping Projects On Track
At project onset, during conceptual design, the first schedule and cost estimate are developed. Both the schedule and cost estimate can effectively be shown using visual dashboards, serving as a powerful tool to inform the project through construction. These two preliminary pieces become the baseline as more concrete schedules and costs are determined. As changes occur and estimates become actual, using a cost management platform such as Power Business Intelligence (Power BI) coupled with a scheduling system such as Asta Powerproject, data can be visualized and more accurately report what is truly happening with the project as it progresses.
With the ability to track and monitor project milestones using a more visual, user-friendly interface, a project management team is better able to anticipate challenges and changes that may impact project costs and schedule. The team can also use the real-time data throughout the design phase to generate cost-effective designs and can better plan for material requirements with dashboards in place before construction begins.
Anticipating The Unanticipated
Key stakeholders on the team are invested in a project’s outcome from the beginning. This dashboard of real-time data — with the latest on material costs and schedule changes — increases transparency through timely communication with those stakeholders.
For many construction projects, unexpected changes or a delay in making a decision can have a negative ripple effect over the lifecycle of a project, whether it is a design change or fluctuation in materials costs. The live project dashboard helps the team achieve budget and schedule goals by visualizing the direct effects of relatively minor day-to-day changes.
Jason Schaefer, PE, is a senior drinking water project manager for Burns & McDonnell. He is responsible for managing, planning, designing, and troubleshooting conventional and advanced water treatment facilities. He has experience with greenfield water treatment facilities and complex water treatment facility retrofits and expansion projects, most completed using design-build or other collaborative delivery methods.