by Amanda Beto
At this year's AGA Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition, we shared our thoughts on how digital as-builting and Digital Construction Management (DCM) address industry challenges around regulatory compliance and long project close-out cycle time.
Several key conference themes made it crystal clear that utilities are hungry for high-quality data in GIS, enhanced tracking and traceability, and greater data accuracy and speed.
Following are three recurring challenges we heard with additional resources to help you streamline your utility construction workflow.
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Challenge #1: Improving Asset Traceability
Material and joint traceability are foundational to integrity management and asset management programs. Maintaining records that are traceable, verifiable, and complete and populating systems of record with high-quality data is now the standard expectation.
One use case for asset traceability is manufacturer recalls. There have been several recalls in the last few years. Utilities that capture digital asset traceability data have been able to assess their exposure quickly and put risk mitigation plans in place. ASTM F2897 barcodes have enabled field crews to capture high-quality traceability data for plastic assets with a simple scan. Similar barcodes and digital material test reports will be available for steel pipes in the near future to support TVC requirements.
Fusion traceability continues to be challenging with the shortage of talent. The ability to track fusion performance and provide real-time verification of procedures can help bridge the experience gap with the changing workforce.
Challenge #2: Streamlining Contractor Invoicing
The cycle time to get paperwork from the field, track down missing paperwork, review and approve construction job packets, and reconcile data from the field to closeout projects is real and painful–often taking months to close out projects. This long cycle time negatively impacts contractors and their invoicing process.
Digital as-builting automatically creates a closing package with a list of materials and completed tasks that can streamline contractor invoice approval. An integrated design and bill of materials can automate the planned versus actual analysis to reduce material reconciliation cycle time. Integrating CUs can further automate the process of reconciling contractor invoices for approval.
In addition, digital as-builting can help utilities to better manage their construction and maintenance projects by providing real-time data that can be used to identify issues or changes in the construction process before they become more costly and disruptive. Digital forms, checklists, and job site pictures document that work was completed according to company procedures.
Locusview’s Digital Construction Management (DCM) platform enables utilities to automate data capture during construction and streamline the close-out process, including tasks such as contractor invoice review and approval.
Challenge #3: Achieving Faster Closeouts
The close-out process for construction projects can take weeks or even months. Manual transcription of paper sketches, phone calls to fill in data gaps, and trying to integrate disparate data sets all contribute to this long cycle time. Long cycle times increase costs and the risk of excavation damage and emergency response if GIS is not updated.
One of the primary benefits of Digital Construction Management (DCM) technology automating and streamlining project close-out. Digital as-builting enables the following:
- Incremental review of project data to identify issues sooner rather than at the end of the project, for example, identifying missing exposed pipe inspection forms
- Real-time validations to ensure data is accurate and complete, for example, ensuring that all assets are linked to a pressure test
- Automated planned versus actual comparison of material usage
- Automated updating of GIS using data from GPS and asset traceability barcodes
- Automated report generation
Some of our customers report a 70% reduction in labor and time required to close out projects.
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