Monthly Archives: July 2012

The 2012 Global Innovation Index

The 2012 Global Innovation Index has been launched by the INSEAD Business School. For the second year running that Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore are in the top three positions. The rest of the top ten this year are: Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong (China), Ireland and the United States. Canada dropped out of the top ten this year, while the U.S. fell to tenth position from number seven last year.

New Zealand comes in at #13, with Australia 10 places behind at #23, a drop of 2 places from last year. The index directly links innovation to the creation of wealth so rankings matter!

To read the report, see:

The Capital Crime

A recently published, free e-book, ‘The Capital Crime’ focuses on the massive loss and waste of capital being perpetrated on an ongoing basis in most organizations across the world, through their executive management, failing to effectively ‘manage the management’ of projects and programs.

Cobb described his Paradox more than 15 years ago , but organisations still deliberately set up projects so they are almost guaranteed to fail and waste vast amounts of capital as a result. However, fixing Cobb’s Paradox and doing projects ‘right’ is only part of the answer, a wider capability is needed focused on using capital effectively in support the organisations strategy to generate real value for the organisation’s stakeholders!

We refer to this as ‘Project Delivery Capability’ or PDC; the e-book’s authors use a wider definition, ‘Value Delivery Capability’. Regardless of the name, we agree with Jed Simms, the only piece of the value delivery chain that is understood is the piece in the middle called ‘project management’. The surrounding envelope of organisational abilities to only start the ‘right projects’, set the selected projects up for success and then make effective use of the project deliverables to create value is poorly understood – the strength of a chain is defined by its weakest link, not its strongest!

The consequence of this lack of understanding of the ‘value chain’, at the very top of the organisation, is organisations setting their project up to fail, failing to support projects during their execution, and failing to make use of the project deliverables to generate value. The failure of any of these ‘weak links’ reduces the organisations ability to achieve its strategy and a return on investment. The associated waste of capital caused by sub-optimal project outcomes is the core of the ‘capital crime’ discussed in an easy to read ‘story’ format in the free e-book, ‘The Capital Crime’.

You are invited to download your copy of ‘The Capital Crime’ from:

Back from Europe…

The last major event on my travels was a trip to Belfast – organised by the CIOB months in advance as part of the Ireland meetings, but we were bounced by the Queen’s 60th Jubilee visit to the province (anyone would think they owned the place… 🙂 ); after frenetic last minute reorganisation by CIOB staff and the conference visit went ahead with a new plan.

The highlight was a visit to the Titanic Quarter a major redevelopment of the old Harland and Wolf docks – the ‘Titanic Signature Building’ with its Titanic experience was fantastic, apparently the Queen enjoyed it too and I have it on very good advice I sat in the same car on the experience ride she did a couple of hours earlier.

My one question though is why do dockland redevelopers make a point of providing very bad access into the area? Traffic access into and out of the Melbourne Docklands redevelopment is terrible, the ‘Titanic Quarter’ has exactly the same problem and its access appears to be worse! Whilst the mixed development may eventually lead to most people living near to their work within the precinct, this takes years to occur and in the interim commuters to the area and residents commuting out of the area deserve better basic planning.

Now to catch up on a month’s backlog.

The 4th Dimension of BIM

This post is being composed from the CIOB AGM, conference and Members Forum in Dublin, Ireland. The opening day focused on a broad reaching BIM Conference.

BIM = Building Information Modelling. BIM is likely to be a game changing evolution in the way the ‘built environment’ is designed, built and maintained through life to the eventual decommissioning and either renovation or demolition of the structure. It is an evolutionary process with escalating levels of sophistication and information:

For more on the various levels and elements see:

BIM is becoming a world-wide trend; the UK Government has mandated the use of BIM on all major projects by 2016, contractors are taking the lead in the USA, BIM is routinely used in China and Hong Kong, and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) is looking at implications in Australia. Used effectively BIM results in a significant reduction in waste, the CMMA-USA estimate up to 30% of construction costs are due to wasted materials, rework and wasted time waiting for information.

However using BIM is not just a technology issue. Some of the factors needed to implement BIM effectively include:

  • Managing the culture change and stakeholder issues to allow collaborative working.
  • Adapting contracts and insurance policies to allow the collaborative development and use of shared data. The CIOB have developed a new form of contract to assist in this, see: New CIOB Contract for Complex Projects.
  • Managing data exchange formats and other technical issues.
  • Designing the BIM model and Execution Plan; including deployment, quality assurance, ownership (stewardship) of data, defining the audience for the information extracted from the model and selecting the appropriate level of detail to put into the model and to extract from the model for different audiences.

Incorporating the 4th Dimension – Virtual Construction

The intention of this blog is not to provide a BIM tutorial, rather to look at the opportunities created when the 4th D of time is integrated into a reasonably sophisticated BIM model.

Adding the ‘4th Dimension’ allows the schedule to be linked with data objects at an appropriate level of detail and the project to be built virtually, testing different options before deciding on the best approach. Data from the USA suggests time savings of up to 10% are not uncommon.

Using the 4D model has many advantages. As a starting point, because the work can be seen in 3D, implementing concepts such as lean construction and last planner become much simpler. The workers can see what the current situation is and contribute effectively to decisions as to what work will be done in what sequence during the next few days and then see the results in virtual reality before starting on the actual work. This involvement can operate at the detail level such as services integration in a congested ceiling space or at a higher level looking at plant and materials movements. Some of the other opportunities include:

  • Using BIM to model the overall sequence of work on site. This is particularly useful for showing clients how the building will be constructed.
  • Using the visualisation to develop stakeholder engagement with the schedule at all levels from client to on-site workers.
  • Optimising phasing and temporary works, particularly on complex expansion and refurbishment projects.
  • Modelling the optimum vehicle, plant and material movements for maximum efficiency, particularly if there is restricted access.

Considerable skill is needed to integrate the schedule with the BIM model and make effective use of the information; a BIM expert will typically work with a scheduling expert to pull the data together.

A future extension of BIM could see the need to manage supply items removed from the schedule. The construction schedule defines when the element is needed, the BIM system knows what data items are included in the element and it should not be too difficult in an integrated model to then work back from the ‘install date’ to the required manufacture date and before that, the required design date for each item. The integrated nature of the data would make tracking and managing the supply chain a real-time process with everyone fully informed of the current situation and any issues or problems.

BIM also has the potential to shift planning from activity based scheduling to location based scheduling allowing the optimisation of workflows through a project. In fact with the increasing power of computers, it is possible to foresee a time when the process of scheduling changes from using traditional tools to a virtual construction space where the planner physically moves elements of the building into place in the optimum sequence (or tests alternatives), in the same way a Lego model is built, and the BIM system creates the schedule from the optimum sequencing information created in ‘virtual space’.


The CIOB is leading a number of initiatives to integrate effective time management back into construction management. The key initiatives are:

For any non-construction person who has read this far…… BIM is not an exclusively construction management tool, it works on any engineering project: Boeing use very similar systems to manage the development and through life maintenance of the Dreamliner!