Leading Australian construction company Built relied on a proven cloud collaboration solution from Aconex to successfully deliver a major refurbishment project in Sydney. Aconex is the provider of a leading cloud collaboration platform for the global construction industry.

The signature high-rise office building located at 20 Martin Place is part of a $1-billion renaissance of Sydney’s historic central business district. Having entered into an enterprise agreement with Aconex to support construction, refurbishment and fit-out services on all of its projects throughout Australia, Built sought to deploy the neutral, cloud-based collaboration platform on 20 Martin Place because of a distributed project team of more than 500 members separated by far-flung geographies and multiple time zones.

The building’s owner, Pembroke Real Estate, had several stakeholders in the United States, and the building façade envelope was designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, based in New York. The architects, Crone Partners, were based in Australia, along with Built.

Built’s design director Daniel Graham explained that it was very important to be able to move information seamlessly between geographies.

Using the Aconex cloud-based collaboration platform, the project team was able to easily find and access the most up-to-date versions of documents and drawings, regardless of where they were located. Centralising correspondence on the platform further improved communications, while limiting rework and cost overruns. By the end of the A$100-million project, more than 230,000 documents were registered on Aconex and nearly 160,000 pieces of correspondence were received.

From the outset of the 18-month refurbishment, one of Built’s concerns was to keep design reviews moving so that the project would meet its deadlines. Leveraging Aconex, Built put in place a process that emphasised ‘first principles’ wherein each design submittal package was mapped to each of the disciplines. Built then returned the submittals offering 30%, 60%, 70%, 90%, and finally, 100% workshopped drawings, allowing the team to fast-track the design and get the project moving.

A new process for handling site inspections and defect resolution led to significant productivity gains. Instead of having inspectors manually record defects floor by floor, Built divided the building into QR-coded areas. Team members conducting an inspection could scan the QR codes in Aconex Field and enter the issues they identified on an iPad. The minute a defect was entered, it was assigned to the appropriate subcontractor for resolution. This process reduced the average two- or three-day turnaround to within an hour after the original inspection was completed.

According to Mr Graham, another benefit of Aconex Field was that issues identified by the engineering foreman, architect and client were now available on one platform. Depending on a user’s access permissions in Aconex, it was possible to see all issues in one view, where previously they had been captured in separate lists.

The new process also streamlined issue close-out, which was a daunting exercise previously and involved dealing with a 50-page list of defects. With Aconex, inspectors could focus on specific defects in each area.

Having worked on other standalone tools for capturing defects, Mr Graham says he prefers Aconex because it provides a single, consistent, project-wide view and is worth the investment.