How Software Can Help Conquer the Complexities of Healthcare Construction
Crossrail in London is widely regarded as a shining example of construction complexity gone right. As the largest construction project in the UK, connecting communities from West and East of London, Crossrail is a 118 km/73 mile railway line that will travel under the bustling centre of London. Thanks to its size and scope, Crossrail qualifies as a global megaproject, and the completed line will no doubt ease the daily commute of thousands of passengers, following a decade of construction.
By its very nature, Crossrail is a highly visible model of a complicated yet successful construction project. Its impact will be widely felt when it is completed, on time and within budget, at the end of 2018. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of smaller construction projects in the UK, which while having a positive impact on the community, face unique challenges.
For one, healthcare projects have a significant community impact in the UK and the greater world. From primary care facilities to hospital renovations, healthcare needs are both evolving and growing. However, distinct obstacles like the need for a high-level of quality assurance, strict regulations, and long-term facility management, all add to the increasing complexities of healthcare projects. As a result, companies operating in the sector are increasingly seeking technology and software that allow them to better organize, streamline, and manage project scope and changes against challenging budget constraints.
For one company, Voyage Care, implementing the right software helped revolutionize the management of their projects, and in turn, provide better care for their community.
Meet Voyage Care
For over 25 years Voyage Care has specialised in providing person-centred, high-quality care and support to assist people who have learning and physical disabilities, autism, brain injuries and mental health needs. The company operates 400 properties nationwide to deliver essential support to more than 3,000 adults and children, enabling them to live where, how, and with whom they choose.
While the company’s needs vary from hospitals and other major healthcare institutions in the UK, Voyage Care has a person-centred care approach. This means that clients are offered supported living, care homes, respite services, day services, and brain injury rehabilitation, depending on their individual.
The Challenges… Dedicated to Quality Care and Support
The company was faced with three major coordination challenges. First, Voyage Care collaborates with a wide selection of partners and suppliers to deliver essential services to clients on a daily basis. Maintaining these strong relationships with a near effortless level of communication is necessary to balance the increasing demand for services against tighter timescales and budgets.
Secondly, as mentioned, Voyage Care properties are carefully designed to meet the needs of every person who lives there, including the addition of specialist features such as assisted baths, ceiling tracking, hoists, sensory rooms, and even hydrotherapy facilities, if required. Therefore, to be successful, designs need to be highly visible to all project stakeholders and flexible to change.
Finally, Voyage Care development schemes are designed and managed in-house, and their team works on a number of projects per year across a wide geographic spread. These include a mix of new build and refurbishment projects with schedules running from 12 weeks to one year. This level of activity requires close collaboration across department teams and with external providers and accurate sharing of information–especially plans and drawings.
Why One Project Manager Needed a Change
Prior to 2016, the Voyage Care team managed construction projects with paper drawings. As a result, the company experienced a range of problems with version control, as well as issues communicating revised plans to the site team.
Based out of their main office in Lichfield UK, Phil Chawner, Project Manager, worked closely with the property team and stakeholders on new builds, high-value refurbishments to existing property portfolio, and new acquisitions. In his experience, he knew there had to be a better method than paper. For him and his team, it was increasingly time-consuming to track the progress of projects, especially when team members were working off different drawings, and there was a lack of visibility regarding roles and responsibilities.
More importantly, the team suffered from an overall lack of collaboration which impacted project completions and resulted in cost overruns and reworks issues with some projects. The delays also brought a personal toll, impacting on Voyage Care’s valuable work with their clients and the wider community.
Fed up with the inefficiencies and lack of community, Phil came across PlanGrid, a construction productivity software solution. After learning more, he played a key role in successfully implementing PlanGrid on Voyage Care projects.
When Voyage Care Met PlanGrid…
Voyage Care implemented PlanGrid across a range of activities on projects, including RFIs, specifications, issue reports, permits, QA/QC documents, snag lists, and installation guides. The elimination of paper drawings has reduced version control issues, saving both time and money, and bringing confidence across a number of complex projects. All drawing revisions are uploaded, and auto-linked together, facilitating comparisons, and accommodating changes across all relevant parties.
“When I have a revision from the designer, I can upload that revision to the drawing and push it out to the entire project team. Now everybody on the project receives a notification that a new revision is available, which results in fewer version control issues and enhances efficiency.”
This helps to ensure that all the specific requirements for residents are correctly considered and accurately interpreted throughout the build. When it comes to finalizing projects, the team can easily collate snag lists on properties, and seamlessly share them with sub-contractors from within the solution. This helps ensure the final details are completed when the team is still on site, reducing unnecessary delays in handing over buildings to allocate to awaiting clients.
According to Phil, the most significant benefit of construction productivity software for Voyage Care is the improved collaboration and communication on projects. Roles and responsibilities are clear, and issue tracking provides visibility into outstanding issues, highlighting ownership of activities and ensuring clients get access to the resources they need within the agreed timescales.
“We’ve enhanced collaboration on site by introducing the ability for sub-contractors, from all trades, to access projects in PlanGrid,” added Phil.
“They can now effectively interact with the same information regarding marking up drawings, taking progress photos, and attaching issues.”
From Crossrail to Care – Equip Your Project with Construction Software
Voyage Care may be managing projects with a fraction of the scale and budget of Crossrail, but Phil and his team have the confidence that construction software will help them stay on track as they support the company to deliver essential services to the community.
No matter the scale, size, or scope of your project, implementing the right software is a necessity. To learn more about the benefits ditching a paper system and adopting construction software, download our ebook “How to Transition to a Paperless Construction Company.”