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Know your stakeholders, and what’s important to them

Understanding your stakeholders helps them, and you.

Today’s Construction and Engineering Projects tend to be complex, and can involve thousands of people and many different organizations and teams.

Successful and early adoption of a project collaboration tool is critical to enable project teams to start collaborating in an effective manner. It’s always easier to get people on board when we understand their point of view, so let’s take a look at the different players on a construction project and what’s important to them.

Owner/Developer

The owner developer has the most significant stake in the project, because they are providing the funding (thus accepting the most risk). Strong business aptitude, but not always technically skilled to execute the project, they rely heavily on third party support. 

With their top concerns being big ticket items, such as On-time asset delivery, achieving required quality standards and ultimately efficient running of the asset – they often are the one’s who have specified the use of Oracle Aconex to ensure that these requirements are achieved.

However, depending on their technical aptitude, it can be a challenge getting them to actively use the system.

Contractor

These are: General = Construction / EPC = Engineering / Civil = Infrastructure.

The Contractor is responsible for the construction of the project in accordance with the contract documents, including the contract agreement (and budget), the general and special conditions, and the plans and specification of the project that are prepared by a design professional such as The Architect.

The top concerns of the Contractor are timely delivery to a quality standard whilst minimizing cost over runs.

Some of the challenges the Contractor faces on a day to day basis:

  • Managing and coordinating many different sub-contractors.
  • Managing complex approval and signoff processes.
  • Dealing with large numbers of documents, staying up to date.
  • Monitoring progress to ensure timelines are adhered to.
  • Managing costs to ensure the project stays on budget.
  • Minimizing errors and rework.
  • Quick access to information to resolve disputes or in case of litigation. 

Many large Contractor’s use Oracle Aconex across their projects. They are the most likely to be familiar with the system and aren’t shy to use technology. And since managing subcontractors is a big part of what they do, they easily recognize the value of a project-wide collaboration tool they can set up to make sure they can monitor progress and communicate effectively downstream. 

Note: EPC means Engineering, Procurement, and Construction. 

Architect

The Architect on construction projects is usually one of the first external parties that is brought on board – typically at concept or feasibility. Far from simply being the party that draws up the plans, they are a pivotal player in the entire project process. Throughout the whole project the architects focus will be on making sure their client is happy, and that they provide only top-quality work. 

Some of the challenges the Architect faces on a day to day basis:

  • Accessing large and complex documents and working off the latest versions.
  • Integrating content from other applications.
  • Collaborating across large and remote teams.
  • Meeting design milestones and packaging design specifications.
  • Communicating various design options and initial construction cost to the owner.
  • Meeting municipal design guidelines / restrictions and sustainability requirements.

Depending on the Clients and Contractors the Architect has worked with in the past, they may not be familiar with using an online collaboration tool. They may also have their own document management system in place which they use for design development. In any case, they’ll most likely have to transfer large amounts of documents to Aconex in preparation for the Construction phase. It’s important for them to understand how this can be achieved in an efficient manner.

Project Manager

The Project Manager directs and coordinates human and material resources throughout the life of a project to meet the objectives of scope, cost, time and quality. They generally work for Contractors, Owners or PM Firms. Their main responsibility is the specification of project objectives, scope, budgeting, scheduling etc. They also ensure efficient resource use of labor, materials and equipment. To achieve this, they need to effectively communicate to avoid and resolve conflicts among the project participants. 

Some of the challenges the Project Manager faces on a day to day basis:

  • Trying to minimize cost overruns.
  • Keeping the project on schedule.
  • Stakeholder management:
  • Managing contractors / subcontractors tightly.
  • Avoiding mistakes and rework.
  • Dealing with many issues at once and changing priorities.
  • Managing up to executives with timely and accurate information.

Project Managers like the control that the use of Aconex brings. They are heavy users of the Mail module and need to be able to run reliable reports, such as RFI reports, to monitor progress and risk.

Engineer

The Engineer is a member of the consultant team that provides professional service for a particular discipline (e.g. structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire safety etc.). They are led by the Lead Consultant (typically the Architect) and are experts in design, engineering, permitting and construction in their specialist fields. They ensure Integrity of the constructions and functionality of systems being built. 

Some of the challenges the Engineer faces on a day to day basis:

  • Producing and dealing with large numbers of documents, staying up to date.
  • Access to all the information they need.
  • Making sure they are consulted when it comes to critical decision making.
  • Clear, easy and traceable communication with all stakeholders.

Due to the nature of their work, Engineers are typically risk conscious. They are very process oriented and methodical and they will do their best to build liability into designs and approvals, so audit trails are very important to them.

Document Controller

The Document Controller works with the different departments within an organization, ensuring that documents and records are kept in the right location and are issued as required to all internal / external services. They generally work at larger Contractors and are also more common in government departments. At Architectural and Engineering firms, project team members often “moonlight” as document controllers because even though it is an important function, they have no designated resource.

Some of the challenges the Document Controller faces on a day to day basis:

  • Ensuring document registers are up to date.
  • Ensuring the right documents, and versions, are accessible at the right time.
  • Chasing up information (at the request of their teams). 
  • Distributing documents to the greater team.
  • Ensuring quality of information management.
  • Providing reporting to Project Managers.

Like their Engineering colleagues, Document Controllers are methodical and process driven. They are likely to plan, document and set up their processes ahead of time so that they are in control.

Subcontractor

The subcontractor is responsible to the Contractor for their portion as laid out in their contract. The subcontractors may work alone or with other workers that must be employed and managed by them. They provide the trades and manpower required to deliver the project. Subcontractors generally specialize in a field, and many different companies work alongside each other to get the job done. The Contractor coordinates the Subcontractors and makes sure that they have access to the right areas at the right times, and that materials required to complete their work are available.

Some of the challenges the Subcontractor faces on a day to day basis:

  • Accessing large and complex documents and working off the latest versions.
  • Sticking to the Contractor’s overall schedule.
  • Avoiding mistakes and rework.
  • Communicating effectively to resolve issues.

Due to the nature of their work, smaller subcontracting firms usually have their boots on the ground and on site, meaning that they need to minimize time spent in the office. 

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