eConstruction and ProjectWise
The Federal Highway Administration and the Transportation Research board have had an initiative for the past 4 or 5 years to encourage state DOTs and consultants to do what they call “eConstruction.” You can read all about it on the FHWA Website. Their purpose is to improve the efficiency of transportation and other construction projects to conserve the resources available for the tremendous number of projects needed as defined by NIST, ASCE, and all of us as we drive over rough roads and sit in traffic jams. The ultimate metric that they are shooting for is the “paperless project” based on the good assumption that if less paper is used on projects, there will be less delays, the friction for information flow will be reduced, and projects will go faster and more efficiently.
The Crossrail project in London is a terrific example of eConstruction, even though they don’t call if eConstruction. This 10-year, $26B project connecting East to WEst through downtown London is using an interoperable suite of Bentley software including MicroStation, Navigator, OpenRoads, OpenRail, Bentley Map, Descartes, Pointools, RM Bridge, STAAD.Pro and more, all managed via ProjectWise, as the technology based on a process that has now become British standard BS1192 and PAS 1192 which is required for all major public projects. Another Crossrail success factor was the Crossrail Academy which has trained thousands of particpants and stakeholders on the standards, processes and procedures that have made Crossrail a success. And, the proof, Crossrail is on schedule and within budget.
Michigan DOT was the first US DOT to complete a paperless, eConstruction project, for which they won an award at the annual Year in Infrastructure event held in London. ProjectWise is their backbone for all projects. Actually, 34 US DOTs have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, ProjectWise as the backbone for their paperless projects. Others are in the planning stages.
What is the key to a successful, paperless, eConstruction project? A collection of interoperable software that covers as many of the disciplines and phases of a project, managed via ProjectWise with all of the participants trained, not only in the software, but also in the philosophy, standards, and procedures of the project, like the Crossrail Academy. How to decide on which products to use? A successful track record, like Crossrail and Michigan DOT.