Industrial constructions sector – perspective by Optim Project Management professionals –Andreea Baciu
- Challenges in industrial projects
Project Management for industrial constructions is very specific and often involves tailored planning, to help create comprehensive plans that meet all regulatory requirements, with special consideration to both the production process and workers’ health and safety. When it comes to serving the customized construction needs of the industrial market, Optim Project Management understands the rigorous challenges involved and we apply our years of experience to every new project.
Industrial construction sites require extensive legal permits and meeting strict guidelines sets. These standards ensure that the facility and construction methods used include a high level of safety and help to codify the best practices, methods and technical requirements to create a safe and sustainable environment. The construction industry accounts for an incredible 36% of worldwide energy usage and 40% of CO2 emissions. With growing concerns over climate change and the finite nature of resources, there is an increasing need to reduce the environmental impact and build sustainable constructions.
In terms of sustainability and Planning for the Future, Arctic Factory in Ulmi, Dambovita – for which Optim Project Management performed General Design, Permitting, Project Management for Tendering Phase and LEED Certification Services – was designated by World Economic Forum as one of the ten most sustainable Industry 4.0 production facilities in the world.
The demand for more sustainable and economic solutions has significantly grown, due to the effects of global warming. We design and build green buildings, to minimize resource consumption, reduce life cycle costs, maximize health and productivity for the building’s occupants, and improve environmental performance. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are key to the successful construction of green buildings.
“Unique challenges had to be addressed in the Arctic Project. The importance and specificity of local regulations have to be made clear to the foreign investor from the beginning of the collaboration. The specific rules and regulations for industrial units, as well as the regulations for compliance with fire safety are essential and must be understood, explained in detail to the investor and implemented in the design from the concept stage of the project. This makes it easier to obtain the necessary approvals and authorizations both for the start of the execution and for the operation of the factory. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to legal problems and delays in the construction and operation of the factory, with considerable impact on costs.
Establishing relations with local authorities – obtaining approvals and authorizations from local authorities is a complex and time-consuming process and it is essential to build positive relationships, to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible.
Cost management represents a challenge when designing and authorizing any kind of construction. It is useful that, from the beginning of the design, the investor informs the designers about the budget of the investment. It is also important that the investor is informed about the reality of the local market, even from the design phase and this is where our Cost Managers come in. The conclusion being that communication is the most important factor in solving and managing challenges.” – Gabriela Botez, Lead Architect
Our extensive collaboration with Continental, as a reliable partner, was defined by the drive they inspired: Let your ideas shape the future. Here’s why: “Project tools and construction projects are becoming more complex as we speak, even more as one’s dependent on technology development. Due to the fast technology development, industrial processes tend to change faster. This causes a tidal wave of changes in the construction projects, that usually need a stable environment and precise specifications to be executed properly, simply because planning and execution take time, as high-quality standards have to be met. Our Optim Project Management team understood that change is nowadays, more than ever, the only constant in our industry, therefore we’ve managed to adapt quickly and embedding discipline in our everyday-work proved to be the right approach.
Constant additional requirements and design changes increase risks of time extensions and cost increases. The fast-changing environment of a process has consequences not only on major project parameters, but has a much wider influence, especially on project participants, the people executing the projects and their understanding of their project role and project contribution. Additional support and particular project training become serious and constant tasks for us, as Project Managers, for all project participants to keep up.” – Zdravko Jovicic, Project Manager, Optim Project Management Serbia
In Continental Timisoara, these were the most important challenges our team had to deal with. “Because of the Covid situation, unforeseen risks for delays appeared right from the beginning of the project and had to be addressed by the entire team. Optim Project Management worked with the suppliers, who managed to act like members of our team, and came up with new solutions regarding delivery terms, sometimes even by partial externalization of their production.
Despite all the modifications that appeared during the process – the client specifically asked for the final term to be met. Because of the very tight terms in execution, our team focused on following the time schedule and on finding alternatives in managing works, and some of the phases even had to be reconsidered. That’s why it’s very important to receive complete and clear information regarding project specifics and client strict requirements from the very beginning. Additionally, translating the client needs and demands into a correct allocation of the Project Management team members and their specialization are aspects that reflect into the final quality delivered.” – Ionut Scarlat, Project Manager
When Optim Project Management was appointed to deliver the new Frigoglass factory in Timisoara, the main challenge was to ensure that the proposed solutions are technically and economically feasible in a very time-efficient manner, because the objective was the reconstruction of the factory, as well as the refurbishment of the adjacent buildings, aiming to enable the starting of production as soon as possible.
“The challenges of the location and the fact that existing buildings had to be integrated generated a greater level of complexity in the design theme, which influenced the volume of work and had a major impact on the time required for the design. The fire compliance of the existing buildings and their integration in the process of rebuilding the hall was one of the major technical goals to be achieved. Also, our team’s studies regarding the technological process became a real process of information assimilation. Overall, it was also a project from which every member of the team had something to learn.
Due to the complexity of the technological process and the client’s specific production process, special measures were necessary in terms of configurating the respective rooms versus fire safety and environmental aspects. The client wanted to start production as soon as possible, so the approval process was of utmost importance to our full design team, reason for which we have all focused on this central goal.” – Ioana Gava, Architect
- Lessons learned
A lesson learned is defined as knowledge gained from experience, for the purpose of improving future performance. As there is no theoretical aspect in the construction works to fit every project, earning lessons from every experience in implementing new projects is a means of improving organizational performance. The vision of an organization that can readily recall what went well on a project and attempt to recreate the success offers commercial sense.
In the construction industry, although each project is unique, there are some processes that are repeatable, so there is scope in transferring learning from previous projects. Lessons learned highlight the positive and negative aspects of projects and contribute to the valuable experience of the company.
Expect the unexpected can be translated as any construction project involves challenges. Solid contractual terms are necessary, to avoid different interpretations of the same condition. Sharing best practices and addressing the snags as they occur will make you avoid future difficulties. The right team always finds the best solution. Communication and understanding of general requirements are needed from all the parties involved. Or more specific lessons, as – all structural elements should be designed considering the current market situation; completion and coordination of all listed designs must be done before the start of works; the level of details in all drawings and text should be sufficiently clear – they all contribute to our continuous experience and the transformation of this experience in further knowledge, accessible to the whole organization.
Knowledge management represents the process of creating, acquiring, capturing, sharing and using knowledge, to enhance learning and performance in organizations. The real challenge, of course, is to approach the notion of lessons learned more systematically, so that it becomes part of the business process and to impose a structure for what is done on an ad-hoc basis. Our lessons learned come from 50 industrial projects (over 1.1 million sqm built) for which we’ve provided Design, Project Management or EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management) services. Our extensive experience taught us a lot and that’s what we have been doing here, at Optim Project Management for 14 years: We build with Passion!