Cloud-based collaboration overcomes daunting project challenges
Pell Frischmann Designs Water Infrastructure System on Aconex
The Water Supply Sector Loan Project involved refurbishing aging facilities and building new infrastructure to support the public health of residents in the Ninewa, Anbar and Salah El Din Governorates of Iraq. The entire water system had been long overdue for a major upgrade.
"The people here badly needed this system," said Stewart Neal, civil engineer at Pell Frischmann and design manager on the project. "Since water demand exceeded supply, water would be turned on for 24 hours in one zone of a city, and the next day water would be turned off in that zone and directed to another zone. The intermittent water supply and low water quality created public health risks."
In 2012, the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works utilised financing from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the redesign and reconstruction of water intake facilities, water treatment plants, transmission facilities, and distribution pipelines. Following an international tendering process, the Ministry awarded the design project to Pell Frischmann. Active in Iraq since 2004, the firm had won the British Expertise International Masterplanning Project of the Year Award in 2017 for its collaborative work on the country's transportation infrastructure.
Connecting Teams and Data Securely in the Cloud
With design teams in Exeter, London, Baghdad, and Mumbai, and a client in Iraq with an unreliable IT infrastructure and security issues, Pell Frischmann knew the project would present challenges. The firm selected the Aconex platform to be able to store, access and share design data securely in the cloud, manage complex design reviews, track approvals, and keep all communications and processes connected to the project rather than lost on email or internal servers. Even then, Aconex helped Pell Frischmann quickly avert problems that the firm could not have anticipated.
"We found that the client preferred to review and approve designs on paper," explained Mr. Neal. "Sending design documents by mail or courier was expensive and time-consuming. File sizes and regional connectivity issues made email impractical."
Aconex solved the problem with project-wide collaboration, connecting the entire team and all project data on a single platform. This allowed the design team in the UK to upload large design documents so that the team in Iraq could download and print them for the client. Each document went through multiple revisions during the design phase of the project.
"Aconex was much faster and more secure than emailing because we were sending links to the files stored on the platform rather than the files themselves," said Mr. Neal. "Our team in Baghdad always had the current versions plus easy access to all the history."
Fast Deployment and Project Set-up
Using Aconex also helped Pell Frischmann avoid all the IT issues typically associated with onboarding a geographically dispersed team of 150 people across different organisations. "We never had to get IT involved at all to support the product or to install software," said Mr. Neal. "Learning the system was relatively straightforward, and we needed only a web connection to access it. Aconex saved us an enormous amount of hassles not only within our own organisation but across the project team."
The design phase of the project was completed on schedule due to the visibility and control Aconex gave Pell Frischmann. "There was never any ambiguity about who was holding up the workflow," said Mr. Neal. "Everyone could see who had approved designs, where the bottlenecks were and who needed to take action."
"The Iraqi water system design is yet another example of our leadership in Middle East infrastructure projects across multiple sectors," said Steve Cooper, general manager, UK and Ireland, at Aconex. "We are pleased with the opportunity to deliver value to Pell Frischmann and its project team, and we look forward to supporting the firm with similar projects in the future."
About Aconex Ltd
Aconex Limited (ASX:ACX) project collaboration solution digitally connects owners, builders and other teams, providing complete visibility and management of data, documents and costs across all stages of a construction project lifecycle. The Aconex cloud-based solution has been used to manage over $1 trillion in projects across 70,000 user organisations in over 70 countries. The company’s ordinary shares are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the ticker code ACX and are included in the S&P/ASX 200 Index.
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