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Implementing an EDMS in the construction


industry

The following case study was provided by Elstree Computing (now owned by Causeway) and
relates to a 32m project to construct a Logistics Centre at Hong Kong International Airport,
which provides logistics services to shippers, freight forwarders and other clients. The building
is split over three levels with a gross floor area of 31,000 square metres.

Business problems

Following a review of the management and implementation of recent construction projects,


several key business problems and issues were identified:

Time required for drawings to be approved and issued ? The time required for hard copy
drawings to be sent between project team members during an approval process was often
quite significant. Also the time required for an issued hard copy drawing to arrive at the
construction site from the head office could also be substantial, which sometimes resulted in a
sizeable delay between drawing approval, issue and being used on site.

Managing technical query references ? Traditionally technical queries and their supporting
documentation were produced as paper documents. Managing and maintaining the
relationships between the technical query and their references was often problematic and
would usually result in a good deal of hard copy duplication to ensure integrity.

Monitoring and managing business processes ? Business processes, such as drawing


issue and technical query, were sometimes difficult to monitor, control and manage. For
example, it was often difficult to determine with whom drawings were with within an approval
process.

Determining the changes in a drawing revision ? Traditionally as drawings were issued as


paper documents the processes of checking the changes between drawing revisions was at
times difficult and prolonged.

Head office staff accessing site office documents ? Sometimes staff at the head office
frequently needed to view documents or drawings that were located on site. As the majority of
project documents and drawings were paper-based, this was difficult and time consuming to
achieve.

Collaboration between organisations ? Communication and collaboration on paper


documents between organisations was commonly a challenging and lengthy process. This
frequently delayed the completion of key business processes.

Controlling electronic documents ? During more recent projects, some design team
members had made their drawings available electronically. However, the websites that were
used for this purpose were often poorly designed and managed and the information and
documents they contained were often out of date. There was also reluctance among design
team members to issue drawings electronically due to the risk of the files being changed or
copied. There was also the challenge for the recipient of the electronic drawing file to be able

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to view it without expensive design software.

Solution

The solution implemented by Gammon Shanska on this project to control and manage all
construction-related documentation was the ECL Information Manager ? the Drawing,
Document Management and Collaboration Solution for Construction ? which provides:

Business process mapping ? Through customisation performed by ECL, key business


processes have been automated and formalised through the implementation of Workflow.

Single document location ? All project documents are stored once, in one location.

Controlled, secure anywhere access ? Utilising the internet, project documents can be
accessed at anytime from anywhere.

Revision control and management ? All document revisions are controlled and managed by
the system.

Electronic drawing revision comparison ? Drawings can be compared electronically and


the differences viewed and printed.

Electronic document redline and mark-up - Enables all documents to be viewed and
marked up without the native software application.

Automatic drawing file conversion ? Drawing files are automatically converted to a


read-only format.

Electronic document cross referencing ? Relationships between documents within the


system can be easily developed and managed.

Full audit capability ? The system includes a full audit trial including a history mode.

Business benefits

Following the implementation of ECL Information Manager on the Logistics Centre


construction project many real business benefits have been realised, which include:

Drawings are being issued in hours not days ? As drawings are now being issued
electronically, they can be used as working drawings on site with little or no delay after their
approval.

Technical queries resolved in days not weeks ? As there is now a high degree of automation
and control over this business process, technical queries are being resolved more quickly
thereby reducing delays. Supporting documentation can also be electronically
cross-referenced to the technical query document, which assists in the communication of the
question, and answer.

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Using the system to improve working practices ? A meeting room has been created on site,
which contains a projector and a computer connected to the ECL Information Manager. This is
used to host design meetings and review and mark-up drawings electronically in forum style.
This enables design decisions to be made on the spot with little or no delay.

Consultants visit site more often ? Consultants visit the construction site more often and have
access to the system and all project documentation on site. Architect instructions are also
issued on site, thereby also reducing and avoiding delays.

All parties use the system as a common information source ? All parties use the system as the
common information source and therefore all project parties are working from the same
documentation. This means there is no duplication of documentation as all documents are only
stored once.

Automatic creation of drawing register and submission record ? The system automatically
creates and maintains a real time drawing register, which can be accessed by all, thereby
eliminating any doubt regarding the latest approved revision of a drawing. As the drawing
approval and issue business process has been formalised and automated, there is also now
only one drawing submission record that is also updated in real time and can be accessed by
all.

Ability to track and monitor business processes in real time ? As documents move through the
formalised business processes, it is possible to track and report on their progress in real time.
This exposure and reporting ability is reducing the time required for these business processes
to be completed.

Reduced design conflict ? As a result of increased control and management over key
construction processes and improvements in the way the design team are collaborating, the
numbers of design conflicts have markedly reduced. This has meant that there are less
technical queries raised on this project than expected.

No rota files - As all daily correspondence is electronically stored in the system, there is no
longer a need for rota files to be sent around the project parties containing the latest project
documentation. This has resulted in creating a virtually paperless site office.

Electronic drawings have guaranteed integrity ? As prior to issue, electronic drawings are
automatically converted to a read-only format, they cannot be modified once issued. This has
resulted in a high level of confidence in the system among the project parties, as the drawings
being issued electronically are protected against unauthorised change.

Easy review of electronic documents ? Using the system, all documents can be viewed without
the native application. This means that site PCs do not have to have expensive and specialist
design software to review documentation produced by the design team.

Drawings and drawing revisions compared in seconds not hours - The system enables
drawings to be compared electronically in seconds rather than the hours it was taking before to
compare paper drawings using a light box. This ensures any discrepancies can be quickly
raised and dealt with thereby reducing the impact that design conflicts have on project
progress.

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Summary

Buoyed by the success of ECL Information Manager on the Logistics Centre project, Gammon
Shanska is ensuring the majority of new projects experience these real business benefits by
adapting the ECL Information Manager as their drawing, document management and
collaboration solution.

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