Learning the Lessons that Reduce Risk and Delay in Civil Infrastructure Projects

Following demonetization, India’s Q1 2017 GDP grew at 6.1%. Over the same period, construction shrunk by 3.7%. Banking fared better showing steady growth and for this reason civil infrastructure projects will find funding. Research company Global Information Inc. predicts that the industry will expand by 5.6% this year and achieve average annual growth of 6.2% annually over the next decade.

Bloomberg recently reported that the government plans to spend $59 billion to modernize transport, and it is expected that spending on infrastructure will be $1 trillion over the next 20 years. The range of projects cover urban upgrades, low-cost housing for all by 2022 and host of large scale projects that will help fuel economic growth.

Amid this potentially optimistic scene there are some major challenges causing current projects to be delayed and putting future plans in jeopardy. A recent report in India Today says that 94 large projects are delayed. This is due to a combination of delays in land acquisition, geological conditions, environment and forest clearance difficulties, rehabilitation and resettlement, local body permissions, utility shifting and contractual issues. Shortage of labor, materials and funding are also some of the contributing factors.

Bloomberg reported that out of 1,200 infrastructure projects, a quarter are running behind the schedule and as per PricewaterhouseCoopers India, the government will increase public spending for the completion of stalled projects rather than announce the new ones.

Our work in the civil infrastructure sector reveals that digitalization not only eases project delays but also helps optimize costs and minimize contract disputes. The key to achieving these goals is to replace inefficiencies with best practices. This is done by deploying a unified and universally accessible enterprise platform that applies predefined best practices to projects.

The collaboration of all parties and stakeholders enable simultaneous real-time access to design models and project data from anywhere and across different disciplines. This creates an interactive community of owners, engineers and civil designers who can work in parallel, share data and build quality and efficiency into projects. Such a platform provides a single source of truth with real-time management of the large amounts of information generated by projects at this scale. Working this way means that users design from a catalog and make updates that are immediately reflected across all design models.

No user is isolated and they can import data from any number of platforms to create a single-source mock-up where all parties including owners, designers, engineers and fabricators, can work together as part of an integrated design community.

Design changes due to unforeseen factors are instantly communicated to all stakeholders who can then collaborate based on real-time project status updates. This leads to consistency and regularity of processes as well as transparency and traceability. Without the use of an enterprise-wide platform that links multiple players, waste and delays leading to cost escalations are inevitable as people work on redundant or outdated data.  

Operating on a single platform reduces risk by providing stakeholders with the information they need to understand, evaluate and mitigate in advance.

Innovative strategists, planners and providers work this way to ensure efficient, on-cost and on-target delivery. They are experiencing successful outcomes from collaborative working on a unified cloud-based platform and the important lessons learned from that methodology are being applied to important national infrastructure projects.

India’s drive to modernize its infrastructure is crucial to our nation’s economic and social development. We have the largest young population in the world today. To capitalize on this economic dividend, we need to provide the infrastructure that translates ideas into reality without delay, excessive cost, or unexpected risk.

India’s time for opportunity is right now and I am excited to witness the adoption of technology that stops delay, risk and spiraling costs from holding back our national progress.