Hospital projects are complex in nature and have some of the most critical characteristics attached to them. It’s critical as it demands accuracy in briefing, planning, and design to proceed with the construction. Such projects should further align with the requirements of the clients and generate maximum value for the patients along with the healthcare providers. Moreover, hospital projects usually demand urgency for project completion. However, they’re often reported to have inaccurate planning which leads to multiple reworks and delays. Research suggests that a poorly elaborated workflow often leads to an average of 40% additional time and a 20% increase in overall cost.
Amidst similar challenges during the construction of the Wuhan Hospital Project, the team adopted detail-oriented planning for efficient project delivery. For that, they deployed the Last Planner® System for collaborative planning, which was later amplified through a digital approach using the Lean-BIM integrated construction management tool, VisiLean. This exploration was implemented on the project for six months through an academic collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, who played the role of expert research consultants on the project.
How was the Wuhan Hospital Project unique?
The Wuhan Central Hospital Yangchunhu Campus has an enormous area of approximately 230,000 sq.m. to accommodate 1,000 beds. Initially, this project followed a traditional construction management practice with elaborative manual workflows. Such workflows faced variations in design and operational developments. This led to budget constraints when the time was already running out as per the schedule. Now, these roadblocks created a break in the entire project workflow and overlooked the co-relations of the inter-processes in planning. In the midst of it, there was a heavy requirement for a digital planner tool to synchronise the planning.
What led to a shift towards a Digital Collaboration Platform?
The conventional planning for Wuhan Hospital displayed a lot of hindrances and raised questions about reliability. By deploying VisiLean, a Lean-BIM integrated platform, all activities about planning, execution, and project controls came under one umbrella. By doing so, the entire construction management process was enhanced because all the stakeholders could communicate over a single site.
VisiLean executing a successful pilot implementation for Wuhan Central Hospital
We followed a step-by-step approach for an efficient application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to the Wuhan Project. These steps are listed down below-
- Evaluation– Our Support Staff evaluated the project workflows along with the Research Team to customise the implementation of VisiLean as per their planning and execution workflows.
- Training– By hand-holding a total contractor team of 20 managers and operators in the project, our team trained them about the usability of the tool over numerous sessions.
- Application– We provided them with a Lean-BIM integrated web-based platform along with the mobile application, LiveSite for real-time updates. The stakeholders of the project quickly became adept at the cloud-based tool and went forward to maximise its functionalities for their project requirements
Impact of VisiLean on the Wuhan Hospital Project
A jump from manual workflows to digitalised workflows laid a drastic impact on the entire Wuhan Hospital Project Yangchunhu Campus. Such an impact can be traced down below-
- Improved Coordination- VisiLean gave some liberty to the sub-contractors to hold the respective person accountable for the said constraints in the discussion. As a result, the accountable individual would address the constraints for effective problem resolution along with enhanced risk management.
- Simplified Documentation- Instead of stacking piles of documents, VisiLean streamlined valuable information in the form of photos and other attachments. This offered easier understanding and better legibility of the entire data to deal with the issues on the ground and meet the deadlines accordingly.
- Project Control and Monitoring- As the tool was personalised as per the project, the team of workers would review the dashboards to access the required information with ease. This gave them a sense of improved control over the execution of the project.
- Enhanced Plan Reliability- Trust is a must in terms of undertaking any activity. With a more realistic lookahead plan, it glided the project towards completion with lesser and lesser revisions and last-minute changes. Since all the activities were tracked, punctuality was observed in terms of the ‘on-time start’ rate, reducing the amount of rework significantly.
A survey was conducted by the NTU research team to find insights into the usage of the VisiLean tool. The statistics speak for themselves in terms of the results observed. VisiLean as a collaborative tool improved the communication between different teams involved in the Wuhan Hospital Project. As a result, 80% of the members of the contractor’s team experienced it to be life-changing for the execution cycle of the project.
In addition to that, an average of 74% of the team members imbibed workflow changes toward Lean Management. This led them to have better visibility of the entire construction process, allowing them to identify the waste and inefficiencies with ease. They also optimised their resources towards efficient allocation. In the opinion of 76% of daily users of the tool, VisiLean has an extremely friendly user interface leading to increased usage. Such an intuitive interface captured the user persona and democratised power in the construction field.
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