Green Project Management is proving that you do not need to be a large construction player to secure significant benefits from choosing the right project management application. Green PM has chosen Asta Powerproject and its BIM module to enable it to utilise 4D planning ahead of some competitors, as well as align with the software in use by many principal contractors.
When you’re a relatively small firm operating in a very large market, it’s important to create every advantage you can.
For Cheshire-based Green Project Management, that means not just a commitment to sustainable and financially viable environmental responsibility, but ensuring that every project is managed to perfection by its small team of employees and associates.
Green PM’s environmental philosophy is not the only progressive thing about the company, which has invested to utilise 4D planning even ahead of some far larger construction players.
It has chosen Asta Powerproject as its project planning and management platform, along with the Asta Powerproject BIM module, to help it work more efficiently, enhance client communication, deliver on its project commitments, and support its efforts to grow the business for a digital construction future.
Making the change
Green PM was formerly using MS Project as its planning and project management software but when, in 2016, the company won its largest contract to date, it decided to upgrade to a construction industry standard tool. It chose Asta Powerproject over alternatives not only from observing its popularity, but on its feature set, including its ability to support 4D planning and widespread use by construction contractors, including a new client.
Adopting Asta Powerproject benefited communications and information exchange between Green PM and its client immediately on the new project. The £47.5m contract in question was to project manage a large eight-storey student accommodation project at Godiva Place, Coventry, to be constructed on a brownfield site in the city’s University district, delivering around 770 student bedrooms. Green PM was charged not just with project management, but with using its expertise to assure the safety of ground conditions, oversee air quality and noise constraints, and minimise impact on local infrastructure.
The project benefits became clear quite quickly. Replacing the original software with Asta Powerproject brought key capabilities, such as the ability to compare current progress against the baseline of the planned programme baseline, and the ability to create and evaluate different ‘what if’ scenarios.
Benefits include the simplicity of display and navigation. The Green PM team has particularly valued the ability to collate multiple models from a single project, and select the breakdown or cross-section of any structure within the project programme, because this gives the client project team a deeper insight into the design. They can now assess designs visually and identify any potential problems directly on the programme, some of which would not have been visible on a traditional schedule. It is possible to communicate project progress more visually, by displaying different colours and patterned sections to show items that are on track, ahead of, or behind schedule.
Looking to the future
However, what the software enables for the business is equally important. Jonathan Greenhalgh is founder and Managing Director of Green Project Management. He told us: “Asta Powerproject gives us the ability to use 4D planning, which we feel brings a real advantage to us as a small business. We are now able to show clients progress and plans in a new way, demonstrating exactly how the building has progressed throughout the project timescale using exported images and videos. These benefits are not only of use on current projects, as he continued: “We believe the software will give us an additional edge when tendering for projects, since we can now give our prospective client a visual representation of how a project may develop. That is so much more powerful than simply showing a timeline and dates on a piece of paper.”
Bradley Grieve, Assistant Project Manager, has been involved in getting Asta Powerproject and 4D planning up and running for Green PM. He outlined the importance of having Elecosoft on hand: “Elecosoft has a great technical support helpline, and there’s also an extensive web portal to use for support with the product. You are never left in the dark with Elecosoft. If you aren’t quite confident enough with the software to demonstrate something to a client, they will help, and there are lots of training courses on offer.”
Investing to build the business for the future is essential to Green PM, especially as the sector undergoes a digital construction transformation. As Jonathan concluded: “BIM and digital construction is the future. To play a role in that future we must continue to invest in the right tools, improve our ability to collaborate, as well as work to secure maximum efficiencies on projects.”