Finding solutions:

Equipment problems? On-site solutions.

On a construction site, any delay - however small - is a mistake in itself, because valuable time and money are lost.

➤ And what happens when a device arrives that does not correspond to the design?

➤ Or the design itself includes the wrong device in the plans?

Every company creates specification standards on all their sites.

In the following article, I will show you how to guard against problems caused by incorrectly specified equipment much earlier.

You cannot act after the fact when everything is heading for disaster.

In addition, I write about how you can gather as many easy-to-grasp and reorganise solutions as possible to make the whole project run efficiently and without creating unnecessary conflicts.

Wojciech Domaszczynski

Consultant, designer
MEP BIM expert
Owner of Domaszczynski & TEAM

Proper prevention, based largely on communication between specialists, as well as their checking the project at its initial stage, obviously prevents later problems on the construction site. When you work in a large group of people, with one specific goal – to complete the project on time – there is always a possibility that some mistakes will creep in, causing many unforeseen problems. 

When the wrong device was ordered and arrives on the construction site – everyone has a problem. In such a situation, a domino effect is instantly created, which somehow affects everyone involved in the project. It can also happen that the device is suitable, but the prefabricated segment is not as it should be, and to all of this you have to add the wrong installation sequence. The result is a really unenviable situation: all work comes to a standstill, time slips away and, apart from the obvious attempts to solve the problem, the search for culprits begins. 

Mistakes made at the start of a project

The people who may have made this mistake are many. Let’s start with the supplier itself. Perhaps the wrong equipment was shipped, or someone made a mistake in the warehouse and prepared the wrong thing for shipment that was needed on-site. In such a situation, you need to immediately contact the company responsible for the delivery, compare invoices, all the order data and send the equipment back to the warehouse. And add to it the wasted time waiting for the correct item to arrive. There are also accidents at much earlier stages before the delivery of the equipment to the construction site. The equipment that arrived may be faulty through the fault of the manufacturer; after all, datasheets are very complicated and require a great deal of careful study. So it is possible that an error crept in at the very beginning, during the manufacturing of the equipment in question, and hence rendering it faulty. It could also be the fault of a salesman who took a careless approach to his job and sold the wrong equipment that was required for the site.

Mistakes made during the work

It is not only away from the construction site that the culprits for the situation should be sought. Perhaps a mistake crept into the site’s procurement department somewhere and the wrong equipment was ordered. In this case, “wrong” refers not only to the equipment itself, as a good one may have arrived and actually been needed, but not in that order, at the expense of another that was needed at that stage. In some cases, such delivery does not have to be sent back, but valuable time is lost waiting for the next one, the one with equipment needed immediately. The designer can also be the link to a mistake. It only takes one mistake at the initial design stage, when it seems that exactly this equipment will be needed. When the work is already well underway, it turns out that the mistake was at the root and had been there from the very beginning, but nobody – including, of course, the designer himself – noticed it. It also happens that in the list of things necessary for the execution of the investment something escapes the designer or is wrongly chosen. Then we have to wait for the transport of the missing element or replace the one which we have already used in many places.

Mistakes may also appear during work on the detailed design. Imagine a situation when communication between the designer and the assistant does not work smoothly. The designer changes to another device while working on all the details. This information for some reason does not reach the assistant or the assistant for some reason ignores it and a design error occurs.

A slightly different, but equally troublesome and costly situation occurs when, after the completion of works, it turns out that in the case of changes made during the construction of the whole project, the devices ordered for some reason do not fit into it. Then the whole investment will not fulfil its role properly.

Application of BIM

To avoid such mistakes in the future, you need to create projects in a modern way. A very good solution is to use a BIM (Building Information Modeling) model, which automatically copies a given change in the project and pastes it at subsequent stages of its development. In a way, this function makes the model remember something for us so that no data disappears. This is very helpful when the project appears in several drawings; BIM guarantees the repeatability of a given 3D element and rules out the situation when a given element is named differently. This will make it easier to find an error as it will be repeated in an identical version in all drawings. Checking drawings for errors must be done by someone competent in the relevant speciality; someone who sees an element repeated many times will not think of it as incorrect. An equally good and practical way for a designer to avoid problems is not to rewrite technical descriptions every time – then very often a mistake can be made.

Ways to avoid mistakes

In which phase of work on a project or construction already in progress should attention be paid to a possible error that suddenly appears in many places at once? In part, the answer to this question is provided by the spiral model of communication, which I have written about many times before. It is helpful when designing the first structures of a project because it involves communicating all the steps that will take place. A comprehensive discussion of all the issues among the specialists will make it possible to catch any mistakes in advance. The spiral model of communication can be called the first foundation that an investment receives. 

An action that will allow us to avoid mistakes is a thorough check of the documentation at the stage of signing the contract, as well as working on adaptive corrections to the project. Once the contract is signed by all three parties, the designer should be involved in the whole process. Such a strategy works when it is marked at the concept stage by the investor himself – this procedure will make the contractor obliged to apply it.

Involving the designer

Once the whole project is developed, it’s necessary to discuss it with the designer. This discussion can be carried out by videoconference or meet and brainstorm. During such a lively discussion, you are bound to come up with new ideas and also correct existing ones. Another good method is to specify at the very beginning that the project is being created in the Design and Build technology – it is just a slogan, a kind of concept assuming that the whole process of design and construction is one body, one organism, all elements of which must smoothly coexist. Once the designer is involved in the process, it is necessary to agree on how much time he/she can spend on analysing the whole; to facilitate the work of other team members, it is also worth creating an online database of files where everyone can see the changes made by the designer.

The ways of avoiding mistakes described above are only some of many other, equally effective ones that Domaszczyński & Team has in its portfolio.

If you feel at least a little bit insecure while creating the lists or you have doubts about how to go through the whole investment without any problems – do not hesitate to call us. 

Wojciech Domaszczyński, MBA. Expert in construction, solving problems at the design stage so that they don’t occur during construction. #BIM

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