“Until now, the usual thing has been to look at the price of a building project per square metre, without taking into account differences among projects – such as quality and standard,” says Thorbjørn Ingvaldsen, a researcher at SINTEF Building and Infrastructure. “Our aim has been to develop better ways of making comparisons, so we have taken a more scientific approach to the topic.”
In the course of the project, the scientists have also developed a method of finding out what the most efficient construction projects do differently from the others, and what companies in this sector ought to be trying to do, (or to avoid doing) in order to be among the winners.
Enormous potential for improvement: The scientists looked at 122 relatively similar apartment block projects that were carried out in Norway between 2000 and 2005, and measured the productivity of each project in order to identify the “best practice” projects. Relative project efficiency was estimated statistically.
The analysis revealed that the projects, which had a total production cost of NOK 10 billion, had an average efficiency of 79 percent relative to the best practice figure of 100 percent. This suggests that there is a 21 percent potential for improvement.
“If we start out from an annual production of NOK 200 billion, and assume that the average efficiency throughout the sector is the same as in our study, this means that the construction industry is potentially capable of saving around NOK 40 billion a year”, says Ingvaldsen.
Of course, 100 percent efficiency throughout the sector is utopian thinking, according to the SINTEF scientist. But even an improvement in efficiency of one percent would mean savings of two billion kroner a year.
Project management: Experienced representatives of this sector have previously claimed that the most important cause of differences in the performance of similar projects is differences between project managers.
When SINTEF Building and Infrastructure applied its analytical tools to this selection of 122 apartment projects it found support for this way of thinking.
“Eight of the 14 parameters that explain high vs. low productivity are measures that directly or indirectly describe project managers’ priorities as far as time and attention are concerned. Statistical analyses thus suggest that the management of a project has a great deal of influence on cost efficiency. More than 60 percent, in fact”, says Thorbjørn Ingvaldsen.
Individual reporting: This major research project was thus capable of measuring efficiency and identifying what apartment block builders and project managers should try to do and to avoid doing. The project also drew up a six-page template for individual reporting back to each of the 122 project managers who took part. Companies that had more than one project in the study received individual reports.
Thorbjørn Ingvaldsen regards these special reports as a decisive factor in enabling companies to learn from experience – and to implement their newly acquired knowledge with a view to improving competitiveness.
Performance indicators: the R & D project has given the sector a new performance indicator, which is capable of telling us something about the relative performance of construction projects with greater accuracy than other well-known indicators.
“However, the efficiency figures still do not tell us everything about performance and the processes involved. Since the construction industry has a long tradition of steering its own processes with the aid of various “key figures”, we used data from the 122 apartment block projects to set up 50 examples of key figures for apartment block production. These will give the sector examples of average values of “favourite” indicators from 38 competing companies. These can be used as a backcloth for evaluations of performance in one’s own projects”, says Ingvaldsen.
The project has recently come to an end, and the main report is on the point of being published.
Aase Dragland | alfa
Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation
22.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
22.11.2017 | Business and Finance
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy