How Acciona and BMD drive their schedule daily on METRONET

If we fail to hit our targets one week, we just make every other week until completion even more challenging
Jeff Tyloo, Construction Lead
Project type
Jeff Tyloo
Construction Lead at ACCIONA

METRONET is a once-in-a-generation infrastructure project for Western Australia and is the single largest in public infrastructure in its capital city, Perth.

One of the most critical elements of the scheme is the delivery of the Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal Project within an 18-month planned closure of the Armadale line.

While every day counts on all projects, the stakes are even higher for the Armadale Line Upgrade Alliance (ALUA) team. The Acciona, BMD JV is helping to deliver a $701 million package of work with firm handover dates after their 18-month shutdown, any delays the team experiences need to be quickly assessed, and any procedure updates off the back of them done concisely. Their project involves replacing six level crossings at Mint Street, Oats Street, Welshpool Road, Hamilton Street, Wharf Street and William Street with elevated rail; building five new elevated stations at Carlisle, Oats Street, Queens Park, Cannington and Beckenham; and creating around six hectares of versatile public space and better community connections through elevated rail.

Daily delay tracking makes every week count

From previous experience, ALUA Construction Lead - Jeff Tyloo understands the importance of consistency in getting team commitment to the plan and understanding the impact and cause of any delays. “If we fail to hit our targets this week, we just make every other week until completion even more challenging”, notes Jeff, “it’s critical that everyone is bought in, accountable, and we measure our performance weekly”. Establishing those clear commitments and measuring success was easier said than done in the past. With a large team across many sites, the team were at risk of dealing with many versions of plans buried in spreadsheets and an uphill battle in consistently extracting accurate performance metrics. 

Jeff and his team use a range of features built into Aphex to systematically and automatically capture and track delays; from here, the senior leadership team can take a step back from day-to-day reports and make actionable decisions to slow the impacts different delays potentially have. 

Implementing daily delay tracking

Jeff described the project's progress in establishing delay tracking and making the data usable. On ALUA, they took several steps to reach their current state. While ALUA took three weeks in total to roll out these steps, Jeff made a point of saying that “any site could do all three of these steps in as little as a week, but you know your team better than anyone, so stick to a timeframe that you know they can stick to”.

Phase 1 - Establishing delay tracking in Gantt

Jeff noted, "The first step was by far the simplest to implement, but it didn't fully solve the original problem of Engineers falling into their old habits." This approach has Engineers tracking delays and progress updates directly on the Gantt view or utilising the Board view options, as illustrated in the guide below.

Phase 2 - Connecting real-time progress updates for every task

When the team quickly adapted to the task progress property, Jeff expressed surprise, saying, “It only took them a week!” He introduced the Assignee column, marking the next crucial step. “This column enabled us to establish a complete feedback loop—from the ground team executing the plan to the Engineers overseeing it.” Jeff emphasised, “This loop is pivotal.” Leveraging Aphex Field, our Engineering team now receives real-time updates on every task, ensuring we always have the most up-to-date information.

Phase 3 - Automating delay tracking with promised tasks

The third and final step in the ALUA delay tracking system is through promising tasks. Jeff mentioned that this was the easiest step and “probably could have been done at the start”, but he left it towards the end to stagger the steps to limit the pushback from his Engineers. By promising the following week’s worth of tasks as he publishes, there is an automatic step of tracking any delays to the work being started/continued in the next week, so any changes to the task dates will be captured and the reason behind it.

Making use of delay data

Having moved from daily, sometimes hourly conversations, emails, text messages and thoughts around delays affecting the site to quantifiable data that decisions can actually be made from, “any project can track” the causes of delay through PowerBi reports. Jeff and the team at ALUA are taking this data to a whole new level. By taking a step back weekly and looking at the project as a whole, he and the leadership team can see the real root causes of project delays. Looking at the delay reasons week after week, a holistic view can be obtained while implementing changes and measuring results to fix the root causes.

Driving weekly analysis on the project

To provide more context, Jeff provided an example of his recent changes to their permit procedure. By looking at the reports that provided raw data, the senior leadership at ALUA could understand why so many of their tasks were being delayed by missing permits. Now it sounds like a relatively straightforward situation. However, Jeff said this delay wasn’t the delay that his team was the most vocal about at the time. So without having the complete picture of quantitative information around the issue with their permits, a decision to focus on something else far less impactful on the project's outcome might have been made.

While this is only one example from ALUA on how they have taken a systematic approach to delay reasons and reducing their impacts, Jeff mentioned that he has a multitude of examples and believes that over the course of their 18-month occupation of the train line, the impact that quantitatively tracking delay reasons through several different methods will only improve the overall efficiency of their program, as well as improving processes business-wide through cross-pollination of information and knowledge sharing.