With Aphex, BAM Nuttall navigates the post-COVID "concrete crisis"

“Constrained resources make the mission-critical process of lookahead planning so difficult to get right. We were lucky that we could use Aphex to keep our teams and supply chain on the same page to maximise our progress.”
Chris McGinness, Regional Planning Manager
Bam Nuttall
Project type
Chris McGinness
Regional Planning Manager at BAM Nuttall

Over the last year nearly every business has been affected by the global pandemic, and the construction industry has been no exception. Throughout the industry, engineers and their teams have been facing the challenges of labour and material shortages - ranging from healthy, skilled people through to steel, copper and concrete!

As far as construction simplicity goes, building over £400M of energy assets for SSE Plc across the rugged and wild terrain of Scotland isn’t the easiest mission to start with. Luckily, logistics and planning have consistently played a key part in the successful formula for BAM Nuttall, Chris and his team.

They don’t always though, have to navigate the complications of COVID compliant construction processes, let alone a series of worldwide materials shortages too! With these seemingly relentless considerations emerging, you can start to picture a team pushed to execute perfectly to keep moving forward.

Aligning everyone to common goals sets the foundation

With geographically distributed sites and teams, planning and coordination can easily become disjointed and chaotic. Even before the pandemic, for Chris, it was important to find a way to empower good short-term planning at the site level, whilst steering everyone to long-term goals in the master schedule.

Aphex’s “Top Down” configuration enables exactly this for Chris and his teams. Each month, after the master schedule is updated, the new plans are imported into Aphex and distributed out to the teams responsible for each section of the plan or site. “Distributing plan ownership drives accountability and a whole new awareness of the overall plan” says Chris, “our teams can now understand the part of the overall plan that they are responsible for, and then start to apply their knowledge of site and its’ constraints to break down more detail with full awareness of the targets”.

Accountability and collaboration  drives lean construction

Most teams know that centralised planning has very clear limitations once the “unknown unknowns” of a dynamic construction site come into play. Site logistics, temporary works and resources all fluctuate by the day, if not hour, and only teams close to the ground can see and plan the optimum way through the chaos. By using Aphex in Top Down configuration, Chris’ teams are empowered to take ownership of delivery of their part of the plan.

The guided planning features help Engineers and project managers collaboratively build plans that identify the critical supply chain partners, resources or physical constraints that could impact their execution. “By planning in Aphex, our teams can not only clearly see risk but they also spot opportunities to complete work ahead of time and prioritise accordingly” says Chris, “once the ‘concrete crisis’ hit we could track daily concrete demand to both sequence critical works and keep our batch plants on the same page”.

“Once the ‘concrete crisis’ hit we used Aphex to track daily concrete demand to both, sequence critical works and keep our batch plants on the same page”

Chris McGinness
Regional Planning Manager

Continuous learning by design

Chris and his planning team have built learning and knowledge sharing into their planning cycle by running weekly “Office Hours” to coincide with when engineers from across the region update their plans. Engineers can drop in to learn and share ideas. Bravo Chris and BAM Nuttall… that’s Plantastic! 👏