Constructive ™ Questions and Answers (Construction Weekly)
20 September 2007
Q: Last time we spoke you were predicting strong growth of this concept in the region. Have you achieved the success you anticipated?
A: Yes, and more, so much so that we’re having to expand our GCC operation more quickly than we anticipated to meet demand. We have more staff on the ground already and we’re getting involved with new projects spread right across the Gulf region.
Q: Can you give us examples of projects benefiting from the totally integrated supply chain that you describe?
A: Arabtec at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Belhasa Six at the Al Safouh Interchange and ALEC on the Mall of the Emirates Hotel are good examples of projects that are set up in different ways, yet all are able to benefit from our technology. Again this comes down to the flexibility of the various products and the different ways in which the supply chain can be configured to suit the needs of the contractor.
Q: Can you explain exactly what you mean?
A: In the case of the Arabtec JBR project ( see illustration ) the detailing is being done in several locations around the world. We were able to offer the market leading CADS RC software to those agencies who were not fully up to speed with modern automated detailing products. This enabled them to significantly reduce errors and to speed up the detailing process to meet tight construction deadlines. When the customer required extra detailing capacity we were also able to step in and offer the services of our own Constructive Design bureau which exclusively uses CADS RC leading edge technology. The client was more than satisfied and we have since picked up additional detailing work on the project.
Q: So how are the various detailers linked to the Contractor in this case?
A: Each detailing practise wherever they are located simply e-mails the electronic schedules to our Steelpac SITE tool at the project location. As the schedules are imported into Steelpac SITE they are automatically screened for errors and weights and lengths are calculated, all within a few seconds. Moments later the construction teams on site can be placing orders from these schedules, it’s as simple as that, there is no need for manual checking or for calculations.
Q: What about if there are design changes, how does the system cope with that?
A: This is a key advantage of Steelpac, any changes are incorporated immediately and automatically. The system is also intuitive in that it makes any changes sensitive to the orders you may have already placed. Not only is it saving lots of time but it’s giving the users total piece of mind that they’re working from the latest information and that its 100% accurate. It’s simply not possible to double-order or over-order with this system. It’s all about implementing any changes quickly and cost effectively. Our experience is that this alone can bring cost savings to the project of up to 5%.
Q: You mentioned two other projects that are configured differently, how have they implemented your technology?
A: Belhasa operate in a different way since they have established their own local rebar production facility. The detailing on the Al Safouh Interchange project is being done in India by Semac whom we have provided with Steelpac technology for fast error-free detailing and issuing. The BBS are e-mailed to the on-site team who utilise Steelpac Site as in the Arabtec example for managing schedules and ordering. In this case though we have provided our unique optimisation package to their local production facility. So when an order is received they are able to optimise one or multiple orders to maximise efficiency of the cutting and bending process and to minimise scrap. They can also utilise off-cuts to further enhance the productivity of their yard. Once optimisation is performed Steelpac will print their tags ready for supply to site.
The final project is ALEC on the Mall of the Emirates Hotel where the project is set up in a way that many are in this region, namely where the supplier is providing all of the detailing as well as supplying the steel. The supplier is able to undertake the detailing as normal using his Armaor system provided by Ariadis the leading supplier of technology to rebar suppliers in the G.C.C. region. The Armaor system is able to export the Steelpac SDI file which is then e-mailed directly to ALEC who are using Steelpac SITE to manage the rebar on site. ALEC are able to visualise accurate weights and structures and then order the steel as required, their order is transmitted directly back to Armaor in the Steelpac SOI format. ALEC then utilise Steelpac to track deliveries and monitor steel on site.
I think these three examples demonstrate our point which is that no matter how you have your project configured Steelpac can still provide efficiency benefits that in the end amount to cost savings.
Q: Now that you have numerous projects well underway in the region, are additional benefits emerging?
A: Yes, one customer in particular has picked up on the value of this extremely detailed reinforcement information for the tendering process. Having completed several major structures they are establishing a library of reinforcement data that is helping them pitch their next tenders much more accurately. This is very valuable information that was previously not retained in any formal kind of way at the end of a project.
I think that the other key benefit Contractors are enjoying is the improved flexibility in terms of detailing and rebar suppliers. We are delighted at the speed with which the Steelpac SDI format has been adopted by the whole industry. The fact that all RC detailing packages and all of the suppliers systems are now compatible gives our contractor customers the total flexibility they need. As I mentioned detailing is often undertaken by suppliers in this region and it is our collaboration with CADS and Ariadis that completed the final links in the electronic supply chain. All of the local suppliers are quickly becoming familiar with issuing electronic schedules to their contractor customers. We fully expect this trend to continue to grow rapidly. In short, whoever is detailing, be that the supplier or an outside agency, and wherever your rebar supply is coming from, even in-house, we have found that we are able to improve efficiencies and uncover cost savings.
Q: How do you envisage the integrated rebar supply chain developing in the future?
A: In the UK where this technology has been in use for a few years we have seen much more involvement from the client. Where appropriate the contractors are allowing the client access to ‘live’ and accurate rebar information. This really is the ultimate integrated supply chain with total transparency for all parties.
The enormous size of current and upcoming projects in both the private and municipal sectors suggests that clients will also want access to information that makes their lives easier by reducing the amount of checking and providing instant access to the same data as their construction partners.