Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Aconex SaaS collaboration for projects
February 3rd, 2012 by Susan Smith
Aconex CEO Leigh Jasper and Robert Phillpot, general manager of products, co-founders, spoke recently with AECCafe’s Sanjay Gangal about that company’s software-as-a-service collaboration system for the construction engineering and infrastructure industries that manages all the information and processes that flow on projects.
Sanjay: Tell us about Aconex.
Leigh: We have over 10 years’ experience working with top owners, construction and project managers, contractors, architects and consultants on projects of all shapes and sizes. We provide an online collaboration platform for those industries plus retail, residential and infrastructure, and energy, mining, oil and gas.
Sanjay: Tell us about your system.
Leigh: Our system handles all the interactions people have – all the documents and correspondence, management of models and files are need to be managed in large and small construction and engineering projects.
Sanjay: What are key benefits of online collaborations?
Leigh: There a range of benefits. Projects can save up to 12% of costs through using a system like Aconex for true collaboration on the project. Aconex is used for all types of projects both small and largest projects around the world, and the main benefits are streamlining communication, so people are getting the right information at the right time from the right people.
Sanjay: Can you give example as to how online collaboration leads to better project management?
Leigh: The average response time that people take in the industry for RFIs before collaboration runs about 14 days in U.S. industry. Our clients are getting a response to RFI in about 8 days average for median users, for best practices they are getting 4 ½ days. So a project that can handle RFIs and get responses in 4 ½ days is going to run a much better project than a project needing 14 days to get responses.
Rob: The New York City Hall has large compliance requirements, so they’re dealing with not only the park that it sits within but also the Subway Authority because there are lots of subways that run underneath and the freedom of information compliance requirements are quite onerous. The ability to pull together the information quickly and easily and distribute it to the right people has reduced by tens of thousands of dollars by each request the cost of compiling that information request
Sanjay: How does BIM impact what you do and project costs?
Leigh: We certainly are seeing a big change in the way projects are running and using BIM. Certain industries have been using it for decades, and some parts of construction and engineering resources sectors are just starting to take it up now. Over the last three years, the number of BIM models we managed has skyrocketed. We have 60,000 BIM models stored and managed on our servers, and we have some files that are over 400-500 Mgs. The challenges for a project, particularly for communication and collaboration, are just as big or bigger with projects that run BIM. So being able to send these files around easily — a process that isn’t easy and getting approval and signoff – we’re now able to deliver on those promises that were made to the industry ten years ago. We’re seeing people managing large quantities of information, i.e. very large models on systems, take them out in the field, all of these things are coming together.
One of the reasons we’re able to do this is that our commercial model is unique, as all the users, training, and data storage is included. You don’t have to worry about how many users are on the project. People have certainty over data and people have special access and data can’t be seen unless they want it to be seen. Adoption leads to better projects because it reduces the risk.