DENVER, CO -- (Marketwired) -- Feb 09, 2016 -- Aconex Limited (ASX: ACX), provider of a leading cloud collaboration platform for the global construction industry, today announced that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) have agreed to use Aconex to manage information and processes for multiple CDOT highway infrastructure projects, including the US 36 Express Lanes, I-25 North, I-70 East, and C-470. All of these projects fall under the HPTE's mandate to pursue more efficient ways of financing infrastructure projects, such as public-private partnerships (P3), design-build contracting and other methods of alternative delivery. A division of the CDOT, the HPTE operates as an independent, government-owned business.
Nicholas Farber, JD, operations manager for the HPTE, said Aconex was initially utilized for document management. However, it quickly became clear that the benefits of a single, neutral collaboration platform like Aconex were particularly well suited to projects requiring innovative financing by multiple public and private stakeholders.
"Having an accurate record of project communications, change orders and schedules is critical," Mr. Farber stated. "With large government projects, an audit is a certainty. Aconex ensures that all documents, decisions and actions are readily available for an auditor to review."
The Drive for a Better Highway
A four-lane highway linking the Colorado cities of Denver and Boulder, US 36 was consistently backing up for three to four hours each day, frustrating tens of thousands of commuters. To relieve the congestion, the CDOT broke ground on the US 36 Express Lanes project in July 2012. The project added tolled express lanes and included the reconstruction of 18 miles of roadway and the widening of the highway. The US$500-million investment was the HPTE's first P3.
The project team for US 36 initially had used enterprise file-sharing software that combined content management and document functionality. However, the software didn't handle large engineering documents well, and managing essential project processes like bidding could be time-consuming and onerous.
In March 2015, the Colorado state auditor issued a report on the US 36 P3 project, finding that the HPTE's practices for developing and procuring the project were generally consistent with industry-standard practices and identifying areas for improvement(1). The report called for the HPTE to provide "adequate records management processes for maintaining project-related documents or systematic processes for sharing public records and protecting confidential records under the Colorado Open Records Act." The state auditor found that the P3 delivery model offered the best value to taxpayers, while requesting that the HPTE implement processes for monitoring operations and maintenance once the highway was open for public use. The auditor recommended "systematic project management processes...for managing all elements of complex P3 projects from beginning to end."
The Best Collaboration Platform for a P3
In the wake of the state auditor's report, the HPTE began looking for a new document management solution. Although familiar with Aconex as a result of its use on the Denver RTD FasTracks initiative(2), the team conducted an independent evaluation, reviewing multiple commercial options. Aconex emerged as the best fit for the project because of the information and process control that it extended across every organization on the team. There were no limits on the number of files, the size of files or the types of files managed by Aconex, making it easy to share large engineering documents and multidimensional building information models (BIM). Finding information was easy, too, using metadata-based web search tools with keywords.
The flexible functionality of Aconex ensures that the HPTE project teams can quickly address the state auditor's findings related to records management and demonstrate that other report recommendations have been fully implemented. With Aconex, the automatic maintenance of an audit trail for all actions on the platform means that every step of every process is fully documented. "For large government projects, you want an airtight audit trail," Mr. Farber said. "Under the old enterprise software, it was difficult to recreate documents and actions for auditors."
According to Mr. Farber, the project team found Aconex intuitive to use and learned it quickly. The success demonstrated by the US 36 team has helped encourage adoption of Aconex on several HPTE highway projects, such as I-25 North, I-70 East, C-470, and others. Even stakeholders who were initially resistant to change perceived the benefits of a platform that ensured that everyone worked the same way and followed the same processes.
"A system like Aconex reduces risk," Mr. Farber said. "We can manage our projects more efficiently."
"The Colorado Department of Transportation and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise are finding innovative ways to improve traffic mobility around the Centennial State," said Frank Kopas, general manager of the Americas at Aconex. "We're pleased that they have adopted Aconex project-wide collaboration to support their highway infrastructure development. It's gratifying to know that we can help them deliver additional value to taxpayers while ensuring transparency and accountability for very large, complex projects to all stakeholders, as well as the general public."
Aconex Limited provides a leading cloud collaboration platform for the global construction industry. The platform connects owners, contractors and their project teams in the construction, infrastructure, and energy and resources sectors, providing project-wide visibility and control between the many different organizations collaborating across their projects. With more than 60,000 user organizations and over $1 trillion of project value delivered in more than 70 countries, Aconex is the industry's most widely adopted and trusted platform. Founded in 2000, Aconex has 41 offices in 22 countries around the world, including headquarters in Melbourne, Australia and San Francisco, California. The company's ordinary shares are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the ticker code ACX.
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(1) Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1, "State Audit Reports HPTE's US 36 Express Lanes Project 'provided best value for taxpayers'", March 30, 2015
(2) For more information on the Denver RTD FasTracks project, see http://www.aconex.com/projects/rtd-fastracks-and-capital-programs.