Linear infrastructure projects are repetitive projects. Examples of linear construction projects are highways, tunnels, powerlines, and bridges.
The main difference between a linear project and a non-linear one is the type of work involved. While linear projects are repetitive and all resources are mobilized to deal with a specific activity, with non-linear tasks, the crew can work on other activities not defined in the baseline plan.
Because linear projects are repetitive, the successful implementation of these projects depends on project sequencing.
What is project sequencing?
Project sequencing is the process in which contractors must complete tasks in a specific order. One main advantage of project sequencing is that it creates a clear roadmap for what is needed in a particular time frame.
A good example of project sequencing is when you are building a road. Whether it is a 100-kilometer road or a 300-kilometer road, the process is the same. The first process is to prepare the subgrade, add a sub-base course, a base course, and then the surface course. A surface course is also known as asphalt or bitumen.
What makes linear construction projects challenging?
The main problem with linear construction projects is that they involve a lot of people and thousands of moving parts that must work together to achieve a common goal. In linear projects, resources are directed towards one activity until it is time to move on to the next phase.
They are affected by delays
Another problem when working with linear projects is that equipment needs to move in an orderly manner until each construction target is hit. Sometimes, this does not happen due to challenges caused by the failure of the contractor to get permits on time, weather delays, and land use regulations.
When these challenges affect the construction project, it becomes difficult for equipment to be used as planned. As a result, the project can be affected by delays and costly equipment charges. A good example is when heavy rains make it impossible for the contractor to prepare the subgrade soil, even though the equipment is already paid for.
When linear projects are affected by delays due to unforeseen circumstances, they tend to affect the overall construction cost. The cost increases because of several factors, one of them being idle equipment. When there is a breakdown in coordination, the contractor will spend money on equipment that is not being utilized.
The construction cost can also increase if the project is bank-financed based on target milestones. If a milestone target is not met, the bank will not release the money, affecting an entire project.
The larger a construction project, the more difficult it is for key players to communicate with each other. The engineer might have problems communicating with the architect, and the contractor might have difficulties communicating with subcontractors. A communication breakdown can cause project delays and costly design errors.
4 strategies for resolving issues for linear construction projects
1. Use AI to plan linear projects
One solution that you can use to plan linear projects is ALICE (https://www.alicetechnologies.com/solutions/for-infrastructure), the first AI-powered construction optioneering platform on the market. It is designed to schedule complex construction projects such as railways, highways, airports, and tunnels.
This technology runs simulations to provide the best alternative or option when planning and scheduling projects. A good example is when you are unsure whether to close two lanes or one lane of a major highway. Using this technology will help you decide on the best strategy to achieve your goals.
2. Use the linear scheduling method
A construction schedule is a timeline of when a project’s tasks will be completed. There are several construction scheduling methods, such as the critical path method, Program Evaluation, and Review Technique. All of these techniques are suitable for scheduling. However, for linear construction projects, the linear scheduling method is better.
The reason linear scheduling is better is that it considers the different types of work involved in the construction of a linear project. Other benefits of using this scheduling method are:
- It is simple to use
- It mitigates linear scheduling risks
- It is flexible
- It considers dependent tasks
3. Use modern communication tools
Linear projects that involve thousands of people can lead to communication challenges. Senior contractors may find it difficult to communicate with subcontractors and vice versa. The subcontractors may also find it difficult to communicate with their laborers. To avoid these problems, a modern communication tool can be implemented.
The communication platform used should have certain features. The first one is that it should be mobile-friendly so that people can easily access it with their mobile phones. The second important feature is that it should be able to store and synchronize data in a central place. This way, it can be accessed by anyone, everywhere in the world.
Another important feature it should have is the ability to track the progress rate of all teams involved. This way, it becomes easy for subcontractors to hold their employees accountable.
4. Use resources equitably
It is important to understand that a linear project requires all construction teams to work together.
Therefore, ensuring resources are equitably distributed is key. Over distribution of resources causes waste, while underutilization can cause costly delays.
Lastly, project managers should always have a risk mitigation strategy in place. This way, when risk is imminent, they will know how to deal with it before it stalls the entire project Read More