New feature improves productivity insight

Small adjustments can make important improvements, is the learning behind Envision’s continued rollout of new features geared for civil infrastructure projects.

One of the latest is a simple method for monitoring production performance. Civil teams can now capture production quantities in one unit of measure (such as a truck load), and then convert that to a different production unit of measure (such as m3) (watch the video below).

A key discipline benefitting from this capability is bulk earthmoving, where plant-based tracking, using pre-set equipment profiles, is helping teams more easily monitor productivity.

Because civil teams can use plant types to drive calculations, they can tag progress down to an individual plant item. This is generating plant-by-plant productivities, in turn helping them manage cost performance with faster turnaround.

For production-driven operations, like bulk earthmoving, this micro-level productivity analysis is an important complement to Envision’s long-standing macro-level production monitoring.

The plant-by-plant analysis means teams can review everything from subcontractor performance to truck configuration to haul length, if using the right cost code setup.

Teams can also gain more dynamic insight from the cost analytics reports as they have more flexible analysis options for unit rates, production quantities and costs.

This new feature extends the advantages projects gain from Envision’s earned value and performance monitoring metrics, which have been key capabilities for many projects.

Equipment type record where production capacity factors are set


Recording loads on dockets for calculating production


Alternative areas where production amounts can be entered


Production analytics in action

Mobile dockets drive real-time cost and productivity reporting

Envision has launched a range of new features that are already proving their value in helping contractors better engage with, and manage, subcontractors – in turn improving real-time cost and productivity reporting accuracy.

With a focus on resource management, one of the key features is a mobile docket solution that has unlocked greater access to users without compromising approval workflows (watch the video below).

The solution is the result of six months of collaboration with several project teams. It allows any individual to complete and submit dockets electronically, rather than solely by supervisors on behalf of their crews.

It removes the need for paper dockets, in turn eliminating administrative double-handling and wasted time waiting for paper dockets to come from the field for data entry by back office staff.

The mobile dockets feature embeds an assurance-based workflow as entries appear in a supervisor’s ‘docket inbox’ for approval and allocation to cost codes.

A key gain is the access it creates for any authorised individual. Because it can be used by subcontractors, it increases their responsibility for getting people and plant dockets submitted to supervisors daily for approval, ensuring project records are as close to real-time as practical.

From a project oversight perspective, engineers are benefiting from enhanced cost and performance analysis because they now have access to a more comprehensive daily data set.

It is also ideal for subcontractors when it comes to running their own payroll and driving their monthly invoicing cycle via the subcontractor portal within Envision.

The Envision team will continue to enhance this capability, working closely with contractor and subcontractor users to reduce project administration and increase real-time project insight to drive greater performance.

Docket inbox

 

Cost analytics

 

Mobile dockets feature in action

Queensland Government puts a spotlight on BIM

Envision was recently a guest industry presenter at the Queensland Government’s Talk IT Up – BIM Mini Expo – part of the Government’s spotlight on Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the delivery and management of infrastructure assets.

The networking session came off the back of the Queensland Government’s commitment to implementing BIM on all major state infrastructure projects by 2023.

Public consultation on the ‘Building Information Modelling – draft policy and principles for Queensland’ wrapped up last week, with the goal of ensuring the effective use of BIM across infrastructure delivery agencies.

The final policy and principles are set for release later in 2017.

BIM is known to offer vast benefits from design to construction to ongoing operations and maintenance and yet its potential is often unrealised on infrastructure projects.

Talk IT Up gave industry and government stakeholders the opportunity to share challenges, learnings and emerging solutions in relation to BIM.

With Envision having effectively integrated data from BIM software platforms such as iConstruct, there are strong case studies showing the value of further advancements in collaborative, integrated project management solutions.

Growing recognition of the whole-of-life cost of infrastructure makes this all the more critical – enabling safer designs, more innovative and efficient delivery, and greater value-for-money for stakeholders.

The Queensland Government’s focus on using BIM right across the lifecycle of infrastructure is a positive step forward and Envision is set to be at the forefront of project management software that supports its wider adoption.

Envision’s civil features offer more flexibility

Civil infrastructure projects are increasingly reaping the benefits of Envision’s recent development effort, following a two-year push to widen the features geared toward these projects.

A critical area of flexibility is that projects can drive data capture using cost codes rather than the schedule as the backbone for their Envision set-up. With the prefered structure in place, Envision’s features offer extensive value for civil infrastructure projects. These include:

Mobile docket capture

Dockets can be captured in the field by supervisors or subcontractors using Envision’s Forms App. This creates a truly paperless docketing process. These dockets can capture information about labour, plant and materials, including shift and rate codes. Approved dockets are then emailed as pdf documents to relevant contractor and subcontractor administrators and automatically filed in Envision.

docket creation

docket usage

Docket and invoice matching

Costs against dockets are calculated using Envision’s rates model. Once invoices are received from suppliers (typically at the end of the month), dockets are allocated to invoices so that values can be verified and invoices released for payment. Variations are easy to identify, enabling streamlined checking and reconciliation of invoices.

Accruals

Dockets not allocated to an invoice can be used to identify accruals of incurred costs to ensure accurate forecasting.

dockets invoices

Progress measurement

Projects can track progress using quantity-based measurement (not requiring tagged items). This is much more appropriate for measuring the progress associated with operations such as bulk earthworks, where discrete items are not tracked.

quantity-progress

quantity-progress-history

Event management

A longstanding feature of Envision is the simple capture of project events – on mobile and web platforms. Events help project participants preserve their entitlements and capture the effort and resources spent on unplanned work. While not a new feature, this offers significant benefits for civil projects via a simple workflow.

Event index

event-photo

Daily site diary compilation

Envision enables project leaders to generate site diaries in a single click by recording project information as it happens directly into the system. This saves supervisors valuable time and lets them focus their effort on managing the safe completion of work…rather than being pulled away from core business to manage admin.

Real-time productivity (daily costings)

Accurate daily cost calculations are key to ensuring a project is on budget. This can be challenging due to the sheer quantity of paper-based data, time-consuming nature of collation, and inevitable errors and inconsistencies in the process. Envision now simplifies the calculation of daily costs by automatically applying the relevant rates for people, equipment and materials. The rates function offers a lot of flexibility to suit project needs. Then, once rates are set up, most rate calculations can be automated as usages are captured via mobile forms or as timesheets in Envision.

With this data more readily available, Envision can also be configured to plot a chart of recent daily costs together with the budgeted and target cost rates.

daily cost calc

DailyCosting

Mobile checklists

Capturing data as close as possible to person, place and time has always been central to Envision’s effectiveness. We have improved this further through Envision’s Forms App. This enables project-specific forms to be deployed to field staff for activities such as:

  • Completing safety and pre-start checklists
  • Immediately capturing incidents, with chain-of-command notifications (including text messages)
  • Completing dockets for people, equipment and material usage
  • Tracking daily site work and progress

Forms use data from Envision to populate drop down options and other user selections, ensuring valid values. They can also capture photos, signature approvals and geo-locations. Once submitted, form contents are processed by Envision to generate timesheet entries, dockets, equipment and material usage and more. Projects can tailor these forms to suit their needs – even using them as the basis for multi-user workflows, including approvals.

inspection

Resource rates model for cost capture

Projects can track bulk material deliveries and movements such as concrete, sand, fill etc. against delivery dockets and, optionally, the equipment that moved them. This supplements the labour and equipment use tracking in Envision to enable daily costings to be performed as best suits each project’s characteristics.

Rates include cost, sell and dayworks values and can be defined in a variety of ways. This includes setting rates for a company, resource type or specific resource. Different rates can be set for each rate code and date ranges.

S-curves (dollars, quantity, labour)

Envision enables value-based S-curves to be created and added to dashboards and reports. These charts can be filtered using discipline, location and work categories. Budgeted value and tracked budgeted cost for activities can also be imported to support the creation of dollar-based S-curves.

Value-s-cure

March (time-distance) charts

For linear projects, March charts can be plotted to show discipline-based progress versus chainage over time.
March Chart

Dashboards and reporting

Envision offers an extensive dashboard and reporting function that can be tailored to suit each project’s reporting framework. Dashboards and reports can include charts, maps, images etc. In addition, reports can also draw from a wide range of predefined reporting widgets to summarise data relating to progress, quantities, labour and equipment usage, daily comments and photos, and much more.

Continual improvement sharpens performance

Several recently-released small enhancements to Envision have continued to improve its overall performance and in-field functionality, creating greater value for clients.

Performance improvements

Clients continue to push Envision’s capabilities, which our team welcomes as this creates more opportunities to improve workflows, filters, page loading and general usability.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-9-07-54-amDashboard charts

Data for dashboard charts is now being cached and refreshed nightly. A real-time refresh of a chart can be triggered by clicking the ‘Refresh’ link under the chart…redrawing it immediately using the latest data in Envision.

Resource filters

Many pages share a common set of filters that control how people, equipment and materials display. We have improved the performance of these filters to deliver faster page loading times for all pages sharing these filters.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-9-09-32-amWork and supervision rosters

Roster pages often hold a substantial amount of data – especially when there is a large number of resources being displayed. To improve stability over poorer network connections, we have reduced the number of weeks displayed and added date range and navigation tools.

Improvements to snapshots

The project snapshot captures point-in-time data about a project. This now includes actuals and we have also developed a generic analysis spreadsheet to help diagnose data quality issues. Please contact support for more information about accessing and using the spreadsheet.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-9-24-28-amAttendance reporting

Envision’s Passport app is gradually being replaced by the new Envision Forms app. To support the transition, attendance can now be completed using Envision Forms, with more improvements in the pipeline. In addition, displaying and reporting attendance data now features additional columns for comments relating to start and end attendances, creating more flexibility and insight around these data sets.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-9-26-29-amSafety reporting

Gathering and reporting safety metrics is now simpler using our new reporting widget. This can be embedded in templated reports to display key metrics over a monthly period. The widget generates a graphical ‘S’ that displays different colours depending on the safety incident count from the past month.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-9-26-44-amResource summaries

Activities and Events now provide resource summaries that include costs for the people, equipment and material usage booked to those work references. Rates need to be included to enable cost calculation.

Subcontractor access

Sharing information with clients and gathering data from subcontractors help create greater value from Envision and link more steps in the project delivery supply chain. Among our recent updates to Envision is the addition of a new role for subcontractors, giving those users basic abilities such as:

  • Entering time for people
  • Entering usage for equipment and materials
  • Managing work and supervision rosters
  • Adding comments and photos against Activities, Events and Tasks
  • Viewing the timeline and workboard
  • Entering Activity and tagged item progress

These functions are applied to work/resources within a subcontractor’s company, ensuring the right authority levels are in place.

Public API

Increasingly, clients are realising the value of integrating in-house systems with Envision. We have developed an API to better support these integrations. The API has a machine-readable JSON schema that describes what resources are available via the API, what their URLs are, how they are represented and what operations they support.

Full documentation of the API is available for any existing user at http://[client-name].envisionapp.com/api. An API key is required to use the API. This can be obtained by contacting support.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-10-08-44-amQuantity progress bulk import

For projects that record progress based on the quantity of materials installed/moved, our new import/export function will improve the speed of entry and update. The importer is used in conjunction with a new export feature and the updated file can be used to either replace existing entries or be appended to them.

Innovation workshop explores project delivery advancements

Picture3Envision is set for new features and improvements off the back of our team’s participation in EIC Activities’ Innovation and Collaboration workshop last week.

The two-day ‘hackathon’ involved client-side organisations including EIC Activities, CPB Contractors, CIMIC Group, Sedgman and Amec Foster Wheeler alongside technology leaders JESIi, ArcGIS, iConstruct and the Envision team – focused on areas such as design and BIM, GIS, equipment tracking and progress management.

The event was designed to showcase and create innovative technical solutions to improve the delivery of large scale construction projects.

Based around a hypothetical project scenario, we were all able to use rapid prototyping to test ideas for potential future deployment.

Key focus areas included:

  • Better connecting participating systems to avoid data duplication (such as people and equipment)
  • Identifying ways to share real-time information with other systems to provide clearer visibility of performance during construction, and visibility with 3D CAD and GIS mapping systems
  • Driving collaboration within the supply chain by breaking down system boundaries

For Envision’s role in the initiative, we established a dummy project setup with a schedule, blank tag registers representing rules of credit, people (including resources, supervision and staff) and sample template reports.

Working with complementary technology providers was a great opportunity to explore ideas that will better connect all of our systems and make them work together more seamlessly to solve problems.

Envision’s clients will gain the benefit of improved data richness, with key potential developments including:

  • Achieving tighter integration with GIS and BIM systems
  • Integrating with people logistics and journey management systems
  • Tracking equipment locations using low cost tracking sensors
  • Using GIS spatial location data to filter Activities and Events.

Envision’s new streamlined mobile app

Envision is launching it’s new mobile app, merging features previously available across multiple apps in a central location, offering a simpler and more streamlined user experience.

The previous iOS and Android apps had slight variations that resulted in slightly different behaviour for users – an issue completely overcome through the new app.

Envision’s former main app and forms app are now combined in a single app, ensuring consistent behaviour regardless of whether an iOS or Android device is being used.

mobile

The new app will offer all previous functionality plus the addition of a recent project photos gallery and the ability to capture:

  • Supplier dockets
  • Progress for Activities
  • Defects
  • Incoming material receipts
  • HSE inspections
  • … and much more

It also allows the creation and deployment of custom mobile forms to better and faster support new project requirements.

The app’s new features will be a significant step forward as users can now complete more daily tasks on the go, freeing up more time for field-based supervision work including safety and quality management.

Approvals workflows have also improved with many of these new functions able to capture on-screen signatures and allow barcode scanning for identity verification.

Current users are being moved to the new app in a staged approach over the coming weeks with the help of Envision’s support team.

In the coming months, the existing passport app will also be merged with the new central app. Additional features, such as field data capture of subcontractor dockets, will also be deployed, creating a dynamic single mobile app for Envision’s user base.

Position Available – Senior Delivery Engineer

We are seeking Design & Construction Project Systems specialists to support the implementation and delivery of Envision on new projects.

Delivery Engineers are responsible for implementing Envision on client projects to improve project success, grow reputation and build strong client relationships. This role involves providing engineering, systems, development and testing support, business process, change management, training and customer and account management support in the implementation of Envision on projects.

Background

Envision is a collaborative project delivery platform for major design and construction projects across the Infrastructure and Energy & Resources industries that enables near real-time, site-based capture of project data and the continuous integration of that data into the decision-making process. It gives optimal visibility of a project’s schedule, progress, change and costs – drawing on the latest field information and collaboration among project participants, from field teams to design and construction offices and more – driving faster and more informed decision-making.

Key responsibilities

  • Implement the Envision Engagement & Delivery Plan approved by the Head of Engagement and Delivery
  • Implement Envision on client projects
  • Provide training and coaching to client personnel to support the implementation of Envision and associated work practices
  • Support the Envision development team with testing and development of new features
  • Support the Envision development team in the definition and analysis of new features
  • Develop training and product documentation material (written, presentation, video)
  • Develop custom solutions using Envision Forms
  • Respond to user support questions and problems and provide technical support to Envision users as required
  • Provide support to the sales team, including product demonstrations and pre-sales engagements with potential clients
  • Flexibility to travel and work with constraints of FIFO site rosters

Ideal candidate

  • 5 – 10 years experience working on large and complex infrastructure or energy & resource projects
  • Excellent communication, leading and influencing skills to work with people and teams to support change (working practices / processes and adoption of new technology)
  • Experience setting up project controls and reporting systems and processes on projects greater than $150M in size
  • A passion for working with people and a desire to improve ways of working
  • Good computer skills including: MS.Excel, Primavera P6
  • Ability to work closely and train/coach Construction Supervisors, Project Engineers, Project Controls and Project Management Team
  • Degree (or equivalent) qualification in Engineering or similar discipline
  • Willingness and flexibility to travel to client project sites, which may require inter-state and potential overseas travel

Ennova is an innovative Australian owned technology company based in Brisbane, Australia.

Register your interest in this role by emailing jobs@ennova.com.au providing a current resume, salary expectations and availability. All applications will be treated with strict confidence.

Extranet Evolution reviews Envision

paul-wilkinson“Envision today is a collaborative project delivery platform for design and construction projects that enables near real-time, site-based capture of project data and the continuous integration of that data into the decision-making process. It gives optimal visibility of a project’s schedule, progress, change and costs – drawing on the latest field information and collaboration among project participants, from field teams to design and construction offices and more – driving faster and more informed decision-making.”For full details of article, please click here.Paul Wilkinson from Extranet Evolution reviewed Envision and some of the newly developed capabilities.

Hackathon kick-starts integration innovations

In April 2015, Ennova hosted a Hackathon with Leighton ContractorsQGCiConstructTracBase and iCURO to explore new innovations that would enable seamless integration between applications and a much better experience for projects through automation. As a group, by improving integration and information flow between applications, we can give project teams the benefit of far greater simplicity, speed and accessibility on a day-to-day basis.

During the Hackathon, we looked at a number of proof-of-concept projects. Some of these have already been developed and released while others are planned for future release through our ongoing roadmap.

Key projects

  • Integration across the iConstruct BIM engineering model, TracBase materials management system and Envision to keep tagged items in sync and reduce the time and effort required to transfer data between these systems using automated links, including:
    • Populating tagged item registers in Envision directly from the model using iConstruct
    • Updating tagged item progress in Envision using iConstruct and TracBase
    • Updating progress in iConstruct and TracBase using the progress stored in Envision
  • Enhancements to progress recording in Envision to support linear projects
  • GIS integration
  • People management

“The Hackathon allowed us to quickly identify where our two systems needed to integrate and to get a demo-ready system working within two days, as opposed to what might have otherwise taken two weeks. The end users’ reactions when they saw the advantage of the integration, compared with their existing systems, was well worth the effort from our team and should be a real benefit for iCURO and Envision in the future.”

Daniel Bradley, iCURO

“We all provide different and unique services. However, gone are the days when we can work in silos. Clients are now expecting us, as contractors, to work together to solve their problems – and in the end it benefits all of us. Thank you Ennova for taking the initiative to collaborate this way, and to Eng Co for their strong input. I enjoyed spending a few days with your team and the result will, no doubt, provide more robust and user-friendly solutions. We are looking forward to cementing these relationships further.”

Johnny Gervoe, GP Systems (TracBase)

“iConstruct is always striving to be at the forefront of innovation in BIM. The opportunity to integrate with Envision ties directly to our strategy of making BIM more accessible. The two systems are a perfect match. Most of our users link their models to their own databases or spreadsheets, but the ability to leverage a system as comprehensive and powerful as Envision takes things to the next level. The Hackathon was just the beginning. Having key stakeholders and technical experts in the various fields there meant we achieved a lot in two days. It certainly broadened my horizons and I look forward to the next Hackathon. I see some real opportunities for groundbreaking innovations in the near future and look forward to working closer with the team at Ennova.”

Rob Lawson, PDC (iConstruct)