Unlocking Success: overcoming project management challenges in EPC projects

EPC projects are complex endeavors that require meticulous planning, efficient coordination, and effective management. However, these projects often encounter various challenges that can hinder their success. In this article, we will delve into the common project management challenges faced in EPC projects and explore strategies and solutions to overcome them.

A picture may be worth a thousand words – but an interactive 3D dashboard answers thousands of questions and helps to facilitate EPC projects. Integrating 3D, 2D, and data from constructability and site management systems allows a digital twin to take a central role in overcoming project management challenges.

Complex nature of EPC projects

Complex engineering and construction projects are often split into phases, each focusing on a particular goal. The phases include FEED, detailed process design and engineering, constructability analysis, the generation of documentation for construction, change management, as well as project handover and asset management.

Different teams or subcontractors produce a range of data with the goal of ensuring that the project is completed and that the target budget and deadlines are met. Two main factors contribute to the complexity of the process: cooperation between project teams with different functions, and differences in information types and formats produced.

Due to the divergent nature of the work, different types of documentation are sometimes produced and stored in different systems. Together, all these factors lead to information that is distributed in different bits and pieces, sometimes in files, sometimes in databases. Occasionally, this data is stored in document management systems, or simply in file directories in shared drives, or on an intranet. Some project information can be classified as tacit information, which exists only inside people’s heads because they have no time or means to “attach” it to other project data.

The data is linked and can be easily accessed, searched for, and visualized without the need to move it from origin databases and systems or validate it.

CADMATIC eShare provides a platform for collecting digital data related to industrial design and engineering, construction, procurement and operation data, without the need to relocate data from systems that are already in use. The platform supports specific use cases tailored to EPC and owner-operator goals.

3D dashboard to constructability information – select model hierarchy according to building priority categories and color based on constructability analysis data.

3D dashboard to constructability information – select model hierarchy according to building priority categories and color based on constructability analysis data.

3D information model as interface to project-related data

The 3D model contains a large amount of data that is used for the post-design phases. However, it is often difficult to access for people who do not use CAD software and only need partial information from the design stages. eShare combined with eXchanger converters allow the combination of models from various formats, such as PDMS®, PDS®, S3D®, DWG, IFC, and more. Additionally, it is possible to upload data from laser scanners, adding a photorealistic as-build element to the 3D model. This allows the user to get a complete project in one window, even in cases where subcontractors and different disciplines use different CAD systems.

CADMATIC eShare provides access to the various types of information via one window: the 3D model, 2D drawings and documentation, overlaying layers of data such as data that is added to objects from constructability analysis, or tracing construction progress. The data is linked and can be easily accessed, searched for, and visualized without the need to move it from origin databases and systems, or validate it.

A lot of knowledge needs to be communicated to non-engineers and using the 3D model as a hub of information provides an intuitive interface for this purpose. One picture is worth a thousand words, and a 3D model conveys more information than flat data tables.

The rapid development of IT infrastructure and software allows all data to be presented not only in a web portal, but also on tablets to take on site or to be used with HoloLens© for augmented reality tours. With CADMATIC eShare add-ons, all this is possible already – using CADMATIC eGo on Windows tablets and eShare for HoloLens makes complete project data available in the most suitable way.

Collect notes from installation teams and use color-coding to visualize the installation status of the model in eShare.

Collect notes from installation teams and use color-coding to visualize the installation status of the model in eShare.

Monitoring construction progress

With the use of the 3D model as a dashboard, site planners can keep track on prefabrication and construction activities and constantly monitor the availability of materials in warehouses and shipping documents. Taking the 3D model on site with CADMATIC eGo on a tablet adds mobility and enables front-end inputs. On-site, information about installed items and pipelines can be easily marked in 3D and later synchronized with eShare to become available for all other project parties.

The updated installation status is critical not only for project management, but also to avoid design changes in locations where there are already installed parts, or at least to ensure that re-installation work is minimized.

Project communication channel and change management with visual support

The 3D model can be used as a discussion board to facilitate project change management and control the construction phase and planning. It is possible to store comments saved on top of the 3D model with labels and dimensions, compare the model with previous versions, or send an email with the attached picture.

The certification process from equipment suppliers can also be monitored with the visualization of status information. Smart points in the model can store silent knowledge or even be linked with data from instruments. The extensive search functionality allows the location of any needed information and any data from eShare can be used for visualization purposes.

eShare - linking 3D model with online data from sensors for asset management.

eShare - linking 3D model with online data from sensors for asset management.

eShare in brief

  • One window provides access to all project related data
  • Converges engineering 3D models with constructability analysis, construction scheduling and progress follow-up
  • Links to asset management systems and provides platform to store digital twin
  • No need to move, validate and copy data
  • Intuitive user interface with 3D visual support
  • Fast implementation – easy to take into use