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Room for optimism: InEight

InEight is reaffirming its commitment to digital transformation by providing innovative solutions to on-going global impacts affecting the capital projects industry. InEight Sales Director Justin Fagents sits down with Roads & Infrastructure to discuss.

The capital projects industry is going through one of the largest changes in the sector’s history.

Still reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an industry-wide skill and supply shortages, many businesses across the capital projects industry are looking to digital providers such as InEight for guidance.

InEight Sales Director Justin Fagents says that despite challenges, the capital project industry still has a lot to look forward to. He tells Roads & Infrastructure magazine that solutions to on-going industry problems are there for the taking.

“There’s a couple of big challenges that the industry is currently facing. The resourcing of human capital has been a real stretch. That has mainly been due to restrictions on labour coming in internationally because of the COVID pandemic,” he says.

“With less international expertise coming in, this presents an opportunity to attract a new generation and diverse workforce. Bringing more women into the workplace for construction is going to be imperative. Creative ways of hiring, and also being able to utilise a diverse and remote workforce, are just some of the ways our clients are maintaining productivity.”

For many businesses in the modern capital projects industry, accuracy, accessibility and flexibility are paramount.

InEight Sales Director Justin Fagents.
InEight Sales Director Justin Fagents.

To counter on-going impacts to the current economy, InEight has developed a ‘digital transformation roadmap’, outlining how businesses can embrace digital tools throughout the life cycle of a construction project.

This roadmap entails the project life cycle typically associated with commercial construction projects. This includes the pre-planning, design and engineering, construction, commissioning and startup and final operation phases.

Fagents says that accuracy, accessibility and flexibility can all be achieved across these construction phases, as long as the technology is successfully implemented.

“When we talk about the digital transformation roadmap, it really starts at the pre-planning phase. Really, it’s around that effective scope, evaluating the costs, potential risks, and creating those benchmarks and estimates,” he says.

“From the pre-planning phase, right through to the operations and maintenance phase, it’s important that you can access data quickly and easily, whenever you need it, throughout the life of that asset.”

InEight provides a range of solutions to minimise risk and improve project certainty.

More than 575,000 users across 60 countries use InEight’s solutions to manage in excess of $1 trillion worth of capital infrastructure projects globally.

During the design and engineering phase, InEight’s software can support the management of engineering deliverables, while also allowing users to view scheduling impacts caused by design delays, helping to minimise the downtime and impacts to the project schedule.

“Then we move onto the construction phase, where the main components happen,” Fagents says. “Now the constructor and asset owner can use what we call the control module, which is your baseline of all of the schedules, all of the risks, all of the key suppliers, all of the procurement functions, while also managing essential documents.”

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During the startup phase, project managers can manage the punch lists and commissioning through InEight’s digital tools.

Once the structure/facility is in operation, constructors and asset owners can have access to digital project archives, which are captured by InEight’s software, providing a digital audit trail.

One such tool, which can provide an audit trail, as well as real-time clash detection, is InEight’s intuitive ‘digital twin’.

InEight’s ‘digital twin’ includes real-time clash detection, helping to minimise disparities between design data and as-built data.

As Fagents explains, the digital twin has been designed to cater for multiple disciplines and designs on major infrastructure projects, creating a united view across all models.

“The digital twin connects the design data with the as-built data. So having that digital twin from the design phase at the beginning, and having that full replication, ensures that as the project is being constructed, clash detection is done on the fly. As you’re building the physical asset, the digital asset is also aligned,” he says.

“By having an audit trail, project managers can view clash detection, as well as any components that may have failures. Stakeholders can see what was installed, who the asset was installed by as well as the maintenance history, all in one platform.”

As Fagents adds, the digital twin is also useful for the on-going servicing across the life of the asset.

“For the life of the asset, it’s obviously important to have the ability to plan maintenance shutdowns and ongoing upgrades to the facility or the asset. Having a full digital twin ensures there’s going to be a better performance in terms of being able to do that plan, maintenance and shutdown, as well as being able to identify where some of those key pain points may be within the within the asset.”

In uncertain times, Fagents says the use of data is paramount.

“We’ve seen far too many major infrastructure projects failing to be completed within their given timeframe and cost cap,” he says.

“There’s a real opportunity for the construction industry to connect this data to gain real insights into whether a project can be delivered on time and on budget. We can give a project team the ability to forecast what’s coming, and then pivot, to ensure that the development of an asset doesn’t get off track.”

The competitive edge

Fagents says the construction industry is among the slowest when it comes to embracing digital transformation. He says that while the benefits of digital tools are well publicised, the sustained success of embracing digitalisation relies on internal support and objective setting.

“I think if you don’t have a clear outcome of what you’re looking to achieve, the technology itself will fail,” he says. “The first step is to be very clear on what the problem is that you’re trying to solve as an organisation.

“Organisations also need to ensure that the executive leadership team is supporting the transformation. In our experience, executive endorsement is very important from a change management perspective.

“Businesses need to embrace the technology across the whole organisation. It’s also important that your subject matter experts in the discipline are involved early in the conversation.”

As Fagents adds, InEight’s digital tools are proving to be the differentiators for organisations bidding on Australia’s next wave of major infrastructure works.

“When you’re looking from an owner’s perspective, they’re selecting the right partner based on experience in a particular sector. They’re asking, ‘how are they going to deliver projects with certainty?’ InEight is able to bring certainty to those constructors, but also to owners as well, by giving them the visibility and insight they require,” he says.

“Our clients are bidding for work using our InEight solution set as a key differentiator between themselves and their competition.”

Looking ahead

As the capital projects industry continues to weather the storm of economic impacts, Fagents says he’s optimistic for the sector’s future. He believes the influx of government spend on a federal and state level is an encouraging sign for the industry’s long-term future.

“If we look across the country, there’s plenty of projects that are coming up. The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, the Bruce Highway Upgrade and the Great Western Highway are just some examples of projects which are bringing jobs and millions of dollars to the industry,” he says.

“I’m incredibly optimistic and buoyant about the way the industry is tracking. There’s a lot of money being invested. The sector’s certainly not shrinking, but we’re going to need to ensure that we have the right tool sets available to the people that are delivering those projects.”

This article was originally published in the December edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.


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