Using lean principles with technology

Maximising software impact to improve project performance

The challenge

The site senior leadership team, of an ongoing large-scale, high-rise residential project, identified snagging as a top three concern. Snagging is a process of identifying quality failures and managing their resolution in the final stages of construction. Excessive levels of snags that are unacceptable to the client can delay Project Completion.

Despite contractors and clients setting quality standards, snagging can be a subjective process. Differences in opinion between client and contactor for final approval can result in a longer than anticipated snagging period. This is both costly and a significant risk to programme.

The team undertook an improvement project, with the target of reducing the number of snags by 50% on Phase 2, when compared to Phase 1.

Our response

Initial analysis of the current state of the Phase 1 snagging process revealed a number of opportunities to improve time taken.

The client used a separate snagging application and the inspection reports were issued on non-exportable PDFs. These were then printed, as shown below, and left in the area for the relevant snagging manager to use. This paper-based method of snagging caused a number of problems.

  • The report was ordered by area, not contractor. Each contractor had to spend time reading the entire report to identify their own snag list.
  • Some items were wrongly allocated or mislabelled, resulting in them not being addressed by any contractor.
  • The reports didn’t include the location on the floor plate and some images were difficult to interpret. Contractors lost time trying to locate snags with limited location information.

Having identified the need to improve on the reporting of snags identified by the client, a structured evaluation of four software packages, already in use across the site, was undertaken.

The team set objectives to:

  • Find which package had the potential to clearly present each contractor with an accurate and useful snag list.
  • Ensure the package could be adapted to present a live report on progress for all levels of project management.
  • Identify and put in place actions to ensure the chosen software solution was adopted by all contractors across the site.
  • Ensure it was used to drive improvement in time and cost of the snagging process.

The package most closely meeting the needs of the team was selected and evaluation and provision of the training requirements and device availability completed.

The package was modified to generate a bespoke “live” dashboard, shown above, and snag list for each contractor, building (floor and apartment) and package manager.

A regular monitoring process for the different levels of project management was instigated.

The results

The use of this enhanced software system and associated management process, has contributed to a reduction in the average snags found by the client, per apartment.

  • Time spent locating snags and the number of missed snags has been reduced.
  • Contractor and package managers can make accurate and timely decisions on resources required to ensure tasks completed.
  • Most significantly, data on occurring snags is now fed back to each contractor and used to prioritise snag prevention activities.
  • Initial figures show the average snags per apartment has fallen from 85 in Phase 1 to 38 in Phase 2. This equates to a 55% reduction in snags.
  • The average snagging lead time to close out has reduced from 23 weeks to 4 weeks.
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Printed PDF Report

Existing software package adapted to drive cost and time reduction

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