Implementing a Combined Structural Design and Detailing Workflow to Improve Project Outcomes

Bien, Robert (2018) Implementing a Combined Structural Design and Detailing Workflow to Improve Project Outcomes. [USQ Project]


This dissertation conducted a research evaluation study to assess an intervention to design projects workflow, whereby the structural engineering design and the documentation for structural steelwork fabrication (shop detailing) processes were combined.

Over the past two decades structural engineering design tools and systems have advanced greatly. The Industry’s focus is on the technological advancements improving the actual structural design; the research evaluation study instead focussed on the fundamental workflow for structural design within an Australian mining consultancy.

Current industry practice has the structural design phase flowing onto a separate shop detailing phase. This practice has been identified to expose projects to heightened risks for overruns to schedule and variations to costs.

The structural design passing from engineers to the shop detailers relies heavily on software interoperability between digital model platforms, along with the detailers’ interpretation and understanding to maintain the design intent. Areas with incomplete information or requiring additional explanation result in both informal and formal queries, which in turn lead to delays, loss of schedule and additional costs. The worst case scenario is misunderstood design or incomplete detailing not being captured, consequently leading to costly rework and delays on site during construction.

The new workflow was applied and evaluated on real structural design projects within an Australian mining consultancy (Prospect Solutions Pty Ltd). Both quantitative and qualitative data was gathered, collated and analysed. Simple quantitative data such as reduction in technical queries (TQ’s) and costs, along with qualitative results like improved information flow, responsiveness to changes and simplified project management.

The research evaluation study primarily utilised the Better Evaluation Rainbow Framework (Visualise Data 2018) guidelines and methodology, which was complemented with the MAXQDA software (Creswell 2009) to perform robust analysis on the gathered quantitative and qualitative data.

The key outcome for the evaluation was to determine whether the combined workflow is of overall benefit to project delivery.

In the end the research evaluation study showcased the benefits for the combined workflow, as it simplified project management, improved projects responsiveness to change, enhanced communication, reduced the technical queries and associated delays.

However, due to challenges with gaining clients acceptance for the workflow, limited projects were made available, meaning limitations around project comparisons. Hence, further projects will need to be delivered in this manner to generate definitive results and confirm the benefits of such an approach.

Ultimately, any accepted industry practices should always be undergoing constant review and evaluation.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Devine, Jo; Wydmanski, Stan
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil)
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2022 23:51
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2023 04:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: design projects workflow; project outcomes

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