What is Complex Construction?

Construction Technology

Complex construction projects have many moving parts that must work together, and require effective monitoring, coordination, and control from start to finish. Complex projects involve millions of dollars, hundreds of workers, and high-tech equipment. In addition, complex projects have complex designs that are not easy to implement.

To implement a complex construction project, engineers use modern technology to explore different approaches through which they can implement projects. An example of such a technology is ALICE. This optioneering platform simulates how contractors can successfully implement complex projects through reduced risks and the development of better bids.

Factors influencing complex construction projects

Size of the project

Most experts agree that size does determine the complexity of a construction project. For example, it is harder to build an international airport when compared to building an airstrip.

One obvious reason is that bigger projects involve more laborers, equipment, and materials. In addition, bigger projects require different construction teams to work simultaneously, which increases complexity. 

Project type

It’s important to appreciate that building a linear project such as a highway is not the same as building a bridge that connects two islands. Highway construction is done on land and involves a repetitive process. However, bridge construction is more complicated because pillars have to be erected in salty water. The wage rate is also higher because building a bridge on the water is riskier.  

Project location

The location of a project will determine its complexity. For example, a project built in the sea, such as an offshore oil platform, is more complicated than building an oil facility on land. Similarly, constructing a commercial property in a highly populated area is more complex when compared to building a commercial unit in a rural area. 

Political projects

These are projects that are implemented because of political policies. For example, the government can decide to build a nuclear power station to meet local power demands. Building a nuclear reactor is complicated because a simple mistake can result in a nuclear disaster.

Other political projects that are complicated to implement include the construction of a high-speed rail system and dam construction. 

Characteristics of a complex construction project

For a project to be complex, it must meet four main criteria.  

1. The involvement of many teams

A construction project is complex if many people are involved. This includes project owners, architects, engineers, structural engineers, suppliers, and laborers. The project is further complicated if laborers work on different tasks simultaneously. 

2. Numerous moving parts

If a construction project involves numerous moving parts, it is complex. An example is a construction project involving more than ten local and national bodies and several construction teams working simultaneously. Also, the project is complex if there are multiple construction sites with multiple construction teams.  

3. Short project timelines

Complex projects usually have a short construction time. This is because most are political projects, and politicians want the projects implemented before their term expires. Therefore, the contractor is forced to work harder to meet deadlines. 

4. Construction constraints

Projects can be considered complex if they are faced with numerous constraints, such as budgeting and labor shortages. Other constraints include material and equipment shortages.

Strategies for dealing with complex projects

When working on a complex project, the contractor must understand that the project will not change. Therefore, the contractor needs to be flexible and adaptable. For example, if the project is experiencing financial challenges, modify your expenditure to avoid having negative cash flow.  

Use technology

Complex projects have a lot of moving parts. There are payments to be done, a work schedule to be created, and risks to identify and contain. To help manage these challenges, use a modern construction optioneering platform. These platforms help manage risks and simplify the entire construction process.

Another important technology that can be used is the use of drones. Contractors can use drones to increase safety at construction sites. They can also be used for aerial imagery and accessing hard-to-reach areas.  

Use collaboration tools

Another way to deal with complex projects is to use more than collaboration tools. These tools will enable different construction teams to communicate easily with their supervisors. In addition, modern collaboration tools can track every member’s work progress, eliminating the ‘joy riders.’

When choosing a collaboration tool, ensure that it is cloud-based. This is because cloud-based tools can be accessed through mobile phones and anywhere in the world. In addition, ensure the platform chosen can store and exchange important documents among different key stakeholders.  

Only work with experts

When working on a large construction project, the contractor must ensure that every team member is qualified. If possible, only employ experts. This is because they will ensure the project runs smoothly. After all, they know what is required of them.

To avoid the issue of unfilled positions, contractors should work closely with recruitment agencies. The agencies will vet and recruit skilled talent on behalf of the company.

Train your team

To successfully implement a complex construction project, team members must have the technical expertise to implement the owner’s dream. Therefore, the project manager must regularly ensure that team members are trained. This helps increase productivity and reduce costly errors.

Lastly, when dealing with complex construction projects, deal with legal challenges first. Construction should not be done before legal requirements are met.

In conclusion, complex construction projects require good teams to implement them successfully. Take advantage of technology to identify risks and alternatives that can be used to implement the project faster and better.

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