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Lauréat du prix de stratégie de numérisation 2020

Find the Optimal Route and Time for Equipment Delivery Using Simulation Tools, by Pomerleau

Delivering equipment across a construction site to its final location can be incredibly complex when faced with a tight schedule or a design that does not have the space to accommodate the movement of large equipment. The complexity of this process consumes significant amounts of analysis and time and requires multiple iterations and participation from numerous project team members. In order to quickly and easily identify the best options for equipment delivery, Pomerleau endeavored to develop a tool to simulate equipment travel across the construction site within the 3D model. Using the tool, the team can now test several delivery scenarios virtually using the 3D model to determine the best option, depending on the stage of construction, by ensuring the planned route is passable and free of obstacles. By modelling, monitoring, evaluating, and improving in real-time, we drastically reduce the wasting of resources associated with iterations in traditional simulation.

Problem Definition

Delivering equipment across a construction site and optimizing those deliveries by proposing alternatives in time or space can be extremely difficult. Even with just a few days of delay, we could find ourselves unable to deliver the equipment to its destination without delaying construction or demolition. We are used to working with 3D technologies to coordinate multiple disciplines, but when it comes to coordinating the movement of large objects, we had no tools to efficiently and effectively simulate the process. It was necessary to analyze plans, cross-sections, and elevations or use the federated model to decipher potentially problematic locations and ensure the feasibility of delivery. This type of coordination also requires an in-depth knowledge of the construction schedule in order to have an accurate estimate of work progress at the planned delivery time and to identify potential obstacles such as temporary structures and equipment.

Using existing tools on the market like 4D simulation tools and 3D coordination tools helped us understand the state of construction and foresee potential problems. However, it was still difficult to simulate the equipment delivery across the construction site without the combination of both at the same time. Another challenge that we faced with the use of those tools for equipment delivery coordination was the waste of time associated with the simulation iterations since analysis and work time had to be planned after these coordination meetings to confirm whether the proposed routes were feasible.

High-Level Solution

Because of the lack of an existing solution to support effectively the equipment delivery coordination, Pomerleau developed a tool to simulate equipment travel across the construction site within the 3D model. Using the tool, the team can now test several delivery scenarios virtually using the 3D model to determine the best option, depending on the stage of construction, by ensuring the planned route is passable and free of obstacles.

Solution Details

The equipment delivery simulation tool adds the concepts of time and motion to the multidisciplinary 3D coordination. Using the tool, the team can now test several delivery scenarios virtually using the 3D model to determine the best option, depending on the stage of construction, by ensuring the planned route is passable and free of obstacles. The project’s VDC coordinator loads 3D models from the various disciplines into the application and has the option of filtering them according to the schedule, in order to have an accurate picture of the expected construction progress at the time of delivery.

The coordinator then simulates equipment movement in the model and receives a notification at each location where the moving equipment interferes with elements in the model. The tool gives also the option to modify in real-time the equipment and its sizes, giving even more coordination possibilities. This makes analysis extremely quick, allowing the coordinator to target potential issues in a fraction of the time. Wherever interference is encountered, the project team can assess the options available and determine the best strategy to take. Questions such as, “Can we find another route?”, “Can we change the delivery date, or could this problem be solved by making sure delivery takes place before conflicting elements are built?”, “Can we find alternative equipment with dimensions that respect the constraints?”, and “Can the design be modified to consider the size of the equipment?” are now answerable.

Business benefits

The equipment delivery simulation tool proves its worth by allowing multidisciplinary teams to instantly and accurately assess the feasibility of equipment installation and to share the results collaboratively. Since the tool allows for quick and easy testing of different delivery scenarios, we significantly reduced the number of coordination meetings required and thereby reduced the costs associated with these meetings.

Initially, the work was mainly on 2D plans, and analysis and time had to be planned after the coordination meetings to confirm whether the proposed routes were feasible. This inevitably resulted in additional iterations and an increase in the number of meetings. Once the tool was developed, analysis time outside of meetings was significantly reduced, as well as the amount of rework required; it was now possible to instantly confirm the different proposals during the same meeting. We were therefore able to reduce the cycle time of the Deming wheel (PDCA: Plan, Do, Check, Act), since we are modeling, monitoring, evaluating, and improving in real-time. This cycle time reduction drastically reduces the waste of time associated with iterations in traditional simulation – waste reduction being one of the main objectives of lean thinking.

We also noted a marked improvement in the project team’s understanding of the 3D model and delivery coordination issues. The tool brought such precision that we can now suggest optimization possibilities that were difficult – if not impossible – to envision before. Since analysis became faster and more accurate, the team was able to propose more complex coordination solutions, such as breaking down the equipment at the factory before delivery to allow it to pass through the construction site.

The whole supply chain of the project benefits from the use of the tool because we can make decisions on design early in the process and even improve the execution schedule. Additionally, gathering the design team and the construction managers enhances collaboration by allowing them to interact in real-time to quickly find solutions.

Conclusion

In order to quickly and easily identify the best options for equipment delivery, and because the existing solutions only partially met our needs, Pomerleau endeavored to develop a tool to simulate equipment travel across the construction site within the 3D model. Using the equipment delivery simulation tool, the project team can now test several delivery scenarios virtually using the 3D model to determine the best option, depending on the stage of construction, by ensuring the planned route is passable and free of obstacles. By modelling, monitoring, evaluating, and improving in real-time, we drastically reduce the waste of time associated with iterations in traditional simulation.

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Equipment Delivery Simulation Tool

Pomerleau Inc.

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