How Disruption is Delivering Gain for BHP’s Jansen Project, by Hatch-Bantrel JV
Digital transformation is disrupting the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction/Management (EPCM) industry, allowing analysis and adaptation of innovative technologies across a project’s lifecycle.
In order to meet the business requirements of the Jansen project during the construction execution phase, BHP engaged the Hatch Bantrel Joint Venture (HBJV) to solicit input from key industry software providers to obtain their interest in engaging in an evaluation and testing process on commercially available solutions. This activity confirmed that no viable solutions that would meet the business requirements existed. That was the catalyst for the project team to innovate and develop their own solution: the Integrated Construction Centre (ICC).
At its core, the ICC platform is a system with centralized construction data and information, allowing for a common data source to provide consistent and reliable real-time reporting and analytics for better decision-making. This enables near to real-time information to be utilized in effective construction management with resultant safety, cost and schedule benefits. The ICC platform is currently in the testing phase and will be used by multiple stakeholders, including site management, Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE), technical services, vendors, contractors, construction management, risk, project controls, quality, turnover, field supervision, contract administration, field material management, and commissioning and handover.
Effectively, it will bring all these traditionally siloed functions and processes into integrated digital construction methods and strategies, resulting in better engagement and considerable construction productivity improvement. This article describes the extent of this transformational solution for BHP’s Jansen project, and how its positive impact will echo on the EPCM and construction industries.
BHP is developing a potash operation in Saskatchewan, Canada that will expand over several years with an operational life exceeding 65 years. The Jansen project is a greenfield underground potash mine that is BHP’s entry into the global potash business.
A key project objective for BHP is to develop the safest and most efficient potash operation possible by incorporating new technologies and advanced project delivery methods, and this is being realized through the implementation of the Integrated Construction Centre (ICC).
The construction phase of most major capital projects, such as Jansen, is typically characterized by the following attributes: (1) Large outflows of capital; (2) Low visibility and control over risks; (3) The involvement of many stakeholders with competing priorities necessitating a high degree of coordination; and (4) High complexity due to the overlap of several different business functions and processes.
To support BHP’s Digital Strategy for Jansen, BHP and the Hatch-Bantrel Joint Venture (HBJV) identified known pain points that needed to be addressed during the construction of large capital projects. These pain points include inefficiencies in: (1) Orientation and on-boarding; (2) HSE Processes; (3) Materials and contracts management; (4) Interface with design engineering; (5) Technical services support (e.g. vendors, quality assurance and quality control, field engineering, home office support, etc.); (6) Progressing, as-builts and red-lining; (7) Handover and turnover processes.
The ICC platform provides construction with a centralized data environment that gives consistent and reliable real-time reporting and analytics for better decision-making. Figure 2 illustrates ICC’s interfaces between different construction processes.
To deliver a flexible, robust, and scalable project infrastructure, the project platform has been deployed in a cloud environment.
Specialized development of the applications and the interfaces as part of the ICC are being designed and applied to achieve full potential of the platform and, in turn, generate substantial efficiencies and cost savings.
The ICC connects to key business applications across the overall project while maintaining a single source of truth for all project information and stakeholders. The ICC has the following four key components that communicate and interface with the rest of the project systems:
As part of the ICC, all existing work processes were mapped to incorporate the preferred technologies and data-centric methods which eliminated non-value steps and processes.
Key performance indicators have been developed to monitor and validate the on-going processes and project savings as the contractors begin transitioning their work through the ICC. Some of the benefits to the construction work processes include: (1) Improved access to real-time information for construction progressing; (2) Elimination of manual processes for systems turnover; (3) Better visibility of performance and prediction of potential problems; (4) Increased tool time for craft due to reduced waiting delays for inspection; (5) Reduced wait time on materials due to integrated field procurement; (6) Removal of reliance on quantity surveying by contractors and verification surveying by the construction management team, and; (7) Consistency of reporting across all construction contractors.
The driving force behind the ICC is to build a transformational solution that strengthens interoperability between the project systems and facilitates construction activities in a streamlined manner while significantly improving construction productivity.
Once the ICC is fully operational, it will provide:
Companies like BHP, Hatch and Bantrel are making the necessary intellectual capital investments to enable the effective implementation and non-siloed integration of digital construction methods and strategies, innovative processes, tools, and technology solutions. This level of data integration across multiple project platforms has never been accomplished before and will have a long-term positive impact on the EPCM and construction industries.