Eurovia Contracting is one of the leading highway contractors in the United Kingdom. In close collaboration with their associated companies, Eurovia teams are responsible for improving over 50,000 kms of the UK’s highways network – they deliver specialist highway services across the largest, dedicated, highways portfolio within the UK, including the strategic road network, DBFO motorway and trunk roads, and the local authority network.
The Eurovia teams create a real collaborative approach with their clients and partners. Self-delivery is core to their business model and their focus lies on highway, improvement works that create places for people to live, work and enjoy.
The refurbishment of the 117-year old Vauxhall Bridge is the project that kickstarted the collaboration between LetsBuild and Eurovia as part of a proof of concept. Following successes at Vauxhall, the trial was expanded to a different type and scale of project with the Ashbourne roundabout project in Derbyshire which is unlocking land for employment and housing development in the area.
What communication on site looked like before and after LetsBuild
The Vauxhall Bridge Refurbishment workforce included many supply chain partners, therefore initially it proved challenging to get everyone involved to use LetsBuild’s system. However, after the benefits were effectively communicated the supply chain partners embraced it.
The aim was to encourage the site team to stop using a whiteboard at their weekly Wednesday collaboration meetings and move across to interactive meetings using live data from LetsBuild’s GenieBelt module. The manual effort required with regards to reporting progress was a significant issue before LetsBuild was introduced. With LetsBuild, there was no longer a need to pick up the phone or chase for updates to be sure of progress on site. There was a better overview of what activities were carried out by whom and when.
“Previously, producing lookahead programmes was a manual, spreadsheet-based process. Progress updates took place once a week rather than what is, with LetsBuild, almost a daily occurrence. LetsBuild encourages others to interact with the lookahead programme directly rather than relying on the Site Manager identifying, collating, and pushing out progress updates.” underlines Duncan Jenkins, Operations Manager for Eurovia Contracting South.
Furthermore, LetsBuild helped Eurovia increase subcontractor engagement on Vauxhall Bridge as any supply chain were able to directly access their own activities and see exactly how their activities fitted into the main programme.
Like the Vauxhall Bridge project, the team in Ashbourne were working with Excel-based short-term lookaheads and monthly updates to a Primavera programme. Once a month they would do a much more in-depth sit down with the planner to conduct a bulk update on the programme.
“LetsBuild made it much more regular, recurrent and simpler in the sense that you don’t need such an in-depth sit down with your planner. Now, it takes a couple hours a month instead of a full day. It definitely saved us time,” explains Jamie Muntus, Site Manager for Eurovia Contracting North.
And it was not only about the time that the planner was now able to save but also the fact that the interaction with the programme increased. The whole team started looking at the programme and had access to the same set of up-to-date information.
“It’s a much more accurate update of the programme each month rather than looking at other records to update “when did we do this?”, “when did we do that?”, “is that right?”. The updates are now carried out every few days, so it’s real-time information almost,” he adds.
Reduced admin burden and a more dynamic programme
The new working approach allowed Jamie to share the responsibility of site progress reporting with other members of the team. On top of that, he was able to save significant time on creating a progress report, adding value for his client in the process:
“It’s not only the progress but also the reports for the client on a weekly basis. You do your update and the weekly report is almost a by-product of the update. Before, that was a half-day activity every week to pull together the progress report. And the clients like the new format because it gives them a lot of detailed information.”
Apart from cutting down the administrative workload, the team was happy to see that the data collected is much more dynamic and brings more value to the project.
“On top of reducing administration, LetsBuild ensures that the data collected becomes useful. The programme is no longer something that is static. It is now something that everyone has access to and can interact with.” highlights Duncan Jenkins.
Reducing the admin burden was also synonymous with improving decision making and increasing the engagement and accountability across all levels as well as around the different management levels.
Weekly reporting and increased engagement as the first cornerstones
Diving a little deeper into the biggest benefits of LetsBuild’s software for Eurovia, the team identified weekly reporting and site engagement respectively.
“I think it’s probably the weekly reporting. It’s virtually no effort to get that report out because you update the programme and then you get the report,” explains Jamie Muntus.
This fast and straightforward way of not only getting your programme up to date but also reducing the struggle that follows with creating a report from scratch has truly benefited the team at Eurovia and has allowed them to save time, document everything (e.g. photos against activities) that is happening on site and eventually keep the client engaged and up to date with detailed and accurate reports.
As for the Vauxhall Bridge project, engaging the teams more with the programme is something that truly has changed things for the better.
“Our biggest challenge was getting people to start using the software. Once they did, they grabbed it. The site team began to view updating progress as a way of communicating effectively across the team rather than as a chore,” adds Duncan Jenkins.
And that’s something Jamie Muntus can also relate to:
“There used to be a real disconnection between the person on the tools and the programme. But now it has brought them right into the process. They can see what they are delivering and how it effects the whole programme. That gives more ownership of the programme, better teamwork and we have seen better progress on site as a result.”
“LetsBuild brings your programme to life!”
As far as whether they would recommend the use of LetsBuild to other construction teams around the business, both Jamie and Duncan are positive about it.
“I would definitely recommend it for all the reasons we have already discussed. It brings your programme to life almost. It makes it much more of a site activity rather than admin activity,” says Jamie.
At the same time, Duncan adds:
“Using LetsBuild focuses the Site Management teams to update the programmes in the knowledge that progress is visible to all. Throughout, teams can operate and engage using the same consistent information. They can also engage more directly around progress and sharing records which is beneficial. I would recommend the use of LetsBuild around the business.”
After the success of our proof of concept, the collaboration between the two organisations has now extended to a deployment across all Eurovia Contracting activities by the end of 2021 as part of Eurovia’s digital transformation strategy.
“It is great to have LetsBuild as part of our digitalisation strategy and we look forward to our continued relationship and growth with them,” underlines Philip Reid, Digital Construction Manager at Eurovia UK. “Underpinning our digital strategy is an aim for data equality, where everyone has access to the same information from the workforce to the MD and ensuring that the right people have access to the right information at the time and place they need it. LetsBuild helps us achieve that vision.”
At LetsBuild, we are extremely proud that we get to be an active part of Eurovia’s digitalisation journey and we are looking forward to continuing our common journey towards a data-driven construction industry with more agile processes, less waste and a stronger culture around planning.
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