Collaborative Project Delivery at B'ham University

Part of my role as an Information Manager at the University of Birmingham is to facilitate the collaborative working on capital projects. This is done by a series of detailed procedures surrounding the digital project delivery and management, facilitated by the use of a common data environment (CDE).

In 2019, the University procured a CDE supplied by Business Collaborator which I have worked on extensively to setup, customise and develop the set of workflows required to utilise it successfully.

As such, I have worked on the project from the start and since, the department has succeed to manage all digital communication and document delivery on project via the CDE. To date, we have trained over 250 active users from within the University and supply chain partners.

Below I have included a set of workflow diagrams which I have developed that detail some of the processes utilised in plain English.

Introduction

The University of Birmingham recently unveiled a new 10 year framework with a £1 billion capital program. To facilitate the successful delivery of the ambitious programme as well as to manage the operation of it's complex estate consisting of 199 buildings and 110 hectares of land, a new Common Data Environment (CDE) has been implemented.

Webbspace is the name of the CDE utilised on capital projects at the University of Birmingham.

It is a collaborative working environment utilising structured information exchange on projects by multiple users and companies, the success of which is dependent on the quality of the user input and information management process.

As such, detailed instructions and workflows have been developed to be adopted by the project management teams and other authorizing parties on the system.

The document delivery approach adopted by Estates is for all project related documentation to be stored and shared on Webbspace, facilitating easy access to the single source of truth of the Estate at any one time.

WebbSpace facilitates the successful document delivery on projects by structuring information based on file naming requirements, document metadata and formal document acceptance processes utilising workflows.

Suitability

Appropriate use of Suitability statuses is essential to understand the intent of issued documents. It is the responsibility of the authoriser to ensure that the correct suitability has been assigned to the documents they have been issued for comment or acceptance. The suitability is an indication of the contractual status of a document in the system.

Suitability is static for each document version issued for authorisation but not static throughout the life cycle of the document. It is important to update it each time a document is revised. It can move backward and forward as the project evolves to describe the suitability at each stage. For example, a GA plan may first be uploaded on the system for Coordination and Information whilst the design is coordinated between the disciplines.

Once it is revised to a contractual revision which is issued to us as a client for authorisation, the suitability should be changed to Design for RIBA stages up to 5. The suitability can then go back to coordination and information at the beginning of each new stage whilst the design develops further. When the main contractor is on board, a GA plan may be uploaded for Coordination and Information purposes to begin with. When the document is revised with the final construction issue, the suitability should be changed to Construction prior to issuing to the client for authorisation.

At RIBA stage 6, the main contractor issues the handover documentation which represents the status of the facility as built. The As-Built should be assigned on any handover documentation.

Documents are not deleted on the system when they expire. The Archive suitability code is for documents which may have expire and it is not required to maintain them any further. Use this with permission by the system administrator only.

Formal Construction Review Document Issue

Construction Review – Project Managers should ensure that project teams send contractual documentation relating to RIBA stage 5 for acceptance to the University using the Construction Review Workflow. This includes the final construction issue drawings.

Formal Design Review Document Issue

Design Review – Project Managers should ensure that project teams send contractual documentation relating to RIBA stages 0-4 for acceptance to the University using the Design Review Workflow. This includes the end of stage reports.

Formal Handover Document Issue

Handover Workflow – when projects near completion, the Project Manager should request a Handover workflow to be setup on the project by the UOB Information Manager.

Coordination and Information Review Document Issue

Coordination and Information – this workflow should be used by project team members for non-contractual document issues only. It is not a formal acceptance issue type.

Setting Up New Projects

Training Process

A set of training resources has been developed and hosted on Webbspace to support the successful use of Webbspace.

Fortnightly Zoom training sessions are available for project members, meeting invites organised by the Admin Team. It is mandatory to complete a training session to be setup with an account on the system.

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