Document Detail

Title: RR311-11 - Successful Delivery of Flash Track Projects
Publication Date: 8/1/2016
Product Type: Research Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 519
Austin, Pishdad-Bozorgi, Georgia Tech; De la Garza, Virginia Tech
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Speed and quality of construction have always been driving forces in the construction industry and have become increasingly important over the past decade. Project professionals have developed a variety of concepts and methods to speed up project delivery in response to the current environment of increasingly complex projects, shortened useful life cycles of products and processes, and a growing need of end users to be first to market. One such approach, fast tracking, has become a staple of the construction industry; to the extent that most organizations employ some level of it on all their construction projects. Still, the need for even quicker project deliveries remains. It is now driven by a greater demand for emergency rebuilds, pressing economic needs, and/or stricter regulations. Meeting these increasing demands has led to the pursuit of “faster fast tracking” or “Flash Tracking.”

While fast track projects are characterized by interphase integration, including overlaps between different phases (i.e., engineering, procurement, and construction), Flash Track projects are characterized by integration encompassing both inter- and intra-phase overlaps, which is enabled by parallel work packaging within each phase. For example, engineering work can be broken down into several work packages that can be performed simultaneously. Such a volatile approach requires highly coupled coordination and interface management processes.

To facilitate this emerging project delivery method, CII Research Team (RT) 311, Successful Delivery of Flash Track Projects, focused on identifying and ranking industry practices essential to the successful delivery of Flash Track projects. In addition to extensively exploring and analyzing U.S. and international construction practices, RT 311 thoroughly examined project acceleration practices in other industries, including manufacturing, shipbuilding, and software development. The team’s methodology entailed a three-round Delphi process and the use of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to produce a comprehensive prioritization of essential Flash Track practices and implementation recommendations. The result was a two-tiered structure of forty-seven (47) essential Flash Track practices, which mainly emphasizes planning, execution, and organizational considerations; it also considers cultural issues, delivery methods, and contractual considerations. Additionally, the team developed an Excel-based Flash Track Tool, which includes a metric for assessing a project’s readiness for Flash Tracking.

To help companies with the implementation of Flash Tracking, the team also developed innovative implementation strategies for each of the 47 practices, which include barriers to implementation, identification of heightened risks, and risk mitigating strategies. These strategies are integrated into the readiness metric to help eliminate identified weaknesses in the Flash Tracking process.

By studying the 47 practices and implementation concepts, the team re-engineered the workflow processes for Flash Track projects, proposing an innovative delivery approach that extends the work of CII Research Team 130, Reforming Owner, Contractor, Supplier Relationships. In its effort to develop a project delivery system to optimize supplier roles in EPC projects, RT 130 formulated the PEpC approach, recommending two parts of the procurement process: “big P” and “little p.” During the “big P” part of the process, the focus is on strategic procurement items, including complex, engineered equipment and systems essential for project performance. During the “little p” phase, the team obtains the balance of items to be procured for the project. Therefore, PEpC stands for “Procurement, Engineering, procurement, Construction” (See Appendix A for a summary of PEpC).

RT 311 added a “little c” before the “big P” to propose the cPEpC approach, which calls for the committed earlier engagement and collaboration of specialty subcontractors and other downstream parties at the outset of a project. This earlier involvement of construction personnel will provide crucial input into scope definition, conceptual design development, and constructability considerations, among other critical project elements. In addition to the interphase integration typical of fast tracking, the cPEpC approach incorporates intraphase integration, an innovative concept that can include simultaneous parallel engineering as well as parallel pre-fabrication and construction. Other enablers of cPEpC are such emerging practices as BIM, design-assist services, pull planning, and co-located integrated teams.

The research team designed the Flash Track Readiness Tool to help project teams determine their readiness to undertake a project on a Flash Track basis. The team conducted internal verification and external validation tests to ensure the soundness, relevancy, and quality of the Flash Track Tool. Internal verification confirmed that the Flash Track Tool is well-engineered, error-free and of high quality. The external validation effort asked test users on 13 projects to confirm that the tool is useful and that it addresses real world project conditions and needs.