NEWS: United Living to optimise projects with web-based management

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Leading UK builder will standardise on Aconex under new enterprise agreement

The United Living Group, one of the UK’s leading providers of refurbished and new build living solutions, has signed a three-year enterprise agreement to use Aconex’s web-based project management software. The deal follows on from a merger in 2014, which left United Living faced with the challenge of managing multiple point solutions, which had been used to varying degrees of efficiency within both businesses.

Beginning with a two-tower build of 200 residential apartments on the Chelsea waterfront in London, United Living will implement all new projects on Aconex. Projects in process and completed projects will be assessed and scheduled by priority for their transition to Aconex, with the goal of all projects – past, present and future – to be accessible on the platform.

United Living plans to fully utilise the Aconex platform and suite of solutions, including Aconex Field for mobile inspections and defect resolution, Aconex Connected BIM for collaboration on multidimensional models, Aconex Smart Manuals for digital handover, and Aconex Mobile for platform access in the field. All project team members, from owner/operators to subcontractors and vendors, will use Aconex to help ensure consistent data and processes through every project lifecycle.

“With our supply chain becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices, whether smartphones or tablets, it is essential that we provide the tools to empower them at the ground level,” stated Greg Morley, chief information officer. “As a business, we are heavily invested in mobile devices, and as we deploy Aconex, we’ll start driving better value from our investments.”

United Living will also utilise Aconex automated workflow management to streamline and standardise design reviews, requests for information (RFIs), and changes and variations across multiple organisations.

“We will be able to define specific tasks, monitor their progress, track activity, and automatically save all details in a complete audit trail,” said Mr. Morley. “The organisation is committed to an efficient new centralised management platform. There is a significant groundswell of excitement from our operations staff on the ground – everybody is very enthusiastic and can’t wait for Aconex.”

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According to Mr. Morley, managing project data on legacy systems presents significant challenges. Documents, drawings, multidimensional models, emails and attachments, and other information may reside only in hard copy, on a remote hard drive, in an inaccessible database, or in a contractor’s files. The time and effort required to track down relevant data can be onerous, and conflicts between different organisations may be impossible to resolve.

“On Aconex, everyone has access to project data, and everyone controls access to their own data,” said Mr. Morley. “There is one consistent data set for each project which is stored on the platform.” In addition, Aconex employs metadata to enable fast, easy searches that would be impossible on non-centralised legacy systems or point solutions. “Modern metadata usage is eminently more powerful than traditional search through multiple layers of folders and files,” Mr. Morley added.

Greg Morley, United Living CIO

Handover to the owner/operator at practical completion of a project has historically been a labour-intensive process, with unavoidable room for error during the gathering of relevant project data, scanning to PDF files, collation of those files into manuals, and distribution of the manuals to the operations team. Aconex Smart Manuals automates, simplifies and streamlines this process, which Mr. Morley described as a “huge step forward for us.”

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