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In Focus: The Construction Industry's Secret Weapon

The use of project controls specialists is still relatively unknown in the U.S., despite the fact that these consultants help to get projects delivered on time and on budget.

Q3 2021
Globally, 90 percent of construction projects are experiencing budgetary challenges and timeline delays. Many are struggling to balance cost and speed-to-market with supply chain interruptions, increased material costs, and labor shortages. That’s why project managers and construction firms are turning to project controls consultants in an effort to stay competitive in the industry. These specialists leverage their expertise and experience, in addition to innovative tools and techniques, to work alongside project managers and contractors to deliver cost or project management expertise.

As the industry struggles to meet increased demand for complex projects in key sectors — particularly data centers, high-tech manufacturing, and life sciences — project controls consultants help clients remain on budget, improve project designs, and condense timelines, oftentimes resulting in the realization of an asset sooner. As project demands shift and the construction industry becomes more complex, the experts on the team also need to adapt. Yet, despite the benefits and the popularity this method has been gaining across the globe, the industry in the U.S. has still been slow to adapt — which is understandable since the construction industry has always been uneasy about change, using the same building methods for decades.

As project demands shift and the construction industry becomes more complex, the experts on the team also need to adapt. Added hesitancy toward project control consultancy is often due to the fact that it adds another influential party to a project. Facility end-users want quality projects that are built quickly at a low cost. But what happens when a cost consultant deems the estimates unrealistic? Unfortunately, this happens on major projects, and the final delivery can frequently cost more than the anticipated budget. Rather than planning to fail and creating unachievable goals, a trusted third-party consultant is focused on finding the right data and keeping projects in line with the initial scope.

Leveraging Digital Tools
The use of technology is also rising in the construction industry, though it has been difficult to attract digital talent. That’s why project controls specialists leverage digital tools to improve processes and project accuracy. Data from past projects is extensive, and benchmarking data from similar projects across the industry is critical to ensuring that standards are being met and exceeded for timelines and costs. Predictive analytics are also applied to forecast potential changes in costs or delays in projects during the estimation phase. As trusted advisors for the client and project manager, project controls specialists value communication tools to ensure that feedback and changes are being implemented accurately and in a timely manner. With cost and scheduling data available from the project controls specialist, the accuracy of bids can be improved for future projects, increasing the margins. Focusing on the value add of technology can help the industry digitally transform.

Project controls specialists leverage digital tools to improve processes and project accuracy.Although project managers gain clear benefits from having additional support for project controls, facility end-users also find this advantageous. Project managers are well-suited to balance quality, time, and cost components on basic construction; however, the increasing complexity of projects, along with tighter timelines, necessitates the use of expert consultants to help clients achieve the most realistic results. As the industry struggles to meet new demands, end-users need innovative, high-quality projects, without sacrificing cost and timeline goals. With project controls specialists in the loop, clients, contractors, and project managers have someone on their team to mitigate risk and improve efficiencies across the lifecycle of the project.

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