How to manage resources in AEC projects in 7 ways 2023

An estimated USD 17.57 billion will be raised in the global Architectural, Engineering, and Construction market by 2030, according to a recent study.

Infrastructure projects, technology advancements, government initiatives, and other factors have contributed to the growth of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry.

To ensure successful project delivery, it is essential to manage human and non-human resources effectively. In order to meet the changing requirements of clients, AEC firms must manage their resources effectively.

Aside from enhancing worker performance and productivity, it also helps complete projects within budget and within schedule. The organization’s profitability and ROI will improve as a result.

How SAVIOM can benefit the management of AEC resources is discussed in this article.

First, let’s examine what the AEC industry is all about.

2. How does the AEC industry differ from other industries?

Construction workers, architects, contractors, supervisors, equipment, plants and machinery are all resources used by the AEC industry. Here are a few characteristics that make the AEC industry unique:

  • There are a number of components in AEC projects, including various contractors, managers, supervisors, suppliers, equipment vendors, etc. A number of activities also take place at the same time.

  • The climate, working conditions, and other factors vary for each construction project.

  • Typically, AEC projects are expensive, take a long time, and take months or years to complete.

  • Compared to other industries, the AEC industry has a different employment pattern. It is not the academic proficiency of construction workers that determines their placement on site, but rather their manual skills. Further, seasonal and migrant workers are allocated projects based on ad-hoc and piece-rate payments.

The AEC sector is characterized by several characteristics, so let’s take a closer look at how resources are managed in this sector.

3. AEC project resource management best practices

Managing resources effectively is essential for AEC projects because they are labor-intensive. The following methods have been proven to work:

Construction workers should have a single source of truth

Most AEC industries use legacy tools and spreadsheets to manage resources and procure data. As a result, information is siloed and not updated in real-time on resource attributes and schedules. As a result, there can be double bookings, wasteful hiring and firing cycles, and so on.

Managers are able to get a complete overview of the AEC resources’ profile and attributes, such as skills, competencies, availability, and costs, by using a centralized database. In addition, a single source of truth will make it easier for them to allocate the right resources well in advance, preventing scheduling conflicts and resource overload.

AEC resources are needed in advance, so we can anticipate the demand gap and bridge it

Resources are a major challenge for most AEC firms, such as aging workforces and failure to attract young workers. Technological advancements, customer expectations, and global competition have all contributed to the increased demand for niche skilled professionals. Consequently, there is a skill shortage in the current labor force.

Management can identify skill gaps and take corrective measures in advance when they have foresight into resource requirements. In order to complete a design project, ten engineers with skills such as AutoCAD, MATLAB, and RAPID are required. There are only six resources in the talent pool with matching skills, however. Training and upskilling measures or hiring strategies can be implemented to eliminate skill shortages. As a result, construction projects can be completed seamlessly and hiring hassles can be eliminated at the last minute.

AEC professionals should be assigned to the project in a competent manner

Resources must be available at the right time for AEC projects to be executed and delivered successfully. Therefore, when the project manager requests workers, the resource manager must assign the available resources to tasks according to their experience, skills, and competencies.

Bricklaying in an apartment complex, for instance, requires masons. Management can quickly narrow their search and select the right workers based on complete visibility into resource-related information. By allocating resources competently, managers will ensure that projects are completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Worker utilization levels should be monitored and tracked

Companies in the AEC industry need to ensure that their employees are working on revenue-generating projects to increase profitability. In order to track, monitor, and optimize resource utilization, managers need visibility into utilization data. Identifying over/underutilized resources can be accomplished by tracking utilization levels.

By leveling and smoothing resources, they can optimize resources. Managing non-billable tasks can also be done by monitoring personnel and mobilizing them for billable tasks. Consequently, this could lead to increased billability for the workforce and a higher profit margin for the organization.

Plan for employee training and upskilling in the AEC

Several cutting-edge technologies are transforming the AEC industries, including AI, machine learning, deep learning, and augmented and virtual reality. It is critical for architects, engineers, and workers to continuously update their skills and competencies to keep pace with these disruptions.

By identifying the resources that should be up-skilled, managers can implement appropriate training programs. Diversifying the portfolio of the workforce improves their billability. The workforce will be future-proofed and prepared for multifaceted projects in this way.

Manage ramp-ups and ramp-downs effectively for AEC projects

During the initiation and closure phases of AEC projects, ramp-ups and downs are frequent. In the development stage of a multi-story building project, engineers and workers are needed. They will, however, end up on the bench once the phase is over. The business’ profitability will be negatively affected by this.

Identifying resources before hitting the bench in advance is possible with foresight into projects. In such a case, they can assign work before benched employees hit the bench, train and upskill the benched workers, and use them for future projects. Additionally, opportunities for shadowing and on-the-job training are available for partially skilled AEC professionals. By doing so, AEC employees can become more productive and billable.

Plan for resource contingencies effectively

In AEC projects, there are various risks that may arise, such as health and safety concerns, unplanned absences, attrition, and employee burnout. It is possible to be injured or incur unforeseen safety risks if a construction worker operates an excavator without a license or training. As a result of these risks, project delays will eventually occur. Therefore, risk mitigation measures must be implemented by managers.

A proper backup strategy will also enable managers to replace workers or engineers in the event of a shortage of resources. A site survey can also be conducted, and safety measures that are appropriate for the site can be implemented. It is possible to minimize risks and execute projects smoothly by doing this.

After understanding the methods to effectively manage resources, let’s find out how advanced ERM tools can benefit the AEC industry.

4. Is it possible to overcome resourcing challenges in AEC projects with advanced resource management software?

Management of resources effectively is crucial to the business growth and profitability of the AEC industry. As a result of advanced resource management software such as Saviom, AEC employees can be managed in the following ways:

It eliminates silos of data by giving you a 360-degree view of your employees’ skill sets, competencies, experiences, availability, and costs. As an added benefit, managers can assign projects to the best-suited AEC professionals using advanced filters.

By analyzing capacity versus demand reports, managers can determine skills gaps and anticipate future demands. Thus, they can train, upskill, or hire contingent or permanent AEC employees.

Using utilization reports and heatmaps, managers can identify overworked or underworked employees in real-time. The workload can therefore be eased by taking appropriate measures.

Using projections of actual financials, managers can monitor project costs, revenue, profit margins, and overhead. Therefore, any significant variances can be identified and addressed.

To manage resources effectively in AEC projects, it is essential to implement a robust resource management tool.

Final thoughts

Technological advancements, fierce competition, and other factors pose several challenges to the AEC industry. Consequently, keeping pace with advancements and remaining profitable requires them to address these issues appropriately. It will be easier to resource effectively if you implement the strategies above and implement robust resource management software. The completion of projects can also be successfully accomplished by organizations.

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