SCS, a joint venture between Skanska, Costain and STRABAG, is delivering the southern section of the £106bn HS2 project. This project is one of the most complex and challenging railway initiatives the United Kingdom has ever undertaken, and is tasked with saving the government £500million in digital efficiencies, proving HS2 Ltd’s commitment to applying global best practice in design and construction.
In order to meet the government’s targets, SCS devised a bold digital strategy, connecting data models with information flow, removing paper from construction sites, and improving accuracy and quality through direct digital connections. To help it achieve this, the team has implemented leading construction management software, Zutec.
A digital journey
SCS began developing a ‘Digital Blueprint’ for BIM on large infrastructure projects from tender stage, supporting HS2’s aim to ‘go beyond the government’s mandate to transform the way the industry has traditionally designed, constructed and managed infrastructure projects.’
In the first phase of its digital information flow project, all inspection and test plans (ITPs), permitting, site communication, red lining, as-builts and management of temporary works are set to be integrated effectively with the data model, and will digitise approximately five million quality check sheets.
As part of accelerating the transition to cloud technology, Zutec drove implementation at speed, adapting to provide training and support remotely thereby ensuring site teams felt comfortable and secure in using the tool. The benefit was proven when the design team could review and confidently sign off piling records without going to site.
Further, the project offers health and safety, time, cost, data security, environmental and quality benefits by enabling data in forms to be pre-populated from the model (one source of the truth), forms to be filled out and reviewed digitally, full audit trails, and a reduction of digital platforms staff have to use, as well as response times, by up to 80%.
Collaboration and innovation
Crucially, Zutec enhances performance and efficiencies through streamlining site inspections with automated workflows, notifications and PIN-secured signatures in a common data environment (CDE). It has also allowed SCS to package the final handover documentation almost instantly and provides an ideal environment for all involved to input more accurate records into the digital twin, which can then be passed over to the client to maintain the railway.
In addition, Zutec supports supply chain integration by giving suppliers, who have been integral in shaping the final solution, access to the BIM data lake (database of all engineering data) through pre-populated forms.
Peter Ruff, Head of BIM for SCS HS2, says, “During this project, Zutec has demonstrated the true value of digital twins in asset management. The software also proved to be a lifeline during the pandemic, as it allowed us to adopt cloud technology quickly and efficiently, and still hit all of our key milestones. We were even able to adapt quickly to provide training and support remotely, thereby ensuring site teams felt comfortable and secure in using the product.”
To date, the system has been rolled out to 550 staff and 48 subcontractors, growing to 1500+ users and 80 companies in 2022. From the on-site time and cost savings of reducing the Inspection and Test Plan sign-off process from 21 days to four—a 90% reduction in time spent completing forms—to the improved visibility of quality issue trends through real-time reporting, Zutec is already ensuring success, right-first-time and customer satisfaction.
A platform of the future
Zutec is continuously evolving to meet the needs of its users. Tom Boland, Global Head of Digitalisation, says, “The use of Zutec on HS2 shows how digital tools can transform construction projects of every size. This is truly a key moment in history and a perfect example of what the future of the industry holds if it continues to take the plunge into digitisation and embraces the power of technology.”
This level of connection between the model and the quality documentation with real-time reporting is unique in the construction industry, and has the potential to drive the whole sector toward true construction excellence. Not only is Zutec inspiring a digital ‘evolution’, it’s establishing a digital evolution for years to come.