The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) ensures that Colorado has a safe and efficient highway system. Within CDOT, the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) was formed in 2009 as an independent, government-owned business with responsibility to seek out opportunities for innovative and efficient means of financing and delivering transportation infrastructure projects in the state.
As part of this initiative, the entity has pursued public-private partnerships (P3s) on projects including US 36 and Central 70, Colorado’s largest transportation construction project.
CDOT and HPTE needed the right technology solutions to support these critical multi-organization, alternative delivery projects. After an extensive evaluation process, they selected Oracle Aconex.
“One of the biggest areas of benefit from Oracle Aconex is the collaboration with contractors and all of the different project organizations on one platform."
-Tony Meneghetti, Major Projects Manager, HPTE
Hear directly from Tony Meneghetti on the on-demand webcast, “The Colorado Department of Transportation Locates Documents 60% Faster”.
A central system to manage communication and documentation across all parties on the project has reduced the risk of errors and disputes that are often caused by incorrect versions or missed emails. In addition, stakeholders can easily share documents and drawings across organizations.
There are no file size constraints and integrated viewers eliminate the need to have model authoring software to view or markup files. CDOT uses easily configurable workflows within Oracle Aconex to manage review and approval cycles for processes such as change orders, eliminating the need to chase down documents.
The Oracle solution, which all organizations use and have their own secure space on, clearly highlights who has approved the documents, who is next in line, and when the information is due. Recipients receive alerts when a review is due or overdue.
All relevant communication and documentation is automatically included in the workflow through the Oracle Aconex metadata driven structure. This means reviewers can easily access everything they need to perform a thorough and timely review.
The department of transportation manages their change orders through the Oracle system. Most of the approvals are completed in just one day, thanks to having each change order automatically routed and tracked through its specific workflow, including the developer, the contractor, and CDOT.
The review and approval process would have taken at least twice as long without Oracle Aconex - and up to a week for workflows such as that used with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
That administration, which is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world, has their own secure instance of the Oracle solution on each of CDOT’s major projects.
FHWA can easily review and approve workflows using the integration with DocuSign for electronic signatures.
CDOT efficiently manages RFIs—including easily tracking and responding to queries—through the Oracle solution.
“The real value in managing RFIs through the Oracle system is the review itself. All relevant communication, drawings, and previous RFIs are threaded together. No time is wasted searching and there is no risk of not finding pertinent information or referencing an incorrect version,” says Meneghetti.
CDOT’s contractors also initiate Oracle Aconex workflows for processes, including their “method of handling traffic” (MHT) notifications, to manage communication about critical events such as lane closures. Ensuring all reviews and approvals have been completed decreases the risk of an individual or department not being notified in a timely manner and improves public safety.
This process, which used to take much longer, takes just two days using the Oracle tool.
“The great thing about the structure of Oracle Aconex is that, since each organization has their own secure workspace and owns their own data, our contractors are happy to use the tool and do not have the extra expense or double entry involved in maintaining their own project system as well,” says Meneghetti.
For managers like Meneghetti, easily looking across projects with one login is key. “Using Oracle Aconex, I can just easily bounce from project to project,” he says. Meneghetti can easily access plan sets during weekly project reviews for the four projects he manages.
The review takes just 20-30 minutes per project since everything he needs is in the Oracle system and all the data is connected. Meneghetti would have resorted to a manual process involving searching, downloading, and uploading while grappling with account security and file size concerns without the document and correspondence management tool.
The process would have been more error prone and taken about 65% longer.
The CDOT team starts each new project with a template for fast and efficient set up due to their organization-wide standard Oracle Aconex configuration.
The highly configurable nature of the Oracle system lets the department of transportation easily customize that template for each project to meet specific needs.
“The document management person on CDOT projects is key,” says Meneghetti. Janie Valdez, the document control manager for CDOT’s largest project, Central 70, says, “Oracle Aconex is an integral part of the project.”
1) Set Oracle Aconex up at the very beginning of design or even during procurement;
2) Communicate the system and the process to the contractor(s) upfront – provide simple training;
3) Ensure consistent use – do not accept documents or drawings that do not follow the process;
4) Identify all document types within contracts;
5) Leverage efficiency tools within Oracle Aconex like “saved searches” to run project reports;
6) Set up naming and numbering up front by document types and discipline
“The structure of Oracle Aconex builds trust in the system and on the project. Each organization has their own secure space; they can comfortably have conversations without the whole project team included which helps adoption.
The projects benefit because the contractors and subcontractors don’t have the cost of maintaining their own systems in addition to the projects’ system,” says Valdez.
As an owner, CDOT benefits by setting up their projects in the Oracle system to meet their specific project needs. However, the long term gains come from their data ownership which benefits the department of transportation and the public for the entire life of the assets.
With other systems, both the technology solution and associated data are owned by the general contractor and owner who receive specific handover information, often in inconsistent formats, and rarely a full project record.
For example, if new traffic equipment is installed by a new company, CDOT can easily access the Central 70 Oracle Aconex site to research information related to traffic and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to see if any design changes are needed to install the new equipment.
All relevant information is easily located because of the Oracle tool’s metadata driven structure—even though the information is likely to be included in multiple work packages. For example, this includes how the electrical system is designed and whether the equipment will physically fit as engineered.
In comparison, compiling this information using a system with a folder structure would be both time consuming and error prone. CDOT estimates they locate needed information 60% faster than they did before using Oracle Aconex.
The risk of an error in the event a relevant drawing or specification is overlooked is serious. Organizations can waste time and money without accessing and addressing the designs and existing conditions in advance.
The authority could find themselves in the position of having lanes closed to the public and crews on site to install the new tolling equipment before discovering an incompatibility.
“Public-private partnerships (P3s) have specific, contractually obligated transparency and reporting requirements. Using Oracle Aconex makes it easier and faster to meet these requirements, including creating and distributing monthly updates and financial reports,” says Valdez.
“Having all parties (contractor, developer/financer, owner) participating in the P3 on one secure system gives each organization the tools and visibility they need,” says Meneghetti.
CDOT’s use of Oracle Aconex was critical given there was virtually no notice to transition non-essential field roles to home.
“Team members just took what they needed from their offices and set up at home without missing a beat."
-Tony Meneghetti, Major Projects Manager, HPTE
There were no physical documents or on-site servers housing critical project data. Offices were closed and Oracle Aconex allowed workers in the field to work from trucks via lap tops or tablets.
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