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Asta Powerproject ensures Taunton Diagnostics Centre is future-fit

Asta Powerproject®

The Kier Group used Asta Powerproject planning and project management software to orchestrate the complex fit-out of a new diagnostics centre in Somerset, UK.

Asta Powerproject enabled the construction team to accelerate timelines mid-way through the programme, delivering the project two weeks ahead of the original schedule.

Asta Powerproject’s key achievements at Taunton Diagnostic Centre:

  • Transformed a disused fire control centre building into a state-of-the-art diagnostics centre in 40 weeks
  • Mobilised contractors at very short notice to ensure the project started on time
  • Compressed project timelines by two weeks, so the centre had more time to train staff on specialist equipment
  • Clinched gold in the healthcare category at the 2022 CIOB Construction Manager of the Year Awards

Programming a highly complex project

Construction Project Manager, Daryl Parker, is an experienced member of The Kier Group, having worked for the company since 2004. His planning and adaptability skills were tested in 2021 when he led an ambitious project to fit out Taunton Diagnostic Centre, a new £4.6 million medical facility for the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Alliance Medical.

From the outset, Daryl needed to meet aggressive timelines. He had just two days’ notice to attend the tender interview and started work on site six weeks after being awarded the contract. Fortunately, he could quickly mobilise essential resources by planning the fit-out programme using Powerproject.

While Daryl had managed healthcare construction projects before, he’d never converted an existing structure into a high-grade medical facility. The site had previously been a fire control centre, but the building had lain empty for 17 years. Converting it meant dealing with the complexity of fitting specialist services and equipment into pre-defined spaces.

To add further pressure, if services were not ready for a specialist company to install the MRI scanners on a specific date, it would delay the facility’s launch by up to six months. But Asta Powerproject enabled Daryl to plan each element of this complicated programme in granular detail.

“There was a lot of intricacy in the fit-out, but I found Asta Powerproject easy to use. It’s a worthwhile tool.”
Daryl Parker, Construction Project Manager, The Kier Group

Making intelligent use of resources

Daryl began by recreating a programme from the MRI installation company in Asta Powerproject. By working backwards from the installation date, he could map timelines for fitting specialist services and equipment such as nurse call systems, medical gasses and chilled water for the MRI scanner.

“There was a lot to think about, but Asta Powerproject allowed us to break down the workload for each trade and get a blended flow of resources through the building.”

Creating a detailed programme also enabled Daryl to make intelligent use of contractors. For example, he scheduled all work for the fire alarm specialist in one block, so they didn’t need to return to the site multiple times.

“Asta Powerproject enabled us to link tasks and shuffle them around to work out our most efficient route to completion. We had to put all the fit-out elements in some form of logical order, and I could only do that because of Powerproject.”

Daryl involved key contractors in the planning process, sharing programmes with his electrical contractor and commissioning managers to ensure everyone was happy. He then used Asta Powerproject data to create visual floorplans, so every tradesperson could see who was on-site at any point in time and where they were working each day.

“Using Asta Powerproject data to create a visual floorplan allowed our contractors to see where they needed to be and understand the knock-on impact of not finishing a room on time.”

Careful planning also enabled The Kier Group to ensure site teams were compliant with the social distancing regulations that were in place at the time of the project.

Moving deadlines

While the programme got off to a flying start, the team came under pressure mid-way through when the client identified a problem with the proposed timeline.

Initially, the project was scheduled to finish just before the first patient arrived. However, the centre’s leadership team realised this would not give them enough time to train staff on specialist equipment. So, they asked Kier to move the completion date forward by two weeks.

Asta Powerproject proved instrumental in helping Daryl to accelerate timelines. He worked closely with the mechanical and electrical (M&E) subcontractor to determine what needed to be completed for commissioning to begin and prioritised those tasks.

Asta Powerproject enabled them to play around with durations and logistics until they found a timescale that worked. Fundamental changes included scheduling high-impact activities like ceiling closure, floor laying and high-pressure pipe testing out of hours.

“By working backwards from the point of commissioning, we could put every piece of the puzzle in place, and I could only do this by breaking down each element in Asta Powerproject.”

After reordering the programme, Daryl sent the updated schedule to his planning team for review, who agreed it with the supply chain.

Finding technology that’s fit for the future

Despite moving timescales, The Kier Group was able to hit the seemingly impossible deadline and deliver the project two weeks early – and the client was delighted with the result. Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, remarked, “this is a fantastic facility for patients in Somerset and the surrounding areas” to Somerset County Gazette.

As for Daryl Parker, becoming more involved with the planning process during the fit-out of Taunton Diagnostic Centre has sparked his interest in other Asta Powerproject features, such as Asta Powerproject 4D planning.

“Technology is moving so fast in the construction industry, it’s very important for us to use cutting-edge software to drive the projects we deliver. Of all the planning tools I’ve used, Asta Powerproject is the one I’ve felt most comfortable using. It’s very user-friendly, and I’d 100% recommend it.”

The power behind successful projects: book a free demo to explore Asta Powerproject.

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