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North Lanarkshire Council uses Powerproject to centralise investment and regeneration plans

Powerproject®

One of Scotland’s largest councils uses Powerproject planning and project management software to centralise the maintenance and investment activity of more than 37,000 properties and drive its ambitious 20-year regeneration plan.

Powerproject key achievements and benefits at North Lanarkshire Council:

  • Standardised and streamlined the management of 300+ concurrent projects
  • Established transparent and accountable plans for publicly funded programmes
  • Improved property compliance – including the roll-out of additional fire safety measures to safeguard high-rise tower blocks
  • Enabled a rapid change in strategy to support 200 Ukrainian refugee families
  • Enhanced the planning and execution of complex regeneration projects

A new, unified approach to Programme Planning

North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) is Scotland’s fourth-largest council. Approximately 15,000 employees coordinate the region’s infrastructure and facilities, including the maintenance and improvement of over 37,000 properties.

In 2019, NLC introduced a new Programme Planning team to support its building maintenance and investment projects as well as regeneration programmes.

Prior to this, maintenance and construction projects had been run independently, with teams using Excel or Word to coordinate tasks. Unfortunately, this approach made it very difficult to view activity holistically, reliably and accurately track each project’s progress.

To implement a unified approach across all of its property-related activities, NLC decided to invest in digital planning and project management software – selecting Powerproject by Elecosoft on recommendation from the Head of Property & Projects who previously used it in another organisation.

Bringing standardised processes to a diverse range of tasks

Powerproject has enabled NLC’s Programme Planning section to manage its extensive and diverse tasks cohesively. The team are involved in 300+ live and planned projects, ranging from several weeks to several years in length. These projects include:

  • Cyclical maintenance of domestic houses and corporate buildings such as tower blocks, swimming pools and community centres
  • Investment in existing council-owned housing, such as fitting new kitchens and bathrooms
  • Larger investment projects, including upgrades to roofing and heating systems and retrofitting fire safety and sprinkler systems to comply with new legislation
  • Managing demolition plans and overseeing tender programmes for investment and major refurbishment projects.

 

Many projects form part of broader council programmes like the Strategic Local Development Plan, Housing Investment Plan and Economic Regeneration Delivery Plan.

“Powerproject allows us to manage all our projects through one solution, so we have total visibility and transparency across our programmes. It can be used for any project; it’s so diverse.”

Jillian Greene, Service Delivery Manager – Programme Planning, North Lanarkshire Council

Initially, NLC invested in standalone Powerproject licenses. However, when the council transitioned to remote working in 2020, it upgraded to Powerproject Enterprise – so Jillian and her team could complete tasks collaboratively and simultaneously via the cloud.

Increasing programme transparency and accountability

Powerproject allows North Lanarkshire Council to capture every detail regarding planned and completed work for cyclical maintenance and scheduled property improvements.

The Programme Planning section receives information from multiple teams in various formats, including Excel spreadsheets and PDFs. They use Powerproject to convert this data into a consistent format, set programme expectations and ensure work is progressing on schedule.

“Powerproject has streamlined our working processes. We’re able to take planning administration away from each team so they can concentrate on other, more valuable, things; our project managers have more time to actually manage their projects.”

In addition to centralising operations, Powerproject has given the Programme Planning team a digital audit trail. This is essential for meeting legislative requirements, such as ensuring all council-owned properties have up-to-date gas servicing certificates. It also enables NLC to record which tenants have refused improvements to their property, maintaining transparency across its publicly funded property programmes.

Tracking and managing project progress in real-time

For higher value programmes such as refurbishments and new builds, Powerproject allows the Programme Planning section to understand the full scope of work – from pre-construction through to completion. The team uses Powerproject to create and manage project timelines and isolate any issues that may impact progress.

“Powerproject gives us a really good visual baseline to track how projects are supposed to be progressing versus their actual progress.”

Real-time data underpins regular progress meetings, allowing the Programme Planning team to allocate sufficient resources for current and future projects.

The team also uses Powerproject to understand the impact of slippage – caused either by contractor setbacks or by material delays due to global events such as Brexit, Covid-19 and the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Maintaining this accurate overview supports NLC’s strategic and financial planning, so the organisation can continue delivering programmes despite unprecedented disruption.

It has become an essential post-project analytical device too, supporting the council’s goal of continuous improvement.

“After each project is complete, the project team always have a ‘lessons learned’ meeting. We use the information captured in Powerproject to see what caused delays and where we can improve – for example, do we need to engage with service providers earlier to make sure we get meters installed and connected quicker.”

Meeting new legislation

In addition to future-facing programmes, Powerproject has proved instrumental in helping North Lanarkshire Council to manage retrospective changes across its property portfolio.

For example, following London’s Grenfell Tower fire in 2016, legal changes – including updates to Approved Document B (ADB) and the introduction of the Building Safety Act – have required NLC to carry out fire safety upgrades at several high-rise tower blocks across the community.

At the time of the Grenfell Tower disaster, NLC had 48 high-rise tower blocks within its constituency, although some have since been demolished. The Programme Planning team used Powerproject to coordinate essential fire stopping work and fit FD60s fire doors within the remaining buildings, carrying out both works in tandem to minimise disruption to residents. It is now using Powerproject to manage the retrofitting of tower block sprinkler systems, an initiative that will continue until 2030.

Responding to the changing community agenda

North Lanarkshire Council has also used Powerproject’s agile planning capabilities to respond to the changing social agenda and support people in need.

For instance, following the outbreak of conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, NLC decided to suspend the demolition of two tower blocks and bring them back up to habitable standards for 200 Ukrainian refugee families.

“We used Powerproject to quickly create a programme outlining what needed to be done to get our empty tower blocks commissioned again for Ukrainian refugees. Powerproject gave us the forward and backward movement needed to communicate a massive change of plan.”

Using Powerproject, the team outlined how much time each refurbishment task would take, allowing them to put a precise timeline in place for completing work and starting to welcome refugee families.

Future-proofing council property programmes

North Lanarkshire Council has demonstrated how digital planning and project management software gives organisations both agility and continuity in turbulent conditions. And it now wants to use Powerproject to future-proof its ambitious 20-year local regeneration plans.

The Programme Planning team has already mapped out every tendering programme until 2029 in Powerproject, to manage future projects and ensure a democratic application process.

“The information Powerproject gives us is phenomenal. We can manage the present and plan for the future.”

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

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