Successful delivery of flash track projects
Austin, Robert Brendon
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This research explores a higher order of fast tracking, called Flash Tracking, in response to increasing calls for faster, more reliable project deliveries. Flash Tracking is defined as a time-driven project, which by necessity requires a heightened degree of concurrency between engineering, procurement, and construction. In contrast to fast tracking, which entails a level of concurrency between engineering, procurement, and construction that has become a staple of the construction industry, Flash Tracking extends the envelope by requiring a series of innovative practices across the project delivery spectrum. The specific research questions pursued include: 1) identifying which innovative improvements in project delivery methodology could be made to compress project durations, while maintaining safety, quality, and risk tolerance, and 2) addressing how project teams can best overcome barriers to delivering shorter project durations. A multi-method research project was undertaken to address these questions, which entailed an extensive review of the literature, structured case study interviews, and multiple group decision-making exercises. The literature review focused on the construction industry, as well as manufacturing, shipbuilding, and software development, to identify practices and techniques potentially relevant to Flash Tracking that could be extended to the construction industry. Group decision-making exercises included a modified Delphi method study, an Analytic Hierarchy Process, and a series of research charrettes or focus groups. These studies produced a prioritized, two-tiered listing of 47 essential Flash Track practices, providing practitioners with both a measure to assess their readiness for undertaking a Flash Track project and strategies for increasing their readiness. A subsequent study--a semantic network analysis--refined and buttressed the research team’s earlier findings. This two-year study, conducted in concert with industry experts, led to a re-engineered engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) model which embraces relational contract strategies, improved communications, and the early engagement of key stakeholders.