As a construction company, you realize that scaffolding is an integral part of structural work. However, at the same time, it has no value in the eyes of the final occupant/user of the building. The cost and effort required in assembly and maintenance can’t be passed on, but rather must be borne entirely by your business.
Working on large industrial capital projects that involve massive amounts of scaffolding, equipment, and building materials, as well as thousands of people, is challenging work. What’s more, as projects run into multiyear timelines, ever-shifting requirements, and complex procurement difficulties that can affect pricing, schedules, and quality, you need a professional who delivers on promise so that you can keep your costs down.
Companies like yours, therefore, need to be taking a holistic approach to construction. Simply slashing costs across your business is obviously not a long-term solution. Instead, you need to practice lean construction methodologies and make informed and insightful decisions that are backed by digital solutions.
This article highlights ways in which partnering with the right scaffolding supplier can help you do that.
- Practice lean construction management techniques
- Use digital tools for a more accurate picture
- Use smarter, safer scaffolding from a reliable supplier
3 WAYS YOUR BUSINESS CAN CUT COSTS WITHOUT SACRIFICING QUALITY
Studies across the industry show that scaffolding ranks fourth in importance in construction subcategories. Yet, despite its critical importance, an analysis of Indirect Construction Costs (IDCCs) indicates that material formwork and scaffolding top the list as the most wasteful subset in building work.
Why you need to think carefully about costs
A 2018 study conducted in the Kingdom shows that choosing the lowest-price supplier led to a cost deviation of 25.3%, adding USD 31,355,923 in costs to the total project. As construction companies strive for more optimal use of resources across worksites, a superior scaffolding supplier who can save you money is a huge asset.
A reliable formwork provider ensures that they are:
- Maximizing the use of their resources
- Reducing assembly and disassembly labor and work hours
- Delivering on secure, safe, and multipurpose scaffolding that is easy to erect, dismantle and store.
How can your business cut costs?
In any industry, information is power. When you have all the specifics at your fingertips you can plan in advance and employ optimal use of all available resources.
It goes without saying that your scaffolding supplier needs to be able to provide you a detailed cost estimate of materials and labor before starting on a job. To be able to accurately provide these figures, a scaffolder needs to map your construction worksite and provide material and personnel counts in advance. They also need to generate verifiable labor forecasts, set implementation schedules, and control thousands of pieces of scaffolding and labor distribution.
Additionally, during the course of the project’s life, you want a formwork supplier who is able to provide complete visibility on every scaffolding-related job, ensure that they are integrating with all aspects of construction, as well as managing their stocks and teams so that they are able to meet your requirements.
It is only when you partner with a formwork supplier who can meet your construction needs in every way that you can deliver efficiencies that save you time and money.
Listed below are ways you can do this:
- Practice Lean construction management techniques
In order to stay competitive and profitable, you need to practice smart, lean construction management strategies. Lean construction is a collaboration-based system founded on commitment and accountability, where all stakeholders align their goals and objectives to the same end.
In projects where lean construction management principles are applied, scaffolding teams integrate with your workforce through collaborative digital tools to deliver:
- Improved construction quality
- Proactive, rather than reactive decisions
- Smooth operations
- Reduced operating costs
- Reduced waste of resources and supplies
To employ lean construction methodologies, your scaffolder needs to do the following:
- Integrate with your teams
Lean principles and integrated project-delivery processes rely heavily on communication. You need a scaffolder who can work with your teams – someone who does not operate in the traditional adversarial way that has existed in the industry. A formwork supplier is a stakeholder who needs to feel empowered to highlight areas where more value and quality can be added. This can only happen when an experienced professional is on board. Additionally, you need a partner who can align with your goals and objectives to focus on coordination and collaboration during pre-construction to reduce the chance of rework during execution.
- Leverage premade components
Smart suppliers have specialized formwork, braces, and scaffolding that require little assembly on site. Lean construction leverages preconstructed components as much as possible. Therefore, outsourcing to a professional who can offer partial offsite formwork construction and storage leaves your worksite freer for other more important things.
- Increases employee collaboration and accountability
One of the best ways to achieve streamlined, open collaboration between all stakeholders on a project is by utilizing technology tools and software that facilitate communication and problem-solving. For instance, having your scaffolding management staff and engineers on the same productivity software allows cross-functional teams to collaborate on the most relevant information. This means that there is no delay in decision-making and that all parties are on the same page at any given time.
- Use digital tools for a more accurate picture
Daily work activities on a major construction site can be hectic and at times confusing. Using planning/tracking software identifies bottlenecks and makes for a more efficient and productive environment.
As construction projects get more complex and challenging, you need to partner with the right suppliers as they can make or break your project. Smart suppliers are updating their services by using the latest digital tools. They are using digital systems that offer versatility in adjusting workloads according to specific conditions before and during the life span of a project.
When you partner with a professional supplier – someone who’s managing inventories and processes digitally – you benefit from:
- A real-time, informed overview of the project
- Reduced material and personnel costs in the long run
- Precise cost calculations
- Verifiable labor forecasts
- Set implementation schedules
- Controlled stock, supplier, and labor distribution
This helps you ensure a safe worksite where you can mitigate risks and hazards.
- BIM modeling software
As construction companies are incorporating BIM across all elements of their worksite, it makes sense that they have a partner who offers the same level of digital integration.
If a scaffolder does not have cutting-edge technologies, they can’t be bidding for your project smartly. They will provide vague or incorrect estimates that will throw your budgets off. Additionally, a professional scaffolder needs to maintain a meticulous daily record of your required inventory. They need advanced BIM software with 3D inputs that can erect scaffolding with maximum design freedom to ensure that no areas of a structure are neglected. They also need to provide formwork suitable for all construction styles and structures (small and large buildings, civil and industrial buildings, support and road works, etc., as well as construction or maintenance of plants and technical systems installed within a building).
An expert scaffolder is also well placed to advise you on the type of scaffolding that needs to be chosen – prefabricated with an H-frame or with a portal frame, multidirectional, with tubes and couplers, or prefabricated with mixed uprights and cross-beams. They can’t do this without the right BIM software. One that maps a building’s perimeter to obtain, in a single input phase, a complete standard scaffolding type. Only with the right tools can they provide correct estimates, which can be freely customized as and how you require them.
You need a versatile scaffolding designer to insert, modify and delete objects during the entire design phase, keeping the structure’s site plans, cross-sections, or axonometric views constantly under control. Without the right diagnostic tools, your scaffolder will not be able to alert you to any inconsistencies, omissions, and errors or guide you through to a satisfactory resolution of a problem.
- Scaffold designing through VR
In the construction world, time is money. Using state-of-the-art VR scaffolding design programs, a scaffolder needs to be able to create an exact rendering of your requirements. VR assists you in mapping complete, project details, including parts list and scaffold weights for better planning and work-site estimates.
Using these VR renderings along with inventory software, the right scaffolding partner can help you ‘walk’ the scaffolds prior to erection. Having a real picture of the project in advance can increase productivity by letting you know how you want your formwork structured, leading to shorter timelines for construction and reducing errors.
- Inventory and inspection mapping
In order to work better across a site, you need a supplier who can provide real-time resource-tracking and report-generating tools. Your supplier needs to be able to track every minute scaffolding-related detail – including the exact number of daily active scaffolds on a job site, date of assembly, safety reports, etc. Only when you have this level of detailed information can you be assured that there are no accidents on site and that you are keeping to time and budget.
Some of the functions a supplier’s inventory and inspection mapping application should be able to perform include:
- Complete tracking, scheduling, and planning
- Daily scaffold and equipment inspections
- Material tracking and onsite location
- Planning and estimating guarantees with no unexpected, end-of-project bills
- Load rating
- Equipment and material inventories
- Daily audits
- Utilization and reconciliation reports
- Productivity reports
- Use smarter, safer scaffolding from a reliable supplier
It pays to remember that not all scaffolding is the same. There are guides on design assembly, erection, and dismantling that need to be followed. Adhering to these can save construction companies thousands of Riyals a year in design fees, as well as speed up work on a site.
The right kind of supplier can help you cut costs by meeting the following criteria:
- Scaffolding that meets safety standards
Construction companies that want to work with scaffolders who adhere to guidance backed by reliable international compliance and safety bodies are better placed than their competitors. It pays to remember that the construction industry in Saudi Arabia has a very high accident record. Whilst protocols are similar, each region’s construction industry is free to adopt the safety standard it finds the most practical for its projects.
You want to ensure that your supplier is meeting the basic safety regulations that include:
- Fall protection
- Load capacity
- Erecting and dismantling
It is important that your scaffolding supplier has an in-depth understanding of the applicable standards for each product and is able to demonstrate their expertise to you. Not adhering to safety requirements can cause accidents that risk workers, visitors, and a building’s future occupants.
You want to ensure that the following codes of safety and regulation are being met:
- OSHAD-SF Code of practice 23, 26, and 27
- OSHA 29 CFR 1926 450-454
- The UK’s Labor Department Occupational Health and Safety Branch’s Code of Practice for Metal Scaffolding
- Deals in authentic products
With so many scaffolding suppliers, too often construction companies are duped into going with the cheapest option. You need to ensure that you are working with someone who is securing certified authentic supplies. Though it can be tempting to save on costs with uncertified versions of popular scaffolding brands, you’ll end up paying a higher price with project delays or accidents. You don’t want a supplier providing inferior, unsafe products that come without any quality control guidelines. These supplies will lack the strength and specialized characteristics you need to ensure project deliverables as well as safety on your site.
- Can meet your specific work requirements
Only an experienced scaffolder can meet the demands of your construction schedule. As scaffolding does not work as a one-size-fits-all, every project needs specialized requirements, and only a professional formwork provider knows what works where.
A good supplier ensures that they have adequate manpower, labor required for assembly, disassembly, and maintenance at close hand whilst your construction project is underway. To meet complicated construction-related formwork needs, your scaffolding sublet also needs to have specialized engineers with technical expertise. He needs to be able to determine the most efficient solution for a project and evaluate several options on how to utilize resources. Additionally, a professional formwork provider is also well placed to ensure that you have the correct technical support, both before and after your construction project. In the event of something going wrong, a professional formwork builder will be able to provide a support team to advise you on your best options based on the specific scaffolding you’ve rented. As is often seen with organizations in the Kingdom and in the region, relying on a scaffolding supplier that cannot provide technical support leads to delays in projects.
- Can source replacements and consumables
It’s essential that your formwork supplier has a good relationship with manufacturers so that you can quickly get replacements if necessary, without derailing timelines that can add to your costs. A large-sized formwork contractor will have wider networks for resources. They usually stock additional specialized formwork consumables like tie cases, slabs and wall separators, steel wool, and molding agents, among others. When you hire a professional company, you have the added advantage of using them as a one-stop shop for your formwork needs and advice. As they are working closely on your project, they can anticipate needs and speed up work without needing to pause and wait.
- Can provide customizable solutions
A formwork company needs to be able to identify each project’s requirements to provide appropriate solutions. Only experienced scaffolders can customize existing modular structures to suit your specific requirements. Some projects may require a self-climbing system, and only an expert supplier can quickly provide such solutions.
To find out how we can help you cut costs across your construction projects, get in touch with us.