Linear projects such as roadways, tunnels, and railways present general contractors with unique construction challenges. GCs can use ALICE, the AI-powered construction simulation and optimization platform, to explore and resolve these challenges as they look to deliver their projects on time and on budget. So what are some of the thorniest issues that GCs face with such projects, and how can ALICE help?
Access Point Constraints
As a GC works on a project, he may only be able to reach certain points along the length of the project at particular times. This constraint can be tricky to manage, and ALICE can help him to model this constraint and determine how to best tune his construction schedule.
For example, a major construction firm used ALICE to plan the digging of a tunnel for an underground railway. With this project, there were only two access points to the “job site” -- the beginning and end of the tunnel -- and the GC needed to determine which steps he would execute when at each access point. What’s more, the contractor needed to account for an additional constraint: how quickly he could remove dirt from each of the tunnel openings as the project progressed. With ALICE, the GC was able to take both of these constraints into account, developing hundreds of thousands of potential schedules in an afternoon to determine the most efficient path forward.
When building a roadway or railway, general contractors often must take easement constraints into account. As with the access point challenges described above, easement restrictions can limit where and when a GC can work on certain sites along the length of a linear project. ALICE can help the GC to factor these limitations into his plans.
Consider a general contractor working on an elevated railway project along a route that is both rural and suburban. In the suburban area, the contractor will be both laying track and building railway stations. But access to these suburban sites is constrained by easements. With ALICE, contractors can use the power of AI to factor these easement-based access limitations into their plans and develop optimum project schedules.
Construction Logic and Sequencing
Contractors can also use ALICE to check the logic of their work and help them to resolve challenges related to the order in which they do certain tasks. For example, picture another tunnel project. For this project, to access the tunnel work face -- the site at which digging takes place -- equipment and people can move along a single path. To explore all of the possible sequences in which people and materials could access that work face would be insurmountable for a human. But this is the ideal use case for AI, and with ALICE, the contractor could work within the project constraints to find the ideal order of operations for the project’s tasks.
Another example of a situation with such challenges would be a tunnel project that includes two tunnels to accommodate traffic in two directions, with crossways between the tunnels. In this situation, the contractor would be managing multiple work fronts. Determining all of the potential work order sequences would be a task that would be impossible for a human, but ideal for ALICE.
Maintenance of Traffic
Coming up with a robust MOT plan is a complicated process that traditional solutions solve poorly. ALICE helps quantify the time and cost impact of different scenarios such as: “should I close down two lanes or four lanes?
ALICE makes it easy to answer critical questions about the feasibility of your schedule given resource constraints:
- Are we going to be able to complete this schedule on time?
- How many crews do we need to deliver this job on time?
- Does my proposed construction logic make sense?
- What is my potential delay window if x-y-z happens and how can I proactively plan for recovery?
Supply Chain Mapping
EPC projects like roads, tunnels and railways rely heavily upon timely procurement and often fall prey to delivery delays. Resource procurement can be mapped in ALICE and tethered to the field activity logic: an activity's start or finish can be constrained by requiring a specific resource (i.e. labor, equipment, material) at a specific time. The procurement time can be adjusted and the residual impacts on the project are laid bare for review.
EPC projects can be vast in scope where one phase may begin construction when subsequent phases may still be in design or permitting phases. Understanding the overarching relationship between engineering, procurement, and construction execution can be fully mapped in ALICE. All of the complex interdependencies can be diagrammed and resource-loaded via recipes to give contractors a clear and full picture of the project scope.
Are you working on linear projects? Reach out to us to see ALICE in action and find out exactly how our simulation and optimization platform can help you build more efficiently.