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FAST TRACK CONSTRUCTION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR

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FAST TRACK CONSTRUCTION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR
S.KALIRAJAN B.G.VISHNURAM

Abstract: World is developing at a faster pace in all spheres Steel being a reusable material, it is considered as a green
of technology. The parameters which determine the building material too. Larger pours of concreting, larger
development have changed a lot in the recent past and will height of columns would force the designer to think of sturdy
keep changing in future too. Rapid rise in levels of education, form work designs, temperature controlled concrete to take
high rates of technological innovations and applications, ever care of heat of hydration, adoption of high strength and high
faster and cheaper communication that dissolves physical and performance concrete, use of ready mix, pumped concrete
social barriers both within countries and internationally, etc., are few of the fast tracking techniques which are being
greater availability and easier access to information, and the used widely by the construction industry.
further opening up of global markets are the set of catalytic Slip forms and moving forms (tunnels) will speed up the
forces that is accelerating the speed of social change construction which in turn demands a very detailed planned
throughout the world. parallel working on reinforcement. Cage formations, modular
Traditional construction methods have proved to be designs, use of threaded couplers, pre-assembly are the
ineffective in achieving this goal. Mechanization and parallel various techniques which help to speed up the construction in
working have been the key mantras of fast track construction. addition to use of quick setting concrete.
Fast tracking the activities without early planning will result Selection of technology, methodology, materials along with
in major lapses and re-working in most of the cases. the trained man power, proper planning and co-ordination are
Technology, organization, information, education and the keys to success in the fast track construction.
productive skills will, therefore, play a critically decisive role
in governing the future course of development.
This paper deals with fast track construction practices, which II. FAST TRACK CONSTRUCTION
is the need of the hour, in construction. Construction as one of
the top most industries undergoes characteristic changes in The definition of fast track construction is still evolving , Fast
delivering the goods as fast as possible which would result in track construction is usually defined as the overlapping of
better returns. functions and development stages to reduce the amount of
time needed to complete a Project. Most construction projects
Key words: Fast track construction, Pre-Engineered follow a predetermined sequence: concept, schematic design,
structures, parallel working, temperature controlled concrete.
design development, construction documents, and
I. INTRODUCTION construction administration.

Fast tracking starts at the conceptual planning stage of a


Fast-track construction overlaps these stages to allow
Project Life cycle. The construction methodology for a
construction to begin earlier and proceed at a faster pace. To
particular project needs to be decided first and the structure
accomplish this, there must be proven decision-making
has to be designed keeping in view the construction
processes, well laid out communication plans and an overall
methodology. During execution, the planned mechanization
commitment in place. Briefly stated, fast tracking compresses
plays an important role in deciding the sequence of activities
the project schedule by progressive design and construction
to be performed.
phases simultaneously. In a typical fast-track project, site
Use of Pre-Engineered Structures, decking concrete (left-in- preparation works as well as the procurement of major long
shutter) would help a lot in fast track construction though the term delivery components are taken up in parallel.
use of steel would be more in these options.
The learning objectives & challenges upon the fast track
construction program are:
S. Kalirajan is a Research Scholar in Anna University- Coimbatore
and is Additional Chief Engineer (Civil) at Kudankulam Nuclear
 Duration of design and construction are relatively
Power Project, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. (Phone
04637-282306, mobile 09443359702, Fax: 04637- 259715 e-mail: fixed for a given size and complexity.
kalirajans@yahoo.com .)  Being aware of special contract provisions relating to
the risk of fast track construction.
B.G.Vishnuram is the Principal, Easa College of Engineering and  To reduce project time to save financing costs.
Technology, Coimbatore (Phone 0422- 2656871, mobile:
9791438810, Fax: 0422-4214878, e-mail: bgvram@rediffmail.com )  To reduce project time to allow the owner to use of the
project to improve income and reduce costs.
 Identify statutory and regulatory requirements and
permitting for projects with multiple work packages.
 Organize Drawings & specifications for multiple work design phase — one step sooner than typical construction
packages. scheduling.
 Overlapping design and construction periods.
Especially with a fast-track project, all parties involved should
follow-up with documentation. As stated in the abstract, some
The normal process of construction scheduling involves the
of the construction methods and concepts are playing major
performance of a series of discrete functions, one after the
role in the Fast tract construction. Parallel working,
other, in a predetermined sequential order. The customary
innovations & no over run are the important concepts to be
logical order of these functions is programming, design,
kept in mind always for the successful completion for a fast
governmental approvals, bidding and negotiation, contract
track project.
award, construction, and finally, completion.
By the past experience, we all understood that the major
Each activity is virtually completed before the next may be construction is depending upon the activities like concreting,
commenced. To perform all of these functions will take a reinforcement, formwork and erection of pre fabricated
certain amount of time. The usual way of shortening the time structures. The innovation thoughts and the new technological
scale is by increasing productivity, that is, by completing each developments pertained in the above activities are leading the
function as efficiently as possible and starting each new phase project in a Fast Track.
immediately upon completion of the preceding phase. • Increase in height of pour in civil structures
Everything is done in proper order and no time is wasted.
• Adoption of Fly ash concrete and self compacting
Another way of saving total elapsed time would be by concrete which enables larger height of structures.
compression of the time schedule. That is, by overlapping • Use of pre-fabricated structures
some of the functions, doing two things at the same time. This
• Use of mechanical splicing and threaded couplers
would be accomplished by starting a new phase of work
for connecting the reinforcements
before the preceding phase is completed. Time saved by
concurrent work will accumulate and appear at the end of the • Use of pre-fabricated reinforcement mesh with
construction period in the form of early overall completion. couplers
Organizing the project to produce early completion by the
• Use of high capacity cranes to lift and place the
technique of concurrent or overlapping time scheduling is the fabricated structures.
essence of success in fast track construction.
• Use of light weight forms and slip-forms for high
III. STARTING THE FAST TRACK structures
• Use of form on wheels for RCC tunnel works
The first step is to determine project scope — what type of
construction is involved. The technology used in special • Adoption of modular construction techniques
projects, like Power Plant construction, Thermal Projects is • Use of left-in shutter Reinforcement
different from that for multi-storeyed structures where
IV. METHODS ADOPTED
infrastructural and residential related systems are delivered.
By focusing the needs, the budget can be stretched and used Fast tracking of a Project can be achieved in a very efficient
toward purchases that suit specific requirements. manner through any or all of these embedded into the system
of total Project.
For a fast-track schedule to work, facility executives should
put together an internal multifunctional team to make 1. Pre Qualification of Contractor / Supplier
decisions in a timely matter. The pressure will be on everyone 2. Adopt maximum mechanisation in work
involved to meet the desired completion date.
3. Use latest softwares for planning & cost management
Decision delays can put construction in limbo. Fast-track
clients do not have the luxury of time when making critical 4. Select latest technique’s of construction
equipment selections. On some fast-track projects, 5. Inculcate speedy working culture
construction sites may have already broken ground before the
In Pre Qualification of Contractor, we shall be in apposition of
drawings are complete. Knowing the footprint of a structure is
strength to know about the contractor’s capability to execute
enough to speed the process, even if the project team has yet
the work within the crash time schedule. The foreknowledge
to finalize designs on the upper floors. Technology planners
of contractor’s capacity can be utilised in an optimal manner
who know what’s going on in the industry and keep up with
to further reduce the time of construction. In as much as the
technological advances can help eliminate uncertainty about
contractor must be brought in at a very early stage in fast
product choices. To ensure everyone is aware of decisions and
track, it is difficult to obtain genuine general contractor price
any changes, there must be open communication between all
competition.
parties involved. For a fast-track process, construction
meetings should already have begun during the schematic
Contractors bidding from incomplete documents will be at a
distinct disadvantage. If they price the work to include all that
is inferable from the unfinished documents, they will not be
competitive with other contractors who infer something less.
The bidder who infers the least could end up with the low bid
and will almost certainly be later involved in a dispute with
the owner as to what was reasonably inferable.

For these reasons, it would make better sense to select a


contractor on the basis of comparative experience, reputation,
recommendations, and interviews. The price competition at In any Project wishing to implement fast track construction
the level of subcontractors and suppliers will normally be conventional methods of scaffolding, shuttering need to be
quite sufficient to protect the owner’s interests. As a part of changed to modern techniques in order to achieve a faster
the selection process the contractor remuneration system or output. Also such innovative system should address need to
formula can be discussed, negotiated, and adopted. carry out work on parallel system.

An experienced owner may choose a suitable contractor on


whom the owner can rely to be honest and competent and who
has the required financial and practical resources to
accomplish the assignment. If the owner has serious
reservations concerning the contractor’s qualifications or
character the contract cannot possibly succeed. Mistrust and
suspicion will breed dissatisfaction, and ultimately,
irresolvable disputes. Any expectation of saving time by the
fast track process will be long gone. There will be only
contention, delay, and higher costs, as could have been
Due training for efficient managing and execution of a Project
reasonably predicted. Contractor’s Pre qualification helps in
with a dedicated work force and a committed management can
assuring the confidence in owner well before the
ensure a fast track construction to emulate reaching goal posts
commencement of the Project Construction.
well ahead of time.

Adopting high capacity concrete batching plant, placer booms,


high capacity pumps, all terrain cranes are some of the utilities V. IMPLICATIONS OF FAST TRACKING
that can help ensuring of achieving the target in time. During the Project development phase, drawings and
specifications are being finalized. All aspects of engineering
i.e., structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and architecture
must work hand-in-hand. On the technology planning side,
fast-track means vendor and equipment options must be
narrowed down. It’s best to qualify in advance two or three
vendors.

It would be clear at this point of time as to where the project


lies in terms of budget. It is time to make adjustments. Think
ahead if it seems that certain procurement may land outside
the budget. Even if the plan is to delay capital purchasing,
include infrastructure and systems pathways in funding now
for those eventual purchases. During the construction
Software viz, Works Contract Management System and administration phase, technology plans are in place. The
similar tools as available in market can enhance the planning concurrent activities of civil construction, mechanical and
to cost management part in an efficient manner. electrical equipment erection goes along with the
procurement. The concept of JIT would be followed in most
New techniques viz, self compacting concrete, pumped of the cases. However, advance procurement of spares and
concrete, H frame shuttering, use of pre fabricated and widely used consumables are necessary which may increase
moulded structures etc can be made use of in reducing the cash out flow in the initial phase of the project.
handling time of the construction to a large extent.
The on-site delivery and staggering of purchases is like a The usual way of controlling cost is to have a guaranteed
finely orchestrated symphony. Ultimately, the decision maximum price given by the construction manager during the
processes involved with any project are the same. Know the later phase of design development or early phase of
detailed scope of the project, have decision makers in place construction documents that is based on a good understanding
and plan early for the future. of the design intent. In the early stages, the architect has to
anticipate and describe design elements, while the
It’s also important to know the project time frame. Facility
construction manager will need to extrapolate potential costs
executives need to have answers to specific questions before
based on experience, and both must communicate their
going into the fast-track process: What services are being
assumptions to the owner.
provided? What other ancillary services will be provided?
What image does the facility want to portray?.
As the design progresses, it is the construction manager’s role
For a fast-track schedule to work, facility executives should to manage the costs. As the price of one item escalates, the
put together an internal multifunctional team to make cost of another will have to be reduced. Some contracts will
decisions in a timely manner. The pressure will be on carry a design contingency, which is likely to be consumed by
everyone involved to meet the desired completion date. Fast- the end of this phase. An experienced team with good
track clients do not have the luxury of time when selecting the communication skills will keep to the budget through
critical equipments, material and spares. construction.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
VI. BENEFITS OF FAST TRACKING
"Fast-tracking" is often the most effective way to shorten the Authors are grateful to Shri. K. C. Purohit, Project Director,
duration of a project in spite of the risk involved. A project is Shri. A. K. Pal, Chief Construction Engineer for their
put in fast track by scheduling tasks that were originally guidance and encouragement.
scheduled to run one after the other to run instead at the same
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors
time concurrently.
and do not necessarily reflect the official views of KKNPP.

To make the most of fast-tracking, look at the longest tasks on REFERENCES


the critical path first. This provides the largest potential [1] Project Management Body of Knowledge [PMBOK]
decrease in duration with the fewest number of risks to from Project Management Institute, USA.
manage. Moreover, by fast-tracking only a few long tasks,
you also have fewer revisions to make in the schedule. Fast [2] Prasanna Chandra, “Project Planning, Analysis, Selection,
tracking allows us to identify the tasks that are both critical Implementation and Review”, Tata McGraw Hill, 1999.
and long and helps in removing the Critical filter.
[3] Chitkara K.K, Construction Project Management:
Planning, Scheduling and Control.
VII. CONCLUSION
[4] Choudhary. S, Project Management.
Paradoxically, while the decision to fast track a project is
nearly always an economic one, the final costs are generally [5] Nills O.E.Olsson, Ole M.Magnussen, “Flexibility at
unknown during the process. For commercial owners, the different stages in the life cycle of projects” Project
Management Journal, Dec.2007.
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for-profit and government owners it is essential to know the
[6] Gareis, R. (1989), “Management by Projects; The
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Management under uncertainty”.
“I think it is safe to say, depending on the construction
manager and the level of documentation, you may need to buy
at a little more inflated price, but if you are saving time, you
should be able to make it up on the interest on the
construction loan and should be able to collect rent sooner
[on a commercial building],” says Joe Aliotta, principal of
New York–based Swanke Hayden Connell, who estimates
that about a third of his firm’s work is fast tracked.

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