Keepmoat Regeneration, part of the global energy and services ENGIE Group, has a diverse business operating across regeneration, refurbishment, new build homes and property services. Keeping projects on track is critical, as it helps to breathe new life into neighbourhoods, bring brownfield sites into new use, and create future homes
When planning manager Jonathan Dann joined Keepmoat Regeneration, he was glad to find Asta Powerproject was in use. As a user for 25 years, he knew how to gain value from it – yet he discovered that many of its main benefits were not being secured. A mix of other tools were also in play, along with ad hoc spreadsheet-based planning. This prevented the company from driving best practices in planning across the business.
Planning benefits across the board
Jonathan identified several clear benefits delivered by the software, such as the ability to structure and filter views, and support business processes:
1. “We can set custom views to show the different types of information required for each project ranging from new build houses, apartments, extra care and retirement villages to kitchen and bathroom refurbishments.”
2. “Our commercial teams find filters very useful as we can filter out those specific to the works packages. These are better received by the sub-contractor, as it only shows their works.”
3. “Cash-flow profiles have been particularly useful on the multi-block projects. The cash-flow is automatically updated when the programme is rescheduled, which saves time for the commercial teams.”
4. “The ability to manage material allocations has proven invaluable on one of our city centre sites where deliveries are required ‘just in time’.”
Asta Powerproject could also help the company to give clients a better overview of projects. Jonathan explained the background: “As a business, the Progress Dashboards are invaluable. The company always tried to give a quick overview of each of the new build projects. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was developed internally but, as the projects got larger and began to have several phases, the running of the S Curves in the EVA Reporter was becoming time-consuming. We approached Elecosoft to see if they could assist in developing a macro that would run all the calculations automatically, after the initial set up at the start of a project.”
After an initial half-day consultation, which defined the scope of works and clarified what the company wanted the macro to achieve, an Elecosoft Professional Services Developer got to work and “on just one of our multi-block projects, our customised macro saved nearly 2 hours on producing the report.”
Broader involvement drives accountability
The use of consistent planning practice is gradually being extended. Now programmes are covering every stage from outline and pre-start planning through construction. When Jonathan first arrived, the planning process was only applied to the construction programme. He explained: “Since then, we have introduced the procurement programme to the front end of the construction programme. The place order activity is linked into the start on site activity. Preceding that in the procurement programme is the Lead-In time, the Mobilisation time, which is preceded by Place Order, which is preceded by going Out to Tender, and so on. In effect, we now have three programmes for each project: the Information Required schedule, the procurement programme and then the construction programme.”
Broadening engagement in planning also means that Keepmoat Regeneration’s planners are now able to identify the right responsible person at any state of a project more easily and talk to them about progress, so that the programme can be marked up.
Looking to the future
Asta Powerproject is helping Keepmoat Regeneration deliver projects on time across its planning and construction activities, but now Jonathan is starting to introduce it to other areas of the business too: “As well as new build construction, we also have a Refurbishment section for external wall insulation, re-rendering, re-roofing, and internal refurbishments like replacement bathrooms and kitchens. The software is used across that group. We also have a Maintenance group, based in Leeds, which is currently using MS Project. I’ve been up there a few times to start the process of introducing them to Asta Powerproject, because then everything will connect up smoothly.”
Jonathan has been an advocate of Asta Powerproject for 25 years and chose it from a line-up of planning alternative software right from the start. When asked why he liked it then, and remains a user today, he said: “It’s the visual aspect of it – it’s easy on the eye, so if you want people to relate to the programme, it’s what you need. MS Project is just black and white lines, and you need a training course just to set up or understand a P6 plan. I prefer Asta Powerproject. You can easily put a client’s logo on it, so they feel more involved, and you can colour code areas and shade things. It’s just easier to look at and understand.”
Summing up the business benefit of using Asta Powerproject at Keepmoat Regeneration, Jonathan concluded: “Like all projects, our objective is to finish on time and on budget. Asta Powerproject provides the platform from which to monitor progress and costs, while at the same time forecasting any potential delays that could affect the project completing on time.”
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Please note: this is a commercial profile.