Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lulu's Mailbag: How do I make my engineers do their jobs?!

I got a great question from C, who writes:

When I started here (at my firm) I was told to start compiling Navisworks clash reports and models so we could coordinate the models on this project. Simple enough – combine the models – run the clash – sort through 30,000 clashes to find the legit clashes – export viewpoints – export report – email off. Rinse and repeat on a weekly basis and track the progress of the clash numbers.

This starts simple enough – any time I’ve done this in the past on other projects, that’s all we had to do – give the engineers a Navis model and let them work through their clashes on their own, help them with the difficult ones and assist them when they clash with architectural. Which is what I’ve done. Am I crazy to assume that they should be able to be grown professionals and work through their own clashes on their own (ie. Pipe hits duct, someone please move something)?

Well, fast forward to today – we're 2 weeks from the finish and clashes still exists – roughly 100 or so legit ones. I’ve gone as far in recent weeks as to take a set of drawings and literally highlight and redline where the clash is and who it involves. Scanned those in and sent those off to them, basically providing a roadmap to the clash. They don’t even need to open the Navis model for this – yet still they ignore the clashes. We hold bi-weekly BIM meetings where I walk through clashes with them – they’re in the same room together they can talk through the clash – and they always say “ok, I’ll move X to here and you move that to there and boom we're good” - next week come along and that same clash STILL EXISTS!

I’ve literally drawn them a picture and walked them through the fix. Short of going to their office and holding their hands and fixing it for them I’m not sure what to do. I shouldn’t have to be the one that fixes their clashes for them – considering MEP is all in the same office they should be able to walk to the other cubicle and talk it out like grown adults.

I’m at wits end dude. I’ve done everything I know to aid in the clash resolution process just to be ignored essentially for 5 months by the MEP guys.

C, the short answer is this: if your manager is aware of this constant struggle on your part, then you've done all you can. If you're at the point with a consultant that you're having to go over to their office, put your hand on their mouse hand, and do the clicking for them, then the problem is pretty much theirs. It's time to get the managers involved, or at least aware: email the engineers and copy your boss(es) and their boss(es) and ask what's going on: "I've sent you the Navis report on X/XX/2010 and I gave you a marked up plan locating the clashes on X/XX/2010, and I see in the latest model that over 100 clashes still have not been picked up. I'm concerned that we're about to issue a project that has unresolved clashes that could adversely affect this project's construction. We really need to get these clashes resolved--what do you need from me/us to make that happen?"

Working with consultants is usually an enjoyable and educational experience, but that experience goes sour fast when basic issues go unresolved. You can't make people do their jobs per se, but if all of your efforts to gain compliance and cooperation go ignored, then it's time to let managers know what's going on.

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