Consultant

Fast tracking for Expo 2020 Dubai risks delays and higher costs

Architects and PMs say realistic planning required to meet deadlines

Construction companies are having to consider switching to fast-tracking projects to ensure they are ready to coincide with the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai event.

In a bid to capitalise on the mega events, an increasing number of clients and project owners are fast-tracking projects in Dubai, an article in Middle East Consultant magazine has found. Interviews with architects and senior project managers suggest this increases risks to projects such as final delivery and costs.

Sandra Santamarina, senior architect at Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ), told the magazine, “There is a big push to have many projects here in Dubai finished in time for Expo 2020, but if the timeframe is not viable, it simply won’t happen. Fast-tracking is risky and there are many who believe that such scheduling may actually incur more changes, leading to delays and increased costs of change.”

She notes that some of the risk can be reduced, however: “Planning ahead and setting realistic milestones with reviews along the way can help mitigate costs and delays. By overlapping design and construction so they run simultaneously, the fast-track method can be one of the ways to reduce project time significantly.”

Mariam Kamel, senior project manager at Al Tayer Stocks, agrees and elaborates. “Successful fast-tracking is the result of a proper team approach. Fast-tracking needs the quick turnaround from the design team along with an agile design team who can accept changes to better the timeframes. Fast-tracking also needs the input of an experienced contractor who can flag the risks upfront to enable mitigation, along with the good reputed contractor that has the support of the supply chain. Also, the PM needs to follow up with the client to ensure that any decisions or paperwork are issued in a timely manner.”

Stephanie Bache, programme manager at Parsons, agrees: “Most current projects seem to be on the fast-track route. Regarding the impacts of fast-tracking, aligning client and team expectations is critical because misunderstandings early on can have ripple effects on the delivery. Doing this involves focused scope meetings at the beginning of the project and developing responsibility matrices to clarify roles.”

“I also like the zipper approach to management, which is where different members of our team interact with client members at different levels in the respective organisations. I find that this effectively expedites information exchange as long as it is coupled with consistent team communication, documentation and control of data.”

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