“It's not about reinventing something; it's about [answering] ‘how do we do things better?’. We've had a very strong innovation drive going on throughout our business, and we try to encourage a culture […] that allows people how to figure out better ways of doing things; even simple little operations. We're innovating everywhere and all the time, and it's very pleasing to see the results of that. Everyone is trying to figure out how [they can do] things better, and we do get some real breakthrough results out of it.”
The ‘paperless’ initiative, Taylor explains, may well be applied across ALEC’s other schemes, as must all ideas that can help to improve efficiencies: “If you come up with a great idea in one part of the business, the next thing that you’ve got to try and do is roll it out on other projects. If it works on one project, then we'll try to do it [again].
“You need the consultants and the client to buy into it as well; the whole project team has to innovate. Sometimes we can't innovate on our own; we need everyone else to buy in.”
Man with a plan
Speaking to Taylor, it is clear that stakeholder cooperation is at the crux of ALEC’s work. Be it to drive new ways of working, or to contend with some of the traditional challenges associated with contracting, collaboration is at the centre of ALEC’s construction programmes for each of its high-profile developments.
This degree of meticulous planning perhaps explains the enviable portfolio of a contractor working on not only greenfield megaprojects such as Expo 2020 Dubai, but also Ithra Dubai’s Deira Waterfront Office and Hotel (Plot 4), part of the project's first phase. And, while most long-time Dubai residents – industry professionals or otherwise – will agree that building near the Gold Souk in Deira comes with its share of logistical challenges, Taylor says his team has cracked the code.
“It’s all about planning,” ALEC’s leader says. “What we’ve figured out about planning is that, often, we may put together a very detailed programme, [but] it may not be clearly understood by all stakeholders. Because it’s complicated, someone may not refer to it, or really understand what’s important.
“So, the first thing you’ve got to do is put together what we call a project execution strategy, or a very clear plan on how you're going to execute and how you're going to handle logistics. Let's say you bring too many materials to the project site; [in that case,] you’re going to be constrained in terms of the way that you're going to execute [site works].
“It's all around a simple plan: logistics are very important in that, and getting the sequence on the project right, and getting everybody to understand that sequence – from the client to the designers, the main contractor, and all the sub-contractors. We figured out that a complicated programme […] doesn't necessarily give you the result that you need in order to succeed on a project, but a well-thought out plan [that has been] simplified and well-communicated to all stakeholders, is very powerful, and we're trying to do this on all of our projects.”
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