As University of Hawaiʻi leaders move forward with a plan to modernize facilities to meet 21st century needs for learning, teaching and research, UH administrators have taken important steps to modernize the way construction and renovation projects are managed.
- Related UH News story: Capital improvement plan focuses on improving student spaces, November 1, 2016
The university is using e-Builder, a web-based capital program management system that creates an online workflow for all parties involved in a project, including university administrators and managers as well as outside consultants and contractors.
“This project management system is a national best practice and one of the multiple steps the university has taken to prevent cost overruns and project delays,” said Vice President of Administration Jan Gouveia. “Our goal when it comes to capital improvement is to deliver all projects, big or small, on time and on budget while making sure we are providing students the modern educational facilities and environment they deserve.”
Project participants can log into the system and see where in the process the project is, who is responsible for the next step and how long they have been working on that step. The system facilitates collaboration between owners, designers and contractors to increase project quality and delivery. Through automated workflows, the system generates online forms, facilitates processing invoices and notifies participants of decisions that require their attention. It centralizes and streamlines the entire project process while keeping everyone involved aware and accountable.
“One of the best things about it is that there’s transparency for internal users,” said Kevin Kwan, an e-Builder administrator for UH. “The university can track the entire project from the initial commitment through to the design and construction phases, which may require amendments that can be handled through e-Builder.”
As part of the eBuilder implementation process, the offices under the vice president of administration re-engineered current work and approval process to map to lean and best practices by simplifying steps that previously generated boxes of paperwork and hundreds of emails.
“The office provides training for university personnel as well as the contractors and consultants who work on UH projects, who have been very receptive to the new system,” said UH Business Services Manager Lisa Dau.
By the end of 2016, three projects, Kennedy Theatre, the William S. Richardson School of Law Community Legal Outreach Center at UH Mānoa and the Administration and Allied Health Facility at UH West Oʻahu, were managed with e-Builder. As of January 2017, 31 active projects, including the UH Mānoa Life Sciences building, are in process in e-Builder.
To further streamline project management and cut down on paperwork, the vice president for administration’s Office of Capital Improvements has also implemented the State of Hawaiʻi electronic Procurement System, or HePS, an online procurement system for issuing solicitations, receiving responses and issuing notices of award for construction projects.