Article first published in ProActivo Magazine, September 2023. Reprinted with permission.

We believe that conducting a constructability analysis for every phase of a mining project is critical to success. This is our philosophy of success, and it leads to the development of better projects.

How do you define constructability and what are the benefits of performing a comprehensive constructability analysis?

Constructability is the optimal use of knowledge and experience in construction applied throughout the phases prior to the execution of a project. Its main purpose is to ensure the success of the project. When applied at the right time to each project phase, it helps us achieve cost, time, quality and safety objectives.

Constructability analysis brings great benefits, including early identification of design improvement opportunities, identifying any issues between disciplines or with the existing operation (brownfield projects), risk reduction, and key aspects of procurement. This ensures that the design is constructible and helps with the optimization of construction processes. All these benefits result in reduced project time and cost.

Can you specify how you have managed to reduce costs and time in projects and what innovative work plans you have incorporated?

At Ausenco, we believe in the value that constructability analysis generates for our projects and for our clients. We have a multidisciplinary team in Lima dedicated to the development of constructability analysis for our projects.

We begin our analysis early in the study phase and then move through the different project phases. We work alongside the design and engineering team as the study progresses. This is key as we identify opportunities and resolve potential project risks for the execution stage. We not only interact with the design and engineering team we also work with the teams in charge of the master schedule, CAPEX, and project execution plan.

Performing a detailed constructability analysis during the study stage may at first seem puzzling. However, the benefit is shown during the constructability workshops and final report, where we present the benefits of the design optimization, the improvements in the construction processes and the opportunities identified that reduce risk, duration, and the cost of the project.

What aspects of health, safety and environment (HSE) have been improved by the detailed constructability analysis?

At Ausenco, "safety in all we do" is not just a saying, it is part of our culture. We work continuously to take care of our people and the environment. Within our constructability analysis, an important part is to identify risks associated with the project as well as opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint.

As for potential health and safety risks, we further the analysis of any construction processes that are identified as a risk. For example, we look at climate and other external factors, accessibility to the project site, working in confined spaces, interaction with equipment used in the operation of a brownfield project, interaction with other disciplines on the project, and other risks that may affect the construction. Mitigation plans are developed and presented in the workshop and final constructability analysis report.

Regarding sustainability and environmental responsibility, we focus our constructability analysis on new technologies applicable to the mining sector such as the use of electric vehicles, modular systems that no longer require traditional manufacturing and installation processes, and electric energy reduction strategies for the different stages of construction. This has been welcomed and appreciated by our clients who are committed to the energy transition.

What benefits and results have you achieved using modern technology in constructability analysis?

Our expert constructability analysis team uses planning programs and 3D and 4D modeling software, which complement each other in developing detailed construction methods and sequences. We use this throughout the life cycle of the project - from earthworks to electromechanical assembly stages of a project.

This software provides several benefits, beginning with a 3D visualization of the project, allowing us to reduce construction sequence development times, identify spaces for the construction stage, analyze accessibility from the port to the project, identify and anticipate interferences, model the most critical maneuvers of the project, and size the appropriate equipment for construction. We take a multidisciplinary approach from an early stage to create accurate projects that include 4 dimensions. This allows us to analyze and control construction times. Our project team has visibility on the progress of the activities and the benefits include time optimization, error detection and planning.

What are the skills of the professionals who apply this philosophy of success to the development of mining projects?

We have a multidisciplinary team, based in our Lima office, that works exclusively on the constructability of our regional projects. This team has extensive experience in mining projects, construction, construction methods, planning programs and software for 3D/4D modeling. They are a highly collaborative team, with a strong focus and clarity on corporate objectives.

Using our expert judgment, knowledge, analysis skills, and experience in construction projects (from conceptual studies through to detailed engineering) we can optimize our clients’ projects starting with the design stage. This work is well received by our clients.

What makes Ausenco’s constructability approach different?

Our clients understand the importance of performing a constructability analysis in each study phase - from conceptual to final feasibility. There is a big difference between developing a constructability analysis workshop as just a deliverable for a client, compared to engaging the constructability team at the outset, and throughout the development, of the study. The latter adds measurable value.

We are involved in all areas of the study development – engineering, CAPEX, master schedule development, 3D/4D modeling. HSE and contracts. Our role is to provide specialized support to various experts involved in the studies from a construction perspective.

Contact Emilio Calienes to find out how we can help you with constructability.