Enabling Real-time Collaboration in Egyptian Construction

Time is money, and that’s true in construction as in any industry. Saving time was a key benefit Redcon Construction found when its teams started using Autodesk Construction Cloud.

Once its technical office-based teams completed design and preparatory project work, Redcon’s site-based teams could immediately pick up a project and start working. The gap that had previously existed between these two stages was much shorter than before or eliminated completely.

Not only that, but the fact that there are no conflicts between different versions being worked on by different teams also saves huge amounts of time, stress and rework, says Ahmed Nafea, Building Information Modelling (BIM) manager in Polar Management, the project management arm of Redcon.

“We’re using Autodesk Build and Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro, Autodesk Construction Cloud tools, and they have made our projects much easier,” he says. “As everything is synchronised in the cloud, it makes it so much easier to have clear BIM models.”

Redcon Construction is one of Egypt’s leading and largest engineering, construction and infrastructure firms. It specialises in large-scale public and private sector projects, and employs close to 3,000 people.

The Cairo-based general contractor collaborates closely with its sister companies, which include project managers Polar, Redcon Steel, Wajha (cladding and curtain walls) and concrete specialists Cemento. ROCC or Redcon Offices and Commercial Centres is the owner and developer leading the family of businesses.   

Making the most of Autodesk Construction Cloud

Mohammad El Sarha is a research and development manager at Redcon Construction, where his department is responsible for BIM development and the adoption of other emerging technologies.

The team seeks to enable broader project teams to achieve high-quality results in the most efficient way possible, through using standardised processes and schedules in an integrated common data environment in Autodesk Construction Cloud.

“Redcon Construction chose Autodesk because it’s so well-known globally. All the engineers know how to use Autodesk software and solutions, plus the solutions are interconnected from the design phase through to the operation phase and beyond.”

– Mohammad El Sarha, Research and Development Manager, Redcon Construction

“One of the challenges that we faced in implementing the technology was on site infrastructure,” said Mohamed El Sarha. “We had to set up and maintain a good internet connection to use it for our pilot project, which involved using forms to schedule inspection requests. It worked well once we had that.

He added that, before using Autodesk Construction Cloud, Redcon found project teams often lacked information and were missing data after projects closed.

“Before we used the forms feature in Autodesk Build, collecting good quality data was difficult. With Autodesk Construction Cloud, everything is recorded and documented, and it’s easy to download data for analysis, making us a data-driven company,” he said. “Now, we’re evolving the process further using smart PDFs.”

Across the board, he says, Autodesk Construction Cloud is facilitating better communication and collaboration across project teams.

Business continuity in challenging times

Using connected design and BIM workflows paid some unexpected dividends in the early stages of the project. “When COVID hit, our technical officers took their computers and worked from home on the BIM collaboration group,” said El Sarha.

“That was a big success for us because the engineering didn’t stop and we could complete our work. Without that tool, it would have been a disaster with everyone working on separate files and nothing being co-ordinated.”

Autodesk Construction Cloud is also generating exceptionally valuable data, he added. “The data analysis and the metadata we get from Autodesk Construction Cloud is giving us many insights we can use to manage future projects and prepare estimates for them.”

Leading on industry standards

Nafea is the BIM manager on Redcon’s extensive Golden Gate project, a landmark mixed-use development of five interconnected districts over 161,000 sq m in Cairo. His role involves co-ordinating a complex network of more than 15 design and construction stakeholders.

He explains that it was challenging at times to onboard so many stakeholders to Autodesk Build, especially as some had not used it before. “We developed manuals and standards for our platform to show stakeholders how to use it and deal with us on it,” he says, “and we made sure we regularly developed updated versions of those documents.”

The Redcon teams also adhere to ISO 19650 standards (international standard for managing information over the whole life cycle of a built asset using BIM) using Autodesk Construction Cloud for the entire process.

“It worked really well and was totally compatible,” says El Sarha. “We were able to implement it easily across every stage in the project from the conception design to the construction.”

The standardisation bonus

When it came to creating manuals and standards for the Golden Gate project – needed to inform the work, manage standards implementation and align data management for every stakeholder – Redcon and Polar used ISO 19650 as their reference, explains Nafea.

“We made sure every design and construction stakeholder produced clear data in line with the guidelines, with all data being easily accessible to each team. The common naming conventions really help when it comes to filtering data and the overall quality of execution.

The benefits of standardisation don’t end there, he adds: “We’re also now developing audit standards following on from this work, and we’re also gaining valuable data and insights that we can implement in future on other projects.”

El Sarha adds that Redcon’s quality control team can view up-to-date data at any time on the dashboards, meaning they don’t have to request information on inspection requests, approvals and rejections every week. “It facilitates better reporting because all the metadata is there,” he explains.

When it comes to clash detection and reporting, he says, the team is planning to contain it all within Autodesk Construction Could. “It’s much easier as we have it all in the cloud,” he says. “You can assign the clash to anyone who works on the model. They can address it and the clash is removed.”

Harnessing the power of dashboards

Across the project, the team has come to truly appreciate the value of accurate and consistent data capture through forms. The resultant data is displayed in real-time dashboards that enables dynamic project management and forecasting.

The dashboards display real-time data for inspection requests and submittals, among other things, and further customised dashboards are currently in development.

“As Autodesk Construction Cloud also allows the team to share the dashboard information in real-time, that has really helped us to improve communication and collaboration with all our stakeholders,” says Nafea.

Driving efficiency across large-scale projects

The real-time collaboration enabled by Autodesk Construction Cloud has been transformative, says Nafea.

“It’s really fast, much more than we had expected and it has really increased efficiency. It has really reduced the amount of time needed for co-ordination and communication.

“Furthermore, it has helped us to streamline our workflows and improve our project data accuracy. In turn, that enables us to make better decisions.

Advancing the sustainability agenda

Golden Gate is a green project championed by Redcon chairman Chairman Tarek El Gamal. Nafea points out that Autodesk Construction Cloud has contributed to this vision by enabling the whole project team to go paperless and work in the cloud instead.

“Another sustainability benefit from Autodesk Construction Cloud is that it is enabling a project we’re working on to control on-site waste management,” said Nafea. “Managing inspections and so on will be far more efficient through Autodesk Construction Cloud than making a call or sending a message.”

Mohammad Abou Assali

Senior Customer Success Manager, Autodesk