27 February 2020

Guest Article- Nadhi Information Technologies

Citius, Altius, Fortius
Transforming High-Rise Construction

Kalyan VaidyanathanWhen Baron Pierre de Coubertin proposed “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger”) as the motto for Olympic Games in 1894, he probably never thought it would be borrowed for an article on high-rise construction over a century later! It just goes to show how durable and relevant something creative and well-thought out can be. KALYAN VAIDYANATHAN, CO-FOUNDER & CEO AND RAVI S. MUNDOLI, CTO, NADHI INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES, expound on the virtues of Lean Construction for tall buildings.


High-rise construction has been getting a lot of attention lately, for both good and bad reasons. On the one hand, the world is becoming more populous and urbanised, putting immense pressure on natural resources such as land. An obvious solution that suggests itself is to “go up, not out” i.e. go higher in space rather than outwards which would increase the need for resources. Indeed, from the point of view of speed of construction, affordability, delivery of services, and other perspectives, high-rise construction seems to make sense.
On the other hand, recent events have also brought into focus some of the risks associated with this format. The Grenfell Tower fire in London and the fire in the tower in Dubai due to defective material used in cladding are two such tragedies which are fresh in our minds. Closer home, the 2014 collapse of a multi-storey building in Chennai (albeit an under-construction building) also caused waves of anxiety and worry.
Ravi S. MundoliAll these aspects impinge on different facets of the Olympic motto quoted earlier. There is a burning need for speedy (citius) delivery of increasingly taller (altius) buildings, without compromising on basic aspects such as durability (fortius) and safety.



It is in this context that a combination of process and technology can make a significant difference, throughout the lifecycle of the project. Adopters of improved and agile business processes such as Lean Construction using the Last Planner methodology, as a complement to collaboration and analytics technologies like Nadhi’s nPulse platform, will be able to deliver projects more efficiently and cost effectively. Multiple projects, including residential and commercial high-rise buildings, have already been transformed through these methods, resulting in significant, measurable savings in cost and time, improved productivity, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
High-rise projects are particularly well-suited for these interventions. They have a “typical floor” which gets repeated several times. This means that:
Work can be organised in a relatively predictable manner, along the lines of a production line with a steady “flow.” This makes it possible to do constant fine-tuning and course corrections, without incurring the cost of serious disruption. Since the work is already streamlined for the major part, the benefits from adopting technology and the Lean Construction process are multiplied.
The value of mobile data collection, analysis, and alerting, is greater because as the work front goes higher and higher, information and communication technology makes it possible for real-time collaboration across disparate locations. An app such as nPulse which can record progress, take photographs, and flag quality and safety issues, or non-compliances on the 30th or 40th floor, and immediately alerts the project or planning team at the ground level, is invaluable. It increases transparency, and improves responsiveness of the team, and gives them a forum to collaborate seamlessly.
On the analytics front, the data from “typical floor” based construction is of tremendous value. It gives the opportunity to accurately measure progress across different trades, teams, engineers, planners, etc. in a repetitive manner. The quality of the data captured is relatively high and can be leveraged more easily for future projects.
For example, using nPulse’s flexible dash boarding capabilities, an analyst can compare the performance of different labour contractors across the same type of work in a fair manner and come up with recommendations on how to incentivise them for better output.
Or one may be able to identify procurement of a certain type of item as a bottleneck based on the issue log, or a certain type of quality defect as a cause of rework. Based on the inputs from the analytics engine, one can then recommend changes to the relevant process, and measure the effect of the changes equally accurately a few floors later.



The nPulse analytics engine can also give better predictions up front on project delays, which are invaluable to clients, especially in the new regulatory environment that is developing from the implementation of RERA.
Technology enabling high-rise construction and adopting Lean Construction gives organizations the opportunity to transition into high-performing learning organizations that inculcate the discipline of data-driven decision making. Since high-rise construction is relatively repetitive, lessons learned on one project can be transported to subsequent projects and a culture of continuous improvement can be brought about.
The digitization of physical and financial tracking, issue management, document management, quality management and productivity tracking, through tools such as nPulse and techniques such as Last Planner can transform high-rise project delivery in a much more impactful way, similar to those seen in the manufacturing industry that has reaped benefits from lean and the usage of technology. In short, we can build higher, faster, with quality and still deliver projects on time and under budget.



•    It provides forward-looking lead indicators on potential delays as mobile alerts and email alerts based on past and current performance
•    Its proprietary analytics engine can track deviations (time, cost, quantities, materials, resource productivity) during actual project execution vis a vis initial estimates
•    Its actionable dashboards can visually show the key areas and associated critical issues to management so that they can take prompt remedial action
•    It is completely mobile enabled with sophisticated fine grained access control to allow for all project stakeholders within and outside the organization to collaborate and interact
•    It provides touchless synchronization between physical and financial progress
•    The solution automates routine tasks such as preparation of progress reports, communication with consultants, sub-contractors etc.
•    Is a complementary addition to ERP systems and BIM solutions
•    Closes the information gap between execution teams at site and decision makers in the office
•    Should be an essential part of your BIM execution strategy

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