MELBOURNE, Australia, January 26, 2016 – Aconex Limited (ASX: ACX), provider of a leading cloud collaboration platform for the global construction industry, today announced that under an enterprise agreement, Hickory Group has used Aconex to manage project information and processes for three high-profile construction projects in Melbourne.
Founded in 1991, Hickory Group has grown from a construction firm with five employees handling small renovation projects to a tier-one contractor with over 450 employees managing major residential developments. Hickory was named Housing Industry Association (HIA) Housing 100 Largest Apartment Builder, 2009-2011, and Australia’s 5th Most Innovative Company of 2014 by BRW Magazine.
Hickory Group has deployed the Aconex collaboration platform on eight current and several completed projects since signing the current enterprise agreement in 2013. Details of these projects follow.
568 Collins Street
With 588 apartments and a value of A$165 million, 568 Collins Street in Melbourne is Hickory Group’s tallest project to date, rising 69 levels—more than double its next tallest. The added levels presented Hickory with new challenges: complex logistics, small site footprint, new technologies, and new contractors and consultants, which Hickory had not worked with before. It was up to Hickory to engage the right contractors, management, and staff and to ensure that they all collaborated seamlessly. This included the firm in China that Hickory had subcontracted to manufacture the building’s unique exterior façade. Close coordination of all participants was critical. Aconex provided an easy way for project team members to create, share, track, and retrieve information at any time, from anywhere.
“When it comes to multilevel towers of this magnitude, there is just a lot more information transferred across all parties,” said Steve Stavrou, commercial director at Hickory Group. “Aconex played a key role in keeping everyone on the project connected and up to date at all times, enabling us to complete construction on schedule.”
The twin-tower development on Fulton Lane in Melbourne is the first Hickory Group construction project for one of Malaysia’s largest developers, S.P. Setia, two-time winner of FIABCI Prix d’ Excellence Awards for World’s Best Masterplan Development. Valued at more than A$220 million, it is Hickory’s largest project with 816 apartments. In addition to the imposing size of the project and working with a new client, there were other challenges. Hickory sourced the façade system from firms in China. One firm produced the window and curtain wall system, while the other manufactured the exterior cladding system. The complex design required approximately 1,200 shop drawings per level. Aconex provided immediate access to project data and correspondence, streamlining the review and approval process.
“A lot of fabrication drawings had to go back and forth for approval,” said Mr. Stavrou. “If approvals were delayed, the entire project could fall behind. With help from Aconex, the project was recently finished two months ahead of schedule.”
La Trobe Tower
La Trobe Tower is located in the central business district of Melbourne. When completed in 2016, the development will offer 205 apartments over 43 levels. The project relies heavily on the integration of elements such as sub-assembled bathrooms, precast concrete panels and pre-attached building façades. The elements are delivered to the site as steel boxes with concrete floors, facades and complete bathroom pods, which are manufactured at Hickory Group’s Brooklyn warehouse in Melbourne. This innovative system will enable the project team to install 40 levels in half the time required for a conventionally built project. Aconex Field is being used at both the bathroom pod manufacturing site and the external cladding site to identify and correct any defects before components are transported to the project site, eliminating costly delays and rework.
“Our bathroom pod manufacturer Sync was excited when we introduced them to Aconex Field,” said Mr. Stavrou. “They are in the manufacturing business, where complete processes need to be followed and finished goods must be delivered just-in-time and defect-free. Aconex Field ensures that the entire safety and quality inspection process is managed correctly and efficiently.”
Hickory Group is leveraging Aconex in its pursuit of environmental sustainability. The firm’s prefabricated business, Hickory Building Systems, uses integrated 3D modeling to ensure that materials are ordered to the exact dimensions required – limiting on-site waste. Aconex enables structured communications between all participants involved to support this process. Hickory also uses Aconex to go paper-free wherever possible – alleviating requirements for hard copy storage and paper filing.
The company uses Aconex Field in the defect management process, checking completed apartment and logging issues online and accurately transmitting information to stakeholders to ensure that any issues are quickly and easily rectified prior to settlement. Hickory’s handover process is also electronic – owners receive operation and maintenance manuals on USB drives and can log defects and other issues via the Hickory website. This saves the company up to 10 tonnes of carbon emissions each year from reduced paper production.
“Hickory Group is at the forefront of technology in the construction industry, continuously adapting its methods and procedures to maximize efficiency and streamline processes,” said Steve Brant, general manager of Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) at Aconex. “We’re pleased that the firm has deeply integrated Aconex with its core processes for all phases of the project lifecycle – from feasibility to tendering to handover – enabling the company to maintain control while managing quality and risk.”