Focus Project Management and Asta Powerproject Orchestrate the Relocation of an Entire International Airport
Focus, one of Southern Africa’s leading project management companies, had been using Oracle Primavera to plan and manage its project schedules but the introduction of newer versions containing more variations in the software than they actually needed and subsequent price increases were proving to be prohibitive to its use. This led Focus to start to look for other software solutions. Russell Chappe, Director at Focus Project Management, explained: “We were looking for something that would compete with Oracle Primavera. We looked at other software solutions and kept our eyes open for anything new, but nothing really came across that would be powerful enough to replace Oracle Primavera. Then one of the marketing directors of a customer we were hosting introduced me to Asta Powerproject. We downloaded a couple of trial versions and we were very impressed with what it could do. Under further examination I came to believe that it’s capabilities actually exceed those of Oracle Primavera, and while we still use Oracle Primavera to address certain clients’ needs, within a short time we had moved our whole company’s software over to Asta Powerproject.”
The Airport Project Challenge
Earlier this year Focus Project Management won the Airports Company South Africa contract to move Durban International Airport to a location 50km away. Under the Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer programme, the relocation of the airport was the final phase of a 25-project-strong programme. The airport was due to cease flying on April 30th and the new King Shaka International Airport had to be ready to operate on May 1st. The appointments process had been a drawn-out one and Focus Project Management ended up with a mere 22 days to complete this mammoth, some might say impossible, task. The success of the project would hinge on the intricate and careful planning of this enormous and complex challenge – exactly what Asta Powerproject was designed for.
The significance of this huge undertaking cannot be underestimated. The facility was first conceptualised as far back as the 1970s but the project was halted in 1982 owing to an economic slowdown. The project was revived in the late 1990s when the limitations of Durban International Airport became apparent. Airports Company South Africa maintains that the new airport will contribute to the creation of up to 260,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next 20 years. It will be able to process 7.5 million passengers and 50,000 tons of manufactured goods per year, twice as much as the capability of Durban International Airport, and this multi-billion ZA rand is the first greenfield airport in South Africa.
The appointment demanded that the contractor ensure accurate planning and management to guarantee a smooth and disruption-free relocation to an absolute and fixed time schedule. With a travel time of 45 minutes between airport locations and multiple but limited pick up and drop off points at both, it would need highly strategic planning.
The role of Asta Powerproject
The first step was for Airports Company South Africa and all stakeholders to submit detailed inventories including resourcing, durations, loading/unloading zones and preferred dates on a standard template. Focus then had to get this information, which it would use to schedule tasks, into Asta Powerproject. They would then use this to check for available slots (loading/unloading zones of limited duration) for vehicles, each slot having to be treated as a limited resource throughout the project, and allocate them to the stakeholder. This became a very complex task. Using Asta Powerproject, Focus was able to create a combined plan showing information across all stakeholders in minute detail, including combined slot allocation profiles for each loading/unloading zone, a plan so well designed that the Airports Company South Africa M&E Department used it to plan its deployment of escalators/elevators, signage and so on.
Focus also had to create a detailed plan of the precise forecast requirements for use of the N2 motorway, including abnormal loads, to inform RTI/Metro Police of future road activity. The Airports Company South Africa Security, Landside/Airside also needed to be provided with detailed plans of usage of each loading/unloading area. Slot allocation forms were generated from Asta Powerproject giving detailed access planning information for each stakeholder. The slot forms could then be fixed to each vehicle as a means of authorisation for the use of the slot in addition to normal access requirements.
Asta Powerproject enabled Focus to create not only a comprehensive planning summary that would be easy and clear to understand, but a detailed progress and status report on all stages that made up the schedule, spanning security, IT , communications, M&E, safety and the like. Alongside this, updates could be given accurately and regularly on the details of volumes moved, number of relocation activities, activity hours in total and per day, the personnel and vehicles employed on the project by day and by hour, the number of companies used and the number of clients moved. “It’s true to say,” said Russell, “that Asta Powerproject was central to the smooth running of the entire relocation and the successful completion of the project within an exceptionally tight timescale.”