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On November 16, I was lucky enough to attend and represent LogiKal Projects at the 2016 Project Controls Expo at the Emirates Stadium. It was a memorable experience at a first class venue. After the initial shock of being surrounded by all the football history and being inside the Emirates wore off, I was impressed by the number of attendees, speakers and booths set up at the event. The LogiKal booth looked exceptional and very inviting; definitely got their share of traffic coming by to discuss the offerings of LogiKal Projects, project controls in general and the future of Building Information Modelling with augmented reality. With such a large venue, there was no shortage of areas to attend presentations as well as networking cafes to meet like-minded industry professionals. I was able to attend a few sessions throughout the day and was lucky enough to attend a couple of events hosted by fellow LogiKal employees Adrian Predoi and Tom Kent. For me, it was a very good introduction to the different industry players, variety of projects and the UK Project Control community.

The day kicked off with a keynote speech from David Waboso, Managing Director at Network Rail who had some great insight to share on the current state of the rail industry in the UK and his experience in delivering projects in operational environments. Demand for rail has doubled since 1996 and there seems to be no signs of this trend slowing. Due to lack of investment in the past, existing infrastructure is very old and bursting at the seams. The challenge that the industry faces is how to expand capacity while continuing to provide service to the millions of people that rely on rail as their primary mode of transportation. The ability to shut down systems (to get work done) is as important a constraint as having the cash to do the work. David placed emphasis on investing in good Project Controls people as it is, in his experience, the best risk management strategy and they are instrumental in providing connectivity between senior management and the frontline on projects. This session was very informative and a great way to kick off the day.

Another session I was interested in was delivered by Julian Raison, Senior Operations PMO Lead at Gatwick Airport. Gatwick is the busiest one runway airport in the world and faces unique challenges when undertaking asset replacement and resilience projects. Undertaking projects in a 24/7 operational environment with over 43 million passengers per year flowing through the terminals, Gatwick needed a ‘lean and mean’ team to deliver projects. After a flooding incident in late 2013, the Operations PMO was formed in 2014 as a ‘low bureaucracy, fast moving entity’ to tackle small projects under £10m and less than 12 months in duration. To ensure that the team’s performance was at an adequate level, Gatwick undertook a benchmarking exercise to measure their performance metrics and compare them to other organizations. Following this exercise, the PMO was able to see where the team was exceling and where they needed to improve. Targets were set for on-time delivery improvement and project controls enhancement (while keeping low bureaucracy). It was informative to see how Gatwick executes projects and puts an emphasis on continuous improvement in such a fast paced and strenuous environment.

Between attending all of the presentations and training sessions, there was ample opportunity to mingle with colleagues and industry experts while building industry knowledge and learning about the professional training and software being used to support PC processes. It was a great opportunity to  meet and chat with industry leaders and hear about their experiences and shared enthusiasm for project controls. As someone quite new to LogiKal Projects, I was very interested in attending the sessions put on by Adrian and Tom. Needless to say, I was not disappointed! Both put on excellent presentations and showcased the knowledge and industry experience they possess. What great resources and mentors to be able to work with at LogiKal. Overall, I was amazed at the size of the event, the different industries covered and the number of people that attended. Overall, it was a valuable experience and glad I was able to attend.