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2022 Research - 9 Focus Areas

July 17, 2023 | Business and Project Processes

For over 35 years, CII has delivered rigorous research that supports the businesses of companies in the capital project industry. The CII advantage in research is its ability to combine credible, quantitative, university-based research with expert guidance from personnel from CII member organizations. This unique combination results in world-class research that has helped to establish CII as the principal national forum for the engineering and construction industry.

Beginning in 2022, CII will prioritize research in the nine focus areas listed below.

Pursuing Capital Efficiency

Executing projects right (efficiently) and executing the right projects (efficacy)

CII's founding mission has been to improve the total quality and cost effectiveness of the capital projects industry and it has made significant contributions to advancing the topic since its inception. Historically, CII focused its research on gaining efficiencies within the scope of the project: from ensuring that the project has sufficient definition at the outset, and throughout the life of the project with techniques to improve productivity through evaluation of changes, managing the supply chain, and planning for startup. These processes along with the CII Knowledge Base have led to substantial improvements in the delivery of the capital projects. Furthermore, these improvements have been validated and quantified by means of CII's Performance Assessment program, which was founded shortly after CII was formed.

CII's research, as well as OS2, has identified the importance of three areas: means and methods, measurement, and cost reduction strategies; in recognizing the synthesis of these three areas could provide continued and substantial improvements, CII feels it is important to connect the impact of its historic focus and the investment considerations of companies. The purpose of this initiative is to determine how efficient these capital expenditures are in the context of overall corporate investment, and to identify ways to improve them.

Active project:
RT-DCC-07 Capital Efficiency Scorecard for Downstream and Chemicals Projects

Leading Advanced Work Packaging

Diverse set of initiatives to keep CII in the AWP thought leadership

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) is a project execution strategy that is gaining wide acceptance and implementation in the construction industry. CII and COAA pioneered AWP research, and CII has continued with a number of follow-up research projects in the past few years. Both owner and contractor organizations have faced challenges to implement AWP and sought guidance from CII on how to make sense of the research results and effectively deploy AWP. CII must continue to advance the thought leadership in AWP and remain the definitive source of information regarding AWP.

Active projects:
RT-391 Defining Opportunities to Leverage Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics Applications for AWP
RT-390 Development of an AWP Execution Planning Guide for Projects

Tool and Practice Selection – Deployment Concierge

Tools to help capital project organization to make sense of CII's tools and practices

The Deployment Toolbox provides CII members a concise, logical, and comprehensive repository to aid in the education, development and implementation of CII Knowledge to its members. The toolbox addresses the gap between the development of a vision for organizational improvement and the successful implementation of that vision using available CII tools and resources.

Specific Deployment Tools are available to support member companies, including the Implementation Model, the Implementation Roadmap, and other resources to aid quicker deployment of CII practices and products.

Implications of ESG Drivers

Understanding how ESG criteria may affect the type of projects that will be executed in the future and how these project may be executed

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria are an increasingly popular way for investors to evaluate companies, and this trend should affect capital projects in the near future. ESG criteria are "a set of standards for a company's operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance deals with a company's leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights." (Investopedia, 2021)

CII is supporting members by anticipating possible scenarios and identifying potential implications of ESG criteria on technologies, organizations, workforce, and business decisions. The first step to achieve this goal is to identify future scenarios and their drivers. Scenarios can then be further developed and modeled to predict implications in terms of markets, labor, technologies, etc. However, the implications of ESG criteria may vary across different sectors and the foresight project should address these sector-specific implications.

Active project:
RT-393 Understanding the Implications of Environmental, Social, and Governance Criteria on Capital Projects

Digital Workflows

Providing guidance to capital project organizations should navigate their digital transformation.

The Workforce of 2030

Identifying an ideal state for the workforce of the future and defining the means to achieve this state considering the current challenges

Workforce-related topics have been common in CII research and continue to challenge the capital projects industry. Rather than reacting to workforce issues faced today, this program aims to address workforce issues in terms of the needs, demand, and supply envisioned for 2030. This vision of the future, rather than current workforce challenges, should drive this research program. In essence, the program will develop a model for the 2030 workforce, including drivers associated with technology, the impact of modularization, increased offsite manufacturing, trends toward additional virtual work components, and other industry changes to be addressed by other/separate programs. This program will ultimately help companies to perform better strategic workforce planning.

Completed projects:
RT-370 Modeling the Composition of the 2030 Workforce
RT-371 Onsite versus Offsite Construction – The Impact of Offsite Construction on the Workforce

Integrated and Collaborative Delivery for Better Business Results

Defining the means to promote more effective delivery leveraging integration and collaboration (and new business models)

Integration and collaboration have been recurrent research topics across CII (see RT-341 and RT-362). The FSC's Future of the Built Environment project also identified collaborative business models, or the lack thereof, as a key factor playing in the capital project industry in the next 1-15 years. Along with increasingly integrated and collaborative approaches, significant changes can be anticipated in the ways organizations communicate and share information. Therefore, this program will address collaborative business models, along with the communication and information (and data) flow that will be required in the next 10-15 years.

Active project:
RT-383 Quantitative Validation and Deployment of Industrial Integrated Project Delivery

Completed projects:
RT-372 Smart Data Model-centric Life Cycle Approach to Collaborative Execution of Capital Projects
RT-362 Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Collaborative Scheduling

Thriving in a Circular Economy

Providing actionable strategies and tools for increased sustainability in the delivery of capital projects

Circular economy is defined as "an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a close-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of these resources."

In capital projects scenarios, a circular economy should create efficiencies in the operations and maintenance of facilities and, most critically, in the decommissioning phase of projects. There are potential business opportunities related to the idea of a circular economy applied to the capital projects industry. This research program aims to unveil these opportunities and, by doing so, drive innovation and improve business outcomes of capital projects.

Active project:
RT-380 Value and Opportunities of a Circular Economy on Capital Projects

Cultivating Change

Defining how capital projects organization can be more agile when facing an increased rate of change

Companies in the capital projects industry (owners and contractors alike) have experienced the impact of changes in the business environment on their organizational structures. These changes may be a result of mergers and acquisitions, divestments, fast-changing technological environment, all in the context of an increasingly adversarial and low-margin environment that is expected to change at an increasing pace. This program aims to develop actionable information and strategies for CII members to prepare their organizations to realistically and systematically identify, plan for, and manage changes in the business environment of the future.

Active project:
RT-381 Adapting through Organizational Agility