The Milestone solution completes construction projects in phases

The beginning of the Milestone model can be traced back to JUST, the new social and healthcare center in Järvenpää, a project from several years ago when the first steps were taken to include takt in the construction phase and divide the project into milestones.

“A couple of years ago, our Boosters set out to develop the model from the construction phase to the planning phase, especially in terms of proposals and general planning. Since then, it has been partly introduced into implementation planning as well. The next big step is to apply the model to renovation projects,” says Construction Specialist Tuomas Talasma.

According to Talasma, the traditional design phase is often carried out in a hurry and there is not enough time to study alternatives. In the short term, the workload may grow significantly for one design partner, meaning that it is impossible to make the best use of the designers’ expertise to find the best design solutions.

This is why Boost set out to create the Milestone model where plans are produced in phases together so that the entire design team has an idea of what they are going to do.

“Planning is divided into takts with concrete outputs defined for each, and these are then reviewed together with the designers,” says Talasma.

When outputs are produced in phases, their processing can be scheduled in advance and taken to, for example, municipalities, cities and companies for presentation and decision-making. In addition, project promoters and decision-makers are able to discuss which matters they want resolved. These decisions are taken into account when preparing schedules for the planning phase.

Milestones allow for accurate step-by-step monitoring

With the new Milestone solution, the entire construction project is divided into milestones. Milestone periods are divided into takts at least at the proposal and overall planning stages. Implementation planning is proceeded by using plan packages, and the constructor can, if necessary, utilize takt production in construction.

The project is backed by training, data and support services. The achievement of goals is monitored every two to three weeks at the planning stage, and every two months at the construction stage. In this way, the client is up to date about the project progressing on schedule and staying within the cost and quality targets.

Teemu Jaakkola, Construction Manager of Boost’s partner Mestaritoiminta Oy, talks about the benefits of the Milestone solution:

“Dividing planning phases into shorter periods with clear goals for the end result enables decisions to be sequenced and made in phases.”

If, during the design phase, a need to develop an operational solution or to steer the solution to meet the objectives is identified, for instance, then the solution can be developed so that its impact on the entire design schedule remains minimal. At worst, if these issues were to be identified only at the end of the proposal planning phase, several steps would have to be taken backwards.

Each party involved in the construction – the client, designers, contractors, construction consultant, property owner and user – knows their role in the project and what is expected of them at each stage.

Positive experiences from pilot sites

The Milestone solution pilot sites are Viiala comprehensive school, Järvenpää co-educational school and Orimattila co-educational school. The experiences and feedback from designers and other parties have generally been positive.

“We have obtained the best results when all parties have been able to commit to a common schedule and goal based on a model that may be new to some or slightly different from what they are used to,” says Talasma.

Boost’s construction expert Petro Pöyhönen emphasizes the importance of the model’s project plan as a framework that the designers can lean on. For example, the project not staying on target or deviations to quality standards can easily lead to higher costs. The Milestone solution enables monitoring to ensure that solutions are produced according to the project plan, and also makes it possible to react to deviations at an early stage.

Jaakkola, who works as Mestaritoiminta’s project manager in the Järvenpää co-educational school project, agrees with Pöyhönen as well:

“The step-by-step evaluation of how well objectives are fulfilled produces valuable information for the client on a regular basis as the project progresses, creating confidence to proceed. Comparing the produced solution with the project objectives on a planned and regular basis during the project enables controlled and coordinated decision-making. With active monitoring of goals, it is possible to react to any deviations in time. The re-planning of larger deviations will have a minor impact on the schedule and planning costs, and smaller deviations can be specified flexibly in the following phases.”

Suitable for various forms of implementation

The Milestone solution is suitable for various forms of implementation, including turnkey project and project management contract models, alliance contracts, and all-in contracts. Each project is considered its own and a suitable procedure is found for each project. Planning can be organized in different ways according to the site.

According to Pöyhönen, a complex project – with a site of many users, changing issues, difficult construction conditions, various kinds of spaces and various goals – benefits the most using this model. A simple apartment can be made using a slightly lighter procedure.

Talasma emphasizes the benefits of the Milestone solution in terms of decision-making rhythm and solutions that meet the objectives, budget and schedule. Pöyhönen highlights the human side of the model as well:

“We have found that everyday life with projects that face many challenges or setbacks can be very burdensome for the parties involved. The long-lasting pressure often begins to show and affect the entire project organisation. The Milestone solution aims to help prevent this by, for example, organizing and phasing out tasks, clarifying responsibilities and reinforcing people’s strengths, thereby promoting the well-being of everyone working on the project.