Fore: Tools for strategic planning and asset management in the metropolitan area

                                                              

Fore: Tools for strategic planning and asset management in the metropolitan area

FIDIC
Solution proposed by: 
FIDIC
In a Nutshell: 
Standardized cost accounting methods and related software and consulting services support cost-efficient urban asset management and enable cost control right from the beginning of project planning. The tools combine information sources used in the planning of urban areas, which facilitates smooth cooperation between the parties involved. At the core of the tools is the SaaS-distributed standard cost accounting system Fore, which gives you reliable price information from the outset.
Where and When: 
The development work for the standard cost accounting system was begun in 2002 by the largest infrastructure clients (Finnish Transport Agency, Cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Turku, Tampere, Vantaa, Oulu and Jyväskylä). From 2009, the service has been available as a SaaS service on the Finnish infrastructure market. Development work carried out on the tool in recent years has extended its use further into the domain of asset management. The new features include economic calculation for zoning, maintenance backlog calculation and life cycle calculation.
Challenges: 
Before the Fore service, clients did not have any reliable means for determining how well the quotes they received matched the market situation. The lack of a reliable calculation method also made it more difficult to carry out project cost control. As calculations were made–unreliably–only in the last stages of a project, the costs often tended to exceed the budget. Furthermore, different calculation methods reduced price transparency, which rendered construction projects susceptible to misconduct and, in some cases, corruption. Thanks to a standardized cost accounting system, the clients’ cost-awareness has significantly increased and price transparency in the field of construction has considerably improved.
Innovation: 
The standard cost accounting system Fore is the market leader in Finland, and its used to some extent in Sweden as well. Nowhere in Europe or, for that matter, the world, has Rapal seen a similar system. At the core of the Fore service is an input price list for labor, materials and machines. Outside Finland, cost accounting is usually based on actual prices, which produces less reliable cost estimates. By means of the Fore service, the client can have a reliable estimate of the costs at a very early stage of planning. Later, as the level of detail of the plans increases, cost calculations can be adjusted using the quantities, materials, etc., which are known at that point.
Concept: 
In the standard cost accounting system, the price is obtained by modeling the amount of inputs and the various performances required. The inputs are used to compile work packages, which, in turn, are used to create construction components and project components. The system includes two-level models, construction components for end-stage planning, and project components for early-stage planning. Calculations based on construction components are mainly carried out by consultants who carry out cost calculations for the clients. Calculation based on project components is better suited for the early stages of projects, so it is more often used by the clients themselves. The price file, which provides the basis of the cost accounting system, is continuously updated and also tested using completed projects. The calculation takes into account numerous parameters, such as materials, condition of soil, traffic volumes, etc. Users can use default values or choose their own values for the calculation. Users of the service always get up-to-date price information. In SaaS, a single update updates all users’ data at the same time. The scope of the price file is intentionally kept limited so as to keep it free of price information that nobody ever uses. A lot of effort has been made to keep the tool user-friendly.
Description: 
The Fore service enables clients to reliably estimate the project planning costs at very early stages of the projects. They can either calculate the planning costs themselves or have the calculations done by consultants who use the same service. Standardized calculation reduces dependency on individuals: anyone who knows how to use the program can have a look the cost calculation and understand the cost structure of the project. The standard cost accounting system has also been used to model the environmental impacts of projects. This can be done easily by changing the input prices into, say, amounts of CO2 emissions. This makes it possible to produce life cycle calculations and scenarios which take into account not only prices but other variables as well. In urban area planning, economic analyses can be carried out at very early stages of the project life cycle. In the software version to be completed during 2016, it will be possible to carry out cost control for urban area planning through the graphical user interface. Various geographical information (terrain, traffic flows, etc.) as well as population and other forecasts can be linked to the user interface. The calculation tool is a significant facilitator of cooperation between experts in different fields, often a must when planning large urban areas. In Finland, standard cost accounting is also used in various asset management services, such as the calculation of repair backlog, for instance. The service can be used to monitor and manage the repair backlog, as well as to draw up the street and water mains maintenance programs in a cost-efficient way.
Impacts: 
Standard cost accounting is an important element in the development of building information modeling (BIM). Fore has considerably increased cost-awareness among clients, helping them to distinguish between the effects of real cost fluctuation and construction cycles. Fore and related consulting products have gained a strong position in Finland and attracted interest abroad. In the current economic situation, it is all the more important to find financially sound solutions already at the early stages of project planning. It is estimated that around 80% of cost controlling for Finnish infrastructure projects is carried out using the tool.

Photo Gallery

Pictures are property of Rapal Ltd - Calculation view of Fore
Pictures are property of Rapal Ltd  - Fore cost and CO2 data in a BIM. Case Pisara-railway for Finnish Transport Agency
Pictures are property of Rapal Ltd - Pisara-railway project – a new railway in Helsinki Metropolitan area