Construction Materials Management

Construction materials management

The creation of an interface that can present the complexity of materials management for a major construction project was a great challenge. There are many different data sets that need to be included to give a clear picture of how the project is progressing, where the materials required are. I worked with a construction materials manager and an EPCM (Engineering Procurement Construction Management) consultant to ensure that the UX/UI design was both technically possible from a data access/collection point of view as well as an industry usability perspective.

The combination of procurement, contracting, engineering drawings with scheduling allowed the interface to present a single interactive view of the progress of the project. The identification of materials required as part of a WP (Work Pack) with their scheduled use in the project allows for the material to be tracked on a countdown so that the required material are available when they are required. The identification of materials that are not going to be available was also a key element of the interface.

I started with a weekly report to the project owner from the prime contractor for the construction project. The report included a set of data that had manually been complied and included the core elements required. How the project was tracking against the budget and included a set of other data that is critical for the progress reporting

The original weekly report


The first process I went through was a series of workshops with the manager and the consultants to define the hierarchy of importance around each element in the reporting. The inclusion of the 3D models from the Engineering draws and Google maps as well as the ability to include a web cam were important considerations.

Initial combination of the 3D, Data and photographic elements

UX/UI Working

Once I had a clear picture of the project requirements I could then start to structure the interface around what the user would require. The simplification of the schedule and the combination of procurement and contracting data into a seperate component that was responsive to the user interaction was an important consideration in trying the “de-clutter” the overall interface.

First pass at the streamlining of the construction module management timeline controller

Unity 3D and Database connection

A key part of the UX/UI design was integration of the 3D models into a “web” environment via Unity. I coordinated a set of technology tests to ensure that we could connect the 3D models from Engineering to a database of materials and schedule data. The below video shows that connection between the 3D objects and the user interaction by walking around in the “model” selecting the various elements that could then be connected via a unique ID (displayed top right corner of the 3D model window) to the data for the individual object.

Next steps

The next steps are to further test the UX/UI to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the context of the reporting and to work with a technical team to implement the solution within a secure environment and to continue to simplify the interface.

User testing:

Shot of the prototype UI up on a massive curved projector setup