13 JAN 2022


AI-construction software specialist ALICE Technologies and Align JV (a joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick) have expanded their partnership on HS2. 

ALICE Technologies’ construction simulation and optimisation platform helps contractors worldwide to leverage the power of AI to plan, bid and build their large-scale infrastructure and commercial projects more efficiently. 

ALICE and Align are extending the scope of their work to address other construction challenges on the C1 section of HS2 Phase One that Align is delivering, including optimising their work to reduce carbon emissions, a national priority for UK construction work. In addition, the Align team is using ALICE Manage in the construction phase. “With ALICE Manage,” said Align’s Nick Podevyn, “we will be able to re-sequence our schedule helping us to deliver our portion of the HS2 project on time and on budget.” 

“Our platform is ideal for large-scale infrastructure projects like HS2,” said ALICE founder and CEO René Morkos. “With this work, we have an opportunity to contribute to the success of a major strategic transportation project in the UK and we’re excited to be extending the scope of our partnership with Align to help solve some of the complex construction challenges associated with a project of this magnitude.”

Daniel Altier, project director at Align JV, said: “I would like to thank both the ALICE team and the Align project team for their hard work on progressing this innovative technology. I believe ALICE is the future for large infrastructure projects, hence why we continue to strengthen our relationship with René and his team.”

Nick Podevyn added: “This innovation has supported collaborative planning with our subcontractors and enabled the project team to rapidly run alternative build sequences. ALICE has really opened people’s eyes to the way AI can be applied to construction project management.”

Align initially came to ALICE Technologies with a goal of ‘pressure testing’ their existing construction schedule for their viaduct. The Align team wanted to find opportunities to optimise the sequence and resources to minimise cost and environmental impact.

While humans are skilled at planning and strategising, computers are ideal for simulating options and resolving constraints. By using ALICE, general contractors combine their industry experience with ALICE’s powerful simulation capabilities, enabling them to make faster, data-driven decisions.      

The traditional approach to planning is for a team of planners to build the programme, assign durations, costs and constraints. The programme then goes through a number of reviews by commercial and operational leads. Building alternative programmes is time-consuming and resource intensive. With the ALICE platform, Align has been able to generate millions of potential sequence options - along with fully loaded construction schedules - for the planning team to evaluate.      

Using ALICE, the Align team explored a variety of ‘what if’ scenarios to ensure they had the most robust programme of work. ALICE also helped the team explore the optimal mix of teams required on the substructure in order to increase the utilisation of their crews and minimise downtime for labour and equipment.  

With ALICE, the Align team identified a number of ways to introduce leeway into their original production schedule. For example, they determined that adding a second ‘cap gang’ part-way through the project would be particularly helpful. They also found that while adding some Saturday overtime to the schedule was useful, more was not always better. 

The Align team also found that ALICE enabled them to make significantly faster decisions about their scheduling choices. This was all the more impressive given that the collaboration all happened remotely during the Covid-19 crisis.

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