BAM is first to use nPlan’s AI for portfolio risk analysis

BAM is the first contractor to use AI and big data to quantify and manage schedule risk across a portfolio of projects.

BAM is the launch partner for nPlan Portfolio, which – as the name suggests – expands nPlan’s AI forecasting of risks to schedule and cost from a single project to a portfolio of projects.

Initially, BAM will use nPlan Portfolio across 50 projects, while also working closely with nPlan to guide the future roadmap for the product.

Since nPlan’s founding in 2017, more than 740,000 construction programmes have contributed to its dataset of as-planned and as-built schedules. That dataset has been used to train an AI to model project performance. Thus, when a contractor uploads a project schedule to nPlan Insights (the existing single project software), the AI uses its model to generate a probabilistic forecast for every activity in the schedule. The software then turns this into a whole-project forecast and highlights the activities most likely to drive delay.

Projects’ health

nPlan Portfolio uses the same engine across a series of projects rather than just a single project. The software offers a summary showing a portfolio’s overall health score, number of delayed projects and a breakdown of the health of projects within the portfolio.

Users can also see the overall portfolio workload by month (both when work is planned and when nPlan’s AI believes it will take place), making it easy to spot bottlenecks.

Users can customise their own tags, and group and filter projects and they can also view metrics for the groups they create. The standard nPlan Portfolio dashboard also includes widgets that display project-by-project delays and overall progress. The new platform also displays the risk groups or themes that are driving delay across the portfolio, thus highlighting systemic issues that require interventions.

Finally, each project uploaded to nPlan Portfolio is given a dedicated page displaying the health of the project, a widget showing how the health of the project has trended over time, a project workload forecast, and the key risk areas of the project requiring attention.

nPlan Portfolio dashboard screen grab - AI risk analysis
nPlan Portfolio’s dashboard

BAM’s approach

David Bunn, portfolio director at BAM, said: “As our clients are increasingly moving towards outcome-focused capital programmes we are seeing a shift in our leadership focus to the risks to delivery of those outcomes rather than just the risks to project delivery.

“Applying nPlan’s AI capability at a portfolio oversight level allows us to quickly target our leadership interventions to the right areas across a large portfolio of projects, to mitigate risks to outcomes being delivered when they are needed.

“In this initial deployment we are assessing the capability in parallel with our existing approach to offer an additional view of schedule risk without the influence of typical human biases. We expect this to enable greater optimisation of integrated portfolio schedules, which will ultimately benefit our clients.”

Dev Amratia, chief executive of nPlan, added: “nPlan made its name solving the forecasting and risk identification problem for single projects – and we’re incredibly excited that we now also have a system which can enable portfolio managers to solve the portfolio risk problem on behalf of their organisations.

“This was a problem which many people said was a fact of life within the construction industry, but we’ve shown it can be addressed – and we’ll continue to work on the really thorny problems limiting growth and development, because ultimately that’s what gets us out of bed in the morning.”

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