Construction consolidation centre
Developed by Mathias Andersen
For construction sites in urban environments, sometimes a Construction Consolidation Center (CCC) is used to manage the logistics within material deliveries. A CCC is a place close to one or more construction sites, which facilitates the flow of materials going to the site through the supply chain. The CCC is comparable with a warehouse. The construction materials are stored in the CCC until they are needed at the site. Other advantages of a CCC is the opportunity to reduce carbon emission from e.g. traffic, or waste from the construction site and to recycle non-used materials.
Despite the mentioned advantages of using a CCC, this is a relative new term, which almost only has been used in the United Kingdom. It is interesting to investigate and describe the term CCC and the advantages/disadvantages compared to e.g. directly delivery to construction sites. It is essential to describe and discuss things like: The benefits of using a CCC, when is it the right choice, what is the optimal location and how is it used by the construction sites? All this will be covered in a Wiki-article, which especially considers when/where to use or not to use a CCC.
Introduction to Construction Consolidation Centres (CCC)
The basic idea
As mentioned, a CCC is part of the supply chain for projects in urban environments. The idea is to reduce the number of vehicles delivering materials to construction sites. Deliveries may interact and interfere with each other, if they are uncoordinated, which is often the case. A CCC is practically the same as a big warehouse. This warehouse facilitates one or more construction sites at the same time. Sometimes construction sites are congested, since the materials must be stored at the site, which could lead to material damage and waste. Material damage and waste are also some of the main things to prevent using CCCs. At the same time, it is possible to protect the materials better, when they are stored in a CCC. It is easy the keep them save and dry, since they are stored indoor.In a CCC the suppliers deliver a high amount of material or all the materials needed for the construction in beginning of the project. Thereby, the site manager can order what is needed for the next part of the program phase (also mentioned as just-in-time basis). This prevents having a high number of deliveries to the site, which possibly could disturb the construction workers, and keep them busy with other things than what they are supposed to (construct the building).
Figure 2 explains and summarizes how a CCC works. In the upper left corner, we see a vehicle with big construction materials like big steel girders or concrete elements. These must be delivered directly to the site. In the left corner, there are three vehicles. These represent the rest of the construction materials, which are needed for the construction project. These materials are delivered and stored at the CCC. When there is a call of from the site, a new vehicle is loaded with a lot of different materials, and finally taken to the site. The last truck in the bottom represents materials which have not been used at the site. Thereby it is delivered back to the CCC as a part of the recycling process. The recycling process sometimes also prevents trucks going back empty from the site, as they transport some of the unused material back to the CCC.
Traffic and Pollution
Another important reason for the development of CCCs is the traffic. In London for instance, the population increases drastically. This demands new housing, and thereby the traffic is more and more affected by material deliveries to the construction sites . As mentioned, the material deliveries are often uncoordinated, and they can have a huge effect on the traffic close to the site. A CCC should reduce the number of vehicles coming to the site. Because of that the problem about traffic should be solved, since fewer cars means less traffic. If the traffic is reduced, the emission of C02 is also reduced. This is very important for the global environment. CO2 could also be reduced using trucks with a low amount of carbon dioxide emission to deliver the materials from the CCC to the site(s).
The location of a CCC is of very high importance. The CCC cannot be located too far from the construction sites. Furthermore, it is considerably to contemplate which road the haulers should take to have less impact on the daily traffic. This is often done by placing a CCC close to big roads like motorways. Recommendations regarding the location of a CCC, have been stated by Greger Lundesjo in the report “Using Construction Consolidation Centres to reduce construction waste and carbon emissions”:
- It is desirable to locate a CCC within a range of 30 minutes from many construction sites, however 45 minutes is the absolute maximum
- A hauler should be able to make two to three deliveries from the CCC to the site within and eight-hour shift
- A CCC should be close to motorways or major roads, to reduce the impact on the traffic as much as possible
Who make the CCCs?
A CCC is often made in collaboration between several firms. Often these firms are construction companies, entrepreneurs and logistic firms. As an example, the Heathrow Consolidation Centre (HCC) was setup by the construction company, Mace, and the logistic firm Wilson James. Another example is the London Construction Consolidation Centre (LCCC). It was a trial project from 2005-2007 to see the effect of a CCC located in London. Here the company "Transport of London" (TfL) helped organizing this project. This purpose of the LCCC was not only to optimize the facilitating flow of materials, but also to optimize the whole traffic of London. CCCs possibly have a lot of stakeholders. It can be small firms which are facilitated by CCCs owned by some of the bigger firm. Related to that, the bigger companies could earn some money facilitating the smaller ones. On a longer time basis, it is not unimaginable that the authorities will helped implementing these. Especially if CCCs have a major positive effect on traffic, pollution and material waste. It is also possible to create a CCC for one firm only, however it is very unusual, and this will not be covered further in this article.
Use of a CCC
In the following the use of a CCC will be evaluated. Firstly, we will look at some of the things with influence regarding whether to use a CCC or not.
The first thing to evaluate is the size of the project. For small projects it makes no sense, to create a brand new CCC. This is due to the short construction time and to the low amount of materials needed. However, it could be an advantage for small projects, to use an already existing CCC. Since they probably have a lot of the necessary material. The other things to evaluate are e.g. the materials used in the project and the location of the project. Some projects, such as wind turbines and hangers, are often made with big steel components. In that case it will not make any sense to have a CCC, and it is often easier to deliver the components directly to the site. If a site is in a location, where the access is sufficient for material vehicles (close to motorway, little traffic around, easy to load/unload etc.), a CCC might not be the right choice. Though, it is also important, that the site itself has space enough to store the materials in a safe way.
Considering it is evaluated that a CCC is the best choice for a project, it is often the main contractor who takes this decision. However, all the firms involved often see the benefits. Very often it reduces the costs of transportation for all firms from suppliers to main contractor. The next part of planning process is to decide whether to use an existing CCC or make a new one. It is always a benefit to use an existing CCC, since it will be cheaper. However, it is also possible to create a new one (see the section "How to make a CCC"). The project must be of a certain size before making a CCC. Otherwise, it will be too expensive.
If a construction project is considered and a CCC is associated, the planning process really benefits from the CCC. This is e.g. due to the low number of vehicles entering the site, which makes the planning of transport logistics easier. Furthermore, having a CCC requires some skills of the CCC manager (warehouse manager). He must make sure, that the needed materials are ordered or on the stock at the right time. The easiest way to do that, is to order all the material for the project in the beginning, and store it at the CCC. Then the site manager is able to order the needed materials at any time of the program phase.
Using CCCs have a lot of advantages in the construction industry. Not only for the construction companies, but also for the suppliers and developers. A CCC could reduce the construction cost and some examples shows improvement of 29% . of the construction time. This is some of the advantages for the developers. For the suppliers it could be mentioned, that there is no (or only less) waiting time at delivery, and the delivery costs can be reduced too, since the suppliers are able to hand-in a lot of materials to the CCC at the same time. Some of the more general advantages are stated in the following:
- The traffic to the site could be reduced with up to 60-70% (see Figure 3)
- CO2 emission is reduced, because of the reduced number of deliveries
- The prevention of material waste could reduce the costs around 7.5% and in some cases up to 15%
- The principal of “Reverse Logistics” can be used
- At the CCC the materials are often better stored than on the site
- The productivity of the construction workers is improved, since there is less waiting for the materials at the site
- Over ordering is often reduced. Usually it is 10-15% without use of a CCC
- The programme is often faster and more certain
The numbers of the improvements are based on studies made by Greger Lundesjo in the report “Using Construction Consolidation Centres to reduce construction waste and carbon emissions”, "Designing Building Wiki" about CCCs. and Transport for London, 2008, "London Construction Consolidation Centre Final Report" .
Issues to prevent and disadvantages
Until now, the usage of CCCs have been described and presented from a positive point of view, meaning that only the advantages have been mentioned. Now it is time to cover some of the disadvantages and issues when managing a CCC and using a CCC. Finally it will be discussed why it is not commonly used worldwide.
Issues to prevent managing a CCC
In 2016 London had 12 CCCs. So, the trial project from 2005-2007 must have been a success. However, there are still some issues of the LCCC and CCCs in general. A report of the LCCC addresses the key issues with the LCCC, and some of them are discussed in the following.
To have a successful CCC, a high amount of the materials must be distributed through the CCC. Otherwise the CCC becomes needless, since there is not a sufficient financial benefit. Another financial aspect is to ensure that the CCC is self-financial. Depending on the size of the CCC, it must serve a certain number of sites to ensure that. The financial aspect is of high importance for owners and managers of the CCC. All in all, they need enough construction sites to be facilitated through them, but also a big enough amount of material. In a video about the LCCC Steve Steele, Head of Freight Unit Transport for London, mentions what was necessary to make the LCCC self-financial (at 04.29 min in the video):
“At the moment, the consolidation centre is used by four construction sites. It’s got the capacity to deal with up to ten. For it to become self-financial we need at least six sites being served at the same time…” .
Another issue with a CCC is the limited life span. No matter where it is located it will eventually not be financial sustainable, since there are not enough construction sites with the range of 30 to 45 minutes. In the end, it can be too expensive to set up a CCC and close it down only a couple of years later.
Disadvantages using a CCC
When a contractor decides to use a CCC, there are many risks, which must be considered. If one of the other contractors, using the CCC, goes bankrupts the others are effected. Suddenly, there is one less to use the CCC, which could affect the economy. Because of that, the materials for the bankrupted project, are not distributed to the site, and it may affect the whole flow of the CCC. Meaning if nothing goes out, nothing goes in. It is practically the same if one project is delayed.
For the site manager, or the facility manager at the site, some managing skills are required. The construction phase depends very much on this person. At the end of the day, he must know exactly what has been done and what is to be done tomorrow. Furthermore, he should know exactly which materials are needed for the next day. The principle of a CCC depends on daily deliveries, and the contractor must ensure, to have at skilled person coordinating the facility flow. Otherwise, delays will happen, and the usage of the CCC fails.
Using a CCC, the logistic manager representing the contractor might not be fully aware if everything needed is at the CCC. The disadvantage in this perspective, is that the logistics are “outsourced”. However, if the logistics manager has access to the IT-managing system of the stock, it should not be a problem.
Sometimes the only solution the create a CCC possibly is to get competing companies to work together. Off course this is a benefit for both. But the fact that their rival will earn money could force both away. This could be the answer or key issue of why CCCs are not more commonly used worldwide. If that is changed the CCCs might be the solution concerning construction logistics in the future. They can do it in the United Kingdom, so why not worldwide?
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Transport For London, 2016, The Directory of London Construction Consolidation Centres, Transport For London Available online
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Greger Lundesjo, 2011, Using Construction Consolidation Centres to reduce construction waste and carbon emissions, WRAP Available online
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Buck Consultants, 2006 London Construction Consolidation Centre - Video Available online
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Transport for London, 2008, London Construction Consolidation Centre Final Report,Transport for London Available online
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Construction_consolidation_centre_(CCC)
- ↑ https://www.ccscheme.org.uk/london-s-first-construction-consolidation-centre-directory-published/
- ↑ http://www.spt.co.uk/wmslib/Liaison_Group_papers/ccc_apr09.pdf
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_logistics
Greger Lundesjo, 2011, "Using Construction Consolidation Centres to reduce construction waste and carbon emissions"
Explains in a very detailed way what a construction consolidation centre (CCC) is. It has all aspects in the considerations of a CCC, and gives solid understanding and knowledge of a CCC and where/how to implement it. Some examples of CCCs are presented and the firms involved too.
Transport for London, 2008, "London Construction Consolidation Centre Final Report"
A detailed description of the London Construction Consolidation Centre (LCCC) made in cooperation between several companies. The report contains results of different studies made of the LCCC. Furthermore, it discusses and concludes the benefits and issues obtained in this project from 2005-2007. It contains also graphic material of improvements regarding to transportation.
Transport for London, 2016, "The Directory of London Construction Consolidation Centres"
An updated version of the one from 2008. Furthermore, it has a major directory to the current CCCs in London.
Buck Consultants, 2006 "London Construction Consolidation Centre - Video"
A short video, which is a great introduction to the term CCC. The video is about the LCCC, and explains why it was implemented in London. A few experts within logistics or construction explains why the CCCs are needed in London. The reduction of traffic is one of the most important advantages covered in this video. However, this video is made from the companies that made LCCC, and there is almost no disadvantages or limitations mentioned.
Designing Building Wiki - Construction consolidation centre (CCC)
A good way to understand the term, CCC, if it is a completely new term. It briefly summarizes the function and specifications of a CCC, and then lists some advantages. It is also a good way to find extended knowledge of the term, since there are several links related to construction logistics.