Team and stakeholder communication is vital for any construction project. Much of that communication depends on construction drawings that are put down on paper. With the constantly evolving nature of even simple projects, though, changes get made and paper piles up. Inevitably, valuable information gets lost in the shuffle, prompting construction teams to outsource this mundane task and reap the productivity benefits.
Project manager, Gary Cummins, at John Hyland Construction Company (JHC), sat down to speak about this challenge and share insights on how JHC has improved the way they communicate using mobile technology.
As project manager at JHC, Cummins was seeking a solution that would help him and his colleagues ensure accurate communication as construction plans changed. The lack of transparency into drawing variances has serious implications for the process of requesting bids. For example, when Cummins bid out his drawings, any differences between plans had to be visible. Moreover, he needed unlimited capacity to share the huge files that held these plans.
The variations in drawings also complicated the change order process. Since subcontracts were based on the 95% bid set, there was confusion when several changes had to be made in the 100% permit set. Without a solution, this challenge would lead to costly project delays. With siloed information and a lack of transparency, companies like JHC risk cost overruns, project delays, and time-consuming reworks.
In the contemporary built environment, however, technology companies are developing intuitive and cost-effective solutions for issues the industry has been plagued by for decades. One such company, ARC Document Solutions, has created a comprehensive mobile construction management app. Their solution offers a bevy of game-changing features: over 170 supported file types, synchronized updates, photo tagging, the ability to mark-up drawings, and much more.
Hence, it’s not surprising that JHC utilized the ARC Mobile Projects Dashboard to improve their construction site efficiency with centralized communication through every phase of the project life cycle. ARC’s app allowed them to eliminate file size constraints, combine digital drawings with hyperlinks, invite those involved with the project to track its progress, and overlay multiple versions of the same drawing in one viewable overlay.
During a project, team members and stakeholders shouldn’t have to sort through bulky drawings. The ability to quickly jump to linked sections and details in a digital drawing is one of the benefits ARC provided JHC and their subcontractors. “Our project engineers, foreman and subcontractors love having access to updated, hyperlinked drawings in the field,” said Cummins. “It saves time and frustration compared to taking several pages with you, just to find that you needed one more print or that it was the old version.”
Another challenge JHC faced was maintaining transparency between multiple plan versions during the bid process. The overlay process in the ARC application enabled JHC to publish a set that clearly showed changes between versions. This simplified the change order process because every subcontractor could quickly see drawing variations. To make the process even easier, ARC ensured every contractor was bidding on the same set of documents.
Throughout this entire process, every drawing and detail was accessible for JHC and other stakeholders with the ability to send and track invites within ARC Projects. “ARC Projects is the way to do it,” Cummins declared. “There can be so much confusion with different versions of documents – which ARC Projects solves.”