Rob Downing and Jason Taliaferro like building things. What they don’t like is shuffling paper.
As foremen at specialty contractor P1 Group, Downing and Taliaferro lead field operations for a variety of mechanical and electrical contracting projects every year, from dormitories, to data centers, to medical buildings.
While seeing a building or new addition take shape over time may be the most rewarding aspect of their jobs, the associated paperwork and document management is probably the least rewarding. It’s necessary, but lugging around dozens of pages of drawings for reference and accessing other project information can take a major toll on productivity.
“Carrying around full-sized paper blueprints is a pain,” says Taliaferro. “Sometimes there are 100 or 150 pages, and updating them can be another big challenge. Paper blueprints aren’t easy to search or share.”
Downing sums up the challenge with paper another way.
“They change constantly with requests for information (RFIs) and modifications being added all the time,” says Downing. “As soon as you print new ones they’re out of date.”
Downing and Taliaferro are just two of the 200 plus foremen and project managers on staff at P1. With that much productivity at stake, P1 Group decided to investigate paperless alternatives.
For help in navigating the sea of solutions, P1 Group turned to PSC Group once again.
“They have worked on our project management SharePoint site that we call The Link,” says Garcia. “So, it made sense to bring them in for this project. They work fast and they work smart, and most importantly, we trust them because they deliver as promised.”
Industry-leading design and construction workflow software from Bluebeam was selected and PSC was tasked with integrating with The Link. iPad connectivity was also a requirement since P1 foremen are using them for other Link-enabled project management documents.
One of the biggest benefits of the new Bluebeam integration has been more seamless collaboration between P1 project managers in the corporate office and foreman in the field via The Link, powered by SharePoint.
“When we make changes to project documents in the corporate office, those changes are visible to the foreman on their iPads in the field,” says Garcia. “We are able to manage drawings electronically and add hyperlinks that make them easier to navigate.”
E-drawings through Bluebeam also make it easy to zoom in on project details that need clarification. For example, Taliaferro says lighting plans always generate a lot of questions in the field.
“Lighting controls need to be wired to the right fixtures and operate the way they’re designed with all their dimming, timing and on/off features,” says Taliaferro. “With Bluebeam on our iPads, we can highlight an area, print it off and give a small copy directly to the electricians so they can refer to it as much as they need to.”
Bluebeam project drawings can also be displayed on “BIM boxes” for easy access by any trade working on a job site. BIM boxes are portable mobile technology centers that usually include a PC or tablet, a large LCD monitor, and a printer.
Downing says his own productivity has increased and he knows it’s making a difference in the field.
“We’ve got all of our most important project information in one spot now,” says Downing. “I can work faster, our people can work faster, and everything gets stored safely and securely. I estimate that our documentation management productivity has doubled since we started working with Bluebeam. And PSC Group has been a big part of that success.”
Other recent improvements made to The Link by PSC include a new subcontract log that makes it easier to manage subcontractor compliance.
Sarah Garcia, corporate trainer at P1 Group, sees the completion of this most recent upgrade as more proof that PSC is one of the best firms in the country when it comes to solving construction industry IT issues.
“PSC knows a lot, cares a lot, and executes well on construction workflow IT issues,” says Garcia. “They’re some of the best in the business and we couldn’t make these improvements without them.”