How is Fieldwire Different From a Plan Viewer?

MarielleroundMarielle Price
Director of Customer Success

A project is built from plans and specifications. These documents are critical to knowing what needs to be installed where. With the proliferation of mobile devices, past concerns about plans - getting them dirty, damaged, or simply struggling to lug them around - have dramatically reduced since these documents can now be accessed on any phone or tablet. And plan printing costs can get pretty steep, so simple plan and document viewers can definitely save you a few bucks. But really, plan viewers don’t really change the way projects are run. To get real savings on your project, you need to address the wastes that occur - double entry, loss of information, rework, and waiting time.

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There are a couple of key ways that Fieldwire is so much more than just a simple plan viewer. First, projects are always undergoing changes, and it’s critical to make sure that everyone on your team is always working off of the latest set of plans to avoid rework. Fieldwire’s version control engine makes adding new plan versions effortless. The software will read the new plan number and slip sheet it in front of the older versions, copying over any markups automatically. If you have an RFI or change order that’s going to affect an area, simply attach the file directly to the plan while you’re waiting for a new version to be issued. As soon as the file is posted on the plan, the whole team will be able to see the change.

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Second, construction is a task-driven industry. Based on a study done by the Construction Industry Institute, only 29% of a tradesperson’s day is actually spent performing their craft. The other 71% of their time is spent waiting around for information, materials, equipment, or traveling around the jobsite. Hourly labor generally accounts for over half of the costs during construction, so cutting down wasted time is how you’re going to really affect the bottom line. Fieldwire’s task and reporting features are what our clients report save them the most time - on average 5+ hours each week. Tasks can be used to quickly document an issue and assign it out to the appropriate teammate. The assignee gets notified in real-time, making sure they know exactly what they need to be working on that day or week. Rather than needing to call, text, or email someone to get a status update, simply open the app for the latest information. All comments, photos, and checklists are timestamped, ensuring you have an accurate history of everything that takes place on the project. Any issues can also be grouped together in a report and sent out automatically with the latest info.

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Construction is unique - no other industry has dozens of different companies with different processes coming together to create a completely unique product. Streamlining communication and changing how we work together on the jobsite is really what needs improvement, more than just simple mobile plan viewing. And Fieldwire’s here to do that.


Early Summer Feature Updates

DavidroundDavid Vasquez
Head of Customer Support

Summer might not technically start until June 20, but we’re already soaking up the sun here at the Fieldwire office. There’s a good chance you are too while you’re out working in the field, so when you come back inside to grab some shade, why not check out a few of the new web-based features we just released? Think of them as an early summer treat, and like a popsicle on a sunny day, they should hopefully hit the spot.

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Revamped Sheet Comparison

First up, we have a bit of an expansion of one of our previous newly-made features. You may recall that when we originally unveiled sheet version comparison for premium Fieldwire accounts, you could only compare two versions of the same sheet together. Now that’s a pretty useful feature on its own, but as soon as we were finished with it we took a step back and decided, “Nah, we can do even better.” So now, premium users are able to compare ANY sheets together. Whether they’re two versions of the same sheet or two entirely different sheets, you can now view a color-coded comparison of both sheets on the web. And on top of that, you can now also export that sheet comparison as an image file. Read more about it here.

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Batch Photo Management

Next, we decided it’d be a good idea to streamline the way you can manage multiple photos at once, rather than opening each photo one by one. Now when you select your photos on web, you can add tags to them all in one go by clicking on the Actions button at the top of the Photos page. This should help you group together photos quicker and easier than previously possible. Also under the Actions menu, you can now attach photos from the Photos page directly to specific tasks. This will come in handy if the photos were added to the Photos page in bulk, rather than individually to their respective tasks. Give these new photo options a try!

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Web Notification Option

Last but not least, we added a simple but effective messaging feature that you can utilize on web. You already know about the bell icon for notifications anytime there’s a task or plan update, but now if you click that same button you’ll see another option: “Send project notification.” This is essentially a project-wide messaging system that allows you to send an alert or notification to project users (Admins and Members can use this feature, Followers are unable to do so). You can send it to everyone, or only certain people based on their permission level. So if you want to call a meeting together for Admins, or if there’s a safety hazard or sudden circumstance you want to bring to everyone’s attention, just fire off a notification whenever the need arises.

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That should do it for now, but we’re still working more goodies even as we speak. Keep an eye out for another big update in the near future, perhaps even by the time summer officially begins. For those of you who continue to share your feedback with us, we thank you for your enthusiasm. Some of our best features may never have come to pass without your great ideas, so thanks for making your voices heard. And for those of you who haven’t yet shared your feature requests with us, speak up! We always have an ear to lend, and as you can see, it yields big results.

Fieldwire is free for small teams on Apple iOS, Android, and on the web. We support 100,000+ projects worldwide, and our community continues to grow with each passing day!


The Other Hot San Francisco Industry

MarielleroundMarielle Price
Director of Customer Success

Our CEO, Yves Frinault, recently took part in an interview on NBC, along with Scott McGrew, JP Mangalindan, and Jon Swartz. We wanted to share a few highlights from their discussion with you.

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In the interview, Scott points out that construction is a very hot sector right now, particularly in the Bay Area. There are very few parts of San Francisco where you wouldn’t easily spot a crane or two…or ten. The recent topping out ceremony of the new Salesforce tower is just one example of the incredible construction boom in the area.

“There’s a shortage of skilled labor on the West Coast,” says Yves. “There’s a lot of high profile, high complexity where they are flying out very skilled crews from the Midwest to the West Coast”. With the industry expanding so quickly, it comes as no surprise that it has been struggling to fill open roles for over a year now and this has brought hiring practices and diversities into light.

But this isn’t isolated to just the West Coast. It’s happening all over the country, such as in cities like Atlanta, which has seen massive changes and been paying a lot of attention to the latest technology tools. These innovations keep those projects on time and under budget, and Atlanta was actually one of the first cities to provide the Fieldwire team with traction in the early days.

Yves also mentions the impact of mobile technology in construction. Before smartphones, there was no clear device that could provide the industry with the functionality it needed. Fast forward a few years to 2011 and nearly everyone on-site has a smartphone in their pocket, and that’s when Yves realized that the industry had no choice but to embrace mobile. “They are going to adopt technology because everybody is going to get a smartphone, and that’s what’s happening in construction. What the computer did for the office, mobile is doing for the construction site.”

Fieldwire’s core mission is making sure that everyone can access the information they need from whatever device is most comfortable to them. That’s what differentiates Fieldwire from its competitors. “Fieldwire captures a large portion of the labor on a site. We capture up to 30% of the headcount you’re going to have on a site, and that’s the only way to have a really profound impact on how things work.”

Listen to the full interview here

Fieldwire is free for small teams on Apple iOS, Android, and on the web. We support 100,000+ projects worldwide, and our community continues to grow with each passing day!


Lean Construction Handbook

StephaneroundStephane Denerolle
Product Evangelist

Lean Construction is a journey that takes time and can call into question traditional construction management delivery. This paper is intended to help your organization take the first step of this journey by illustrating a few Lean tools and techniques that can be implemented on your project(s) over the next couple of weeks.

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There is plenty of academic literature covering the concepts and guidelines of Lean, yet little on how to get started. This series of articles flips the framework on its head by introducing Lean concepts through simple actions that can be taken right away. Think of this as a training program that an athlete would follow to prepare for a competition. The key is to start with small, actionable steps that will generate quick successes in a short timeframe. These first results will help you build habits and, as you become more familiar with the Lean culture, set you up for long term success.

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This first e-book presents five quick practices that support the key concepts of Lean Construction:

  1. Use visual displays to increase transparency
  2. Start daily huddles to improve reliability
  3. Hunt down double data entry to eliminate waste
  4. Use floor marking to improve workplace organization
  5. Implement Plus/Delta to encourage continuous improvement

Download the e-book here.

Fieldwire is free for small teams on Apple iOS, Android, and on the web. We support 100,000+ projects worldwide, and our community continues to grow with each passing day!


New Fieldwire Features for Spring

DavidroundDavid Vasquez
Head of Customer Support

The early days of spring are here, and there’s more than flowers blooming. We’ve released some exciting new features recently, and wanted to turn your attention toward them just in case you may have missed out! Let’s take a look at what we have in store for you this time around:

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Box/Dropbox 2-way Syncing

First up, we have a powerful new feature available for our Business and Enterprise users - Box/Dropbox 2-way syncing! What exactly is it? It’s the ability to automatically sync all file changes made in Fieldwire back to your linked Box or Dropbox account! A new “Fieldwire” folder will appear in your cloud storage to house all of your plans, photos, files, and as builts, and whenever you make changes to them or upload more in Fieldwire, you’ll see them appear in Box/Dropbox as well (and vice versa). To learn more about this new feature, check out our FAQ article and tutorial video about it!

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External Android Storage

A powerful new option now available for our Android app users is external data storage. We understand that sometimes projects can run on the large side, so if you need some extra storage space on your Android phone or tablet, it’s now possible to store your files on an SD card! This will help prevent using up all of the device’s main storage space. Plans, file attachments, photos, and videos are just some examples of data that you can now tuck away on an SD card instead of your mobile device. You can switch between device storage and external storage at any time, so to learn more about how to do that, click here.

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Plan Notifications

Next, we have a great new feature for all Fieldwire users - plan notifications! Now any time new plan versions are uploaded, or someone adds new markups or other changes to the plans, you will see a notification for this event in the top right corner of your project on the web version of Fieldwire. Notifications will all be sent out once a day at 5 AM (local time), so you're not bombarded with notifications throughout the day. This is a very handy way to keep track of plans with new additions, so everyone knows when there is new plan data to view.

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Sheet Version Comparison

Another very useful plan management feature that we recently added is sheet version comparison. This feature is available on all premium Fieldwire accounts, and it allows you to overlap and compare two sheet versions together (one appears in red, the other in blue) so you can get a clear picture of what has changed since the newer version was released. You can read more about how sheet version comparison works by visiting our FAQ article.

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Updated Report Templates

Premium Fieldwire users will now also enjoy an updated report template display, which will make it easier to choose which of their task data is actually included in the finished report. Are you creating a Detailed PDF report, but only want to include task photos? Now that, and virtually any other combination of task data, is possible! Just open up your report templates and you’ll see the check items available for each kind of task content based on the report type you choose. Select any or all that you want to see in your report! To read more about generating reports, click here.

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Smart Sync on iOS

On iOS, there’s a clever new feature that’s also designed to help save your cellular data - Smart Synchronization! This iOS app setting will be activated by default (but you can switch it off at any time in your Profile Settings) and it will prevent the app from automatically downloading non-plan files, such as photos or videos, in an effort to keep Fieldwire from burning through your device’s data plan. Fieldwire has always automatically downloaded all project files, but now we’re giving iOS users the ability to preserve some space and be more selective with what files they download on their phones and tablets.

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That does it for our latest set of new Fieldwire features, but don’t worry if you’re still craving more. We’re always hard at work developing new tools for our web and mobile services, many of which are based on direct feedback from you, our users! We continue to offer a useful app thanks to our hard work and your solid input, so thanks for contributing to Fieldwire’s high standard for quality! When we have more new features to unveil, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, enjoy the spring weather while you’re out in the field!

Fieldwire is free for small teams on Apple iOS, Android, and on the web. We support 100,000+ projects worldwide, and our community continues to grow with each passing day!


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