HeadshotTara Callinan • 

#17581 Leveraging photos

For some people, my parents especially, taking a photo or video can be quite a struggle. Not to mention the pain that comes with having to add markups, text, or special effects… 🤦

That’s why, at Fieldwire, we’re committed to making your life easier by simplifying processes around photo/video capture and upload.

From adding photo markups and tags to capturing video on Android and iOS, here are the most effective and efficient ways to leverage multi-media content on Fieldwire.

1. Markup photos on mobile to communicate site observations

You already know you can add markups to plans, but did you know you can add markups to photos? In seconds, Fieldwire users can add freehand lines, arrows, and/or text to photos to quickly and clearly communicate an issue, even without an internet connection.

leverage photos

Can’t find your marked-up photos? Marked-up photos will automatically save to the photos tab on Fieldwire for your entire project team to see

Extra tip for iOS users: Simply long-press on a markup to delete it from a photo or edit existing text.

2. Collect GPS coordinates in photos to use in Google Maps

At Fieldwire, we give you the option to collect GPS coordinates on all of your mobile photos. These coordinates are accessible from the photo tab on the web and are linked to an exact location on Google Maps. They’re extremely useful for pinpointing the precise location of a photo and for understanding project progress.

3. Capture 360° photos to document progress

Did you know that Business users can capture 360º photos using Fieldwire? Either link the Ricoh Theta S, Ricoh Theta V, or Ricoh Theta Z1 camera directly to the Fieldwire app and you’re ready to go! The photos you capture can be viewed on both the web and mobile versions of Fieldwire and are a speedy way to track exactly what’s happening on-site.

For more information on how to take 360º photos using Fieldwire, watch this short tutorial.

Extra tip: Project admins and members can upload 360º photos to the photos tab or attach them to plans. Followers, however, can only add 360º photos to tasks.

4. Attach existing photos to recent tasks

Did you know that you can add existing photos in Fieldwire to any task? Simply select the photo, click the ‘Actions’ button, and select ‘Attach to Task.’ Enter the name of the task in the search box and select ‘Attach Photo(s).’

attach photo to task

You can even add photo tags from the ‘Actions’ menu which will help you group and search for photos more efficiently. Please read this help guide for more information.

Extra tip for web users: To locate photo details in seconds hover over any image with your cursor and the time/date it was taken will appear.

5. Save time by adding videos to tasks

Sometimes, when it comes to adding context to tasks, one photo just isn’t enough. And that’s exactly why Fieldwire enables video! Record and share videos from the field to communicate issues and observations in seconds! Just think of the number of photos you’d need to upload to communicate the same amount of information contained in one video.

For more tips and tricks on how to record a video on iOS and Android, please read this guide.

If you have any questions about this content, please email support@feldwire.com. And don’t forget we have plenty of help guides on other topics available in our resource center.

If you’d prefer to have Fieldwire tips and tricks delivered straight to your inbox, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Wire.

Jonny finity levelset circleJonny Finity • 

#17580 - Payment Applications 101

In most industries, requesting payment is as simple as sending a bill or invoice for work you’ve completed. Due to the size and complexity of most construction projects, contractors often need to supply additional proof of their work to prove to the owner or general contractor (GC) that they deserve to get paid. On many projects, construction businesses are required to submit a payment application.

What Is A Payment Application?

A payment application, or pay app for short, often refers to the pay application form itself. But a pay app is actually a collection of supporting documents that first and second tier contractors submit to request payment. The construction contract will typically define the process for submitting a pay app, the documents to include, and the deadline for submission.

A pay application form works closely with the schedule of values. Together, they show the percentage of each item of work that a contractor has completed, and the amount they should be paid for it, minus any retainage that the owner or GC is withholding.

Contractors don’t get paid for the work they complete. Contractors get paid for the work they document.

When pay applications are used

Pay apps are typically used on projects with progress billing when payments are spread out over the course of the job at specific intervals. It’s also known as AIA billing since the American Institute of Architects (AIA) produces one of the most commonly used pay applications. With progress billing, contractors submit a new payment application before the deadline of each pay period for the work completed and materials purchased in that period. Each payment application builds on the one before it, so it’s important to be accurate, and double-check your figures before submitting.

Information on a pay application form

A typical pay application form will ask you to input the following information:

  • Original contract amount
  • Sum of approved change orders
  • Total value of work completed & materials stored on-site to date
  • Amount retained
  • Total amount earned to date
  • Total amount received to date
  • Amount currently due
  • Balance to finish

Best practices for pay applications

Contractors should read the contract closely before submitting the application to ensure they’re meeting the requirements. If you miss a deadline or fail to include a required document, your application could be rejected. Making a mistake could mean your payment is delayed. In some cases, you may even have to wait until the next pay period to apply again.

Generally, you should be as thorough and detailed as possible when applying for payment. The more evidence you can provide to back up your request, the more likely the owner or GC will be to approve it quickly and send your payment.

Documents Included In A Payment Application

A pay app will typically include several documents that work together. These documents include:

  • The payment application form: See “Common Types of Pay Application Forms” below.
  • A schedule of values: The schedule of values, or SOV, is a list of every work item on a construction job, along with each item’s cost. If using an AIA pay application form, their continuation sheet takes the place of the SOV.
  • Change orders: A change order is a written agreement between the owner or architect and the contractor that changes the contract amount, work requirements, and/or schedule.
  • Conditional lien waivers: A lien waiver is a document that waives the signing party’s right to file a mechanics lien. There are several types of lien waivers. With a pay application, you will typically submit a partial conditional lien waiver. This document basically says “I’ll waive my right to file a lien for the specific amount I’m requesting - effective once I receive payment.”
  • Invoices from suppliers or vendors: If your suppliers or vendors have provided materials during the current pay period, but you haven’t paid them yet, include their invoices to prove it.
  • Receipts: If you’ve purchased materials and already paid the invoices, include the receipts.
  • Visual documentation: This includes photos, drawings, diagrams, or other visual proof of the work you finished or materials that you’re currently storing.

Common Types Of Pay Application Forms

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) produces one of the most commonly used payment applications, known as the G702 Application and Certificate for Payment. This document works with two other documents produced by AIA, the Continuation Sheet (based on the original schedule of values) and change order form.

ConsensusDocs also produce common pay applications for construction projects. They have different applications for lump sum and guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contracts, both of which are used by GCs when submitting applications to the owner. If using a ConsensusDocs contract, subcontractors will use the 710 Application for Payment.

There are a wide variety of pay application templates available. If you’re not using a standardized form like the AIA G702 or ConsensusDocs 710, make sure your pay app form includes all of the information required in the contract.

The Bottom Line

Pay applications can be confusing if you’ve never used one before, but they shouldn’t create cause for alarm. They’re so commonly used in the construction industry that you don’t have to go far to find help filling one out.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is contractors don’t get paid for the work they complete. Contractors get paid for the work they document. When submitting a pay application, be as detailed as possible. Never assume that the GC or owner already knows about the work you’ve done. Ultimately, a complete and accurate payment application is a powerful tool that contractors can use to get paid faster.

Jim rogersJim Rogers • 

#17564 Digital workflows

Editor’s note: Fieldwire is proud to feature construction expert Jim Rogers on our blog. Jim has decades of experience in construction management and is an instructor for LinkedIn Learning — an online library of video courses taught by industry experts from across the globe. LinkedIn Learning is a great source for construction management education and content, and it’s included if you have a LinkedIn Premium account.

Jim enjoyed learning about Fieldwire so much that he created a LinkedIn Learning course on how to use Fieldwire to manage construction drawings and processes. He then created this blog post for our readers who are eager to learn more about digitizing paper-based processes.

The construction industry is now, more than ever, going through the process of adopting technology and converting to digital solutions. However, we are one of the last large industries to really embrace this digital revolution, and this transformation can be unfamiliar to many in the industry, particularly those on the operations side of a construction project. As the industry has progressed, we have certainly seen a conversion from our old paper-based processes over to processes that favor digitization and utilize electronic formats.

That transformation from paper to digital is a critical step in improving the construction industry, but it is just a first step, and it’s a step that we need to move beyond, right now. In order to really improve and move the industry forward, we need to embrace this digital revolution and identify areas where we can move past simple digitization of our old paper-based workflows, and instead embrace the utilization of digital workflows to completely replace some of the old industry standard processes that are simply inefficient given the options that are now readily available.

Digitizing paper-based processes vs. Digitizing entire workflows

There is a substantial difference between simply digitizing a paper-based workflow versus completely rethinking a process to leverage the advantages that can be realized with a true digital workflow. Digitizing a paper process is fairly simple, and the resulting process will remain familiar to most people involved because the process will not substantially change. You are simply changing the medium being used. Re-examining a process from the viewpoint of a true digital workflow is more complicated, and the resulting process may be foreign and unfamiliar to many of the people who will utilize it. Rather than keeping the old workflow and just changing from paper to digital, look for opportunities to create an entirely new workflow that is more efficient and more effective by leveraging technology to simplify the process.

Example: Digitizing the distribution of construction drawings

One of the basic workflows common to any construction process is the distribution of construction drawings as a project progresses and revisions are issued.

The paper process was simple: create a Transmittal Letter to capture what is being sent, to whom, and when, attach the drawings and send them on. Unfortunately, the paper process was, and still is, largely ineffective at putting the latest revisions into the hands of the people that are actually performing the work. Yes, it captured information so that when something was built wrong, the General Contractor could document that they sent the revisions before the work was started. That helps shift the risk from the GC for the direct cost of re-work, but it’s still re-work. It still incurs cost and delays the schedule. The problem is that the process focusses on capturing information while doing very little to ensure that those drawings end up in the hands of the individuals who really need them.

Digitizing that process is not much of an improvement. In a digital version of the process, the General Contractor receives an electronic version of the drawings, and simply emails it to the Subcontractors. It’s digital, it eliminates paper, and the email effectively replaces the transmittal form since it contains all the same information, but it’s still largely ineffective, ignoring the last step of getting the plans to the field.

At issue in this process is the need for an effective way to get the latest construction drawings in the hands of the people that need them. There are many people that need the drawings, including people that manage the work, price the work, perform the work, and inspect the work. All of these people need the drawings as soon as possible. And the process must include a way to document who was sent the drawings, and when. The needs are the same as they always have been; however, we now have the tools available to allow us to fill these needs in a completely new manner. These are tools that did not exist 10 years ago. The industry has only recently had easy access to the hardware, software, and distribution infrastructure needed to create a truly better solution to this problem, and that solution requires the wholesale adoption of a truly digital workflow.

Digitizing workflows using Fieldwire

The solution to this process is that instead of distributing drawings to everyone that needs them, everyone works from a single shared set of drawings. A set that lives in the cloud and can be accessed by everyone simultaneously on a computer, a tablet, or even a smartphone.

The digital workflow solution to the distribution of construction drawings using Fieldwire is extremely simple:

  1. The General Contractor receives a digital drawing file (original or revisions) in the PDF format from the Owner
  2. The General Contractor uploads the PDF file to Fieldwire

infograph

If the proper workflow has been implemented on the project, that’s actually the entire process. There isn’t anything else to do because the software does it automatically:

  • Each sheet is numbered/labeled
  • The information on who uploaded them and when is automatically captured
  • The software detects version information and identifies the drawings, automatically slip sheeting in any revisions
  • Every affected person is automatically sent a notification
  • Every individual involved with the project has immediate access to the latest drawings by computer, tablet, or smartphone even when they’re not connected to the internet

The key here is to realize and accept that this is a new process, rather than looking at the software as a tool for viewing the drawings. Yes, this is different. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. Its uncomfortable because its new and different, and because it is such a dramatic improvement over the old workflow and process that it’s difficult to grasp it as being equivalent, let alone superior; however, an objective review of the problem and solution reveals that this new digital workflow is actually far superior to the old workflow. It’s also a workflow that can have a substantial positive impact on the productivity of the construction industry.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

#17526 Clark

When asked to think of a male-dominated industry, construction often comes to mind. Because of all the people who work in the field, only 9 percent are female!

There are several reasons why — including unequal pay and lack of female leadership. However, according to a study by Balfour Beatty, that’s all about to change. The study states that by 2020, the total number of women in construction will almost triple to about 25 percent of the total workforce.

Are you ready to make a change?

To understand how women can transition to a career in construction and overcome working in a male-dominated industry, we spoke to Stacy Saenz, a Project Engineer at Clark Construction. She had the following tips for women who are passionate about construction and want to succeed in their roles.

1. Be prepared for anything, always

In construction, no two days are ever the same. For Stacy, there is no such thing as a typical day on the job. She said: “If there isn’t a meeting, a site walk, or an inspection (or all of the above) there’s another puzzle to solve to keep the job moving along.”

2. View challenges as opportunities

Stacy said one of the biggest challenges she faces is the fact that there are not enough women, especially Latino women, in construction management positions. With men holding 92 percent of all leadership roles, it can be difficult to break down barriers and find someone to look up to. As the next female hire at a construction company, however, you have the opportunity to pave the way for future women in construction. Volunteer to lead workshops, ask for additional training, and apply for internal promotions to cement yourself as a force to be reckoned with.

3. Never be afraid to ask questions

The best piece of advice Stacy ever received was to ask questions ALL of the time. She said: “There is no such thing as a dumb question. The best way to learn is to ask the right questions at the right time in order to execute your goals.”

4. Find a mentor (or be one)

Throughout her time in construction, Stacy has had multiple mentors, both personal and professional. She said: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of my mentors. Since graduating, I have participated in professional development workshops where I have had the opportunity to mentor students in the Bay Area pursuing degrees in Engineering. Through these events, I am able to share more about my experiences, advice on pursuing a career in construction, and interviewing tips for women.”

For more tips on how to recruit and retain women in constuction, read this blog post. It’s time to level the playing field!

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

#17437 Scheduling tips

Urgh, scheduling! Necessary for keeping projects on track but painful if you’re not using the right software.

Thankfully, though, you’re using Fieldwire! 🎉

With our construction scheduling software, you can easily organize, assign, and distribute work no matter where you are. By importing tasks, using filters, and truly understanding Fieldwire’s Gantt view, project scheduling becomes a breeze. Let me explain…

Are you sick of double data entry?

Use Fieldwire’s task importer to bring in multiple tasks from your project schedule. No matter whether your schedule is stored in Primavera P6, Microsoft Project, or Excel, simply export it as a spreadsheet and copy/paste all of the items into our task importer.

Here’s a quick overview of how to do that:

Tired of hosting meetings that never end on-time?

In your weekly schedule meetings, there’s no time to waste. That’s why we recommend planning your work directly from Fieldwire’s Gantt view. Here’s how:

  • Move tasks around and extend dates by hovering over the task and dragging to the desired dates
  • Drag and drop any tasks that still need to be scheduled from the right side of the screen to instantly add start and end dates

Create Start and End date

Extra tip: Everyone associated with a task will be notified in real-time about any changes, so there’s no need to send various email updates following a meeting.

Want to know more than just a tasks start and end date?

Add ‘Manpower’ to your Fieldwire tasks to track the amount of effort that’s required to complete work. The graph at the top of the Gantt view sums up the manpower intensity of all tasks in the view on any given day.

Gantt screenshot 2

Use this information to sequence and plan your work based on your manpower restraints. E.g. How many workers do I need on-site on a given date to meet my deadline?

Wish you could isolate specific tasks?

Use filters to achieve your desired schedule view. For example, if you only want to see all tasks with the ‘Location’ of ‘Building 1,’ you would select ‘Filter tasks’ and search for Building 1 in the location field. By sorting and temporarily eliminating some noise from your Gantt or calendar view, you can truly focus on the task at hand!

Having trouble tracking dependencies?

If you’re having trouble tracking dependencies or managing subtasks, it’s time to create what we call ‘related tasks.’ Once you create a relationship between two tasks, they will both appear within each other anytime you open either one. This way, you know which task (or tasks) to complete first to keep projects on track.

Note: If you change the start and/or end date of a task, the start and/or end date of a related task won’t automatically change.

Need an efficient way to view task sequencing on mobile?

The last thing you want to be doing on-site is sifting through all of your tasks, trying to figure out what needs to be done next. To avoid this scenario and save time in the field, make sure all of your tasks have start and end dates. You can sort tasks by start or end date to ensure they appear sequentially in your task list on mobile.

tasks on mobile

For a full overview of task features on mobile, please read this helpful guide.

If you have any questions about these tips, please email support@feldwire.com. And don’t forget to check our resource center for plenty more Help Guides.

If you’d prefer to have Fieldwire tips and tricks delivered straight to your inbox, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Wire.

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