Bernards is a diverse commercial building and construction management firm based in Los Angeles. With over 40 years of honed construction and contracting experience, their steady growth and industry know-how has helped them build a healthy construction business poised to continue expanding. Bernards is now shepherding projects that often exceed $300 million in scale, and they are synonymous with integrity and quality throughout the Golden State.
Multi-family residential housing has been their forte for years, but Bernards is now branching out into new territory. One of their most recent projects is the new patient tower for the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia, California. The tower, a six-story, 160,000 square foot addition for increased patient housing, will be attached to the hospital’s existing trauma center and include a helipad on its roof. It’s an ambitious 2-year project with a complex set of necessities, given its intended function as a patient care facility, so the need for ironclad project management is clear to all involved.
“I would absolutely recommend Fieldwire, mainly because I think it does the drawing component well. I think it has that nailed, and I think that’s probably the most important thing. Fieldwire is the solution for us.” - William Lopez, Asst. Project Manager at Bernards
Keeping Your Drawings in Hand
William Lopez, Assistant Project Manager at Bernards, knew that he would need to maximize his team’s efficiency in order to tackle one of his firm’s first healthcare projects. Having run into sore issues with other construction management software in the past, Bernards was looking for a new tool to help alleviate the weaknesses they had encountered in their previous options. Their VDC Director recommended trying out Fieldwire, and after taking the app for a spin, Lopez recognized the major potential he held in his hand. His chief aim with Fieldwire? Ensuring that his team always had complete, up-to-date plan sets with them throughout the day.
“Our biggest use for Fieldwire is the drawing component, mainly being able to access our drawings out in the field” says Lopez. “Our superintendents spend probably 80-90% of the day out in the field. Having access to the most current documents is critical. We didn’t have a very good process in the past. Now, with Fieldwire, we’re able to view drawings on-site more effectively.”
Indeed, Fieldwire houses the entirety of the hospital project’s plans, and enables auto-syncing across platforms for every user whenever new versions are added or edits are made. The strength of the software goes beyond merely carrying drawings, as Fieldwire also features an extensive array of markup tools that allow Lopez’s crew to make their edits on the fly, wherever they go across the job site.
“There isn’t much room for interpretation on our drawings,” says Lopez, “so it’s important to us to be able to always have the most current information on the drawings.”
Fieldwire’s markup tools include the means to highlight areas in a variety of colors, leave annotations, add attachments, create hyperlinks, and indicate points of interest on the plans with lines and shapes. These options allow Lopez’s team to keep their plans updated with current information at all times, and the version control system in Fieldwire ensures they always have the latest sheets right in front of them, yet can still access older versions for reference. And as a cherry on top, the immediate benefit of not having to lug around rolls of paper drawings has certainly not gone unnoticed.
“Our superintendents are used to carrying drawings with them at all times. In terms of drawing viewing, it’s always been ‘I’m gonna take this roll of drawings out there with me and I’m gonna carry that thing around with me all the time.’ Well now, the superintendent carries an iPad and has all the drawings at his disposal, so that’s the #1 thing we like.”
New Solutions to Old Construction Management Issues
As construction on the new hospital tower began, William Lopez and his team really spread their wings with the features Fieldwire offered them. Adoption of the app came with significant ease and no hang ups prevented them from getting comfortable with it. While the biggest plus for Lopez remains the plan management system, he also has his sights set on implementing more task-oriented uses, such as punch lists and issue tracking in terms of inspection requests. Lopez is confident he can leverage Fieldwire for these tasks in the same way that he has for his drawings, particularly given the speedy syncing system built into Fieldwire.
“My guys come in each morning and turn on their iPads, and those drawings, once they sync, they’re done for the day and they go out to work. For us, that’s been the biggest thing,” says Lopez. “In the past it’s always been, ‘Well, how do we move stuff from the office to the field?’ Prior to Fieldwire, we weren’t able to view some drawings because they were too big. The file sizes were just huge, it would take forever to load. It’s always been a hassle because the superintendents don’t like to waste time waiting for things to load. Anything we load onto Fieldwire is good to go. We don’t ever have to reload or wait for things to refresh, and I think the superintendents really appreciate that.”
The Bernards team also sees Fieldwire as a solution to the old, clumsy problem of meeting minutes. The ability to track project progression in a smooth, real-time task system provides a great visual representation for the tower schedule, and lets the team run through due dates and daily priorities in a much more streamlined flow.
“Right now when we create meeting minutes, it’s done through our PM software, but it can be cumbersome tracking it through there. I think Fieldwire is much easier to view,” says Lopez. “I think that’s a morale builder for people, when they see tasks moving from high priority to actually completed, versus just tracking it on a piece of paper and taking notes every week. I think that’s a big thing for us, to be able to see things physically fall off on the screen. And we won’t even have to print things anymore. I can view it on a projector instead.”
A Pain-Free Way to Improve Each Day
The receiving dock for the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s new patient tower is well under way, with work on the Central Utility Plant ramping up as well. Bernards is expanding their reputation for building quality structures, and this project will be their first statement to a wider pool of clientele going forward. As their efforts continue to produce high-grade results, their trust in Fieldwire also bears fruit on a daily basis. It continues to facilitate plan management for them, saving both time and money when it comes to the project’s scope.
Fieldwire is helping Bernards focus on the job at hand and reducing their likelihood of getting bogged down in clunky managerial techniques. The app offers an innate user interface and efficient method of tracking progress while keeping your colleagues in the loop at the same time. And for William Lopez and his team, it’s making a difference with each passing day.
“I think the biggest thing is not over-complicating it. It’s user-friendly. The layout is really easy to understand. I’m excited to see what else Fieldwire can do for us in the future.”