Webp.net resizeimage.jpgMatt Schneiderman • 

tsi-russell This week’s Customer Spotlight: TSI Corporations, a Washington DC-area builder specializing in envelope glass systems, ornamental metals, and aluminum metal panels. TSI is #14 on ENR’s list of top firms in glazing and curtain walls and has completed more than 600 projects in the greater DC and Baltimore areas. Senior Project Manager Russell Frazier (pictured above) uses Fieldwire to track progress, document defects, and log noncompliance issues in real-time.

Current project

Designed by Antunovich Associates, 1900 Half Street is a redevelopment of an office building into a 480,000-plus square-feet mixed-use space in the Southwest DC’s Buzzard Point neighborhood. Due for completion in 2020, the former office building will have more than 15,600 square-feet of retail space, 419 luxury apartments, two elevated courtyards, a green penthouse roof, and a rooftop infinity pool and deck.

And TSI is wrapping the whole thing up in glass. tsi-pic1

Why they chose Fieldwire

“Before Fieldwire, we were pretty analog,” Russell says. “In 2015, we were looking for a basic means of using electronic documents for reference in the field. We did a trial run of Fieldwire on a previous project, and the users were just the super, general foremen, and me. We uploaded just a few drawings.

“For me, a big driver for moving forward with Fieldwire was its project management solution — Fieldwire has a niche. It’s easy to use and has a good amenity list, even under the free license. It also has an edge over PlanGrid in terms of functionality and pricing.”

“What’s great about Fieldwire is the task stuff, the markup tools, and synchronization with Box and OneDrive. As a general plan reader it works well — that alone gives it an edge over PlanGrid.”

Russell Frazier, Senior Project Manager, TSI

“I purchased additional Fieldwire licenses for the 1900 Half Street project. On the first day, we did the site walkthrough with Fieldwire — we were doing a punch window installation. After I went back to the office and documented everything in tasks, I realized that I’d saved hours of work already. Because an hour of someone’s time covered the cost of a one-month subscription, I’d found savings immediately.

“We’re also a materials fabricator, so I envision using Fieldwire to further communicate in the future between field and the plant and between the office and the plant, and continue the communication between the field and the office. Project management is necessary for all of that. Fieldwire allows us to streamline this process to get materials to the site in a timely fashion.” tsi-pic2

How they use Fieldwire

“Right now we use it for a combination of tracking task progress in the field, documenting material defects with suppliers, and, more notably, for logging real-time noncompliance issues,” Russell says. “In addition to manufacturing our own materials, we work with suppliers. Our suppliers don’t use Fieldwire but I can still generate and send reports to them.

“What’s great about Fieldwire is the task stuff, the markup tools, and synchronization with Box and OneDrive. As a general plan reader it works well — that alone gives it an edge over PlanGrid.”

Interested in learning how Fieldwire can help you? Contact us today!

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

#17663 Tips and tricks- inspections

Inspections are part of every construction project, no matter how big or small. While maintaining quality and safety is paramount, they should not be the most painful part.

So, how can you speed up your inspection processes and still maintain high quality using Fieldwire Tasks and Forms? Follow these simple tips and tricks…

Use checklist templates to track outstanding tasks

Instead of creating the same checklist for multiple inspections, save your inspection checklists as templates. This way, you can easily add them to tasks at the beginning of a project for everyone to see. Standardizing your checklists will also provide consistency across your team and company.

As you conduct your inspections, simply mark each checklist item as complete (tick), incomplete (cross), or not applicable (hyphen). This is the most effective and efficient way of keeping track of outstanding tasks — ensuring nothing slips through the cracks when deadlines are tight and tensions are high!

checklists

Note: Fieldwire checklists are set up so that you can quickly and easily copy and paste existing checklists from a spreadsheet you’re already working from.

Duplicate tasks to save time during setup

To further speed up your inspections, duplicate tasks with checklists! All of the key attributes of that task will be included in each duplicated task you create. This is extremely useful when you have multiple rooms or areas across a jobsite to inspect!

To duplicate an inspection task directly on a plan, simply right-click on the task, hold down the shift key, and drop the task pin wherever you want it to duplicate.

Duplicating Tasks

Relate tasks to avoid rework

You can even create what we call “Related tasks” so that one trade knows when their work directly affects another’s.

E.g. If you have one task for fixing drywall related to another task for completing electrical wiring, your trades will know to coordinate with each other to ensure wiring gets done before the drywall.

Note: If you change a start/end date in one task, it will not automatically change the start/end date in its related task.

Use inspection request forms to ensure quality and safety

Inspection request forms, available to all Business and Premier users, are designed to ensure quality and safety throughout your project. Whether you’re in the office, on-site, online, or offline, you can use the Fieldwire app to generate an inspection request form.

We recommend using an inspection request form to keep track the location of an inspection, the date and time it took place, the results, any relevant photos or files, and the status of an inspection. E.g. “Approved”, “Approved as noted”, or “Not approved.”

Don’t start over. Edit forms in draft mode

If you need to change the information contained in an inspection request form, you can. You’ll just need to change the status of the form back to “Draft” first.

  • If you’re a project administrator, click on the “Status” dropdown to change it from “Submitted” to “Draft” in order to edit the form again
  • If you are not a project administrator, reach out to one to request the edits or ask them to change the status for you

For more information on how to complete, submit, and download an inspection request form, please read this guide.

To summarize, you can easily manage your inspections using Fieldwire tasks and forms. But if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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

KarlKarl Sorensen • 

BCL FIELDWIRE

Karl Sorensen is the president of Blue Collar Labs and managing partner at Blue Collar Capital Partners. With 15-years in construction and $100M+ in project management experience, Karl now helps facilitate the development, financing, and growth of technology companies that specifically serve the AEC. For more information, contact him at ksorensen@bluecollarlabs.com.

The impact of new technology on inefficient markets is none more disruptive than when innovation touches the skilled labor industries. Whether it was Gutenberg and his printing press, Babbage and his programmable computing engine, or Henry and his assembly line, the power of converting manual craftsmanship into hands-free automation is not only groundbreaking, it’s heralded in history-books as revolutionary.

One industry, however, that remains strangely omitted from the annals of history is construction. Despite being the perennial leader of global economic performance, spending $11.4 trillion in 2018 and apace to reach a staggering $14 trillion by 2025 (Statista), construction remains one of the world’s last holdouts for efficiency. The built environment, often typified by its traditional thinking, wasteful practices and rejection of innovative ideas, as a whole, seemingly exists in a technological vacuum. As other industries are achieving new innovative heights with self-driving automobiles, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, surely, construction is next…

Or is it? If experience and history have anything say, notwithstanding major changes in culture, perspectives, and engagement strategies, the forecast is grim.

But why?

Recently, Chicago-based Blue Collar Labs conducted an investigative study to answer this question. Their goal, to uncover the challenges that prevent technology companies from effectively engaging construction companies and solutions for overcoming these obstacles. By initiating conversations with hundreds of tech companies and their founders, CEOs, and salespeople, the researchers behind Blue Collar Labs were able to gain new insights into the matter, which challenges traditional thinking and engagement methodologies.

An Open Letter to Construction by Karl Sorensen

From my 15 years in construction, I understand life on the construction frontlines. Starting off as a field laborer for a general contractor, working my way to project manager of a DoD contractor, and now as the operations director for an LA-based healthcare contractor, I have seen operational inefficiencies at every level, in every sector, and within every department. As my role over the years, becoming more hands-on in helping contractors understand and leverage new technology products, both with my own construction company and as a consultant via Blue Collar Labs, the bevvy of excuses I hear primarily places blame on technology vendors. But by conducting this research project and directly engaging with technology companies across the globe, we uncovered six sources of frustration, all directed towards us, their construction counterparts. Here is what we learned:

1. Contractors must be open to change

The industry perspective on “change” has become a tired and overused punchline at construction conferences and events. But honestly, have we taken a long-enough look at ourselves to seriously consider whether our organization (or its leadership) is falling prey to the fear of change? According to Blue Collar Labs’ findings, technology vendors adamantly claim that they are unable to engage us, their construction counterparts, because we’re vigorously opposed to change. Further still, these vendors go onto say that we’re fearful of the changes that new technology brings. When asked what was holding construction companies back from adopting new technology products, vendors roundly responded by citing the industry’s inability to being “open-minded to change.” One survey respondent conceded, “the most frustrating thing is when one person in the prospect company is super stoked about our product, but the deal collapses because someone else in the prospect company is so incredibly resistant to change.” Another stated, “be open to change…and how technology can make [the company] and their workers more valuable.” And lastly, “stop assuming that tech is too hard to adopt, just jump in and try it.”

“[If you fail], fail fast but fail forward.”

Something to Consider: Is your organization truly open to change? Are you more fearful of the changes that new technology will bring or the consequences of not adopting new technology?

2. Make time for technology

Unsurprisingly, the second most consistently cited source of frustration was that we’re “too busy” to consider technology. Everybody seems to need technology but nobody has the time to talk with technology vendors. During the rare moments a successful connection is made, technology vendors often talked about being brushed-off, given the run-around or being passed from department to department, never getting clear direction. A noticeably exasperated respondent stated, “stop leading on salespeople and just be honest.”

Even when construction companies agree to purchase and adopt a new technology solution, the daunting and time-intensive task of implementation eventually erodes all enthusiasm. Nobody seems to have time to champion the new technology, ensuring that integrating it into existing systems is a success. As a result, and despite all initial excitement, technology implementation either stalls, is partially completed, or is never completed at all. Ultimately, this leaves both parties frustrated over the wasted time, energy, and money. One vendor said:

“[Stop being afraid] of the up-front effort with a technology product, especially with software.”

Something to Consider: If technology is a priority, make time for it. If it isn’t, than don’t. Either way, be clear with the technology vendors. Also, when budgeting for new technology, also budget the time for implementation and adoption.

3. Identify a strategy for evaluating, selecting, and implementing technology

Another theme that became apparent in this study is that many construction companies have very little self-awareness of their own inefficiencies, therefore, ill-equipped to properly evaluate, select, and implement the correct technology. Findings showed that technology companies repeatedly battled against a “lack of internal knowledge” or “no cohesive strategy” when engaging construction companies.

When construction companies don’t diagnose their own inefficiencies, there is a behavioral trend of choosing the popular tech products, not the correct tech products. One frustrated technology vendor stated, “stop buying the shiniest, most heavily-advertised, and generally overpriced construction software systems. You’ll overbuy, have an under-utilized system, and hemorrhage profits. Just solve the main problems with software specific to those problems”. Another respondent provided a similar response:

“Stop chasing shiny pennies without first establishing their goals and then working on their processes.”

It is incredibly important for companies to know and understand their own processes before they start considering digitizing them. At minimum, it is important that we clearly identify our goals, choose qualified decision-makers to be involved, and develop a baseline process for vetting through technology. This will save us the time, money, and frustration in the long-run

Something to Consider: In order to optimize our processes, we must first have a process in place (even if it’s paper-based). Attempting to throw technology at a non-existent (or poorly defined) processes will only result in creating a bad, organizational processes.

4. Nominate a technology decision-maker

Although this seems obvious and unremarkable, most construction companies never designate a decision-maker responsible for responding to and evaluating new technology opportunities. This is a simple adjustment we all should be willing to make. Regardless of company size or market sector, we each must identify a technology champion within our organization; not only to become a clear point-of-contact for outside technology vendors, but also championing internal technology decisions to the health and success of internal operations. The first and most-immediate benefit from having an on-staff, qualified, technology decision-maker is streamlined communication. A designated technology champion becomes a central figure with whom outside technology vendors can engage, preventing the rest of our organizations from feeling “spammed” by persistent outside salespeople. Additionally, this removes information silos commonly associated with construction organizations. A designated technology champion can field internal requests for technology adoption and implementation. Instead of project-by-project decisions made autonomously by project managers, a designated technology champion can make decisions that best serves the entire organization.

construction tech

Something to Consider: Designate a construction technology champion (or team), willing and able to field inquiries from technology vendors, to lead discussions of technology within an organization, to make technology decisions on behalf of the company, and to constantly monitor the effectiveness of in-house digital solutions.

5. Realize there are no ‘silver-bullet’ products

A common misconception amongst construction companies is that technology products should solve our every organizational issue, the proverbial silver-bullet. As stated by one technology respondent, “don’t look for a perfect, one-stop solution.” And reinforced by another, “[stop] trying to get absolutely everything [you need] in one solution”. Certainly, there should be an expectation that technology products will automate and simplify specific processes within construction operations, however, it is ignorant to assume that any singular, technology product will satisfy every operational whim. Only after we successfully identify specific inefficiencies and goals are we then equipped to choose the right technology product. Specificity is key. Having vague metrics, general expectations, and ambiguous goals may lead us to purchasing a car just for the radio. Being specific will enable us to choose the right product for us, or if it fails, we know exactly why/how we failed. Eloquently stated by one technology vendor, “just solve the main problems with software specific to those problems”.

“[Stop] trying to get absolutely everything [you need] in one solution.”

Something to Consider: Assuming technology products will solve all spoken and unspoken operational deficiencies is unrealistic. Keep it simple. Identify specific organizational inefficiencies and goals, then find a technology product that meets your needs.

6. Treat technology vendors like partners, not adversaries

Lastly but importantly, it’s imperative that we partner with our construction technology counterparts, rather than treating them like predatorial opponents. They exist to make our construction businesses more efficient and profitable. In return, the majority ask for us to pay a subscription fee. It’s at this point, construction companies start treating technology vendors as adversaries. Of course, their technology isn’t free. Them requesting money from us for their innovative technology should not be a surprise, a deal-breaker, nor a reason for distrust. Conversely, what is the cost of not having their technology on our jobsites? Everyday, we run the risk of unforeseen variables and freak accidents; from unsafe jobsites and faulty work to overrun schedules and inefficient labor. In all reality, technology companies are saving us more than just money. They’re looking out for us. As such, they deserved to be treated like partners. One vendor stated, “look for vendors who will truly partner with you, and then let them truly partner with you.” By being open and honest with our inefficiencies, we’re inviting the opportunity for growth. Another technology vendor stated:

“Describe more about your organization and how it’s currently managed, so we can better formulate an idea of how we can help.”

Something to Consider: When construction companies begin looking at their relationships with tech vendors as partners, rather than adversaries, we will all start to discover unprecedented opportunities for efficiency.

Of course this doesn’t capture the breadth of the disconnects between construction and technology, but it’s a good starting-point. Not every company will need the latest technology, however, we should all be serious about efficiency, safety, and quality for all company stakeholders; employees, owners, clients, end-users, subcontractors, etc. Not only will this provide a superior end-product, but this will provide a better construction experience.

Webp.net resizeimage.jpgMatt Schneiderman • 

field-management-platform

Field management for construction is the work that goes into coordinating, communicating, and collaborating on what’s happening on the jobsite. And while some construction apps do have a few field management features, only Fieldwire was designed especially for boots on the ground. Here’s why Fieldwire is the best field management solution for construction teams.

Communication

For construction projects, messages fly between the field teams and the office all day, every day. Your communications should provide the most current information to the appropriate people at the right time — that is, now.

Fieldwire allows you and your team to:

  • Communicate in real-time — no matter what mobile devices are in use
  • Use messages, tasks, and notifications to keep everyone in the loop
  • Distribute the most up-to-date plans instantly with two-way Cloud syncing
  • Export reports and send updates to anyone on the project, including team members who aren’t on Fieldwire via email

Does your current field management tool have these communication features?
- Messages with context, particularly jobsite location?
- Photo and video?
- Push notifications?

Coordination

Effective communication is crucial for coordinating complex construction projects. But coordination is more than messaging.

Fieldwire allows you and your team to:

  • Assign work to the people responsible for taking care of it
  • Report issues and inconsistencies and get clarification quickly, without time lost waiting
  • Schedule work with calendar, man-power leveling, and Gantt charts
  • Access the most up-to-date plans and specs thanks to version control and two-way Cloud syncing
  • Track and report progress

Does your current field management tool have these coordination features?
- Task management with prioritization for assigning work to team members?
- Issues and inconsistencies reporting?
- Scheduling with calendar and man-power leveling?
- Version control and syncing of all documents, ensuring everyone’s working off the latest plans?
- Progress tracking?

Collaborate

Each construction project is unique, with its site-specific challenges and opportunities. Capturing useful information for reporting, improving productivity, and showcasing team accomplishments can have long-lasting benefits — and limit your liability.

Fieldwire allows you and your team to:

  • Customize your reports and report templates, making daily reports, timesheets, inspections, RFIs, and any other reports a breeze to create and share.
  • Integrate with Fieldwire’s API to analyze your data to optimize your current and future projects

Does your current field management tool have these collaborative features?
- Customizable templates for scheduled reports (daily reports, timesheets, inspections, RFIs, etc.)?
- APIs for integrating with data analysis platforms?

A best-of-class field management platform like Fieldwire simplifies jobsite coordination and prevents miscommunication that kills productivity, so everyone can spend their time getting work done.

Ready to try for yourself? Schedule a demo today!

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.

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