Colleen circleColleen Cahill • 

Construction jobs at Fieldwire

Like many others, when I entered construction, I didn’t ask questions about the software or tools that we used day-to-day. Instead, I spent a year quietly using a 1997 version of a product because I thought that was the norm. All of my friends who worked in construction had the same experience, so I had no reason to think there was a more efficient way to do work.

Working in construction

I used three, sometimes four, monitors while referencing files from four different programs just to complete a submittal or send an RFI. Opening a remote desktop to create and access those documents was an everyday task, often causing my laptop to crash multiple times throughout the process. I even recall having to create the same submittal three times when working on the Sequoia restaurant project in Georgetown, D.C. (pictured below). I was so frustrated by this processes but had no option but to keep using the tool I was provided with, until one day my project manager pulled me aside to test out some shiny new software.

sequioa restaurant

Understanding construction technology

As winter came and my projects slowed, I began spending my days learning how to use this new software, and I really was in awe of it. I felt like I had suddenly, or should I say finally, been transported into the 21st century. I couldn’t let my colleagues turn down the opportunity to bring the whole company to that point.

So, a few months later, we settled on the software and began rolling it out company-wide. I sat in on all of the training sessions since I had been working with the product longer than most project teams, and got so much joy out of teaching people how to use a tool that made their jobs more organized, efficient, and automated. I loved watching the faces of my superintendents light up when they saw how easy it was to create a markup with their fingertips and easily delete or adjust it, rather than scribbling over something and ultimately having to order a new set of drawings. It was a similar feeling to the day you hand over the keys to a new restaurant, office space, or hotel. I knew I wanted to incorporate that into my next role, and that’s one of the reasons I became a Construction Coordinator at Fieldwire.

Working at Fieldwire

As project engineers, APMs, PMs, or supers, you all solve complex issues where there are so many moving parts and people affected. Here on the construction team at Fieldwire, I do the same, only on a computer rather than a jobsite. Customers come to us with a problem, and it’s up to us to troubleshoot the issue, find the cause, give the solution, and ensure that we protect other areas that may be affected. Some of the other reasons I love construction technology is that I get to work with like-minded people who’ve also worked in the field (both on my team and the clients I work with), I’m challenged to solve complex issues, and I get to show people out in the field how exciting it is to have the kind of organization and streamlined communication that Fieldwire has to offer.

“I’m finally able to transport construction workers into the 21st century where modern software exists to streamline and simplify daily processes.”

If you’re interested in helping craftspeople embrace construction technology, I’d love to hear from you! We’re actively seeking people with industry backgrounds to join our Construction team (but also have open roles across all other teams). Apply online and make the switch today.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

Fieldwire + Levelset

We already know that 70 percent of a contractor’s workday is spent idling; coordinating tasks, waiting for equipment, and searching for information. Meaning only 30 percent of a contractor’s day is spent doing the real work they’re trained to do; the work that keeps production moving.

For wrench time to improve, contractors need tools that allow for real-time sharing of information and seamless coordination of tasks. Throughout all six stages of construction — from planning through to payment — contractors need flexible, reliable, and cloud-based software that streamlines and simplifies workflows to save them time and money onsite.

field productivity

Sounds good, right? Follow these three steps to execute your next construction project on-time and on-budget:

1. Unite tasks, plans, and schedules in one place

Once the project initiation and planning phase is complete, the real work can begin. Typically, according to GenieBelt, “the project team begins the crucial work of assigning resources, implementing project management plans, setting up tracking systems, completing tasks, updating the project schedule, and if necessary, modifying the project plan.”

Imagine you’re a contractor using a separate tool to complete every one of those tasks. You’d end up wasting valuable time jumping from one tool to the next, risk losing important information, and ultimately, delay project progress which hurts your bottom line. To prevent this from happening on your next project, consider using construction task management software that gives you one place to manage your tasks, plans, and schedules.

Fieldwire’s task management app, for example, lets workers:

  • Attach tasks directly to plans,
  • Assign tasks to others,
  • Set priority levels for tasks,
  • Organize tasks using categories or checklists,
  • And see an overview of their tasks for a given day, week, or month — all from one place.

It’s Kanban board, Gantt chart, and Calendar view of tasks also allows for seamless crew scheduling and progress tracking. Having the ability to easily extend deadlines, drag-and-drop tasks, and quickly see into the future will help contractors and owners avoid project cost overrun and scheduling conflicts.

2. Reach close-out faster with a punch list app

The performance and monitoring stage in construction is necessary for tracking progress. Punch lists come into play in this phase to ensure the work carried out is to spec and within scope. To avoid missing punch items and costly rework, contractors should consider a construction punch list app that streamlines and simplifies the entire punch process. This way, they can add and annotate punch items on-the-fly using a mobile or tablet, instantly generate punch list reports directly from the field, and conduct more efficient site walkthroughs to reach close-out faster.

“85 percent of all contractors use mobile phones onsite.”

Dodge Data & Analytics Research

Towards the end of a construction project, reporting also comes into play. And, if contractors aren’t using automated construction reporting software, it can become a painful process. With the press of a button, jobsite teams should be able to generate and download PDF reports and CSV files to share with others from the field or office. More importantly, they should be able to customize those reports for different project members. With the likes of a construction custom form builder, contractors can easily modify daily reports, safety audit forms, QA/QC inspection checklists, request for information (RFI) forms, timesheet forms, and time and materials (T&M) forms — or build their own entirely from scratch. It’s never been so easy!

3. Streamline your payment process for successful projects

Once all punch list items have been resolved and project reports are in, a final budget is handed down and the payment due is handed over. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Red tape has turned the payment process into a stress-filled nightmare that results in slow-pay cycles, bullying, burdensome paperwork, and costly disputes. Construction payment software like Levelset helps contractors and suppliers get payment under control at the start of a project, facilitating seamless payments and successful outcomes. It helps contractors avoid payment problems and get paid faster to reduce the payment cycle by up to 80% and improve your bottom line. Levelset does this by providing help with:

To ensure your payment process runs as smoothly as your project management, we’re teaming up with Levelset to dig deeper into cash flow problems — to understand what is causing them and how construction companies like yours deal with them.

Taking part in this 5-minute construction cash flow survey will help us shed light on the most effective ways to deal with issues related to cash flow. We want to help you and your peers in the industry understand you’re not alone when facing payment problems and offer you some simple solutions. To learn more about the survey, please read this helpful blog post. Thank you in advance for your time!

MarielleMarielle Price • 

Fieldwire company photos

The first time I put on my hardhat and laced up my steel-toed boots, I was nervous and excited. I knew what to look for on a jobsite for potential safety issues, could kinda-sorta read a floorplan, and somewhat finagle a total station — in other words, I was a bit “dangerous” with knowledge.

Where it all began…

In my years working as an assistant project manager and field engineer, I learned so much. Despite having little exposure to construction before studying civil engineering, I was fascinated by the industry and its ability to touch all of our lives. I couldn’t believe all of the details, coordination, and craftsmanship that I’d been taking for granted for so long. Two fascinating things for me were the impact that construction has on the earth (and how small steps can greatly reduce environmental impact) and all of the different people involved, with different backgrounds, knowledge, and experience. While I loved the problem-solving aspect of engineering, I quickly realized I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day — calculating numbers without seeing the real impact of my work, so I made it my mission to “build things.”

Why building is the best part of construction

Today, I can still see my first project when I take the I-80 on my way to Tahoe from San Francisco or walk by one of my local projects in Mission Bay. I remember the areas that were the most difficult to coordinate, where the whole project team had frustrations, working late into the night to fix something. I know where my name is signed into the foundation, along with my team members. Most importantly, I see my project filled with life. To me, that’s the most rewarding thing about construction — seeing people benefit from your building, every day.

SF Public Safety Building

Why I “abandoned” my passion to build things for construction tech

I realized there were so many day-to-day tasks that I needed to do for “C.Y.A.” purposes, which in the end didn’t really help me build the building. Instead, those types of tasks prevented me from coordinating and maintaining forward momentum. I also saw robotics and machinery as a threat to the people in construction who I considered to be the backbone of the industry. I couldn’t imagine a world where talented foremen and journeymen were replaced by robots, all because of a mound of paperwork that pulled them away from doing their craft, making them less efficient. Rather, I saw (and still see) technology as a solution to all of our problems.

Instead of having to follow-up on emails or calls, translate information, or make sure everyone has the same 3-week lookahead or plan addendum, you can now leave those tasks for technology to handle. All you need to worry about is: what’s the progress on this job? What are the potential future obstacles? Technology gives us the tools we need to confidently answer those questions and make the right decisions. It allows us to take time to be proactive versus the reactive, constant fighting of fires.

“I saw (and still see) technology as a solution to all of our problems.”

Doing what I love, every day

At Fieldwire, I still get to work with fascinating people in the industry. Some days, I get to talk to a 40-year construction veteran and watch his face light up as he sees his daily reports compile automatically, allowing him to get home sooner. Other days, I speak to young field engineers who no longer need to send out that list of “hot unanswered RFIs” each week since the reminders are being done automatically. Instead of working on a handful of projects, I now get to touch thousands, worldwide. And, I get to do it all alongside a team of construction experts I truly admire. Like you, I can’t wait to see how construction technology like Fieldwire will continue to empower the field and get people back to doing their craft. Let’s fight off the robots, together, and get back to building a more sustainable future.

If you’re interested in switching to technology from construction yourself, I’d love to hear from you! Fieldwire is actively seeking people with industry backgrounds to join me on the Construction team (we also have open roles across all other teams). So, what are you waiting for? Apply and make the leap today.

Kim sloweyKim Slowey • 

#15685 Construction dive article

With all the new software offerings and apps available to contractors these days, it might seem unlikely that a construction company could pick just one to meet its technology needs in the field across a wide variety of projects. However, that’s exactly what happened when Clark Construction Group, a multibillion-dollar general contractor with projects nationwide, recently adopted Fieldwire companywide to manage project documents.

Fieldwire facilitates coordination and management of documents like plans, inspection records, punchlists, requests for information, purchase orders and any other piece of information related to what’s happening in the field.

In fact, when Fieldwire CEO Yves Frinault founded the company in 2013, he had been working on building information modeling technology and realized that, although BIM is critical to the construction industry, perhaps the needs of those on jobsites were being overlooked.

“[Those working in the field] deal with very specific issues,” Frinault said, “like accessing information [remotely] and assigning and tracking thousands of items every day that need to be completed — and completed well. There was not really any [solution] for the people out there.”

Now, he said, it’s even more important that companies be able to streamline their field activity through a tool like Fieldwire because of the rising costs associated with labor. Just one hour saved per worker per day can “move the needle significantly” for the company’s customers, and this opportunity to shave time off the schedule has been one of the drivers of Fieldwire’s growth.

“In any market that has expensive labor,” Frinault said, “we’re going to do well.” But the focus on field production, said Ray Mina, head of marketing at Fieldwire, is not specific to Clark. “It’s a common thread in the industry,” he said. Arming those in the field with the tools they need to do their jobs, Mina said, “is a momentum we’re seeing.”

Building a relationship with Clark

But how did Fieldwire make its way onto Clark’s jobsites?

A few Clark projects on the west coast had been using the program with impressive results, said Molly Raglani, project executive at Clark, which led to an “enterprise approach” in evaluating Fieldwire for wider use throughout the company. “We were strictly looking for a document management program,” she said.

There were several factors that went into choosing Fieldwire, including an evaluation that pitted the app against other programs like Bluebeam Studio, BIM 360 and PlanGrid, Raglani said.

One of the most important features that Fieldwire offers, she said, is availability on all types of devices, including the iPhones, a functionality that not all solutions provide. For field supervisors, being able to use an iPhone relieves them of the burden of having to lug around an iPad. (The product also can be used with other smartphones.)

Speed and efficiency of use was also a plus, she said. Using what Raglani calls a click test, the evaluation team at Clark recorded how many clicks it took users to perform various tasks on Fieldwire, extrapolated those figures to hours and then compared that to the time it took for users to navigate through other programs. The time savings realized using Fieldwire were significant.

“They understand the importance of time,” the project executive said. “As soon as you can economize the amount of time you’re using to do anything, you can serve your clients better, and you can communicate with your subcontractors better.”

Next, Fieldwire’s interface, she said, is easy to navigate for subcontractors and customers, who are able to check up on their projects easily.

Finally, Raglani said, Fieldwire’s customer service through the test period was exemplary and continues to be so. “They’re really quick to respond,” she said. “Every question is important.”

In addition, the Fieldwire team listened to feedback. “They were always responsive to what we were suggesting and to what issues we were having,” Raglani said. “If they could immediately integrate and push [changes] out, they would, and if it took a little more time, they would be very communicative about the whole process.”

In addition to putting this field-friendly tool into the hands of its employees, Clark will also make the program available to all its subs free of charge for use on Clark projects.

“The fact that I haven’t heard anything (from the field) is what stands out to me. It really is just that easy.”

Molly Raglani, Project Executive, Clark Construction Co.

This is the model that Fieldwire relies on to grow its customer base, which now stands at approximately 2,000 companies.

“When you think about technology as a company,” Frinault said, “you have to be very careful of where you allocate your resources, and, for us, it’s a lot better to focus on the product with a model that does a lot of distribution for you. The model is a bit different, but it seems to be working for us.”

The biggest “vote of confidence” from subcontractors that were introduced to the product through a general contractor like Clark, Frinault said, is when they become paying customers.

Fieldwire, Mina said, is also scalable so that both small and large contractors are able to benefit from it.

And as for Clark, Raglani said, the proof of a successful implementation could be the lack of comments about the program from the field. “The fact that I haven’t heard anything is what stands out to me,” she said. “It really is just that easy.”

Looly circleLooly Lee • 

June product release

Hi, Looly here from the Fieldwire product team. It’s been a busy few months, but I’ve got something new to share with you. Actually, make that six new things to share! That’s because we’re supercharging a whole bunch of Fieldwire features. I can’t wait to dive in and tell you more about the updates we’re making available to you. So, here it goes…

View AND edit PDFs on the Fieldwire mobile app

Back in February, we released the ability for you to mark up files, just like you can with plans! You didn’t think we were going to stop there, did you? Now you can get more done from the field by doing it all from your mobile device. That’s because we’re giving you the ability to search for key terms on specifications, highlight essential phrases, and cloud important changes to communicate them to your team - all from your tablet or phone.


Set permission levels on sensitive documents

We’re all about creating an open and collaborative platform for communication. Still, there are times when, as the admin on your project, you’ll want to set permission levels to sensitive documents. As a Business plan user, you can now do this by heading to the Files tab in Fieldwire to restrict access to confidential contractual information and hide privileged documents from external stakeholders.

FileFolderAccess

Set up two-way sync with Microsoft OneDrive

You probably already know that you can use Fieldwire to set up two-way sync with Dropbox and Box and keep all of your team on the same page (see what I did there). We’ve also heard from you that offering the same ability with Microsoft’s OneDrive would be huge. We listened, and it’s here! With this new feature, anytime you make changes in Fieldwire, like upload a new bulletin or update an RFI response, those changes will be synchronized to OneDrive, and vice versa.

OneDrive

Collect GPS coordinates in photos to use in Google Maps

One of our top missions at Fieldwire is to help you see what work needs to be done and where you need to go to do it. Since January, we’ve given you the option to collect GPS coordinates on all your mobile photos. Those coordinates are now accessible in the photo view on web, and linked to the exact location on Google Maps. On roadway or heavy civil projects, this can help pinpoint the precise location of your photos and the progression of the project.

Download reports in-app

If you’re a Pro or Business plan user, you now have the option to download task reports directly from your web browser rather than sending it via email. It’s just another way to save you time by allowing you to instantly preview things like punch lists and QA/QC reports, then adjust your report template before sending it out to your entire team.


See who else is involved with tasks

Here’s an update in the interest of even more visibility in Fieldwire. When looking at a specific task, you can now see its “watchers;” people on your project who are involved with that work and get notified about updates. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re coordinating the installation of equipment with various trades. You can now see all the subcontractors who can contribute updates and additional information, but still have one single assignee responsible for finishing the job. Users also now have the option to unfollow a task or add other task watchers that should be aware of the conversation.

watchers zoom

Try Fieldwire Pro or Business for free

Remember when I said you could try out all of our new updates for free? I was serious. Yep, that’s right; we’re now offering a 14-day free trial of our Pro and Business plans! If you’re using our basic plan you can initiate your free trial of either Pro or Business tiers to unlock premium features, like unlimited sheets, projects, and all the new features I just covered. Just start your free 14-day trial by clicking right here. New to Fieldwire? No problem. Click here, and we’ll help you get started with a trial account.

That’s about as many new features as I can possibly fit into one update. For a full list of new features, fixes, and enhancements, check out our support page at any time.

I hope you noticed that we’re listening to your feedback and that you’re excited about these changes. Listen, if at any time you have more ideas that could improve your experience using Fieldwire, would you send them our way? All you have to do is write a note to support@fieldwire.com. We’d love to hear from you.

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