James pease headshot 90x90 black and whiteJames Pease • 

Editor’s note: James Pease is a construction owner’s representative and regional manager responsible for health care projects worth a total of over $650 million over the last ten years, as well as an outside advisor to Fieldwire, and editor of leanipd.com We are excited to host a webinar with him on October 25th.

Complex capital projects across all industries, from health care, oil, gas, mining, manufacturing and power generation all have at least one thing in common. According to research performed by the Construction Industry Institute, they have a high probability of finishing late and over budget. It seems that the larger and more complex the project, the more likely it is to be significantly over budget.

There are many reasons why complex capital projects fail, as defined by finishing late, over budget, and or with significantly scope reduction. The delivery model and extent of early owner involvement are two common factors. Due to procurement laws, tradition, and a lack of knowledge, many projects are still awarded on a Design-Bid-Build (DBB) model where the actual builders of the project are involved very late in the design process.

Even with Construction Management at Risk (CM at Risk) or Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC), the actual builders are involved late in the design process. The typical structure of contracts and risk transfer keep true feedback from being incorporated into the design in a way that makes the entire project better. There are many, many examples of large projects starting with the best of intents, only to finish wildly late and significantly over budget with major reductions to scope.

After personally trying Design-Bid-Build and CM at Risk on many health care projects, I experienced many of the same outcomes – late and over-budget projects despite my best attempts and those of qualified, well-meaning team members to do the same. If we were all coming in with the right idea, why did we keep failing?

I spent the last 10 years working almost entirely on Lean Integrated Project Delivery (Lean IPD) as a means to deliver over $650M worth of health care projects in Northern California. Those projects finished with 90% of them completing on schedule and all but one completing under their original board funding amount. Why is it that by changing the delivery method – including implementing new technologies like Fieldwire – for a project, we can significantly improve the odds of completing on time and on budget?

In distilling down the components of Lean IPD, I believe the most important components are:

  • A collaborative validation process
  • An aligned contract structure
  • Target Value Design (TVD)
  • The use of Last Planner® System (LPS)
  • Intentional implementation of available technology

Why those? I’ll go into more depth in my webinar with Fieldwire on October 25th, but here are the key things to know.

Many owners or project sponsors work on the business case for a project in a vacuum, isolated from knowledge of design and construction professionals. Once a business plan starts to come together, it drives a budget that makes the project feasible.

The owner then hires a design team to put together a set of design documents. Whether in CM at Risk or Design-Bid-Build, the amount of influence that the build team has early in the design is usually minimal. The owner contracts for the builder separately from the design team and sets up different incentives from those of the design team. The owner doesn’t usually drive processes and collaboration into the project and the contract structures force entities to protect their bottom line in a way that quickly can become adversarial.

In Lean IPD, the process follows the same timeline, yet at the same time the components look very different. They are:

Validation. As the owner starts to develop their business plan, they will engage a design and construction team. The team will come onto the project to help the owner build a business case that is supported by a design and budget that is achievable. Once the entire team agrees that the owner’s business need can be met within a realistic schedule and budget, the team documents the components of the project in a Validation Study (or similar). The owner uses this document as the basis for their complete funding request.

Contracting. Once the Validation process is complete and approved, the owner contracts for design and construction of the project through a single contract for design and construction. This contract may have only the primary designer and builder sign the contract or it can have many parties as primary signatories. The contract value includes a contingency for the team, audited costs are guaranteed and there is a shared savings plan. In exchange, the team agrees to put 100% of their profit at risk if the project exceeds the contingency amount. Errors and omissions are not changes (increases) to the contract amount in this type of agreement although everyone is paid their costs to complete the work.

Target Value Design (TVD). Instead of estimating the project at predetermined design milestones, the project team is continually tracking the cost of the project with a concept of TVD. In TVD, the team designs to the cost from the validation effort instead of estimating the cost of the design. With a continual focus on cost throughout the design phase, the team is encouraged not to draw anything until they have first confirmed that it is included in the budget instead of drawing something and then estimating how much it will cost.

Last Planner® System (LPS). Developed by the founders of the Lean Construction Institute, LPS is a holistic approach to project planning with five parts: milestone planning, pull planning, look ahead planning, weekly work planning and learning. While traditional construction schedules are often too detailed and burdensome to maintain, LPS consists of planning the work with the right people, at the right time, and at the right level of details. Teams focus on improving every week instead of blaming each other for breakdowns. Planning reliability is typically improved significantly with the implementation of this process focused approach to planning which involves key stakeholders including those who actually do the work.

Technology Implementation. Teams working in a Lean IPD environment are focused on processes efficiency, continuous improvement and reducing waste. Technology is constantly changing and evolving, giving teams new solutions with every new project. Effective teams focus on the problems they are trying to solve and roll out tools to aid in their processes.

While technology does not replace collaboration, platforms like Fieldwire help make it more transparent, efficient, and widespread. One of the reasons I’ve partnered with Fieldwire is because it serves as the single source of truth for project documentation and commitments (or action items/tasks) to reduce communication gaps and fosters accountability within the integrated project team.

Overall, complex capital projects are very difficult. With scientific developments, they are becoming larger, more complex, and harder to control than ever before. If we continue to address the upcoming projects with the delivery methods of the past, we are doomed to repeat the outcomes we have been achieving over the last 100 years. It’s not just about new systems, but new technologies as well; for example, one Lead IPD project I oversee has deployed Fieldwire for field collaboration throughout the project, ranging from plan viewing to punch lists, through to inspection management with third party inspectors.

Lean IPD offers a new way of delivering complex capital projects with documented improved outcomes. One health system in California has delivered over $5 billion in projects using Lean IPD and so far we have returned nearly 4% of overall capital and delivered 95% of our projects on or ahead of schedule.

If you want different outcomes, it’s time to try something different. Want to learn more about how to use Lean IPD on your jobsites? Check out the webinar I’m doing with Fieldwire on October 25th.

Thomaspochedly round headshotThomas Pochedly • 

Earlier this summer, our VP of Construction, Marielle Price, joined Drew Woods, Assistant Project Manager at EllisDon, and Mike Simon, Operations Manager at Brookfield on stage at CanBim Calgary to talk about how field management software improves the process of project handover from construction to operations and maintenance.

While Fieldwire was also used by EllisDon in the construction phase of the project, the focus of the presentation was to show how Fieldwire is used to improve the transition to operating Phase 1 of Brookfield Place Calgary — a 60-story, 1.6 million square foot office tower.

The move from construction to operations is a difficult process, even for companies like EllisDon (a $3.5 billion construction services and consulting company) and Brookfield (an asset management company with $285+ billion under management). Traditionally, the construction team turns over binders full of documentation to the operations team and it’s the responsibility of the operations team to comb through the piles of documentation, to figure out how to operate the building. This is a major headache for the operations team.

Trying to understand how best to manage a massive project through paper documentation alone is like teaching someone to drive by having them read the car’s owner’s manual. It might work, but there must be a better way. Instead of using this antiquated method, the construction team tracked all their drawings, changes, and documentation through Fieldwire.

“The general contractor will typically hand a bunch of binders, drawings, and files over to our operations and maintenance team and just say, ‘Okay, we’re done in your building. Here you go. Have fun.’ Thankfully, [with Fieldwire] things have definitely improved.”

Mike Simon, Operations Manager, Brookfield

This enabled the two teams to work hand-in-hand to make sure construction was completed up to standard, and then smoothly transition to the operations phase. Near the end of construction, Brookfield’s operations team was on the jobsite every day inspecting the remaining work. Whenever a deficiency was found, the operations team could quickly mark it via Fieldwire’s mobile application, and task the right team on the contractor side to fix the issue. Once the task was complete, EllisDon updated the task within Fieldwire, even uploading photos so that the operations team could verify that the problem had been corrected. This process helped the two teams to communicate more effectively than was possible in the past. Ultimately, this enabled them to reach closeout much faster.

“I used the Fieldwire app as I walked around to find out a task has already been assigned to the sprinkler contractor, or to the electrician, without having to go back to the EllisDon. Having a single source of data is great.”

Mike Simon, Operations Manager, Brookfield

While communication between the two teams was important, it was not the only area that was improved with Fieldwire. Managing subcontractors and providing a “single-source of truth” for everyone involved was also very important to the project’s success. By having all of their superintendents and foreman trained on Fieldwire, EllisDon was able to ensure that everyone working on the project was looking at the same set of plans. The ability to markup drawings in the field and export their as-built drawings saved EllisDon a great deal of time and kept their team on the same page. Rework and waste are prevalent on large projects. Fielwire’s unique capabilities, including the ability to export as-built drawings, not only saved time, it also increased transparency across the whole team.

“Fieldwire is really handy to have in the field not only during construction, but also during the close-out and the deficiency management phase.”

Drew Woods, Assistant Project Manager, EllisDon

2018-08 EllisDon Brookfield Construction to Maintenance Blog Hero Quote

When construction reached completion, the management team was able to view every detail of construction in Fieldwire. As-built drawings, completed tasks, quality-assurance inspections, and documentation of every aspect of the project became available to the operations team. While this may seem like an overwhelming amount of information, as the project owners, Brookfield’s team was able to swiftly “drill down” to find historical data. Without a tagging system, electronic documentation would be no different than the antiquated stacks of binders.

Now that the building is occupied with tenants, Brookfield’s team uses Fieldwire to track maintenance and problem areas around the building. For example, issues ranging from trip hazards to HVAC calls to damage caused by local skateboarders are all tracked and documented via Fieldwire. This not only allows maintenance to remedy the issues more quickly, it enables them to keep a record of maintenance performed on the building. They are able to identify issues that keep popping up, and take the appropriate steps to remedy them.

“Brookfield is taking over EllisDon’s Fieldwire account for Brookfield Place, so all that  historical data stays live and is moved from a construction software into an inspection and documentation software for us. We’re covering all of our health and safety inspections that way.”

Mike Simon, Operations Manager, Brookfield

Whether a project is in the early stages of construction, nearing completion, or already in the operations phase, Fieldwire’s unique set of tools can come in handy. The Brookfield Place project is proof that having the right tools for the job can make all the difference.

Want to learn more? Watch the entire 30-minute discussion or request a demo of Fieldwire today to learn more about how it can help project owners seamlessly receive completed projects from General Contractors.

ZacharyroundZachary Reiss-Davis • 

This week, we’re really excited to announce our new partnership with Built, one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing private construction groups, to drive productivity across all of their projects. Since being established two decades ago, Built has grown exponentially to become a $1.4 billion, tier-1 contractor. Handling everything from $400+ million construction projects, to high-end retail fit-outs for world-leading luxury brands, and even complex refurbishments of iconic buildings, Built is always looking to innovate and grow.

We’ve been working with them for quite a while — Built started trying and testing multiple platforms two years ago. They choose us for our ability to combine “plan viewing, document sharing, and labor coordination” into one easy-to-use platform. Don't take our word for it; their Managing Director said:

“Fieldwire does more than simply remove paper from our jobsites, it frees up our teams and partners to be more mobile and helps them to collaborate and problem solve together on site.”

Brett Mason, Managing Director, Built

It’s not just about Fieldwire as a single isolated platform; Built also uses our integration with Dropbox to manage all of their plans on projects such as a commercial office tower, Barrack Place, in central Sydney and Parramatta Square, one of Australia’s largest urban regeneration projects.

Our open API and integrations are really important to the partnership, as the Chief Digital Officer of Built describes:

“Fieldwire’s ability to integrate effectively with other technology partners was a critical factor in our decision. We are always looking for best-of-breed solutions that fit easily into our broader ecosystem allowing us to create a seamless experience for our team members. We see this as key to the future of building efficiency in our industry.”

Sujeet Rana, Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Built

Want to hear more about the partnership? Check out the full press release. Want to work with Fieldwire across your entire organization, or get started on one of your projects? Request a demo today!

Customer Quotes from Built about Fieldwire

ZacharyroundZachary Reiss-Davis • 

In this release, we’re excited to introduce a whole new way of using Fieldwire — Forms. Learn more about them in our Release Webinar on August 8th, or read on! Available for our business and enterprise customers, Forms (currently in beta) is a whole new way of using Fieldwire, alongside the existing plans, tasks, and files that have already been used on more than 200,000 projects.

Why forms? Because we know you and your teams manage a number of paper files and PDFs to track different parts of your job on a daily and weekly basis, and it will save you time and money to track them all in a single platform.

Don’t take our word for it; a general contractor who's already using forms said,

"Forms are a game-changer for us. We're already using Daily Reports, and we’re excited to see the power of forms added onto Fieldwire’s existing plan viewing and task management capabilities."

Curtis Brundidge, Director of VDC at Carroll Daniel Construction

When you use Forms in Fieldwire, all of your major disparate paper forms get consolidated into our easy-to-use platform. They’re now easier to complete, and you get all the benefits of our transparent tracking of who did what, when, and why. Our webinar on August 8th with Stéphane Denerolle, the Director of Product Management for forms, will walk you through the new solution.

Today, we’re starting with the four types of forms our customers tell us they use the most: Daily Reports, Timesheets, Inspection Requests, and RFIs. What’s included in each form type? (Click for a large version of the image)

Fieldwire Forms include Daily Reports, Timesheets, Inspection Requests, RFIs

  • Daily Reports lets a superintendent or foreman in the field record what happened on the job site, including the weather, delays, accidents, injuries, and notes. This has been our most common feature request, and we’re glad to share a full tutorial video of Daily Reports. Read the support page.
  • Timesheets are exactly what they sound like — you fill them out already on every job site, for everyone on the site for payroll; the whole process becomes more streamlined when you just need to select how many hours each person worked, add any comments, and hit submit! Read the support page.
  • Inspection Requests enable a contractor to manage inspections with a third-party inspector, such as a building inspector, fire marshal, or a owner’s representative. What needs to be inspected has always been tightly coupled with where something was done on a set of drawings, and what tasks were completed to do the work. Read the support page.
  • RFIs. Traditionally, everyone on a project has used a different system to generate an RFI, and the people submitting an RFI from the field (e.g. due to unforeseen site conditions) use a different platform without a connection to the people back in the office. With Fieldwire, different stakeholders can collaborate on the same form, by requesting information from the people with the knowledge at their fingertips. Read the support page.

Moving forward, we plan to continue to bring you regular enhancements to our forms, just like you’ve come to expect from the other parts of the Fieldwire platform. In the next few months, the v1 release will include the ability to attach forms to specific points on a plan or to a task as well as automated weather data on the Daily Report form.

To get started, we’ve created some initial resources for you. Watch our video, at the bottom of this post, for a walkthrough of Daily Reports, check out our support page, or sign up for our webinar on August 8th.

Resources:

Thank you to all of our customers who are already using Forms today and have helped us with feedback over the last few months. As one of our specialty contractors said:

"We are excited to see Forms on Fieldwire. Efficiencies in formatting, online, and mobile access have given our field and project management staff the tools to keep on track."

Nick Wienold, Assistant PM at BEAR Construction

We look forward to hearing from you about how you use Forms on your projects!

Customer Quotes from Carroll Daniel and Bear Construction about Fieldwire Forms

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