Sarah causey kaSarah Causey • 

2019 08 15T04 32 53

To the displeasure of many architects and designers, major construction management apps like Procore and BIM 360 seem to be designed solely with a contractor in mind. They offer a wide range of functionalities, most of which a typical design firm will never use. And, to top it all off, this functionality comes with a hefty price tag.

Designers need concise, easy-to-use, and free architecture apps that speak to their side of the construction administration phase. Rather than a set of complex or disconnected tools, they need construction management software that unites dispersed teams and solves simple problems. That’s why, when RATIO, an interdisciplinary design firm with several office locations found Fieldwire, they couldn’t believe their luck; Fieldwire was built with designers and architects in mind.

RATIO consists of architects, interior designers, historic preservationists, landscape architects, urban designers, and urban planners. For years, this international, multidisciplinary practice had been seeking architecture software for their users that was intuitive, mobile-first, flexible, and affordable. A major reason why they selected Fieldwire over other architecture apps was its ability to adapt to the various ways in which each team operates at RATIO. For example, RATIO’s historic preservation team uses Fieldwire to document window assessments of some beautiful historical buildings they’re renovating into boutique hotels, the landscape team uses Fieldwire to produce condition assessments of sites, and RATIO’s interior designers use the app to punch furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) packages on large-scale workplace projects.

“Fieldwire has been an invaluable resource for documenting and tracking distinct historical features on our projects, which has saved us both valuable time and resources.”

Anne Schneider, Preservationist, RATIO

Architecture app for historic preservationists

The historic preservation studio at RATIO often has the fun job of inspecting historic buildings before any work can be done. As you’d imagine, they come across some real gems in the process and need to document them before anything can be removed from the site. Recently, their team completed a windows assessment at the Bottleworks District in Indianapolis, IN. The Fieldwire inspection app allowed RATIO preservationists to quickly identify and organize the historic age and condition of each window on the façade. A tedious task on paper, Fieldwire saved the team hours if not days in documentation. Now, this 90-year-old Art Deco-inspired Coca-Cola Bottling plant is being given new life as a boutique hotel.

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Construction software for architects

Fieldwire is extremely reliable when it comes to referencing files in the field. The construction blueprint app eliminates long load times, plus sheets can be accessed offline, making navigation quick and easy. Fieldwire’s tasks help architects track issues as they arise onsite to swiftly communicate change with clients and contractors.

In addition to field reporting, RATIO architects use Fieldwire’s construction management software to document and record site conditions using photos in real-time. For example, jobsite teams can easily navigate through their various plans on mobile to locate a photo pin which identifies an issue or progress. Being able to attach an image to an exact location on a plan helps architects communicate exactly what’s happening without the need for emails or calls. With several architects working across RATIO’s five offices, this functionality allows all team members to reference existing site conditions remotely and at the same time, which is paramount to efficiency.

“I was told once by one of our clients that our field reports were the most detailed and coherent that he had ever seen. I attribute this to a great tool and support team.”

Ben Horn, Architect, RATIO

Fieldwire for interior designers

Inside the renovation of Cummins Inc.’s flagship office in Columbus, IN, RATIO’s interior design team used Fieldwire’s punch list app to develop punch lists of multiple FF&E packages. With over 5,000 pieces of furniture across five bid sets, it was crucial to be able to manage such a mass of data accurately and efficiently. Fieldwire-specific filters and tags used in the documentation process enabled the team to instantly generate punch list reports specific to each furniture dealership. It is difficult to quantify just how much time was saved by this process, but it is hard for the team to imagine managing such volume of data using pen and paper. It is clear that Fieldwire saves time on the jobsite and in the office, but more than that, the peace of mind this construction software provides designers is truly invaluable!

“Utilizing Fieldwire has created an intuitive, quick, and easy way for us to track every step of furniture installations, with the added benefit of collaborating in-house and sharing with other team members.”

Samantha Schonegg, Interior Designer, RATIO

As the use of Fieldwire becomes more prevalent across RATIO’s multiple studio locations and teams, it is clear that a continued molding of the application will occur. RATIO is working on developing template project setups for each discipline and use case. Standard checklists are beginning to form organically as users see the efficiency gained. RATIO is excited and energized to have finally found a field management app that works for everyone — contractors, owners, and designers! Try Fieldwire for free today.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

#16397 Sustainable construction

Sustainable construction management means far more than building environmentally-friendly structures. What is sustainable construction, then? It is the combination of sustainable construction practices and sustainable building materials in order to reduce waste and environmental impact. With construction and demolition materials — concrete, wood, asphalt — piling up quicker than they can be cleared, there is mounting pressure on the construction industry to recycle and repurpose waste. By 2025, the volume of construction waste generated each year is expected to double to 2.2 billion tons, according to Construction & Demolition Recycling. To reduce this number quickly and effectively, we should follow sustainable construction management methods and invest in sustainable construction materials and software.

To become more sustainable before your next project, follow these four steps for more sustainable construction managament and avoid the eight wastes in construction.

1. Use alternatives for sustainable construction materials

When it comes to reducing waste in construction, a quick solution is using an alternative to traditional concrete. Concrete accounts for half of all construction waste generated each year; more than 500 million tons worldwide! Green building materials like bamboo, recycled plastic, ferrock, and even hempcrete are all alternatives to using concrete and are four sustainable construction materials you can use on your next project.

Thoughtful selection of sustainable building materials should occur at the beginning of each project. Choosing to use 100 percent recycled plastic on projects is definitely worth the investment, as structures made from this sustainable material can last more than 50 years — up to 20 years more than traditional structures made with concrete or wood.

recycled building materials

While incorporating just one sustainable construction material into a building does not make it ‘the world’s greenest project’, it does go along way in reducing environmental impacts caused by construction. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) reports that the construction industry accounts for 40 percent of worldwide energy use, so it’s important that we play our own small part in creating a better, more sustainable future together.

Two companies already doing this are Bouygues Construction and Hoffmann Green Cement Technologies, who recently signed a technical and commercial collaboration contract to develop very low carbon concrete. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have also produced high-quality concrete from waste ash, reducing annual landfill by 100,000 tons in the UK.

2. Implement Just-In-Time production for more sustainable construction projects

Sustainable construction material management and demolition — such as with concrete, which happens to be the top contributor to construction waste — can also be improved with Just-In-Time (JIT) production. As the name suggests, and according to Lean Manufacturing Tools, JIT production is a sustainable construction management practice that calls for the production of what the customer wants, when they want it, and in the exact quantities requested. Instead of ordering large stocks of what you think the job may require, you only order exactly what you need, when the job requires it or the customer asks. This method eliminates waste for sustainable construction management by removing overproduction from the project lifecycle. As a result, the cost of storing excess material is kept to a bare minimum, free storage space is better utilized onsite, and fewer materials are dumped at the end of a job.

3. Integrate alternative sustainable construction methods

Similarly to how JIT production can improve sustainability by reducing waste, prefabricated (or prefab) construction materials and methods are highly sustainable. Also known as offsite construction, prefab construction is the practice of assembling parts of a structure in a manufacturing site and transporting them to a different location. Prefab construction is a more sustainable construction technique and is more efficient than traditional construction methods due to factory-based manufacturing and assembly processes and affordable running costs. In fact, it takes up to 67 percent less energy to manufacture a prefab building than it does to build a conventional structure, according to Clearview Modular Buildings. Which is why it’s becoming such a popular construction method.

By 2030, modular construction could account for a combined $130 billion of new real estate construction in the U.S. and Europe and lead to $22 billion in annual cost savings, according to this Bisnow article. Most importantly, when lifecycle costs are factored in, prefab buildings deliver a lifetime energy saving of up to 90 percent! Prefab structures are undoubtedly sustainable as they can be recycled time and time again; easily repurposed to reduce waste and environmental impact.

prefab building

4. Be more sustainable; ditch the paper blueprints, drawings, and specs

While a few reams of paper may not feel like a big waste when compared to a dump-truck filled with construction debris, it’s not just about the paper — it’s about reducing rework and other construction waste. Sustainable construction companies require construction management software to replace paper plans and files. Investing in sustainable construction technology that eliminates paper plans and files saves valuable time and money, not to mention the positive impact on the environment. For example, Graham Construction, a billion-dollar General Contractor in Canada, used Fieldwire’s sustainable construction management app and saved $35,000 in printing costs on a single project. Fieldwire automatically notifies Graham employees of updates in real-time to ensure everyone is always working from the right set of plans. This not only makes Graham more efficient onsite but far more sustainable because they’re reducing paper waste.

Without construction management software, wasteful mistakes are a lot more likely. For example, if a concrete subcontractor is not informed of a change and is consequently working from an outdated plan, he or she may perform a slab pour in the incorrect location; a costly mistake that increases construction and demolition waste and delays project progress.

Transitioning to a paperless construction company, being less wasteful of project materials, and experimenting with more sustainable construction methods is going to help you reduce waste — not only for the benefit of your company and customers but for the benefit of the environment. Take the first step towards construction sustainability and ditch the paper with Fieldwire; request your free demo today.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

Aussie construction terms

Australian jargon used on residential construction sites is pretty tricky for most people to understand. But it’s important you know what’s being said onsite in order to stay productive and reduce risk. We’ve drawn inspiration from our previous blog post and put together this list of common Aussie construction terms used on residential construction projects for you to learn and carry with you.

15 Aussie construction terms

  • Acoustic batts: Sound-insulating material used for noise reduction that’s visually similar to standard thermal insulation batts found in the loft space of Australian homes.
  • Baluster: Also called spindle, a baluster is a small post, often in a series, used to support a handrail.
  • Bushfire Attack Level (BAL): Indicates the construction requirements for building within a medium threat bushfire-prone area.
  • Chippie: The Australian term for a Carpenter.
  • Dado: The lower portion of a wall in a room, near waist height, usually with a different or contrasting surface treatment.
  • Eaves: The lower portion and edge of a roof that overhangs the walls.

Eaves

  • Fall: Amount of slope on a block.
  • Gabled roof: A roof consisting of two sloping surfaces.
  • Gyprock: A trade name for plasterboard, used especially to form or line the inner walls of houses.
  • Laminate: Often refers to a cabinetry finish, where a layer of plastic is bonded to the particle-board type cabinet or benchtop.
  • Proof of Funds (P.O.F): Evidence furnished by the client to the builder that sufficient funds exist to pay the contract sum.
  • Root barrier: An engineer-designed method to protect a house slab from roots of nearby trees.
  • Scissor truss: A prefabricated boomerang-shaped frame, often made of timber, used to support a roof.
  • Smoko: Australian slang for a short break; for example, a cigarette or tea break.
  • Sparkie: The Australian term for an Electrician.

If you found this blog post helpful or simply want to understand more common construction terms, take a look at our Construction Terms 101 and 102 blog posts which further decode jobsite language. If you think we’ve missed a term that you want to be included, don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook or Twitter.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

Women in Construction Week

The construction labor shortage has become a more significant issue for the construction industry with each passing year. By the end of December 2018, the construction industry’s unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent compared to 3.9 percent in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While this problem has required the field to search for solutions — such as better construction management software — it has also left the industry reeling for answers. Why aren’t more millennials or Generation Z pursuing careers in construction such as becoming a specialty contractor or general contractor?

One reason is most certainly due to the stigma attached to construction trade schools. The increased pressure to pursue a bachelor’s or even master’s degree has made institutional paths the norm for young professionals, and the myths associated with construction trade schools have decreased attendance.

Here are three myths often linked to trade schools — especially trade schools for construction management — and a few reasons why they are not correct.

debunking trade school myths

1. “Trade schools won’t get you hired”

The goal of any certificate, license, or degree is to secure a job at the end of the process, preferably one that will launch you into your desired career field. One myth attached to construction trade school certificates is that they do not lead to many job offers. However, this is especially untrue for those attending trade school to learn a skill associated with the construction industry.

According to BLS data, the unemployment rate for the construction industry (private wage and salary workers) in November 2018 was 3.9 percent, close to the national average of 3.7 percent (the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years). The financial crisis of 2007 increased unemployment in construction and many workers did not return as the economy slowly made its way back.

However, many of those who continued working in construction now anticipate leaving the industry. In fact, more than 40 percent of construction workers are fast approaching their retirement. This is emphasized in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, which shows there were 278,000 construction job openings in September 2018 compared to 179,000 in September 2017 — more than 55 percent increase year over year.

Therefore, while the construction industry’s unemployment is slightly higher than the national average, this likely will not be the case for much longer. The labor shortage in construction is already widely reported, and the need to fill those spots will only become direr. Increased attendance to trade school for construction management will train a new group of workers to fill these much-needed spots, and it will do so with a generation known for being technologically savvy.

2. “Financial security can only be achieved with a college degree”

Perhaps the most popular myth is that trade schools do not pay off. Yes, the end goal of any education is to secure a good job and a comfortable wage. But this can certainly be achieved for a more reasonable price at a trade school for construction management.

According to the BLS Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers report, for the third quarter of 2018, the median weekly earnings for United States workers were $887 — or $46,100 annually. Comparatively, the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) released its 2018 Construction Craft Salary Survey Results showing that general contractors can earn as much as $92,523 yearly - almost double the nation’s median. The survey also showed that specialty contractors can make as much as $71,067 yearly.

In contrast, new college graduates will make an average of $50,400 annually, according to a study by consulting firm Korn Ferry which analyzed 310,000 entry-level positions from nearly 1,000 organizations across the U.S. In addition to that starting salary, there’s something else college students often receive when they graduate — significant student loan debt.

According to Student Loan Hero, the average student loan debt for a college graduate in 2017 was $39,400 — almost 80 percent of their starting salary. The organization also estimates that the average debt for obtaining a Master of Education is $50,900 and $58,500 for a Master of Arts! Not to mention the pressure a financially-stressed student faces trying to secure a full-time job. According to career research site Zippia, this isnt the case for construction workers, who progress from managers, to supervisors, and superintendents within 10 years of entering the field, on average.”

3. “Trade jobs will soon be replaced with robots”

Who wants to spend time and money training for a career that might not exist in a few years? It is not a secret that Silicon Valley’s attempt to “disrupt” industries with automation has reduced employment in some fields. However, the construction industry is a complex and dynamic environment that’s much harder to automate than, for example, manufacturing and is avoiding this trend using construction management software such as Fieldwire, which aims to empower blue collar workers instead of replacing them. As Brad Bartholomew, co-owner of Bartholomew Heating and Cooling, said: “Skilled trades are very important, well paying, very well-respected jobs that can’t be moved out of the country or replaced by technology. These are jobs that are going to exist; that need to exist. We need this kind of work.”

Construction management software targeting the construction industry is helping workers — replacing older methods of communication to improve productivity and reduce busywork. Using software to automate redundant tasks enables craftspeople to focus on meaningful work and do that work for longer periods of time. Allowing robots — no fearing them — to perform physically demanding construction tasks could extend a workers career and attract more technically savvy people to the industry, especially those already attending a trade school for construction management.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

#15722 General contractor blog

Today, general contractors are spending nearly the same amount of revenue on construction technology as they were in 2017, according to a recent survey by JB Knowledge. Meaning, the construction industry is still lagging behind all other industries when it comes to digitization. General contractors, are, however, adopting portable technology at a much faster rate than in previous years, with 93% of survey respondents preferring a mobile device over a laptop in the field.

Embracing a paperless future

General contractors are increasingly turning to construction management apps — to access project information from any device and location. Rather than carrying around bulky binders or laptops, all a general contractor needs today is the phone in their pocket and a construction app.

In 2018, JB Knowledge reported that general contractors were using construction management apps for three main reasons:

  • To capture and store photos and videos
  • For daily reporting
  • For time management

Now that you know this, we thought we’d provide a brief explanation on how you can do all of the above using Fieldwire’s construction management app for the field. Let’s jump straight in!

Capture and store photos and videos

Using a construction app like Fieldwire, you can snap a photo, attach it to a plan or task, record a video, and instantly share it with others, all while you’re working in the field. Once someone replies to that photo or video, Fieldwire will alert you in real-time so that you’re across every update no matter where you are.

Graham Group, one of Canada’s largest construction companies with over $2.2 billion in annual revenue, use Fieldwire in a similar way to communicate more efficiently onsite. Graham’s Quality Control Coordinator, Stefan Gonari, said: “With Fieldwire’s real-time functionality, I can markup a deficiency on the fourth floor, go down to the second floor, get notified that the issue has already been fixed, and then verify it – all from my iPhone in minutes.”

Furthermore, Fieldwire will automatically archive your photos and videos for you to download later or send in a PDF report to project owners. Either set up a report to auto-send on a set day or save each one to print later. It’s never been so easy!

Daily reporting

With the right construction app in hand, daily reports should not be tedious or time-consuming. Because, a field management app like Fieldwire, allows you to build, edit, and submit your daily’s from any mobile device in the field. In just a few minutes, you can download and send daily construction reports to other project members — significantly reducing busy work back in the office.

From within Fieldwire’s construction management app, you can customize construction daily reports to include (or not include) information, such as:

  • Weather conditions, which can be automatically generated based on your location.
  • Information about schedule delays, site conditions, accidents, and equipment or materials used.
  • A log of work that was undertaken, including who did it, the time it took them, and any other notes.
  • Attachments such as photos and files that support the work log.

Daily reports ipad 2

This way, you no longer need to dread daily reports or waste valuable time configuring each one. If daily reporting is a process you’d like to further simplify, check out these helpful best practices on our blog.

Time management

At Fieldwire, we understand that your time is money. Hence why we built our construction app to bring more structure and clarity to your day. Fieldwire puts all the information you need in one place — tasks, plans, files, and more — to save you time and increase transparency.

More importantly, Fieldwire helps general contractors manage their time without feeling overwhelmed. Our scheduling dashboard allows you to arrange your tasks in order of priority or due date so that you can stay on track without losing your cool. However, if a task does run overschedule, Fieldwire will automatically notify you to step in and make adjustments before it’s too late. This prevents you from incurring significant project delays which have real costs!

At Fieldwire, we’re dedicated to helping you manage your time more effectively. In fact, we save our users an average of 5 hours each day, based on customer feedback. We’re always upgrading our software to give you more tools to effectively manage your day. Check out our latest features which you can try for free or request a demo with one of our product experts today.

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