Colt Builders - Multi-Family Wood Framing Projects
An integral part of any new building is the framework set in place to hold the entire structure together. Colt Builders is a nationwide commercial wood framing subcontractor with a proven record for large scale, multi-family projects. With offices in Rhode Island, Maryland, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and California, they can handle high-density wood framing jobs from coast to coast with ease. They have over 400 employees and approximately twice as many other subs working for them, so their ability to manage complex multi-family housing projects has never been in doubt as they’ve continued to grow their business for over a decade.
- Company Type: Specialty Contractor
- 400 Employees
- 800 Subcontractors
- Jobsite coordination
- Company-wide transparency
- Field scheduling and coordination
Any major new project needs to get off on the right foot in order to really make great strides. Phil Blake, a Regional General Manager for Colt Builders, makes sure the Colt team always starts out strong on every endeavor by trusting Fieldwire to provide the framework for their preconstruction efforts. Setting up project files and drawings within the construction app reduces any bottlenecking or confusion when the team first embarks on new jobs.
“Preconstruction is step one. When estimating is complete, we include instructions and upload anything that’s going to be used out on the jobsite, such as plans, RFIs, and any communication documents,” says Blake. “We use Fieldwire to set up everything beforehand, and once we hand things off to the construction team, they have everything available to them while on-site and can keep it up to date in the field.”
Helping Colt employees keep vital data in hand while they work is essential to their success. This is especially true with drawing sets, and the Colt team no longer has to worry about maintaining the most recent plans thanks to Fieldwire. Before the first nail is hammered, the entire skeleton of the project’s resources can be neatly organized and then shared so that workers can flesh it out with data. With no question about the validity of their core project materials, Colt employees have a clear path set before them when they first arrive on the job.
“It’s important that the employees out in the field always have the latest and greatest in terms of plans and information, and that’s ordinarily hard to keep updated,” says Blake. “Trying to keep a current set of plans can be quite difficult, but Fieldwire has been wonderful at helping us achieve that so much more easily. Having a current document set available to our field team is a huge deal, whether they’re new revisions or important RFIs or JSIs. We can get them to our employees immediately.”
Tasking and Quality Control
With the preconstruction foundation securely in place, Blake and the Colt team can confidently dive straight into the project. The chief form of their efforts take shape in Fieldwire’s task management system, which allows them to identify the location and nature of every punch item throughout the entire jobsite. These tasks can then be assigned to the appropriate employees and monitored as they get addressed. The immediate nature of the notifications that accompany task updates ensures that the Colt team stays abreast of on-site activity.
“One of the major uses we have for Fieldwire is our quality control program. We upload all of the project plans, and from those plans we create our own type of quality control sheet,” says Blake. “For instance, we’ll copy and paste the structural, mechanical, and architectural plans for a particular unit, so that unit is prepared for inspection. The tasks that we place on this sheet will be easily located by a quality control supervisor, who can then delegate each task back out to various subcontractors and employees. We’ll generate a report for any punch items with attached checklists and the quality control sheet. Every unit on every job gets its own sheet created, and it’s very helpful since we attach important documents like our JSIs right to each sheet with the hyperlinking tool.”
Pairing relevant tasks and files with their corresponding plans streamlines the daily workload of Colt Builders by reducing the number of information sources down to a single handy tool. Instead of extended back and forth communication between Blake and the construction team, or multiple binders or messages passed around, all pertinent details get shared via cloud syncing directly through Fieldwire. This includes real-time tracking for all project tasks, meaning the construction team always has an accurate grasp of the progression and future scope of the job.
“One of the biggest benefits for me is the task management system - being able to assign tasks to the team and see all documentation as it takes place,” says Blake. “You can’t really do that in other programs. That’s the main strength that Fieldwire has, and having the calendar view for tasks allows me to look ahead as many months as I need to in order to get perspective on project progress. It’s very valuable having a list of tasks for everyone, which they can check each morning so that they know what the expectation is. It lets them know what they need to accomplish today and eliminates a bunch of handwritten notes, phone calls, and emails.”
Keeping all crew members informed of their priorities through mobile notifications and reports makes managing projects far less hectic. Each of their duties is carefully recorded within the app, which then acts as both confirmation of completed work as well as evidence of that work’s quality. Closeout no longer needs to be an involved, repetitive process — digging up notes and photos that were previously filed. All Blake needs to do is generate a report in Fieldwire with a few clicks, and everything is compiled and delivered without any stress.
“All of the units are marked up, we assign tasks, the work gets done, the tasks get closed out, and the unit is cleaned up. Once we’ve gone through the first round of punch, we will create another task and take a series of photos documenting the finished unit, which we then send to the general contractor in a report. It’s very useful in many ways, such as if there is ever an accident on the job, so we can prove that we completed everything properly in that unit.”
All of the benefits to communication made possible by Fieldwire have made quite an impact to staying on top of project assignments for Colt’s on-site crews. Many of Colt’s employees became familiar with the app quite quickly due to its intuituve nature; for the rest, Blake himself leads training sessions with teams across the country to get everyone onboard. Colt Builders wants to provide all of their customers with the same high level of service, no matter where they may be located, and Fieldwire helps them achieve this by improving the lines of dialogue between the field and the office.
“Fieldwire has helped us be more transparent throughout our projects. The app is helping us bridge the gap between our estimating team and construction team, and helps us quickly move information and make everything clearer to both.”
By enabling discourse and cutting down on wasted time, the app is simplifying how the firm handles large, multi-unit jobs. This in turn boosts their ability to stay engaged with colleagues within the company and without. The constant updates to data delivered through Fieldwire keep teammates in the know, and have made Colt Builders pretty popular among their peers out on jobsites.
“It’s easy to communicate with the general contractor because all of the information is right at our fingertips with Fieldwire,” says Blake. “Within seconds we can pull up anything on an iPad and hash things out with them. Nine times out of ten, our team is equipped with better information than anyone else on the jobsite, and we find ourselves basically helping everyone out there - plumbers, electricians, the general contractor, you name it. We always have a full set of current plans, so they come to take a look. Fieldwire helps us be more valuable to our customers since we’ve developed the reputation of being more tech-savvy and up-to-date than others in the industry.”
A Framework for Success
Phil Blake and Colt Builders are setting an example for all other firms on their project sites by taking control of their task and file management in smart, efficient ways. They are achieving quicker project setup and management by embracing Fieldwire, which leads to fine-tuned operations and sturdy structural accomplishments. With such a reliable framework in place, there are no limits to the great results they can create.
“I absolutely recommend Fieldwire, and in fact I’ve introduced it to a buddy in real estate who loves it as much as I do. The reporting is strong, the task system is really helping us out each day, and we can keep up-to-date plans with us at all times. You get a lot of good things from Fieldwire, so it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.”