How to Improve the Pre-Construction Design Stage

Claudia King imageClaudia King  •  

There’s an old adage about walking before running that always seems timely when a new construction project begins. Getting all of your ducks in a row prior to construction can often be tedious, but it’s an essential part to getting the project started on the right foot. Even before ground is broken, there is a seemingly endless stream of back-and-forth between stakeholders as the design evolves and is value engineered. It’s crucial to get everything done right during this pre-construction stage, so the importance of a reliable communication tool cannot be overstated.

Design Coordination in Fieldwire

Streamlined Document Control

Preconstruction involves a range of different stakeholders who often have conflicting priorities. With early contractor involvement becoming increasingly common, value engineering and effective communication become more and more important. The design process requires a balancing act between the viewpoints of each discipline - architects, owners, contractors, engineers, designers, the list goes on. During this process, interactions between these groups is constant and evolving, and making sure everyone is up-to-date with design changes can be a challenging. Strong collaboration and a clear, immediate flow of information are paramount.

Fieldwire turns this process into an automatic endeavor. When architects and engineers issue new versions of drawings, all of that valuable and current data is shared with everyone instantaneously through our software. Fieldwire is a platform designed to keep the entire team on the same page when it comes to real-time data, so confusion caused by outdated information is eliminated and replaced with clarity.

Project drawings can all be housed within the app, viewable offline and available at all times with a few simple clicks. Sheets are automatically versioned thanks to cloud syncing, so everyone is working off of the correct sheets no matter how often they get updated. You can even set up notifications to alert the entire team when new versions have been uploaded, and unlimited storage capacity allows you to keep a record of every past iteration of your design for easy reference. There’s also an option to overlay and compare sheets, whether they’re versions of the same drawing or entirely different sheets, and export comparisons as color-coded images. This simplifies change management and ensures you can catch any inconsistencies with little effort.

Screenshot of plan comparison

Improved Communication via Tasks

As the design continues to develop from concept to IFC (Issued for Construction), Fieldwire’s task management system makes tracking interdisciplinary collaboration a breeze. You no longer need to jot down hand-written notes and scan or photograph them to be shared with others; much like redlining and overlaying plans no longer requires a pencil, your detailed notes can be recorded and shared with a few taps of your fingertips. Any items or concerns can be marked-up, assigned, categorized, prioritized, and worked into the schedule.

If a particular design change or question comes up, a task containing that question and any other notes can be assigned to the respective designer. He or she will immediately be notified, and the task creator will in turn be notified in real-time once the designer responds. These immediate alerts keep everyone aware of updates as they happen, so no time is wasted during various back-and-forth. Tasks can be placed directly on drawings as well, so there is full transparency about the issue at hand.

Fieldwire makes it easy to capture all of this correspondence within one platform for improved accountability. The app dates and timestamps all task updates and plan markups, so you always know who did what and when they did it. As with all of the above features, this helps save your team precious time by distributing information quickly and without any strain, so collaboration is steady and free from uncertainty. You’ll know as soon as someone assigns you a task or responds to one you made, and you’ll be able to respond just as quickly. It’s also easy for design managers to remotely log in and see the complete task dashboard, which gives them an overview on the status of all outstanding tasks.

Screenshot of a design task in app

To get your project up and running successfully, consider introducing a valuable communication and document management tool from day one. Fieldwire boosts collaboration and transparency throughout the design phase of your project, and that same convenience will carry over into the proper construction stage as well. All stakeholders and designers will be kept in the loop at all times, and you’ll never need to worry about drawn out email chains or outdated drawings. Fieldwire handles all of that for you, creating a clear and structured flow of information that will help you complete your design efficiently and on schedule.

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