Eagle Excavation - Heavy Civil and Underground Utilities
It takes a unique level of expertise to master heavy civil construction. Eagle Excavation, a commercial and residential site development firm based in Atlanta, GA, has spent over 25 years clearing, grading, and installing underground utilities throughout the Southeast U.S. region. They also specialize in site surveying and planning, as well as erosion management and general excavation. Their projects tend to run in the $3-6 million range, but can approach $10 million on occasion, and each job they take on affords them a new opportunity to build upon their reputation for quality site infrastructure. And in a region of the country with geography and weather that can often lean toward the extreme, a reliable reputation and decades of civil construction experience certainly carry a lot of weight.
Accessing Plans Anywhere
About 7 years ago, Eagle Excavation expanded their premier services by opening up a new branch in Savannah, GA. Roger Poulin was appointed Regional Manager of the area, and he’s been guiding his team through a wide variety of projects ever since. These projects often feature quite a number of drawings, and with complex tasks like installing sewer and underground water systems, those drawings need to be referenced pretty regularly. After some searching, Poulin came across the perfect tool to help his team with their sheets.
“We use Fieldwire to manage all of our plans. It’s very good at handling them,” says Poulin. “It’s just so easy to roll out each set in Fieldwire and access them at any point in the day. Everyone in the Savannah area relies on the app for everything, and those in Atlanta are using it more and more as well. My team can pull up the plans while they’re on the jobsite without any delay.”
When you’re in the middle of installing utilities or blue topping stone for a roadway, it helps having your plans on hand without worrying about damaging them or physically carrying them around. Fieldwire allows you to store your plans on a mobile device, where you can quickly view them and flip between every sheet in the set with a simple swipe. Grading, paving, and detailed utility installations deal with a lot of unknown elements and are often subject to change, so the benefit of managing all plans and on-site variables in a mobile platform cannot be understated.
“Having a set of plans right in your pocket and being able to view them wherever you are is very handy,” says Poulin. “There have been several times when we need to look something up, and while others are walking back to retrieve a set of plans, I’ve already pulled them up in Fieldwire and found the elevations we were looking for before they even make it back. No one has to run over to a truck to unroll a set of plans anymore. They’re right there on your iPhone, and you can zoom in and look at something quickly anytime you like. All of our guys now have tablets and smartphones when they’re out in the field.”
Poulin and his crew enjoy a streamlined workday with the help of Fieldwire, not having to stop and start again each time they need to check on their plans. It ends up saving them a lot of hassle as they perform common duties like grading or erosion control, and the automatic syncing system employed by Fieldwire ensures that they always have the latest sheets downloaded to their mobile devices. The markup tool suite available in the app also makes any alterations a breeze to record. This is useful if, for instance, the team is carrying out a feasibility study and comes across features that need to be added to their drawings for further site analysis.
“Making markups on our plans is the second chief use we have for Fieldwire,” says Poulin. “We have been utilizing the measurement tools more often lately, and now that we can compare sheet revisions directly in the app, that’s certainly going to be helpful. My crew also adds markups to plans as they complete their tasks to highlight anything noteworthy, like sewer lines or water lines. They can add them in the app on the same day, or the following day, so that we can see everything that’s been installed very clearly on the sheets. The highlighter tools have been a great help. We’ll use specific colors for sewer, water, storm, basically any type of trade or category that needs to be distinguished.”
Clearing a Path for Communication
The advantages the app provides for Eagle Excavation’s plan management are apparent, as are the boosts in on-site communication that it fosters. From the beginning, Poulin and his team took a shine to Fieldwire for its ease of use, and their deployment of the app in daily activities only grew from there.
“My team learned how to use Fieldwire extremely easily. They got the hang of it on the first day and really embraced it immediately,” says Poulin. “I also use it in the office all of the time. I have three monitors, and at least one of them always has Fieldwire pulled up on it. It’s a tool that we definitely needed, and we find it very easy to get comfortable with.”
With about 14-16 workers out using Fieldwire each day, that kind of intuitive functionality is invaluable for keeping everyone in touch. This is especially true when Poulin unearths issues that go beyond inconvenience, such as incorrect measurements. In the event of a stormwater system that needed correcting, Poulin created a task for each instance, placed the tasks directly on a plan, and left comprehensive notes within each task about the correct elevations. This was handy when there were up to 15 storm and sewer structures that required adjusting, and made it easier for his crews to locate and tackle each problem. Much easier than their former method of tracking data.
“We did everything the old way before finding Fieldwire. We would juggle issues and PDFs on tablets without any sort of organized system, so we greatly prefer the project management offered by the app. When Fieldwire entered the picture, I just gravitated toward it. It was exactly what I was looking for.”
By placing their trust in Fieldwire to act as both a catalog and delivery system for their data, the Eagle Excavation team has reduced the amount of wasted time and effort for each project both on-site and in the office. Less confusion and more actionable communication are the broader rewards, and in practice, automatic syncing and data storage means that when the team is busy with activities like clearing debris or moving large loads of timber or dirt, they don’t need to stop what they’re doing to stay in the loop. Those tractors and excavators can keep rumbling along while they manage their tasks and plans on their phones.
“Fieldwire has saved us time for sure,” says Poulin. “The fact that our guys don’t have to shut down a piece of equipment and leave the area to go find printed plans is great. I can also highlight something on a sheet and the rest of the team will see it on a tablet right away, without having to physically pass it along to them and vice-versa. The time it saves us, in addition to its built-in capabilities, makes it a valuable asset to all of us.”
Finding the Perfect Balance
Through the steady and savvy application of Fieldwire in their daily routine, Roger Poulin and his Savannah colleagues continue to act as a proud example of what tech know-how combined with hard work can accomplish. Eagle Excavation has proven to be masters of paving, grading, and site utilities, with Poulin and his team proving to be a large part of that success. Whether handling multi-family projects and subdivisions or large commercial sites, there is no doubt that the experts at Eagle Excavation will have any project under their control with Fieldwire in their back pockets.