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EADOC Blog

Leaving a Legacy of Productivity for Facility Owners

May 14th, 2014

Given the productivity issues that continue to plague capital projects, Owners and CMs have an opportunity to become more of an “interoperating” force that mandates the most efficient processes across project teams.

As holder of the project’s budget, the Owner unfortunately pays for every bit of waste created across the project’s team members.  But holding the purse strings give Owners the ability to require more consultative training and guidance from their CMs.  To begin, Owners and CMs should plan to create repeatable systems and processes.  Recreating the wheel on every project just isn’t a good use of the Owner’s dollar.

Though the CM may fear that the establishment of repeatable best practices may decrease their contract size on the next project, they end up contributing to the long-term productivity of the industry, and their client. By leaving a legacy of best practice for the Owner, CMs are actually contributing back to the Owner’s budget, allowing the Owner to build more projects, resulting in more opportunities for the CM.

Three re-useable deliverables the CM can leave behind for the owner to carry forward on future projects include:

1.       Efficient contract specifications

Contract specifications that drive efficiency include clear definitions of project roles, ownership of workflow steps, and timelines/communications required for documentation like change orders.  Some progressive CMs also include definitions of and requirements for data delivery.  This allows CMs to define reporting and communications guidelines that eliminate redundancy across multiple parties.  Data delivery requirements may also define specific methods for sharing the information like schedules, submittals and close-out materials. 

2.       Technology recommendations that can be re-used across a program or portfolio of projects

As Construction Managers are typically engaged on a project by project basis, they have the opportunity to introduce their clients to new tools for improving project delivery.   For example, tools that automate, track and enforce contractual requirements can easily be implemented on a single project and left behind to manage the client’s entire CIP program.  The most efficient systems provide a single source for functional Construction Management, including cost control, document control, risk management, schedule integration, team communications, automated workflows and reporting. CMs may select tools that encourage adoption, can be accessed from any location, and accommodate unlimited users to support a collaborative culture where project information is accessible to anyone on the project or program when they need it.

3.       Methodology for efficient communication structures that mitigate potential claims

Leveraging the CM’s expertise with past projects will allow them to provide a great level of insight into preventing claims for their client.  Here are three practices that a seasoned CM will be able to deliver:

  • Map project workflows directly to contractual requirements to make it easier for participants to be compliant.
  • Set up workflow processes with alerts for actions required in your CM system to prevent missed deadlines.
  • Capture all documents and communications from all project participants to create a complete project record.  This record serves as the timeline of events and communications to evaluate and defend against claims should they occur.

To hear from a Facility Owner who has mandated technology for use across all projects in the Capital Program department, watch this webinar with Manager of the Capital Projects Division for City of Aurora, CO.

The Cost of Build vs Buy

May 12th, 2014

IT and construction projects are both tough. The advantage that IT has over the majority of construction projects is that there are off the shelf solutions that can solve many problems. There are many off the shelf solutions that can solve construction management problems along with other industry challenges without reinventing the wheel.  Often we here the reason for building over buying a solution is flexibility. Make sure you consider the cost of that flexibility in your ROI calc. Do you really want to explain why you blew $54M trying to build your own software application like the state of Massachusetts recently did instead of buying an existing solution? Remember there are 49 other states already using tax software, for you to believe that you need to build your own means either your tax code is really messed up or have to much money in your budget. Before building you own solution make sure you take into account development cost, maintenance cost, and ongoing enhancement costs. Just like physical building software has to be continually upgraded and maintained.

Project Information and Communications: Get it Together to Avoid/Manage Claims

April 16th, 2014

When it comes to reducing the risk of claims or eliminating them altogether, your project information (and your ability to retrieve and analyze it) is your best asset.  Managing this information throughout the design and construction processes is critical to ensuring this valuable asset is developed to defend against contractor claims.

>>Join the CMAA Webinar on this topic – April 24, 2014

The best way to get ahead of claims is to be able to identify the biggest offending circumstances, and avoid them.  If you’re not sure where to start, take a look (like we did) at the latest research in claims management best practices, such as E.C. Harris’ Global Construction Disputes Report 2013.

According to the E.C. Harris report, steer clear of these most common situations (listed in order) to stay out of the claims business altogether:

1.  Incomplete or unsubstantiated claims
2.  Errors in or omissions from Contract Documents
3.  Failure to understand or comply with contractual obligations
4.  Differing site conditions
5.  Nonpayment of schedule/cost extensions due to change orders

Aside from just keeping it honest, the obvious way to avoid disputes/claims altogether is to focus all of your pre-project planning around the contract requirements, which serves as the pre-planning guide for all of your project workflows, notification timeframes, and documentation requirements:

  • Never communicate about your project via emailAlways communicate within the project system of record, in order to link your communication with the project and contract item.
  • Build project workflows and communications processes based on the contract, before any team collaboration begins.
  • Create a system of alerts/notifications that mirror the contract’s required workflows and notification timelines.
  • Categorize legitimate versus bogus RFIs.  Some contractors will try to overrun others with RFIs to make the owner or construction manager look unresponsive or deficient.  Learn to identify and organize legitimate and bogus RFIs.
  • Resolve disputes in real time. Don’t’ let them fester into claims with deep effects on cost and schedule. Set up bullets 1-4 above to support your dispute – just in case.

To get started applying these techniques today, join our CMAA Webinar:  Best Practices for Leveraging your Project Management Information System (PMIS) to Prevent and Defend Against Claims.


Printing and paper pushing: fuel to the fire of inefficiency in construction

March 19th, 2014

The construction industry is one of few industries that hasn’t experienced significant productivity gains in the last decade. In fact, construction productivity is actually on the decline according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to the tune of a whopping $19.2 billion in efficiency losses per year.

Why? A lack of technology adoption and inefficient hard-copy paper pushing is among the top 3 contributors. Thankfully, the cost of lagging technology is probably the easiest to reclaim. We are all concerned with project cost, but in a manner of speaking, our budgets are consistently being busted by that rotund machine in the corner. It’s not the cost of the machine, paper or ink that will sink our budgets, but the labor inefficiencies that it fuels. Remove that fuel from the job site and watch bottom lines improve.

Some people simply have a need to print because it feels good to hold a document in their hand – to be in control of it. But we all know that paper is expensive and supports slow and risky business processes. The costs to print, file, ship, store, archive and track are through the roof. Proven by construction’s continuing productivity decline, paper processes are actually holding the construction industry back. So why do we continue to burn time and money printing and carting paper around when an electronic version is available form anywhere with an internet connection?

What some may not know is that the construction project management applications available today are very accessible for those of us whose core skills lie elsewhere. We can access drawings and project documents from the job site, corporate office, or on the road – as simply as we can “google” what we want to find through a web browser. Not only can we find information faster, but in a construction management application we can easily link corresponding documentation to track everything that ties to a specific issue. Even correspondence or memos related to the project. But don’t get me started on email inefficiency.  Check out our 3/27 webinar on how to start the transition from paper processes to collaborative construction management.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. There’s simply no need to print anymore. If we are concerned with cost, then cutting out the fuel that burns our budgets is a simple solution. And if you need to hold something in your hand to feel in control of it – your phone, laptop or tablet will serve you much better.

Want to see the relationship of several disparate documents, comments, RFIs and other activities?  Try that with printed paper!

 

Assemble Systems, Swinerton Builders and EADOC Awarded Top Prize at AEC Hackathon

March 18th, 2014

Houston – March 18, 2014 – Team Beacon, comprised of construction professionals from Assemble Systems, Swinerton Builders, and EADOC, received the top prize sponsored by Balfour Beatty in the Beacons category at the AEC Hackathon 1.1. The team developed a prototype for a smart phone app to deliver relevant project information based on location awareness technology. During the Hackathon, the team added architects and UX designers to assist with the building site models and mobile interface.

“Unfortunately, our enterprise resource planning software that manages our RFIs, submittals, potential change orders, and more, is in most cases disconnected from our mobile and BIM solutions,” said Eric Davis, Director of Strategic Development at Swinerton Builders, “For those solutions that are connected, the connections are very rigid and are dependent on a user manually linking or entering metadata about context to establish these relationships.”

Fortunately, the interconnectedness of information technology systems is increasing exponentially with catalysts such as web services, cloud computing, sensor-embedded mobile, and the Internet of Things. For Team Beacon, building the prototype was a matter of having the time and the support to do it.

“The AEC Hackathon was a great way for our development team to network with industry thought leaders and other software developers to hack new technology and to learn from others. Our collaboration was a great success for the recognition the project received, but also gave the team time to explore new ideas that will help us shape our own technology,” said Trent Miskelly, Vice President of Product Development at Assemble Systems.

For more information on the location aware app prototype, review the presentation here.

About Assemble Systems
Headquartered in Houston, TX, Assemble Systems is a BIM data management software company. Its flagship product Assemble is a cloud based platform allowing AEC firms to leverage BIM data for increased project insight, advanced project collaboration and data-driven decision making. Assemble is used today to manage over 1,000 projects. The Assemble Systems team includes technology experts and experienced architecture, engineering, and construction industry professionals who are addressing BIM interoperability for design, construction and operation. For more information, visit http://www.assemblesystems.com, twitter.com/assemblesystems or linkedin.com/company/assemble-systems.

About Swinerton
Swinerton provides commercial construction and construction management services throughout the United States and is a 100% employee-owned company. Recognized nationally since 1888 and having celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013, Swinerton is the preferred builder and trusted partner in every market it serves—proudly leading with integrity, passion, and excellence. For more information visit http://www.swinerton.com, its blog, and follow on Twitter @swinerton.

About EADOC, LLC
EADOC, LLC is a rapidly growing cloud computing company delivering a fast, secure, easy to use web-based construction management software application to the trillion dollar construction industry. EADOC’s software is used throughout North America by construction managers to minimize the cost and hassle of managing complex construction projects -– by collaborating on a single system to manage project documents and communications, project controls and cost, risk issues, schedule activities and the relationships between all of these items. Integrating the entire project team, EADOC software scales to serve projects of virtually any size, adapts to existing workflows and is the first and only application which provides true collaboration between a capital project’s entire supply chain. Founded in 2006, EADOC Software is based in Oakland, CA. Visit http://www.eadocsoftware.com, twitter.com/EADOC or linkedin.com/company/eadoc for more information.

About AEC Hackathon 1.1
AEC Hackathon is a non-profit event that creates on-the-spot teams of technologists and industry stakeholders to shape the future of our built environment. The hackathon provides a playful, exploratory environment where disruption and creative ideas are the essential tools for innovation. The AEC community faces fresh new problems that urgently need brilliant minds to solve them. For more information, please visit http://www.aechackathon.com.

Swinerton Builders, Assemble Systems and EADOC build “Location Aware” Bluetooth Beacon- enabled Mobile BIM App at AEC Hackathon

March 13th, 2014

Today marks the construction industry’s second AEC Hackathon at the FaceBook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. Bringing together top teams of the most influential construction and engineering firms and software developers, the goal is to build fresh solutions to some of the most complicated building processes faced by AEC professionals globally.  As we speak, teams are readying for 3 long days of intensive whiteboarding, designing and coding.

How is the Swinerton Builders/Assemble Systems/EADOC team “changing the world” at AEC Hackathon? Only by attempting to virtualize and mobilize the world of Building Information Modeling (BIM) using Bluetooth beacons to improve location accuracy – something not yet attempted in AEC technology as of yet. Introducing the prototype of “Location Aware”.

Picture this: James is a superintendent whose construction project is well underway. He’s doing a walk-through to check up on some recent work and update the status of several issues or defects in need of resolution.

James walks into the jobsite room, logs on to the Location Aware app, and his phone locates him within the building’s online BIM model. Better still, all relevant issues, documents, materials quantities, and design objects relevant to that space are attached to his location on the virtual building model within the app. As James physically inspects the space, he can simply use the app to review existing issues, resolve them and provide pictures of defects or new equipment as needed for the project record. Instantly, the affected subcontractors are updated on the issues and can do their own Location Aware follow up work immediately.

Good luck to this team of hackers as they aim to connect a number of currently disconnected technologies, including BIM, resource planning data, jobsite beacons, mobile devices, and project controls details like RFIs, change orders, project costs and inspection reports…in real time.

Kudos to the creators of the AEC Hackathon, and the willingness of industry software providers to work together for this much needed solution!

EADOC joins Construction Open Software Alliance – COSA

December 19th, 2013

EADOC has joined the Construction Open Software Alliance (COSA). This alliance is a community of software developers and providers who support an open standard in construction applications, in order to provide the most useful, integrated solutions to the end-user. This is a great opportunity for EADOC to work with other software vendors in integrating our application with their to further improve productivity in the construction industry.

Construction Management Software selection requires end user buy in not just executives looking for dashboards

December 12th, 2013

Why do over 50% of Enterprise Software implementations fail? Because executives select software that delivers no time savings for the users who have to manually enter the data into cumbersome forms. Also these applications provide little to no collaboration resulting in users re-entering data over and over again. Executives need to select tools that meet the needs of the end users and the executive team. This means you must consider how the data is going to get into the application for populating the reports. Data should be coming from vendors, contractors, consultants and field personal. Those who generate it should put the data directly into the application eliminating the need for redundant data entry. It should also be easy for them to enter the data.

How can you tell you are about to buy one of these Expensive solutions for managing capital construction projects?

  • Collaborators are supplied with basic web portals for entering data<this is not collaboration>
  • Application daily users are not excited or even included in the decision process
  • Implementation services are billed on an hourly basis instead of lump sum
  • Word Enterprise application appears in product name and marketing material extensively
  • Product is called Microsoft Sharepointe, see why there are 290,000 Google search results for “Sharepointe Sucks” <http://www.huddle.com/blog/sharepoint-sucks/>
  • Implementation takes 1 to 4 years.

Remember friends don’t let friends buy Enterprise Software

Going beyond Enterprise to solve an Industry Problem

June 24th, 2013

For years every one has talked about the lack of gains in efficiency in the Construction Industry. Many articles and books have been written around this issue and theorized on why and how it can be corrected.
The biggest challenge we see with construction is that you bring together many individual firms to design and build a project. This project can last from several months to decades and encompass a dozen organizations on up to thousands. Historically each organization has procured their own software tools to manage their own silos of information. To convey this information to the parties in the team siloed data would need to be transferred via ftp or email to other participants. Adding to this issue was this data was transferred in pdf format reducing it’s value and ability to be reused by the receiving party.  A perfect example is the engineer sending drawings to the contractor in pdf format. This would force the contractor to start from scratch with their shop drawings. Not only do engineers put their drawings in pdf for transmission purposes but also they thought this would protect their Intellectual Property.  This transmission of data process creates tremendous inefficiencies within a project.

To improve efficiency in the construction industry we need to go beyond the Enterprise Construction Software applications and look at everyone involved in building a capital project. Here are three steps we believe could dramatically improve efficiency immediately in the construction industry.

  • Transmit all information electronically.(it’s amazing how many projects still use paper) this allows people to improve the efficiency of moving information. Electronic transmission of information across construction project teams increases the rate of transmission, increases control of the information, and delivers unparalleled accountability when the appropriate tools are used.
  • Transmit all information in native file format. This means the engineers and Architects provide design drawings in CAD format.  By transmitting this information electronically a record is established of the original drawings going to the contractor. Eliminating the worries
  • Stop buying Enterprise software aka “data silos”. Enterprise software was architect-ed for users to enter data once for reporting. They were never designed for data re-use or information sharing.  This is why they are typically sold on a named user or concurrent user basis, they only want a small group of users using the software.  Enterprise software creates a dramatic inefficiency on construction because we have to share large amounts information across our teams and enterprise software products prevent this.  Project participants need to be looking at collaborative project management solutions that foster usage(unlimited users) and the ability to quickly share and exchange construction project information across the entire team.

I would be interested to hear other ideas around how we can improve efficiency in the construction industry.  Feel free to comment on this blog and discuss ways either with technology or procedures that we can improve efficiency within the construction industry.

Eric Law

 

 

EADOC is Moving

June 10th, 2013

EADOC has moved into larger offices at 180 Grand in Oakland.. Our new address is 180 Grand Ave, Suite 995, Oakland Ca 94612. The new building is LEED Silver Certified providing modern amenities for the EADOC team. This new space is 50% larger then our previous space and will support the continuous growth of our team in Oakland.