Construction Software is Revolutionizing the Industry and Simplifying Projects for AEC Professionals
A typical construction project can be filled with risks.
Plenty of accidents can happen on a site -- such as facing a potential building collapse, or trying to fix faulty wires. Contracts and other important documents can be erased due to a minor computer glitch, while deadlines can be missed if papers aren’t organized in a clean and concise manner.
It’s no secret that these issues could lead to PR and revenue disasters that require a significant amount of work to repair, but employing a comprehensive document management solution could possibly offer the best insurance against these potential pitfalls.
With the day-to-day complications AEC professionals face in their line of work, Autodesk’s BIM 360 Docs was conceived to help mitigate these risks, simplify processes, create greater collaboration among project teams, and reduce time spent on reviewing and approving versions.
Taking a closer look at the daily duties of key members of project teams, let’s learn more about how BIM 360 Docs can help.
Project superintendents work directly for a general contractor, overseeing daily operations and making sure that projects are running on-time and on-budget. He’s also responsible for communicating back to stakeholders about a project’s progress and tracking RFIs.
Managing the day-to-day tasks of a project, you can almost always find the superintendent on-site, coordinating schedules for foremen and other subcontractors, delegating tasks, and overseeing quality control.
In order to do his job effectively, the super needs to have access to the most recent project documents in an easy-to-use format. Time is of the essence to the super and having software that allows him to see the most recent – and accurate – versions of plans with markup, simplifies the process of directing work to subcontractors.
Since he works on-site and it’s usually a long trek back to the job site trailer, having the ability to markup and send information from a laptop or mobile device allows him to keep the project running smoothly from the trenches, while simultaneously staying in (digital) contact with other members of the project team stationed off-site.
If it’s a very large project, there may be multiple superintendents who oversee different parts of a project – some may be responsible for one part of the build, while others may govern more specific areas like electrical wiring and plumbing matters. In addition to having to communicate with stakeholders, these supers need to connect with each other to make sure workloads do not overlap and their respective teams’ efficiency is maximized. BIM 360 allows supers to add their markup to the most recent version of a doc and to also have private side conversations within the document to better gauge responsibilities.
BIM 360 gives superintendents the ability to make swift decisions with accurate data. Its mobile interface is robust, and will soon include built-in hyperlinks in the document, which will allow users to easily switch from one document to another with just a simple click. Having accurate information in an easy-to-use format helps make the superintendent’s job easier and gives him the tools he needs to assign tasks, stay in contact with teammates, and do so with the confidence that everyone is working from the right document – all while staying mindful of project timelines.
Construction foremen serve as the captains of their respective ships. They’re responsible for a diverse array of duties, including managing project resources, creating and maintaining schedules to ensure efficiency of the project and the manpower behind it, and also serving as the key point of contact providing construction project reports to important stakeholders.
A foreman must have a keen eye for detail and the ability to read and understand blueprints. These skills are critical to guaranteeing that a project is finished on time without any errors.
However, large paper blueprint rolls can be damaged by on-site debris. And even if a foreman is using a digital version of blueprints, delays in communication may see him working from an old version that does not accurately reflect changes and recommendations that have been made to plans by various project teams. For foremen who are on-site, working in the field to build a project, having access to the latest version of a blueprint is crucial.
While 2D documents are frequently used by designers and are considered to be the official document of record for a plan, 3D models offer a greater ability to “test” scenarios and accurately address foundational and structural concerns in the field.
One advantage of using BIM 360 Docs is that foremen can easily view construction project drawings in both a 2D and 3D format, which enables easier markups as a build progresses. As a result, there is less of a need to rely on paper plans, less risk in using an outdated version, and a streamlined ability to switch between 2D and 3D views, so there is less of a need to rely on paper plans.
Additionally, foremen can make use of BIM 360 as a piece of construction project scheduling software, using it to create punch lists to delegate tasks to members of their crew with an eye on delivering a project according to an agreed-upon deadline.
Document managers hail from all ends of the construction spectrum. Some are primarily field engineers or project controls managers who are well-acquainted with the technology needed to manage all of the documents associated with a given project. It’s a responsibility not taken lightly, and requires an eye for detail since their teammates depend on them to ensure all parties are working from the most recent versions of marked-up documents.
A document manager’s greatest assets are organization and a comprehensive construction project filing system that hosts every possible version of a building’s plans and models. Design teams tend to make numerous changes as a project progresses, so a document manager also needs to have a strategy for distributing this necessary information to the right people at the right time. Since there can be upwards of thousands of pages of revisions for each particular project, having an intuitive and reliable construction project tracking software system to catalog these changes is essential.
Document managers have to be meticulous when it comes to handling all of this paperwork. It can be stressful wondering if you submitted the right documents to the right audience or if one contract somehow got lost. Document managers are under a lot of continuous pressure to maintain strict version control, ensuring that all project teams are working from the correct documents. The project’s timeline and budget – not to mention the document manager’s job – depend on their attention to detail and ability to meticulously update critical project documents.
Yet, despite having an organized system, many document managers often have to ping-pong between multiple web-based construction project management software programs that track different parts of the process. It can be a time-consuming process. Document managers must be able to quickly check if any alterations are saved in the current form or if other users made any changes without notifying them.
As a project team’s first line of defense in making sure all involved parties are accessing the latest version of a project document, the job of a document manager is not just a tedious one – it’s important to the timeline and bottom line of a project.
The role of BIM 360 Docs as software for construction project management is to help lessen the anxieties – and time spent -- that come with project tracking and document management. The application gives document managers unprecedented granular access or private internal review before releasing paperwork to the rest of the team. Ultimately, these features create a better sense of reliability, housed in one, cohesive solution, eliminating the need to replicate notations and revisions across multiple software platforms.
Chief Information Officers
Chief Information Officers (CIO) are tasked with embracing and teaching teams about new technology that can help reduce work-flow errors and boost productivity. Construction project planning is often in their wheelhouse and the CIO must stand as an accessible means of communication to all partners and stakeholders. It is the job of the CIO to choose a powerful document management solution that warrants open communication and also helps to unify tasks.
It can feel overwhelming for CIOs to have to enact multi-faceted plans that affect so many people and phases of a project. However, BIM 360 Docs can be a viable tool in helping to streamline the amount of time spent on training personnel on technology and ensuring all information received is accurate to keep a project proceeding according to plan. Having software that is intuitive and easy to use can make the CIO’s job easier -- simplifying the learning and training process for all personnel who will need to have access to it. Additionally, having software that unifies all processes in one system, spares CIOs the need to train others on multiple systems, thus saving companies time, money, and resources.
For CIOs, BIM 360 Docs can place every single document in one easily accessible hub. This cuts down on sharing data and printing endless amounts of paper to view thousands of sheets with any given project. As a result, each member of the field team and main office are armed with the correct information as to what needs to be done and affords them the ability to track project progress.
These are just a few of the ways BIM 360 can help make the lives and jobs of AEC professionals easier.
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