Check out today’s DTNS, which features a Construction Tech Bulletin after the main show, where I discuss paperless document control solutions in the construction industry. Here’s the transcript:
This is Jesse from JesseProjects.com, with your inaugural Construction Tech Bulletin
If I were to ask you to imagine a foreman heading out onto a construction site, you’d probably imagine a grizzled gray man with a huge roll of big white paper under his arm – am I right?
Well, while there’s still plenty of “bleached tree carcasses” used to build buildings, The workforce is getting younger and more technologically savvy, and the trend towards “paperless document control” is getting bigger every day. Contractors are using tools like iPads, Surface Pros, and even their smart phones to carry digital versions of those sheets with them into the field, using tools like PlanGrid, Fieldwire, and Bluebeam Revu to name a few.
These tools allow a contractor, and even all of the subcontractors and building owners they work with, to take the files they would normally have printed out on paper, and upload them into an app on their device. This way, they all have easy access to the most current drawings while they’re in the field, and greatly streamlines the flow of information between parties in the often fast-paced and hectic world of commercial and residential construction.
Now, I’ve been trying different methods for getting PDFs on iPads for years, and all these new tools are a mixed blessing.
- For one, they give you FAST access to the drawings, which is great – but they also get pretty expensive, when you’re looking at $40-130 per user, and per month.
- In addition, there are getting to be so many tools out there that it’s hard for a company of 1500 administrative employees just can’t reasonably expect to field a test of all of them.
- Last, when you have such a young, tech-savvy workforce, you end up with fragmentation in your implementation, as people on different jobs (and in different geographical areas) start trying the tools on their own.
- These forward-thinking users acting as testers don’t always think of all of the data management impacts of what they’re using, and that can lead to all sorts of problems when it comes to archiving projects, and discovery for lawsuits.
To say the least, it’s a complicated subject!
As usual, please let me know if you have questions, or would like to see a certain tool or aspect of construction explored.