Beyond the Build


Lightening the Load

Several years ago we started using PlanGrid (a cloud-based system) and we now use it on every job. Our project managers upload plans/specs, reports and schedules on their particular projects, and the mobile app syncs with online document management software, allowing us to access all our files from anywhere that has WiFi.
Prior to PlanGrid, the PM’s tendency was to pile every printed version of the plans into the car before heading to the job site. Superintendents had all this info stacked in job trailer, taking up space and confusing folks trying to determine the most current set. Now everything they need is filed neatly on the iPad. I asked them to share a few advantages of this paperless system:
  • Plans are always updated and in once place, and all users can have access.
  • Specifications, geotechnical/environmental reports, submittals and product data are easily accessible.
  • Current plans can be layered over previous versions to see the changes easily.
  • Hyperlinks and photos can be attached to the exact location, along with redline comments, for a clear explanation of issues and updates.
  • Keyword searchable.
  • For site walks with owners and architects, we can tag the exact location of the problem.
Beyond the data for the project itself, we can also access every drawing for every project that the company and has worked on in the last couple of years. As one PM eloquently said, “And I can do all of this while standing in the mud at a job site.” Priceless. Maybe something to consider for others in the real estate business.
Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.