Dominion Mechanical is one of the top mechanical and plumbing contractors in the Washington DC Metro Area. They have their own pipe prefabrication shop, enabling their coordination/BIM department to work hand in hand with their plumbing and mechanical division from start to end of each project.
Dominion Mechanical's team members used various systems to manage projects and had different methods for recording and updating them. Printing and emailing revisions was not only time-intensive, it also was not scalable. They needed a system that offered standardization and streamlined communication.
Procore not only simplified processes, it also provided one source of truth for all collaborators. Real-time updates offered greater visibility and accountability. Best of all, the platform was intuitive and easy-to-use, boosting field-to-office connectivity and ensuring all parties had the most up-to-date information.
For Dominion Mechanical, it wasn't that there was a lack of documentation or communication—in fact, it was quite the opposite. The team knew the importance of updating and sharing the most up-to-date information with collaborators, and as a result, there was a lot of it. However, there was just one problem: lack of standardization. Projects were becoming increasingly complex, and managing information across various systems in various ways just wasn't cutting it anymore. The team needed a way to organize and simplify their processes.
Before partnering with Procore, Dominion Mechanical managed projects with MS Office products like Word and Excel, email for large files, and paper documents that were then hand-delivered to the team. These were all digitally saved in folders, and any updates were saved, printed, and emailed (or hand-delivered) again. This was not only time-consuming, but it was also not scalable.
"People had different filing systems and different logic for filing," recalls Director of Project Delivery, Dave Woody.
The leadership team decided they wanted to transition from server-based document storage to cloud-based. This would not only streamline documentation and communication, it would also safeguard them against potential risks like server failures and security breaches.
The team also wanted to improve communication. A few years earlier, Dominion Mechanical started a prefabrication shop, enabling them to build large components of projects before they were actually needed on site. But this also meant they needed all the other components of the project done earlier as well—from the coordination department's drawings to submittals.
Dave and his team set up a series of meetings to identify major roadblocks in their processes and discuss how they could improve communication. They quickly discovered that one of the primary factors in slower turnaround times was paperwork.
"We needed to get all these processes fine-tuned and get all the information as streamlined and easy as possible. That way, we could get it out the door right away as soon as we were awarded the job and be confident it would come back approved so we could start drawing it and building it early," says Dave.
Dave and his colleague, Mike Mohnacs, Vice President of Construction Operations, had been exposed to Procore while working with general contractors in the past, and they decided to set up a demo.
"When we looked at the documentation and the tutorial videos on what Procore could do, Mike and I said to each other, ‘That's how these GCs are always beating us at this game with how quickly they can generate these documents, logs, and reports,'" Dave laughs.
Mike chimes in, "Instead of having a Microsoft Outlook or group email, they just set it up in Procore. It works to the general contractor's advantage with automatic notifications."
They quickly realized that the platform's robust toolset wasn't just for general contractors. In fact, it offered a comprehensive toolset that offered solutions specifically for subcontractors as well. Most importantly, Procore offered a way to simplify and standardize document storage for all collaborators.
"The file structure of the tools was definitely the big win for us for getting everybody organized. Anybody could jump on someone's project and find the drawings or RFIs," says Dave.
The other component that caught their attention was that Procore connected to critical integrations like Sage 100 which was their accounting solution. Procore also offered optical character recognition (OCR) that automatically detected the name, number, and discipline of each set while splitting sheets. It then scanned drawings for detail callouts and automatically linked them to related drawings. What's more, the fact that Procore could update, or "slip-sheet," new drawings into the existing set helped ensure all collaborators had the most up-to-date set of documents.
"Having that OCR function is huge for us because of how often projects are changing these days. It used to be you'd get one set of drawings, and those would be your set of drawings to last the job. Now there are 85 revisions, and we have to keep everybody up-to-date when revisions are issued. That was a huge win for us to have it automatically supersede pages and to be able to review the previous documents, and flip back and forth pretty quickly. The same thing with the specifications," Dave reflects. Mike adds that now, this feature alone saves them a couple hours each week.
In March of 2018, the executive team decided to partner with Procore. Dave says that having "a one-stop shop" for all project information was a huge advantage. What's more, the platform was intuitive and easy to use which was a major factor in getting the field team's buy-in. In addition, Procore's unlimited user license model enabled teams to collaborate seamlessly—from the field to the office, and between internal and external parties.
"Procore is definitely the bridge between the two worlds—the guy that's actually working off of a ladder and the guy that's working at a desk." Dave pauses and adds, "It's nice not to be concerned with picking and choosing who needs access to the data. That way, you're able to keep your entire project team involved. Unlimited users, unlimited data storage—that just keeps everybody free to communicate."
He notes that this helped reduce rework—and that meant higher profit margins. "We now have more accurate data being able to slip-sheet everything in, and the exact same documents that are going to the customer is exactly what our foremen are using instead of old submittals or RFIs. We have the most up-to-date and quality data, and that's key, instead of having a guy working off a drawing that's three months old."
Mike adds, "The ability for us to go to a single database with real-time updates at all times is a true timesaver. It also eliminates a lot of stress for managers and field managers because now if a general contractor has a question, they know when they open that document they'll be looking at the most up-to-date information."
With Procore, Dominion Mechanical also improved accountability. Mike explains, "In the past, people could say they never saw an email or they weren't aware you sent the document. Now with Procore, we send people emails via Procore. We can track everything."
"It eliminates a lot of the telephone game of wondering whose court it's in, whether it's a drawing or a submittal," says Dave. "You can see right away where the breakdown is, so you can focus on that person. And you can do this from anywhere—at home, on the weekend, or you can be on a jobsite."
Best of all, it wasn't just employees that noticed the benefits. Mike explains, "When we have the opportunity to be awarded a project, the fact that we utilize Procore is one of our selling points. That usually raises some eyebrows and helps us in the long run to win a project—they know that we are that serious about business."