We interviewed Julian Sontag, Project Manager for KWA Construction on his company's transition to Procore. Working as a PM for 15 years, Julian shares many of the traditional industry pain points he has encountered over the years and the steps he has taken to overcome them.
Prior to Procore, all of our communication at KWA Construction was done via email. We used BIM 360 for drawing management, but the rest was done in Excel. Our biggest pain points were distributing up-to-date information to the field and making sure they had the most current version of the drawings.
We had a project in Dallas last year right before we transitioned to Procore where some of the drawings had been revised by the architect, but the superintendent in the field never received them. We had to go back in and rework the walls in some of the units. Luckily it was nothing too catastrophic, but it was something that could've totally been avoided.
Since implementing Procore, we've been able to pretty much transfer to pretty much paperless. With the Procore app, all of our superintendents rely on their iPads, which has eliminated a lot of the back and forth with the project managers on the drawing upload process.
Now with Procore, there's a lot less risk, and we know things aren't being overlooked. The superintendents are confident that they're looking at the most recent set of plans. This has really increased productivity and our superintendents love Procore.
The Submittal Tool and RFI Tool are by far my favorite. Before Procore, the submittal routing process was so difficult—keeping up with emails, and then following up with the consultants and architects, and making sure we received responses back in time. We needed a system that tracked when things were submitted and how long it would take to get a response. Procore has really helped us keep accurate logs of turnaround times so we can improve our processes.
Moving from paper-based to digital project management has also meant that we no longer have to print out 100-page product data submittals. Before Procore, when a submittal was approved, we would print two versions—one to send to the architects, and another for the Field. Procore has cut way down on those printing costs!
RFI's were also a big deciding factor in our decision to switch to Procore. We needed a system that could easily track and notify consultants who had not responded to time-sensitive RFIs. And we now run Procore off large touchscreen plan tables in the field, leveraging the Windows 10 app, which has digitized and organized the RFI and submittals process even more. I would say, on average, that our RFI response time has been cut down from three weeks to one or two.
At the beginning of each day I go through the RFIs and submittals on my projects and see the status of each—see if anything's been returned and that everything is up to date. Our assistant project managers are tasked with the role of managing RFIs and submittals, creating them, and distributing them. So, I always make it a point to go in and see that they're keeping up with distribution. After I'm done reviewing the RFI's and submittals for the day, I usually review the commitment log and go over contract statuses and see what's been sent out by our project coordinators. I like to know if there's anything more than 30 days past due on a contract so I can jump on the phone and get the contract moving.
To have the confidence that everything's up to date it a real game changer for us. Excel was quite cumbersome, and we could never be certain that the information was current and accurate. The simplification of custom reports and the ease of each of the Procore tools, especially Commitments and the Daily Log, have made reviewing reports so much easier and efficient.It's takes just a quick glance to make sure everything is in order.
To add to that, I've been spending a lot of time in the Change Events Tool, which I think is one of the best tools that Procore has. I spend a lot of my time managing change orders with the owner. Having a single dashboard that shows the status of each commitment, prime contract, and budget item makes things so much easier.
Because my role requires me to be in so many places at once, it's important that I can access the information I need at any time. Procore has dramatically improved my work-life balance and made everything more accessible and efficient—especially now that all project data is on my mobile device.