Regardless of how big or small a building project is, the quality of the preconstruction phase is critical for its success. For this phase to work, several disciplines and key stakeholders must come together, which even at the best of times can be a tricky proposition. One way to make sure everyone is on the same page is through the use of comprehensive preconstruction software.
At Procore’s Groundbreak conference, co-presenter Coastal Construction talked about several issues that can hamper the planning stages of a project. According to Coastal Construction’s Sean Walters, Senior Project Estimator of Preconstruction Services, Procore has been the game-changer they needed to keep projects streamlined and running smoothly.
Preconstruction necessitates partnerships, but in order to be successful, these partnerships must work to be collaborative and comprehensive. When preconstruction isn’t approached with full collaboration from all sides, it often leads to friction between key project stakeholders.
A reputation for reliable, multi-group preconstruction management can bring considerable benefits, such as return business or new partnership opportunities. Adopting Procore has been vital to developing that reputation for Coastal Construction.
Procore has been an essential asset to help Coastal be a valuable preconstruction partner by making us more efficient and organized, allowing us to work on a large volume of projects with a relatively lean team.– Sean Walters, Senior Project Estimator of Preconstruction Services at Coastal Construction
Too Many Emails: A Big Firm With Big Communication Problems
Coastal Construction has a lean, productive team. But like many other firms, it still struggled with effective communication. The reason? It was using a system that wasn’t suited to the company’s needs. In this case, email was the traditional way to share information, download files, and make queries. However, seeing that staff were expected to collaborate on and keep track of 40 or 50 projects in different stages of design––and in one inbox––frustration was the order of the day.
“We’re tracking this constant flow of information. We’re trying not to lose track of it. And the emails, literally hundreds of emails on multiple projects that we’re trying to track against, and we’re all very busy,” Walters recalled. “When things get discombobulated with the information exchange, there’s frustration, right? People want to blame someone else. ‘I didn’t understand what the drawings were because you sent me multiple revisions,’ whatever the case was. There are tensions there.”
Feedback was also a problem. When project stakeholders emailed each other with questions about deadlines and progress, it wasn’t uncommon for such email chains to become unmanageable due to the number of pages each reply added. Moreover, the clunky mass emails made it hard to track and document the preconstruction process.
Coastal Construction adopted Procore and started leveraging its comprehensive communications workflows, where new data could be entered and received in real-time, keeping everyone on the project up-to-date in a clear, uncluttered, and immediate way.
How Construction Software Eliminated Missing Files
Long email chains weren’t the only thing that hampered the firm’s preconstruction documentation processes. Coastal Construction also tried to manage document logs without construction management software. What should’ve been a reasonably simple task became a massive time and labor commitment, primarily due to missing documents due to relabeling or replacements.
“It’s personally one of the most frustrating things,” admitted Walters. “When I’m in a jobsite folder and can’t figure out where the most current drawings are, and then we have to go backtrack. Having this in Procore has been an essential move for us. We have the revisions tracked to the drawing logs. The project management team gets it later, and they can see where we came from to get to where we are. It’s a click of a button in Procore. It generates the drawing log reports. We can tie that to subcontracts. We can tie that to our GMP contracts, contracts with ownership. It’s a valuable tool, and it’s consistent and easy to use.”
At the end of the day, Coastal Construction’s partnership with Procore helped it realize the benefits of smooth, streamlined communication which enhanced the preconstruction phase and helped build its stellar reputation. By adopting the right tech designed for preconstruction, it produced a more efficient process that included improved team commitment, smoother collaboration, and improved risk aversion.