Last year was full of unprecedented challenges for construction companies, but the industry is eyeing a serious rebound for 2021. A big step on that path, which many companies grappled with in 2020, involves examining old ways of doing things, throwing out what doesn’t work, and looking to technological solutions to solve their biggest pain points. But adoption is only half of the battle; what is just as important is making that technology investment work in a way that extracts maximum value and keeps projects moving.
Procore recently hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “Make the Most of Construction Technology.” The webinar featured industry leaders who have seen first-hand how the Procore platform helps better position their companies for success. The panelists included Matthew DeBasio, CM-BIM Project Estimator, P. Agnes; Seth J. Cheever, LEED AP, Director of Operational Excellence for Stiles Construction; and John Brockington, CPE, Principal, Design-Build Senior Technical Manager for Woodard & Curran.
All in One Place Through a Collaborative Platform
Before adopting any new technology, it’s important to know what recurring issues it’s being brought in to solve. Woodard & Curran’s John Brockington said the company was shopping around for a platform back in 2014, looking for the most collaborative solution they could find. After trying different pieces of software, they landed on Procore and never looked back.
“What led us to Procore was when we visited a GC in Portland who just started using it. I’ll never forget it: The project manager had all of his tools on his iPad and didn’t have to go to meetings with an RFI binder, a submittal binder, and all of this other stuff–everything was on his iPad. That sold us,” he said.
“I think embracing technology today is the key to success, and the collaborative platform Procore brings is really what solved our problems. When we first landed with Procore, the head of our engineering department said ‘boy, this thing [Procore is nagging me every day because I’m overdue on a submittal.’ I said, ‘that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do.’”
The Path to Procore
P. Agnes’ Matthew DeBasio said his company had started their digitization journey, but kept hitting roadblocks and obstacles along the way, particularly around overly siloed project information.
“We had separate systems for everything; we had a separate system for document management, for financials, for QA/QC, and even other project management-type functions like submittals and RFIs.”
Frustration with fragmented project data and the need for more streamlined information eventually led P. Agnes to Procore.
“Finally, we realized the importance of a mobile approach. Being able to put all of that information directly in the hands of the guys that are building in the field. The previous systems didn’t really have a lot of capability in terms of making that information available on somebody’s tablet or phone. That’s what led us to researching different systems and ultimately selecting Procore,” he said.
Stiles Construction’s Seth Cheever said his company found Procore while looking for a more agile way to gain key project insights.
“Having the information available at your fingertips and not being limited to the trailer or having that binder at a meeting…is really something that gave us the insight to see if our information is as reliable as we think. Now we know where we can focus to make us better informed and able to make good decisions.”
Working Through COVID-19 with the Help of Procore
The sudden implementation of jobsite closures or new mandates limiting personnel took some navigating, but the panelists said Procore helped them push ahead, smartly and safely.
“Every time I open a meeting of our superintendents, I have to open with a thank you, because those guys worked when most people were at home. I think it’s a testament to the technology we had in place through Procore and our other tools in our infrastructure: even though there were some slowdowns, maybe some delays, we didn’t stop,” Cheever said.
“It kept us flexible where we worked, because we were already up on it, we weren’t trying to figure out how to handle people all working remotely, because anyone could access the information from anywhere,” added Cheever. “The people managing this information in the field still had access to it because the people working at home or who couldn’t be at the office can still work and gather information remotely.”