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Monday, October 1, 2012

PlanWell Collaborate Scan to Cloud for HP Designjet

Bateman-Hall in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a commercial general contractor and construction management company with over 30 years of experience. Their impressive client list includes Albertsons, Associated Foods, Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart.

Dillon Dance, assistant project manager at Bateman-Hall, manages project documentation trails, such as RFIs and change orders. When on the job site, he spends much of his time helping subcontractors accomplish what they need to do. He also holds meetings with the superintendent and the project manager to review what needs to be done during the week. Key projects include a new Walmart store in California and a new high school in Idaho. The high school will involve more than 35 suppliers and subcontractors over a two-year period.

As every general contractor on such a large project knows, getting all parties on the same page is a challenge. In the case of the Idaho high school, the building partners are spread out, with one local architecture firm, one in neighboring Utah, and subcontractors and suppliers in various locations around the country.

Speeding up the submittal process:

A significant scheduling challenge is the pressure of downtime due to construction changes. When owners request a change to the job bid, they usually mail or deliver the changes to the general contractor on marked-up paper plans. The contractor in turn mails or delivers the cost changes to the owner. To improve this process, Bateman-Hall agreed to test PlanWell Collaborate Scan to Cloud, an integration of PlanWell Collaborate and the HP Designjet T2300 eMFP, a technology solution designed to accelerate project schedules.

“With PlanWell Collaborate Scan to Cloud, we can scan in changes,” says Dance, “and the turnaround time is a day. Before it would take four to five business days to get the changes approved.” The impact of changes on subcontractors’ time can also add additional days to the project schedule. When a project day costs an owner thousands of dollars, every day of idle time or time spent waiting for updated plans can be expensive.

“We used to use only paper plans and mail them back and forth. I think we will always have a hard set of plans on the job site, so people can meet around the plans and mark on the same page, but there has been a reduction in printing on the job with this integrated solution. Submittals are mostly on screen now,” says Dance. “Now the electrician can look at mechanical and plumbing drawings. Before if the electrician needed drawings, they had to request them.”

Additional benefits:

Color printing can now be done in-house, creating additional savings — between $50-300 and about eight hours per trip to the reprographics house. Says Dance, “Before we had to go to the repro house about twice a week, mostly for redlines. We could only scan in black and white in-house, but now we can scan in color and we can change colors right from the HP screen.”

The ease of scanning in changes and sharing them instantaneously with a team has another tremendous benefit: preventing subcontractors from building from the wrong plans. According to Dance, “Before, subcontractors would start with bid drawings and as changes came in, sometimes they wouldn’t get updated. With PlanWell Collaborate Scan to Cloud everybody on the team is notified when changes occur.” Dance estimates the new solution has reduced incidences of working from the wrong plans by about 75%.

PlanWell Collaborate Scan to Cloud for HP Designjet also creates efficiencies in the step-by-step office workflow. “It’s improved the workflow by minutes a day, and those minutes add up,” says Dance. “Now we can scan directly into PlanWell through the T2300, and notify everyone without using PCs, saving a couple of minutes. It saves maybe a total of 30 minutes a day.”

Ultimately, the solution has made communication among everyone on the job more effective, instantaneous, and efficient — accelerating project schedules.

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