Relieve these common GC headaches by getting project teams on the same page.
Being a general contractor (GC) isn’t easy. Your construction project management skills are constantly put to the test. You’re at the center of a network of stakeholders who rely on your coordination alongside thousands—or even millions—of dollars to build the structures and infrastructure that help everyone else live their lives. And you have to do all that within a contracted amount of time with razor-thin profit margins.
With a role this demanding that evolves in complexity every year, it’s no wonder that processes that have worked well in the past are now routine headaches that every GC in the industry runs into. Some of the top problems GCs face are three documentation processes that, while important for communication and liability, take time away from actually building.
1. Creating the submittal log
The submittal log, in short, is a list of all documents that the contractor is required to provide to the design team to ensure that the project is following the spec book. Historically, the process has been to have a project engineer (PE), typically the newest builder, flip through the laid-out specs page-by-page and copy each submittal requirement into a spreadsheet. The project team can then track that submittal log throughout the rest of the project. This not only takes days or weeks for the PE to complete, but human error often results in oversights of important submittals that aren’t included in the log. When PE’s fail to record necessary requirements, they’re unlikely to do them. This puts GC’s in breach of contract, which can lead to costly rework, lawsuits, late delivery, or all three.
The modernized process that the industry is adopting is to use automated software like Pype AutoSpecs for initial submittal log drafting to save time, standardize processes, and mitigate risk. AutoSpecs scans spec books using a patented algorithm designed to identify all submittal requirements, QA/QC requirements, closeout requirements, mock-ups, product data, and a lot more. Project teams can quickly compare previous versions of the specs to the most recently issued version and review all changes, clearly identifying extraneous and redundant requirements. Top GCs are even using AutoSpecs’ built-in filters to review the log and assign custom sections of it to their trades.
Want to learn more about how AutoSpecs’ automation can save you time, standardize your processes, and mitigate risk across your projects? Watch our webinar.
2. Maintaining a single source of truth
In an industry as iterative and paper-trail-y as construction, there is inevitably going to be a lot of contractually-obligated paperwork needing to be tracked. Between RFIs, contract documents, progress reports, as-builts, specs, plans, and hundreds more document types that can each contain hundreds of pages, it’s a lot for any project team to keep track of. And when contract compliance relies on following only the most recent documents like plans, specs, change orders, addendums, etc., making sure everyone is on the same page—literally and figuratively—can be the difference between a payday and bankruptcy for a GC.
Making sure everyone is on the same page—literally and figuratively—can be the difference between a payday and bankruptcy for a GC.
Most project management software solves for this to some degree, but only Autodesk Build allows access to these documents throughout the entire project lifecycle. Data created in design phase programs such as Navisworks and Revit is stored in the same common data environment (CDE) that the rest of Autodesk Construction Cloud uses, meaning that Build—and any other Autodesk Construction Cloud software—can access this data at any time without having to push it back and forth between different modules.
All project data is stored in this CDE so that GC teams using Build always have access to the latest, most up-to-date documents to work with. This allows them to do their jobs without having to worry about a new version being published that they weren’t aware of. Autodesk Build maintains the single source of truth for GC teams, regardless of where the project is in the lifecycle. Watch the recorded webinar here.
3. The turnover package
It’s a frustrating truth that even if the first 95% of a project goes perfectly, a fumbled turnover experience can leave enough of a bad taste in a client’s mouth that they’ll look elsewhere for a GC on their next project. Why is project turnover messy? Many GCs shift project teams to new projects out of necessity as their current project enters the closeout phase. That leaves the initial project with fewer people that need to shoulder extra responsibility in order to meet their closeout deadline. As a result, the tedious process of contacting subcontractors to request closeout documents and then getting them reviewed often falls to the wayside to make time for more immediate tasks on the new project. That is, until the turnover package becomes an immediate task itself.
Successful GCs use software like Pype Closeout to automate their closeout document collection process.
Successful GCs use software like Pype Closeout to automate their closeout document collection process. As soon as they have IFC specs, teams can start early by letting Pype Closeout automatically extract closeout requirements from those specs. As the project progresses, Closeout sends customized emails to trade partners as their scope of work gets completed in order to collect documents over time toward substantial completion.
Not only does Closeout take over a time-consuming task when there’s a myriad of other tasks for project teams to complete, but the end result for the operations team is a manual that can be stored in the cloud—and thus much harder to misplace. To everyone’s benefit, the cloud-based turnover package includes an internally linked table of contents that can be used to instantly jump directly to the documents needed in the moment. This leaves a much better impression on the client, and because GC teams could devote that time to other closeout tasks—like the punch list—they provide a better deliverable overall. Watch the recorded webinar here.
Work smarter, not harder
General contractors are responsible for the smooth construction of contracted projects, which means any mistakes, delays, or cost overruns can easily land at their feet and threaten their cash flow. The processes to take on those challenges are constantly evolving as the industry evolves. Forward-thinking GCs are already adopting the technologies they need to stay competitive and not continually fall into these traps. With software like AutoSpecs, Autodesk Build, and Pype Closeout, GCs can give themselves that much more of an edge in an increasingly competitive market.
If you’d like a demo of Pype, please contact us. We’d love to show you how it improves the way you work.