By Alexei Schiopu
The NEA Baptist Hospital is one of thousands of projects leveraging PlanGrid for construction document management. This Arkansas-based project is around 770,000 squre feet, has a two and half year construction schedule, and a project cost of $175 million.
Hoar Construction started this project in March 2011 with paper-based document control. However, midway into the project, they realized that their paper-based workflow was incredibly difficult to maintain and began looking for a way to replace it with something more efficient. After a short evaluation period, Hoar Construction deployed PlanGrid as a document control solution and had spectacular results.
The way in which this project switched from paper to PlanGrid in the middle of construction makes the NEA Baptist Hospital the perfect subject for a case study on the ROI of PlanGrid. We compared the PlanGrid portion of the project to the paper portion and evaluated PlanGrid in three areas: time savings, paper savings, and rework reduction.
To get our time savings data, we conducted a survey of Hoar Construction personnel asking how much time using PlanGrid, instead of paper plans, saved them personally. Thirteen members responded, and on average they said that they saved 11 hours, 9 minutes per person every week. This is pretty amazing when you consider that 11 hours is more than 25% of a regular fulltime work week. Multiplying these time savings by salary data resulted in a net savings of $478,872 per year for the thirteen users combined.
Time Annual Savings: $478,872 / year
The paper budget for this project was $60,360. This number may seem high for those used to smaller projects, but when a full set of hospital drawings cost $1,700 and a half set runs $875, the costs adds up quickly. Prior to PlanGrid, Hoar Construction printed 3 full sets and somewhere between 20 to 30 half sets of drawings. Since they’ve implemented PlanGrid, they proudly say they have stopped printing paper sets completely.
Paper Annual Savings: $23,464 / year
Rework is one of the hardest things to measure, yet its huge impact makes it something that can’t be ignored. On large projects, rework is a constant and expensive problem. It is common for workers to build off outdated drawings due to the difficulty of printing and distributing constantly updated sheets. According to a PhD thesis written for UC Berkeley by Dr. Peter Pei-Yin Feng, the cost of rework directly resulting from “poor document control” can range anywhere from 0.12% to 0.72% of total project costs. This means that on a $175 million project like the NEA Baptist hospital, on average they will lose $735,000 to rework directly due to building of outdated plans. PlanGrid’s automatic syncing, distribution, and versioning of new sheets eliminates this problem, resulting in large savings.
ReWork Annual Savings: $294,000 / year
Adding up time, paper and rework savings together results in annual savings of $786,196 per year or $1,965,490 over the entire length of the project. The total project cost for PlanGrid including hardware and subscriptions for the 13 users was $10,140 per year. This leads to an ROI of 7753.41% or 77x. Here is what two superintendents at Hoar Construction had to say:
"After 27 years of having paper documents in the field, in carts, or print shacks, PlanGrid has saved me hours a day by not having to go to back and forth to retrieve documents. Now I can spend more time in the field and less time in the office trailer. It has made me more efficient solely due to the amount of information available like RFI’s, submittals, OFE, schedules, and any other document I would need right at my fingertips. I can solve issues immediately with subs further eliminating rework. This is the best tool I have ever been given!"
David R. King - Former Hoar Project Superintendent
"PlanGrid allows me to answer most questions on the spot. This boosts productivity and allows me to spend more time out in the field. It streamlines creating punch lists, saving time and resources. It’s an extremely useful tool to track the status of items that require attention. Being able to see punch stamps on the plans is a constant reminder that there is an issue that needs to be addressed."
Tony Blass - Hoar Project Assistant Superintendent
 - See Table 2 and Table 3 in the Appendix for summary of calculations.
 - [$60,360 - $1,700 (one full size set) ]/2.5 years = $23,464
 - Pei-Yin Feng, Peter. Causes and Effects of Rework on the Delivery of Healthcare Facilities in California. Thesis. University of California, Berkeley, 2009. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, 2009. Print.
 - (175 million * ((0.12% + 0.72%)/2))/ 2.5 = $294,000
 - $796,336 - $10,140 = $786,196 (Annual Savings - PlanGrid Cost)
 - $786,196 * 2.5 years = $1,965,490
 - ROI: ($796,336 - $10,140)/$10,140 = 7753.41% or 77x
 - PlanGrid Cost 13(users)*$500(dozer)=$6500. 13 iPads * $700/(2.5 years amitorization)= $3,640. Total = $10,140. There were more users on the project which were not included because they weren’t surveyed for their hourly time savings.