TEECOM is a technology consulting firm specializing in audiovisual (AV), acoustics, telecommunications, security, network, wireless, and other electronic systems. TEECOM’s impressive portfolio of projects includes Airbnb’s international headquarters in San Francisco, Salesforce.com’s global expansion, and Stanford Health Care’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital expansion.
Here we’ll examine two TEECOM healthcare projects: the New Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX, and the Stanford Health Care South Bay Cancer Center in Los Gatos, CA.
Project 1: New Parkland Hospital, Dallas, TX
During construction, New Parkland Hospital was the largest hospital construction project in the United States, spanning 2.8 million square feet, and costing more than $1.3 billion. The facility now houses 862 beds, a Level I Trauma Center, the second largest civilian burn center in the United States, and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
TEECOM designed all of the low voltage infrastructure for the hospital, including telecommunications, security, AV, networking, wireless, and voice over IP (VoIP) systems. Mike Candler, Senior Design Engineer and Project Manager at TEECOM, was assigned to the project to coordinate all contractor installations.
Due to the project’s size, Mike knew that traditional paper plans would be too cumbersome, time consuming, and costly to use — especially during construction administration punchlist and site walks. After reviewing a handful of potential software solutions, Mike found PlanGrid to be the fastest at rendering and zooming into sheets: “The free trial was a plus, so I could try it out. It was available in the app store, easy to use, and fast at going from sheet to sheet or zooming in to an area. Rendering [speed] was a must.”
Mike also found that other solutions just didn’t perform well enough: “Most folks were using [another tool] and it does not work. It just was not going to work for me. I have very little patience, and with [another tool] you need lots of patience.” New Parkland Hospital was the first time both TEECOM and Mike had used PlanGrid. Since the hospital’s completion, Mike has used it on every subsequent project.
As well as the size of the project, one unique challenge that faced Mike was the speed at which the project went up: “The amount of area we had to walk, punch and inspect for progress was daunting. The building is so large they would try to finish an area or a floor at a time and then move to the next floor to keep the trades moving. There were huge teams of contractors on site. We had to keep up with these massive teams and keep reports going.”
“The project construction was completed at the same time as the design and continued almost until they opened the doors, and there hundreds of issuances of sheets over the course of our involvement with the project. Every week or two weeks we would issue updated plan sheets,” said Mike.
Mike took advantage of PlanGrid’s customizable issue tracking feature by creating unique stamps for each of the division specification settings (e.g. he created a custom stamp, CH, for Communications Horizontal Cabling), then assigned issues to each of the different contractors responsible. Adding photos to each stamp, placed on the relevant area of the plans, “really helped a lot in issue resolution,” Mike says. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Mike estimates that PlanGrid saved him more than eight hours each week across the entire four year project, resulting in around 1,664 hours saved (or $250,000 in billable hours). He uploaded over 2,600 sheets, saving TEECOM around $2,000 in paper and printing costs. Mike also estimates $60,000 in non-billable hours was saved thanks to PlanGrid drastically reducing the need for rework.
Project 2: Stanford Health Care South Bay Cancer Center, Los Gatos, CA
Gil Lopez, Senior Design Engineer and Multidiscipline PM (specializing in AV), first used PlanGrid three years ago while testing project management software options for a previous project. He has since used PlanGrid on several large, high profile projects for TEECOM.
The South Bay Cancer Center is a state-of-the-art cancer research center located in Los Gatos, California. An existing four-story building, it required renovation to provide additional facilities to Stanford Health Care. TEECOM was recruited to design a technology refresh, construction of which lasted a total of 2.5 years.
Gil was tasked with ensuring infrastructure was being deployed to support the technology. He immediately noticed a need to round up the various trades, and coordinate with the electrical and architectural teams. “The teams were siloed and working without talking to each other,” Gil says. PlanGrid made it easy to bring the teams together by allowing everyone to work from the current set of plans and collaborate on issue tracking.
PlanGrid’s issue tracking would prove to be the biggest time saver for Gil and his team — it was integral to the quality control and punchlist processes and reporting to the owner. “The builder also used PlanGrid, so we were able to work off of the same plans. In the deployment phase, we would go into the spaces, documenting what it looked like compared to what it should have looked like.”
Before PlanGrid, creating an issues report required using a combination of Word, Excel, photo editing software, a pdf converter, and several skilled people to assemble a customized report. “PlanGrid allows the PM to do all the work in a fraction of the time, mostly automated. And the quality is consistent. It always looks good.” says Gil.
Gil reports that he saved around six to eight hours per week with PlanGrid. Additional project managers and engineers used PlanGrid on the project, with an estimated additional time savings of ~two hours per week. Over the course of around 78 weeks, that amounted to about 780 hours saved. His paper budget for the project was $1,500, which was never required (thanks to PlanGrid). He estimates he saved 30% of his $74,000 project budget on rework — that’s $22,500.