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Waste less, build more: Efficiency, sustainability, and PlanGrid

Waste less, build more: Efficiency, sustainability, and PlanGrid

Wait — we poured the wrong strength of concrete? But I published the updated plans specifying the new PSI two days ago! And by ‘published,’ I mean I personally handed the forming contractor the newly printed ITC and taped another copy to the field set. I guess we will be demo-ing for the rest of the day. My superintendent is going to freak…

What you just read, is, unfortunately, a pretty common situation at most construction companies. Owners and design teams often make changes on the fly, and keeping up with their decisions is challenging. Document control staff understand the pain of going into the office in the morning, knowing that all the work done over the previous days, painstakingly leafing in new plans one by one, might all be in vain.

The Paramount Contracting team keeps a punching bag near their paper plans. If you’re in the construction industry, you probably know why.

Document control staff exist to make sure everyone has the most updated information at all times, but this often proves to be an uphill battle. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend, how organized you are, or how quickly you can share updated drawings. There’s always some rework needed.

And all these outdated plans — piles of them — were seriously starting to encroach on my workspace.

It’s not the ability of document control to do the job fast enough that is the problem; it’s the ancient process in which the construction industry uses to manage and share documents that needs to change. Like most document controllers, I worked this way for eight months at my last job, praying to the construction gods for relief… then I heard about PlanGrid.

Coming from a background in architecture and construction management, I’m passionate about sustainable design and construction — it’s crucial for the continued success and future growth of the industry. Construction and demolition materials are recognized as one of the largest components of the solid waste stream in the US, and construction waste increases the burden on landfill sites, which will only become more scarce in the future.

Knowing all of this was bittersweet. I wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem. But what could I do? I watched my project waste rebar, concrete, drywall, and paper, and it wasn’t until we started using PlanGrid on the job that this started to change. Suddenly, I was spending less time printing and updating drawings and more time actually managing my subs. All of the most up-to-date data was in one place and accessible to everyone in the field and office the instant I clicked PUBLISH.

A real customer reacts to seeing their project on PlanGrid for the first time.

It’s my personal belief that the future of construction rests on its ability to plan and consider all environmental construction costs as well as implementing efficient systems that allow GCs, owners, designers, and all other parties (including project management teams) to cut down on waste, reduce their carbon footprint, simplify their antiquated document management processes, and altogether eliminate the need for printing paper.

I also believe PlanGrid is the solution that this industry has been waiting for, but it’s up to industry leaders to set the pace, spread the word about PlanGrid, and properly train their field teams on how to use it. I’m proud to work for PlanGrid — a modern-age pioneer — and to lead the way to a more efficient and sustainable construction industry.

Need help setting up your team on PlanGrid? I’d love to hear from you.


Author: Erica Gasbarro

PlanGrid

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