PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog

Granite Construction: Connecting the office and the field in real-time

Together with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Granite is leading a shift in the heavy civil construction industry by adopting technologies like PlanGrid.

The $150 million Highway 99 Realignment Project in Fresno, California requires Granite Construction to move several miles of the highway about 80 feet, relocate multiple local streets and utilities, and replace three bridges — all in order to provide the corridor needed for the proposed California High Speed Rail alignment.

If this sounds like a complicated undertaking, that’s because it is. Communicating quickly on a large project — especially one that affects traffic, utilities, and nearby businesses — is vital to keeping it on schedule and avoiding rework. So how is Granite successfully managing such a huge endeavor?

Fast and easy information sharing

For this project, Caltrans’ contract required that Granite provides tablets for the field staff. The subsequent rollout of PlanGrid across Caltrans, Granite, and the subcontractors dramatically sped up the process of sharing project information.

Our supervisors can sit with an inspector in the field and know that we’re looking at the right information needed to resolve the problem now.

–Randy Lucchesi, Lead Project Engineer, Granite Construction

The project also involves boundary encroachment for existing businesses and properties, which requires intense coordination between Granite and Caltrans. Caltrans uses PlanGrid to share plans for the outside properties they need to build on, so that field foremen and inspectors can compare drawings and determine if there are any conflicts.

Up-to-date plans in everyone’s pockets

When working on projects of this size and complexity, it’s common for revisions to get lost. On Highway 99, every revision is instantly shared with the field teams using PlanGrid. The app notifies the entire project team when (and where) their plans have changed, and allows users to easily overlay and compare different sheet versions.

Coordination and keeping up with changes is critical on Highway 99 — a project with thousands of drawings and separate teams for day and night shifts. According to Lucchesi, his field team loves having instant access to the latest versions without unnecessary back and forth. It’s a complicated job, and PlanGrid is making sure they never miss a beat.

PlanGrid helped me catch what would have been a $30,000 to $40,000 mistake. I saw an area of the roadway that wasn’t graded properly, and when the foreman (who wasn’t using PlanGrid) pulled out his paper plans, I quickly opened up PlanGrid to show him the revision. They were able to fix it before it became an issue.

–Randy Lucchesi, Lead Project Engineer, Granite Construction

Image via Granite

A powerful app that’s easy for anyone to use

While Granite’s project managers and project engineers used PlanGrid to keep drawings and construction documents organized, the field was quick to adopt it for its mobility and ease of use.

PlanGrid is simple for people in the field to use, and plans download to your device so you’re not reliant on internet connectivity. Whether you’re working in a metropolitan area (like we are) or out in the middle of nowhere, it works.

–Randy Lucchesi, Lead Project Engineer, Granite Construction

Noting the value of PlanGrid on a personal level as the lead project engineer, Lucchesi explains, “We have more than 2,100 sheets for this project, and I’m easily saving at least a few hours a week by not having to go back and forth from the office. I’m able to find the sheet I need in seconds.”

Granite has seen huge gains in field productivity by using PlanGrid on dozens of other projects, including the Folsom Dam Spillway in Folsom, California where the company saved as much as $500,000 in rework costs and an average of five hours per person per week. Granite continues to explore rolling out PlanGrid across projects in other regions across the country.


Pete Schott

Pete is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at PlanGrid where he is passionate about bringing innovative products to market and crafting stories that showcase the value PlanGrid brings to construction companies all over the world.

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