July 13, 2020
COVID-19 forced a quarantine and mandatory work from home order that put a lot of industries in a strange position. It was a forced experiment for remote work, and everyone had to adapt overnight. For the construction industry, working from home was a particularly strange situation. Across the country, jobsites were doing their best to keep as few workers onsite as possible, maintain social distancing for those that needed to be onsite, and all without losing time on the project.
Working from home in the construction industry may never be as effective as working onsite, but with the right tools, management teams can maintain workflows with minimal impact to schedule. They may even be able to spread themselves between multiple jobsites in a single day, and make up for some of the lost in-person communication by addressing problems on multiple sites that would typically require more than one person or more than one day.
It really comes down to the remote working tools that are available to teams on and off the jobsite. Inertia’s construction management platform includes a host of tools that empower offsite work. Here are some of the ways that Inertia helps teams manage construction jobsites remotely.
Inertia’s Construction Management solutions are all tied together by our unique Project Maps that are generated on the Inertia platform directly from the BIM model for the project. The maps offer an easy way to visualize the entire project, track progress on critical path, and manage teams remotely by coordinating them through a physical representation of where they’re working in the field.
Project Maps connect information between teams and project managers using color-coded designations that let teams know what needs to be done next, where it needs to happen, and if there are any blockers that threaten the schedule. Maps also provide a quick way for owners and other stakeholders to check on progress without wasting any time in a meeting or on a call. Project maps make it easy to see when everything is on schedule, and make comments and documentation easily accessible if something is out of place, so questions are answered before they are asked.
When it comes to remote work, project maps are a great way to get a visual idea of what is happening on the jobsite without being there in person. They keep teams coordinated in an intuitive way that reduces confusion, and let people plan their work based on where it will happen in the field.
Inertia is built on deep, automated BIM integration that maximizes the value of design and planning throughout the project. BIMs (Building Information Models) contain important design information about the entire project. A robust BIM model is critical to design and planning, but Inertia takes the value of BIM even further by integrating it into our platform to connect information during every phase of construction. Inertia’s BIM integration allows for the creation of ICDs (Intelligent Construction Drawings), which are buildable, two dimensional sheets that connect information automatically from everywhere in the project.
That means that if there is an issue on the jobsite, such as an RFI on a piece of equipment, that RFI is automatically tagged to every other identical piece of equipment across the project. Teams are made aware of potential issues before they can impact schedule or cause rework, and it’s all done automatically through the platform, so understanding and managing information remotely is easy.
One of the most important benefits of walking the jobsite is monitoring progress, catching issues, and delegating solutions in person. Daily reports, which Inertia generates automatically, can provide a good sense of overall project health on regular intervals, but they don’t make up for the value of walking the jobsite in person. That’s why Inertia is constantly updating its project maps and ICDs with real time information.
If an inspection fails that requires rework, the right people are notified in the same instant that the inspection failure is logged. If an RFI is submitted with relevance to work happening somewhere else on the project site that day, everyone involved is automatically tagged so that they can determine how it might impact their workflow.
Most construction management platforms may maintain some form of real time information, but Inertia goes a step further by connecting that information to where it happens in the field, using that connection to determine who the information is important to, and notifying them automatically.
It’s hard to remain confident that best practices are being maintained on the jobsite while working remotely. In addition to providing a visual representation of the jobsite connected to real time information, Inertia lets you predefine workflows and checklists that enable you to proactively enforce best practices across the entire project.
For example, commissioning equipment can involve dozens of precarious steps that can cost thousands of dollars and days of labor if handled incorrectly. It may not be an issue that anyone ever thinks about while managing projects on site, but while working remotely, communicating best practices to contractors is critical, and Inertia makes it as easy as typing out a few steps that get automatically connected to the project maps and teams that will handle them.
Security and information fidelity is paramount on large construction projects, both for personal safety and intellectual property. Inertia makes project security and information fidelity less of a hassle to handle remotely by locking workflows and documentation access based on user roles. We make it easy for projects to maintain trust with IORs and between teams. You can always see who has access to information, all changes are logged and users tagged, and critical information is always handled with automatic alerts.
Role based permissions are critical for teams working through quality control and inspections. Quality control teams and inspectors who use Inertia trust that they are receiving every piece of information that is relevant to their job, and that every change is tracked and logged automatically.
The day may never come when the benefits of walking a site are delivered in full by software, but Inertia makes it easier. As jobsites return to normal activity, what lessons will we bring with us from our time of remote work? Some processes will never be the same remotely, but others can be more efficient. Managing multiple projects at once becomes less daunting when information is delivered in an intuitive, organized way, and trust is maintained.
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