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Above: Des Moines Municipal Service Center




DesignBuild Solutions

Our in-house subsidiary company, DesignBuild Solutions, integrates architectural services with construction capabilities.

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Electronic Project Documentation - Streamlining Project information to Jobsites a Neumann Brothers Focus

Friday, June 15, 2018

Neumann Brothers’ teams use technology to plan and prepare for the work before a hammer is swung, foresee potential issues before they arise and provide more accurate schedules and budgets. 

We work to stay informed of the rapid technological advancements in our industry and take advantage of those tools we feel will most benefit the overall success of a project. On Projects with designs that change quickly, Electronic Project Documentation allows us to provide updated, accurate information to field staff in real-time.

During the EMC 219 8th Street project, Project Engineer Sean Sample worked alongside Project Manager Mark Thompson to develop effective and efficient processes using up to date technology. Sean helped implement cloud technology on the jobsite and maintained real-time information for the duration of the project. We continue to use technology, including jobsite kiosks and tablets, to deliver high quality projects more efficiently. 

Neumann Tech Kiosk

Above: No more waiting for information to "trickle down", all project information is available on site, in real time.

Neumann Brothers has been utilizing Bluebeam Software, specifically Bluebeam’s Studio (Cloud Based PDF software), for several years. Combining Studio with jobsite kiosks (onsite computers with printers accessible to the entire project team) and tablets, everyone from the Project Superintendent and subcontractors to the Owner are able to access the project’s most up to date information at any time. 

“When developing the process for Studio, we tried to stay true to traditional methods of updating plans while making the user interface simple to navigate so the updates are easier and cleaner,” Sean said. “I’ve worked with other Project Managers to create a standard – including a file structure, naming conventions and color choices for mark ups – we use when updating project documents. For example – to make navigating to changes easier to follow and simpler to maneuver, we add hyperlinks in the drawings to the notes and details of the updates. One click will take you right to the change and all corresponding information. No more flipping through binders and pages of dirty marked up plans.” 

Real Work in Real Time

Above: Access to project information via the jobsite kiosk and Bluebeam Studio allow all trades to keep moving as information is available in real time right on site.

Making use of Studio keeps the information current and more cost effective. Rather than printing and delivering changes to the jobsite which the Superintendent would then post to the physical set of plans – we eliminate downtime between old and new information by relaying the changes and updates electronically. It also makes it easy to flip back and forth between current and past drawings to track changes in the contract documents. 

On jobsites with kiosks available, we provide a common computer and make Bluebeam Studio accessible to anyone on the project. Benefits include faster flow of communication, reduced paper waste and the ability to quickly find/retrieve the specific information needed. The technology greatly improves efficiencies for all involved and results in reduction of rework, more effective use of the schedule and a better end product. 

Drawbacks to the kiosks – while few – include: 
Expecting that when last minute changes/updates are made, those who need to know will know immediately.
Systems require some level of building enclosure and infrastructure to provide power and data.  

The benefits of the kiosks far outweigh the drawbacks: 
Minimized time the field staff wait for information
Our  subcontractors are able to find information about the project quickly
Eliminates the inefficiency of waiting until the next meeting, potentially causing rework  

All the information needed is at the fingertips of those provided an access code. 

Technology will be key to younger generations

Above: During a recent site visit, students from Des Moines Central Campus received a brief introduction to the benefits of technology on a site from Project Manager Matt Davis.

 “Neumann has been making large strides investing in cloud based documentation over the past several years. A high level of service and diligence are required to ensure that information is current and accurate but, as the industry and software evolve, we are committed to supporting our field staff and providing Owners and design teams accurate information. As we continue to move forward with technology, it’s exciting to see our field staff and all trades get excited about the available information. Even when there are continued changes and modifications to drawings and documents, they have confidence that the information is correct and the project is moving forward correctly,” Project Manager Mark Thompson said. “Our next push focuses on a more streamlined connection from take-off data and estimate information to work and production units and quantities based on current drawings as well as streamlined access to associated documents, submittals and changes.” 

Technology is constantly evolving and we’re always looking for ways to make the process even smoother. We’re currently working to enhance our capabilities with Bluebeam and 3D PDF files. These files types allow users to navigate PDFs the way you would navigate a Revit model but because it’s a PDF, most users are already familiar with the program and able to access the information easily. The ability to see a model of the finished building provides field and office personnel alike a clear picture of the Owner and Architect’s vision.


Technology is always available on the job

Above: Mobile jobsite kiosks allow project information to follow the flow of work from floor to floor or jobsite to jobsite.

Studio, combined with onsite project kiosks, has been a powerful tool. We’re able to get information where it needs to be faster than ever to the benefit of everyone involved on the project.