There are many critical elements that need to be addressed in any construction project. Many project managers, though, might list “efficiency” and “successful time management” as two of the more important ones, no matter the type and/or size of project.
For larger construction projects, there are typically a greater number of parties involved, which is why making sure everyone stays up-to-speed and well-informed are important aspects to the success of any endeavor. Given this, having the right reporting tools available is important for project managers, especially given the scope and complexity of large-scale construction projects where multiple companies are involved.
Riddleberger Brothers, Inc. headquartered in Mt. Crawford, Virginia, knows all about being a part of large-scale projects. As one of the state’s leading mechanical contractors, they have played a part in some noteworthy construction projects over the past seven decades, including work in the healthcare, institutional, educational, commercial, industrial, and technology sectors. Some of their more recent projects include doing HVAC and/or plumbing work at: the University of Virginia Medical Center; the Student Health Center at James Madison University; the University of Virginia Rotunda Building (a national monument); Blue Ridge Community College; and the barracks at Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
“We primarily focus on institutional projects here in Virginia, such as colleges, university healthcare centers, and some correctional facilities,” explains Steve Clutter, a BIM manager at Riddleberger Brothers. “The University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, VMI, James Madison University, and Virginia Tech are all places where we’ve done work in recent years.”
As the company’s BIM manager, Clutter says his job is to “support, report, and communicate,” which is why he was pleased when he first became aware of iConstruct about a year ago. At the time, he was searching for a better way to do reporting and it appeared as though the iConstruct tools were close to what he was looking for, so he downloaded a free trial and gave it a try.
“Within a couple of weeks of trying different things, I knew there was something there for us, so I went to my boss and said we needed to purchase iConstruct and make it a part of our regular workflow process. We are very glad we did it,” says Clutter.
Fast-forward to today and Clutter is still pleased with what iConstruct brings to the overall process. In particular, he cites the reporting and clash proximity tools as being the most valuable to him and the work he does on all projects.
“I don’t produce anything. I report things, so having a quick reference I can use to share information with owners, general contractors, and project managers is not only vital, but really helpful for everyone who needs the information,” explains Clutter.
For example, Clutter likes how the clash tool makes the process of looking at clashes much more manageable by taking a very itemized report and giving you a more precise area of focus by lumping similar occurrences together. He also likes how the reports you can create help with the overall communication process and allow him to provide a new level of support to people involved with any project.
“For any professional using Navisworks, having iConstruct is just as important,” offers Clutter. “The clash detection tools helps me better support people, but they have also helped get more people engaged. Everybody owns a part of the process with the reports, so it helps hold everyone accountable.”
Though Clutter says their workflow processes have already benefitted from using iConstruct, he knows there is more about the software he needs to investigate and potentially utilize. One area he wants to explore further is iConstruct’s auditing tool, as he sees it as a possible way to isolate items and create specific views for end-users. Bottom line, though, he feels the many different reporting possibilities iConstruct offers are “impressive,” as are the color coding features, which can help simplify lots of complex information.
But how does a company like Riddleberger Brothers quantify the value of software in their overall work? Clutter is pretty clear on this, as he believes they have derived value from iConstruct from the very beginning.
“In this line of work, coordination hours are long and difficult to quantify because there are so many players in a static environment, but the accountability portion of the reports, alone, have been a big deal,” offers Clutter, who says they invested a few thousand dollars to purchase iConstruct. “We have shaved hours off our workload by using iConstruct on the reporting process with seven projects this past year. So with me using it alone, we have paid for it in a few months thanks to the time savings it offers.”
Clutter says, though, there is more to the story. He believes iConstruct’s features are well worth the investment, but he also values the service and support he has received along the way. Given this, he looks forward to seeing how else the software can add value to their work environment.
“There was life with Navisworks before iConstruct and now there is life with Navisworks with iConstruct and I don’t want to go back to where we were before,” says Clutter. “I have been in the industry for 25 years and the level of customer service we have received from iConstruct has been great. They have gone above and beyond what I signed up for and I really appreciate it.”