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Another Example of a Technology Shift in the Industry

I was in one of my client’s offices the other day when a set of bid documents arrived.  It was a large project and there were two sets of documents.  It reminded me of the first time we sent bid documents to Saudi Arabia loaded on a 747.  We required a front-end loader to get a set off of the plane, and it took large trucks to handle the drawings for the contractors who were bidding the project.

A couple of years later, we sent the drawings by satellite and the team downloaded and printed them in-country.  That was 40 years ago and in most places in this country, we still print and deliver bid sets to offices of our clients.  Some of us still like to lay the sheets out on a 6 foot or 8 foot long table so that we can browse through them and make our red marks prior to preparing our bids.

Welcome to the 21st century where technology is being embraced and, on some projects, that technology is required to comply with the complexity of the project as well as the LEAN requirements of the owner and contractor.

John Hinson, Marek Brothers division president for Dallas/Fort Worth, sent along a news clip from the local CBS affiliate about the construction for the terminal renovation at DFW airport where waste is being minimized in a big way.  The construction team now carries iPads loaded with all of the drawings for this $2.3 billion, seven-year project.  No check sets or job sets of paper drawings, rather digital drawings on technology that is being readily accepted by the construction team.

According to Jeff Pistor, project manager for Balfour Beatty Construction, the contractor on the project, the old approach would have required 60,000 sheets of drawings.  Those drawings have been replaced with iPads.  The cost savings for this change is substantial.  The budget for printing paper copies under the old protocol on this project was $1.2 million.  So far, according to Jeff Pistor, Balfour Beatty has invested only $60,000 in the new technology.  That is a savings of well over $1.1 million, nothing to laugh about.  And as an added bonus, at the end of this seven-year job, there will be no drawings to contribute to the trash pile.

The entire program is being powered by Egnyte’s HybridCloud File Sharing Solution.  Steve Jobs would have been proud.

Watch the CBS Dallas/Fort Worth news report below, and tell us how you are using the new technology and how your team is adapting to it.

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