For more than 20 years, CBG Building Co., www.clarkbuildersgroup.com, Arlington, Va., has specialized in the construction and real estate industries, building more than 60,000 homes and apartments across the United States—including housing units in mixed-use communities, luxury apartments, campus housing, military housing, senior living, and high-density apartments.

For years, CBG ran into issues with document control, keeping crews updated, revising prints, and managing hundreds of RFIs (requests for information) throughout a project. The company looked for ways to implement technology, but despite research, could not find a way to effectively address these issues.

So instead, the multi-family general contractor relied exclusively on paper plans and used a desktop-only platform to view and mark up project blueprints. Workers were expected to walk back and forth to construction trailers to check details.

Without a technology to resolve these matters, the company was faced with field workers building from outdated plans; a $10,000 printing budget for each project; poor communication between field workers and architects; and no easy way to process dozens of revisions and hundreds of RFIs.

In the summer of 2012, Dave Brown, project executive at CBG (Clark Builders Group), was researching iPads from Apple, www.apple.com, Cupertino, Calif., and came across an application from PlanGrid, www.plangrid.com, San Francisco, Calif.

Brown identified the app as the best way to move his team from paper prints to an automated construction management solution, with validation of his selection coming from Clara Watson, assistant project manager, CBG: “Our trailer was a block away, and PlanGrid on my iPad allowed me to have constant plan access, whereas other superintendents had to run back constantly to check details.”

After Brown decided to implement the app, he said it spread very quickly throughout CBG’s 150-person team. After the initial introduction of PlanGrid, CBG now uses the construction management tool as a standard on almost every project.

Since adopting the tool, CBG has noticed the following changes: improved organization and document control; two weeks of wasted time cut from each standard project; better communication and collaboration throughout the team; reduced rework; and significantly decreased spending on printing: from nearly $10,000 per project, to around $5,000.

The builder has provided valuable input to PlanGrid, which has implemented CBG suggestions. “PlanGrid has changed the way CBG handles document control and has put us at the forefront of construction technology in our market,” exclaims Brown.

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