In the quest for “one version of the truth” on projects, construction professionals have long turned to information technology to provide a bit of assistance. The use of project management and collaboration technologies is nothing new to construction, but the problem many have encountered is the fact such systems are only as good as the information that resides within them.

It has long been stated that the successful use of technology is defined by the people, as well as the processes built to support it. MySmartPlans, www.mysmartplans.com, Kansas City, Mo., is one company that hopes to bridge this gap by combining technology with professional services to create the ultimate central repository of information for construction.

The company approaches project information management with its online technology and a professional project manager/concierge that helps users manage and control the information contained within the system. This facilitates information sharing and the coordination of project changes from start to finish on a project. Users are alerted instantly via a Web dashboard when information is added or modified.

Owners, contractors, architects, and other members of the project team can all continue using their software systems of choice. MySmartPlans helps bridge that gap regardless of where the information is created. The project manager/concierge helps organize and manage the information.

From there, MySmartPlans uses what it calls a “hybrid” approach to managing information. Users register and download an application to their computer that allows MySmartPlans to push information to their desktop locally. In other instances, the information is available via the Web. This hybrid approach allows users to interact with information in the format most optimal for that specific task.

The company claims it can reduce the cost of paper printing by 60-70%. Customers are using the system for many varying tasks on the project, including viewing BIM (building information modeling) models to even project closeout and facilities management.

In fact, the technology is being used for a study on project standards in the healthcare construction market. Purdue University, in association with ASHE (American Society for Healthcare Engineering), is conducting a case study on the 2E Surgical Services renovation for the University of Arkansas for Medical Science. Gregory Lasker, assistant professor of Healthcare Construction, along with the ASHE student chapter, will conduct the case study in examination of the implementation of ASHE’s “Health Facility Commissioning Guidelines” (HFCG), published in 2010.

With a targeted completion date of May 2013, Lasker hopes to compile the results of his study to be used by ASHE to support the industry-wide adoption of the HFCG at the organization’s national conferences.

The appeal of using MySmartPlans for this case study is the dashboard that bridges together all of the various technology programs and applications used by contractors throughout the construction process. It helps give Lasker and his student assistants a central repository for viewing current documents, communications, reviews, and schedule on the project. This is essential to ensuring the process adheres to commissioning guidelines of ASHE.

But the involvement of MySmartPlans extends beyond the case study, as it is providing project information management services for all project stakeholders. The entire project team uses the system for the purposes of photo documentation and storage, redline review, and tracking and review of submittal documents. This system also plays a vital role in helping keep project participants current with vital construction data, including addenda and RFIs (requests for information).

In the quest for managing project information, project teams are always looking for that right solution. MySmartPlans is another option that looks to be gaining momentum in construction, from owners to contractors to architects.