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HAP Construction Avoids COVID-19 Payment Delays with OpenSpace

How COVID-19 Affected In-Progress Construction

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., New York City was hit harder than any other region. As residents began sheltering in place and public health officials scrambled to protect their citizens, companies had to quickly adjust to a changed world. 

In early March, HAP Construction was already in the midst of building two 20-story residential towers just a few blocks away from Central Park. It quickly became clear that shelter-in-place orders and the health risks posed by the virus would require HAP to create new processes that would allow them to finish the project.  

HAP Construction Project Engineer JC Passos was on the team tasked with creating a new process for the COVID-19 era. He told us that one question kept coming up: “If we can’t be on-site regularly, how can we confirm specific work has been completed in order to approve invoices?” 

Without being able to document that specific jobs were completed, HAP wouldn’t be able to approve their subcontractor’s invoices. That could lead to further delays on the project. 

Using 360° Photo Documentation to Approve Invoices

At HAP, the team had already been using advanced 360° photo documentation technology from OpenSpace since the summer of 2019. 

Passos was impressed with the technology from the very first time he used it. Not only did it empower his team to document their entire job site, but it was incredibly easy to use. “I taught our intern how to use OpenSpace in less than 20 minutes, and he [captured] the entire building in two hours.”

OpenSpace was at least 10 times faster than their previous process of manually capturing every floor. All it took was for one person to walk through the site with a 360° camera on their hard hat. 

Once COVID-19 hit, the team moved proactively to address the situation. They set up new procedures for approving subcontractors’ work based on OpenSpace image captures. A team member would walk the site every three days, giving remote colleagues an up-to-date view of the entire 300,000-square-foot project. It took just three minutes to capture each floor and only two hours for an entire building.

OpenSpace captured thousands of images per walk and mapped them to the project plan in the background. This made it much easier to verify work was completed and issue invoices for subcontractors. 

“It made us feel that we were covered and that we couldn’t be taken advantage of during COVID,” Passos said. “It saves time on taking pictures around the site, but the quality of the documentation really improves everything we do.”

Moving Forward with More Efficient Practices

As the team learned how powerful OpenSpace could be, they decided to double down on the new methods — even after the pandemic ends. 

Before using OpenSpace, photo documentation was spotty and unreliable. With OpenSpace, HAP Construction has a robust record to refer back to if needed. 

The efficiencies gained by relying on 360° photo documentation are helping the team save time and money in so many areas. 

“OpenSpace was great to have during our bank requisition invoicing meetings because we could walk the floor virtually,” Passos said. “So if a subcontractor billed for drywall that was put up on the seventh floor, no one would have to physically go there to check it. We could use OpenSpace to confirm, which was really valuable.”

The technology is also helping HAP with scheduling. The team used to visit different areas

of the site to check off that tasks had been completed before greenlighting subsequent tasks, but now the same thing can be accomplished from a computer.

This frees up so much more time that can be dedicated to other work, not to mention a significant reduction in travel expenses. HAP Project Manager Sacha Vives, who is in charge of scheduling, said that OpenSpace has saved him almost 10 minutes per task, which equals a 40% reduction in time spent on scheduling overall. 

To learn more about how HAP Construction is using OpenSpace to avoid payment delays and make scheduling easier during COVID-19, download the case study below.