For general contractors, staying on top of the progress of multiple trade partners is challenging, not to mention anxiety-inducing. When things go wrong, it can be tricky to assign responsibility or figure out who is responsive for rework. Max Sanchez, an Assistant Superintendent for Suffolk, experienced this first-hand in the midst of a Ritz-Carlton Residences…
OpenSpace: The Safest Way to Track Jobsite Progress Remotely
Amid concerns about COVID-19 and social distancing, many construction projects have been deemed “essential” business by various governments. On our side, we’ve seen customers use OpenSpace with greater frequency—and with a greater variety of stakeholders—over the past few weeks. We spoke with one such customer, Adam Settino of Lee Kennedy, to learn how OpenSpace is helping his company document jobsite progress remotely with fewer site visits, keeping projects on track. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.
OpenSpace: So how’s it going? Where are you speaking to me from?
Adam Settino, Director of Virtual Design & Construction, Lee Kennedy: I’m talking to you from home trying to hide from a three-year-old and an eleven-month-old. I love the extra time with the kids, but it’s certainly a challenge. We have the tools and resources to make it work, though.
Many of our jobs have been mandated to shut down by their respective municipalities, but projects that are able to continue working are rolling out new safety regulations to insure employee safety during the crisis. In fact, Lee Kennedy Company is part of an AGC group that is helping inform new safety procedures and guidelines for the state.
OpenSpace is one of the tools we’re using to help us work remotely. Job site documentation using OpenSpace is a safe, social distancing activity that is proving to be a great way to limit site visits from people who don’t necessarily have to be there. Much of our staff is working from home now, but work is still happening on our sites. Using OpenSpace allows staff working remotely to stay up to date on progress without being on site.
That’s great to hear. Did you have OpenSpace set up on all your projects before things shut down?
Most of our projects were already using OpenSpace, but not all. For projects that were not using OpenSpace, we quickly loaded up the project plans one evening, and by morning had cameras in the hands of people who could walk the projects. All projects were up and running by end of day.
Have you been documenting the sites since?
Yes, some of the projects that are shut down are still being walked even though no work is being done. This allows our clients to check in and confirm everything is safe and secure.
For projects with work ongoing, the frequency of walks has increased to keep people working remotely up to date on progress. Jobs that were getting walked every couple of weeks are now being walked every couple of days. The processing time of walks has improved recently, which is helping a lot. A full 360 walkthrough of a project is now available within one hour after a walk is completed.
How else have you been using OpenSpace during this time?
We’re seeing more members being added to OpenSpace projects. One of our projects starting MEP coordination has added their MEP subcontractors as members to their project. Usually, these subs would be visiting the site regularly to verify existing conditions. Instead, we’re sharing a link to the OpenSpace project with them so they can walk through the existing building virtually as demo happens. And if they need a measurement verified, it’s easy for them to communicate what they need to the superintendent without having to visit the site.
We’re also implementing virtual bid walkthroughs. Typically, a renovation job would have a subcontractor walkthrough to view the existing conditions. This could easily be a group as large as 20-30 people. We can now have one team member walk the existing conditions and make that information available to everyone else.
The fewer people on site the better, so everything we can do to help limit site visits and maintain social distancing right now is a good thing.
Do you notice any other changes in how your team is using OpenSpace?
Well, we had a renovation planned for our Quincy office later this spring, but with everyone working from home, we moved that up. We’ve given everyone a link to view the project so they can check in on the progress. Just for fun, we’re using the Field Notes feature to place some funny images of coworkers within the project. With everything going on right now, it’s nice to have something our employees can turn to that can provide a little comic relief.
To learn more about how OpenSpace can aid project continuity or see a demo, click here.