Lessons Learned: Virtual Construction Administration
April 1, 2020
Construction Administration (CA) is a service BSB Design offers to ensure projects remain on track throughout the construction phase. Our CAs monitor contracts, invoices, project reports and construction progress for accuracy in the field. This includes many on-site visits to job sites where they act as the primary liaisons between our design teams and our clients.
On March 28, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that construction of single family and multifamily housing is an “essential infrastructure business”. Each state has the ultimate decision, but this is still a huge win for so many companies in the industry, as we can continue to build and provide homes for renters and buyers all over the nation. The work will go on, but since BSB Design has transitioned to a remote, work-from-home environment due to social distancing recommendations, our CAs have had to adjust.
Jim Stockwell, Construction Administrator in our Charlotte office, says that he’s continued to be very busy. Reviews are proceeding as close to business as usual as possible, but Jim has been forced to get creative to find different ways to get them done. He is using photos, videos, drone footage and video meetings more than ever before. Some clients have implemented web cameras so contractors and consultants can view the construction site 24/7.
Jennifer Pack, Construction Administrator in our Chicago office, has had a similar experience. Clients are getting creative with AIA G072 financial documents, which require the architect to walk through the site in person before approving and signing. Since that is not possible right now, the industry is adjusting on the fly to enable digital alternatives for these approvals. One client is using GoPro footage to film first-person walk-throughs so Jennifer can get a true sense of the site itself. Although it’s an adjustment, these new methods will likely expand our standard methods long after the coronavirus crises ends.
SOFTWARE & SUPPLY
For years, we’ve used two main project management software systems: Procore and Submittal Exchange. These systems allow GCs to easily process RFIs and submittals. Procore is even offering free video conferencing via Zoom. Now more than ever, these systems have become lynchpins to the progress of our sites under construction.
Jim and Jennifer both agree that the supply side remains a key concern for moving projects forward. Luckily, many of our clients have already made the switch to U.S. made materials due to the tariffs placed on product from overseas. Domestic supplies can still be delayed, compounded by the need to follow CDC guidelines to sanitize everything. GCs are learning quickly how to navigate the supply side issues, and everyone involved knows patience is sometimes the only answer.
Although Jim and Jennifer both relied heavily on in-person contact with GCs and construction sites to complete their jobs, this temporary change has opened their eyes to how powerful the digital world can be. The work WILL get done, wherever we are.
Contact our Construction Administrators to share your thoughts, ideas or questions:
Jim Stockwell Jennifer Pack
Builder Online - Managing Construction During Coronavirus
Builder Online - Addressing Pandemic-Related Supply Chain Issues