Early in 2018, PlanGrid announced that they would be organizing their very first annual Construction Summit, which would unite PlanGrid users and stakeholders in the company’s home city, San Francisco. At the Summit, which took place on June 10 and 11, 2018, PlanGrid CEO Tracy Young and CTO Ralph Gootee chose to announce several major product innovations and developments.
"Construction teams working on projects of any size — from a small school to a multi-billion dollar megaproject — need to make decisions faster and build with more confidence," said Tracy Young, CEO of PlanGrid, in a press release. "We're making a massive investment in new technologies that eliminate manual data entry and any inefficiencies that distract builders from doing actual work. Starting at the earliest project designs through turnover, our latest innovations will put the right information in the right hands, at every project phase."
There were 5 major product announcements made at the Summit, which included: BIM in the Field, Tasks, Change Management, Next Gen RFIs, and Insights.
1. BIM in the Field (Revit Integration)
Currently being tested in Beta, PlanGrid users will soon be able to sync sheets directly from Autodesk’s Revit directly into PlanGrid, without needing to manually transfer PDFs. Revit data, such as sheet titles, sheet numbers, and room assignments will be auto-populated directly into the platform, as well. If you’d like to sign up to Beta test this new feature, PlanGrid is currently accepting applications.
Currently, if you want to create a to-do list in PlanGrid, you have to use the “Issues” tab, which can immediately emit feelings of negativity for some workers and is also mainly designed for end of project punchlists. To help evolve the Issues tab, PlanGrid will be releasing a new “Tasks” section later this year.
Through Tasks, anybody is able to create tasks to be completed, assign who is responsible for individual tasks, and track the progress of each task. When workers are assigned a task, they will immediately have access to items that have been uploaded, like links to relevant drawings or installation guides. An end of day report will automatically be generated by PlanGrid, which will allow anyone to track progress of the assigned tasks.
3. Change Management
The creation and tracking of change orders can be an uncomfortable process for the contractor and owner, but it’s essential for contractors to be upfront and clear when dealing with them. Although not quite to the Beta testing stage yet, PlanGrid will soon offer the ability to track and manage project changes within the platform.
Users will be able to create a change event directly from an RFI without needing to add manual data entry. Requests for Quotes (RFQs) will also be able to be managed within the platform and PlanGrid will generate a coversheet for the completed change proposal and create an automatic backup file. After the proposal is submitted, the Owner will be able to formally approve the change request within PlanGrid.
4. Next Gen RFIs
PlanGrid already allows for the creation and tracking of an RFI log, but it will be getting a redesign later this year, which the company hopes will help streamline the RFI process. Some of the updates to the tab include: making identifying and elevating unanswered RFIs easier, allowing architects and engineers to approve and respond to RFIs without logging into PlanGrid, and immediately alerting the field staff after RFIs have been answered.
Collecting data is an important battle on every construction project, but if you don’t do anything with that data, it’s all for not. PlanGrid’s new Insights feature, which they are currently recruiting Beta testers for, will provide “predictive analytics” at the corporate and project levels, with the hope that it will improve profit margins and productivity. I’m very interested to see how this feature will be integrated into the platform when more details are released.