Collaborating with Other Contractors: 3 Takeaways

Jul 18, 2019

By Pape Fall, Director of Quality Assurance

Construction is competitive. All builders work to fine tune their processes and procedures to offer something different or better. But recently, we opened our offices to seven general contractors and shared intricate details of how we build. That might sound crazy, but we’re committed to constantly improving our processes and finding new and better ways to create value for our clients.  

In this case, we saw an opportunity to collaborate with other contractors to ensure we are delivering the highest quality possible to our clients.

Over the past few years, our company has rolled out and embraced an all-in-one construction management platform called Procore. We’ve committed resources and time to train our superintendents and project managers on how to use this platform to access every document we use — from our Quality Assurance Program manual to change order forms. The tool also allows us to collaborate with our design team and view updated drawings anywhere, at any time. We believe this is a better way to communicate with everyone involved in a project, to share information with our clients, and to archive important information once a project is finished.  

We’ve implemented the use of Procore on all our job sites, but we wanted to expand our training and ensure we’re using this tool to its full capabilities. One of our core values as a company is to constantly seek out opportunities to learn and improve. That’s where we came up with the idea of a summit. We invited seven ACIG general contractors to our office, as well as a development team from Procore. Everyone who attended shared how their company uses the platform, their best lessons learned and received some additional training on the tool. By the end of the day, I asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to host a follow-up summit and before I could get it out of my mouth, there were three hands in the air. I would call the meeting a successful first step towards expanding how we use this technology to continuously improve our ability to deliver the highest quality to our clients.

1. It’s All About Speed

That was the first comment from almost everyone who spoke. This tool helps us all work faster. On top of that, Procore provides easier access to the information you need. You’re able to document quality conditions in an instant. Instead of filling out a paper checklist, scanning it later, and then filing it in a binder — you can fill it out on site through the app and share it instantly with your team and client. Our processes work, but it takes a lot of time-consuming documentation and paperwork to track and implement them properly. Anything that helps us complete those tasks faster helps us follow the plan more accurately, with less room for error.

2. Seeing Patterns

When your safety and quality checklists are in one place, accessible with the swipe of a finger, you can pull whatever data you need with a single review. For example, if you start seeing a pattern or the same issue popping up on your checklists, you can tell Procore to pull all entries of that instance into a report. That capability allows our team members to spot issues and find solutions faster. With Procore, we can track both leading and lagging indicators — so we can spot potential issues before they happen and create solutions. Here’s a great explanation of the difference between leading and lagging indicators, and how tracking both creates value for our clients.

3. Embracing Innovation

Everyone in the room had the same attitude towards technology — if it adds value to the client, it’s worth it. Procore is an example of technology that creates value for our client. It’s helping us work faster and more efficiently, while improving our quality assurance practices. We’re all using this tool to improve our processes and deliver better quality at a faster rate to our clients.

I’m proud that we were able to lead the charge in this collaborative exercise. This session focused on how we can use the tool to improve our quality and safety processes. Our next summit is planned for October, and we’ll choose a different component of Procore to focus on. Like I said earlier, this was a first step to an ongoing effort to bring real change to our industry, for the benefit of our clients. To read more about how we’re using technology to create value for our clients, click here.

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