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The Next Generation GC: Farrar & Associates

Sometimes solving an old problem requires a new set of eyes. At general contractor Farrar & Associates, one fresh-faced employee helped restructure the firm’s workflow communication process, saving it time and money.

Founded in 1991, Farrar & Associates markets its skill in giving estimates that closely match the actual projects as they are performed. But not long ago, the company’s document control process was not all it could be. Then Rowan Farrar got involved.

The Document Control Challenge

Rowan, son of the company’s owner, James Farrar, until recently was as an assistant project manager working for Lee Kennedy Co., Inc., in Boston. He joined his father’s Newport, RI, firm in June and quickly began implementing a new document control system. His choices for that system were based partly upon his prior work experience, where he used various construction apps to organize, distribute, update, and archive construction documents.

“Everything we did there was done with document control in mind,” he said.

But he didn’t want to simply copy his previous employer’s document control system. So after researching various document management solutions made for GCs, he chose SKYSITE from ARC Document Solutions.

To help eliminate the cost of print, Farrar & Associates also chose to implement Managed Print Services (MPS) from ARC. MPS typically cuts 30% off a firm’s printing and supplies expenses by consolidating equipment, supplies, maintenance, support, and service in one outsourced bundle. But the core of the package of services provided for Farrar & Associates is SKYSITE, which helps present the contractor’s documents in a way that makes them more accessible and easier to find.

The Document Control Solution

Rowan found other document control apps to be “…good for basic stuff. But I like how ARC can organize submittals by category. And I liked how SKYSITE automatically puts the latest documents in its own folder. SKYSITE keeps things very organized. It’s very user-friendly, and I think it adds to having paper documents. The cloud gets the information out there faster. And all the subcontractors have free viewing capability with SKYSITE.”

That easy access differed from his previous employer’s document control system, which charged for subcontractor viewing capability and was much more expensive. The fact that an unlimited number of subcontractors can have document viewing capability through SKYSITE is a great benefit, Rowan said. And getting them connected with SKYSITE is a snap.

“The subs get a confirmation email. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

The Results

While Rowan is fairly new in the construction industry, the young professional helped implement the new SKYSITE solution in his growing firm because he knew what efficiencies to look for in a document control system. Prior to Rowan joining Farrar & Associates, the company used Staples for printing. But running out to Staples for copies that weren’t always the greatest quality was time-consuming. With services from ARC Document Solutions, Farrar & Associates is economizing in printing and elsewhere.

“Now, we do all our plotting in-house. It’s definitely saved money for hard copies, saved a huge amount of time, and the quality of copies is better,” he said.

Rowan Farrar led implementation of SKYSITE at Farrar & Associates because his work experience taught him about document control, and also because his background as a communications professional made him interested in the task.

“I figured that having experience with those programs, I could help in that area. It takes some time to learn them but it makes your life one 100 times easier,” he said, adding that SKYSITE is like having another FTP site. “It’s nice how it’s app- based and cloud-based, so it won’t bog down, either.”

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