The University of California at Riverside student housing project that the Clark Construction Group, one of the nation’s leading building and civil contractors, is working on is not all that different from past endeavors. It’s large in both scale — a handful of five-story apartment-style residence halls that will accommodate approximately 800 students — and price tag, which is a tad north of $100 million.
This time around, however, something new has been added to the mix. And it has nothing to do with cement.
“Several years ago, the construction industry made a transition to electronic documents, which has been a tremendous asset,” said John Warren, a senior project manager for Clark. “But just because you have that technology, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be more efficient.”
As on most large-scale projects, there are thousands of pages of construction documents, everything from drawings and specifications to owner contracts. To say that wading through all that information is a Herculean task would be the understatement of the millennium.
“Prior to hyperlinking we did not have the ability to reference a single table of contents for all documents needed,” added Warren. “Without that, there was no way to locate the corresponding file or page and that meant a lot of time wasted on endless searching.”
The problem was recently solved by ARC Document Solutions in conjunction with Clark. It entailed hyperlinking all of the construction documents to the table of contents to enable lightning-fast access, which was implemented for the UC Riverside project.
“Now that we’ve gone the hyperlink route, anybody can navigate thousands of pages of drawings in a matter of seconds,” said Warren. “And it really is anybody because we took the extra step of synching up everyone’s iPads and tablets with the documents.”
That translates to no more working one’s way through a set of drawings, then going over to the bookshelf to get specifications, and then retrieving the request for information (RFI) folder to reference it all.
It also signals the demise of lugging large copies of blueprints back-and-forth from the project site to the office. And on the current 20- acre site, that’s a lot of lugging.
Dramatically Reduce Hard Copies
In short, hyperlinking has almost eliminated the need for hard copies, except for occasional instances, such as when permit agencies or owners need copies or when subcontractors don’t have access to tablets in the field.
As for the nuts and bolts of the process, ARC provides the hyperlinking service and works closely with Clark’s project teams to keep the documents up to date, especially RFIs and those ever-present change orders.
“Through ARC’s help with hyperlinking all of these documents, we’ve reduced a significant amount of inefficiencies,” said Warren.
Not to mention a significant amount of paper.