DILFO improves project operations, gaining faster communications and improved visibility with ProjectSight

Using ProjectSight

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About the company

DILFO provides excellence in manufacturing, construction,and maintenance and service for mechanical, HVAC, and plumbing and heating customers throughout Eastern Ontario. The contractor has extensive experience with designbuild/design-assist and LEED projects and specializes in large-scale designbuild and design-assist projects, new commercial construction, and tenant fit-ups. DILFO is also proud to offer HVAC maintenance and 24/7 emergency service, as well as a full range of plumbing, piping and HVAC services for new and retrofit projects.

Challenge

Construction projects are growing in complexity, and DILFO didn’t have holistic document control in place, making it difficult and time consuming to find the project information when it was needed.

Solution

Implement ProjectSight to standardize its processes for managing drawings, RFIs, submittals, photos and field reports to save time and increase visibility for its construction and service teams.

Results

  • Saved time by easily finding project documents, drawings and communications
  • Eliminated daily site visits to capture work completed - saving time on every project
  • Increased peace of mind and job satisfaction for office and field teams
  • Improved continuity between the construction and service divisions with accurate and accessible as-built records
  • Mitigated risk with a reliable repository of decisions, approvals and work completed

The power of project management software for subcontractors

Construction just keeps getting harder. Good people are difficult to find and keep, and there is more paperwork than ever. Construction companies of all kinds, including MEP contractors, need tools to improve their operations and project delivery. One such company has turned to project management software to streamline its document control and improve team collaboration. Based in Ottawa, DILFO is one of Eastern Ontario’s largest mechanical contracting, HVAC services, and plumbing and heating contractors. The second-generation, family-owned business was founded in 1980 and employs more than 200 construction and service professionals. Director of Operations, Brendan Myers oversees day-to-day work including DILFO’s sheet metal and plumbing fabrication as well as its field and service operations. Like many construction professionals, Brendan believes “it’s harder to build these days.”

Communication is everything - especially in construction. Having a central spot in ProjectSight where you can have all the history and understand what happened is crucial.

— Brendan Myers, Director of Operations

Brendan says “Project Managers need information in a way that isn’t cumbersome so they can focus on their tasks. It’s also getting harder and harder for our Foremen to do their job. There’s more safety requirements, more paperwork, and the schedules are getting shorter.” DILFO’s previous solution was working well in the field, but they needed a more holistic approach that could tie the office and field together as one with the documentation to run a project successfully. After a thorough review, Brendan chose ProjectSight. Brendan said, “[ProjectSight was] the one that was best geared for what we needed. Document control is top-notch, revisions are an automatic process, and there is no concern about human error.”

DILFO successfully transferred more than 20 active projects in various stages of completion in under three months to ProjectSight. Nearly two years later, Brendan says it’s both less expensive and more capable than other project management solutions the mechanical contractor has used: “We can customize almost anything in ProjectSight to suit our needs, versus other solutions that are very inflexible. It’s making life easier for us and doing a great job in simplifying everything. And the mobile application is very easy to use, which is crucial.”

Managing risk by capturing and organizing project information

One of the most important ways ProjectSight has helped DILFO is risk management. ProjectSight makes it easier for Brendan and others at the company to know they are meeting contractual obligations on a project – and to help them prove it later if necessary.

“We’re mitigating risk by tracking everything,” he says. “When an issue happens on site and impacts or delays our work, we can very quickly capture that and bring it up to everybody. The Foreman can send it to the Project Manager or Superintendent, and they can decide whether they want to take action or not.”

That helps keep projects moving forward with confidence, and gives DILFO peace of mind long afterward as well. “We’re validating that we’re meeting contractual obligations. We’ve done the work, it’s been approved and the general contractor has signed off on it.”

ProjectSight not only helps protect the company, it also enables employees to do their work faster and better. Everyone knows what information they need to capture, and where to store and retrieve it. Brendan recalls that before ProjectSight teams were organizing files differently and there was little standardization. “[Files] were either in a folder somewhere or in email. I saw the need for standardization across the company to improve document control and alleviate some of the inefficiencies that can happen with revisions and lots of documents and emails.”

Having a centralized location for their documentation means team members know where all the checklists, drawings and pictures are and it’s making life a lot easier in the office and in the field. Brendan elaborated, “Having a spot with all of the history, where you can understand what has happened and write comments, is great. Otherwise, if something happens and I can’t get access to someone’s email, I’m completely out of the loop.”

“I don’t have to wonder how I’m going to get information now. A Superintendent asked me a question about a piece of equipment on a project. I didn’t have to sit there wondering or send an email. I just logged into ProjectSight and was able to do my work. I’m no longer pushing communication and waiting for communication to come back, I can continue to do my job.”

Should there be something that happens down the road, they know that we did verify at the time that our work was complete. Otherwise, if we don’t have that, we’re going to get blamed for it.

— Brendan Myers, Director of Operations

Advancing transparency and collaboration between the field and office

Many contractors are good at getting data to the field, but it can be more challenging to get data back out of the field to the office. With ProjectSight as the central location, the office can see what has been done in the field to track completion. Foremen are seeing that the work they are putting in is making a difference as well, giving them increased peace of mind and job satisfaction.

Brendan says ProjectSight has saved DILFO time on every project. “It’s quick and accurate. We are capturing our work on site each day and superintendents don’t have to go to the site to see where it’s at. They can focus on other things in the office.”

Using ProjectSight’s checklist feature to track what has been completed in the field, with the detailed location of the jobsite, has been a game-changer. Tracking progress and what equipment has been installed in each floor has been simplified. “I love the checklists module and the location feature,” Brendan says. “I need to be very precise about where I’m taking pictures, doing checklists, making sure that all the tasks that we have to do before another trade comes in, we’ve captured all that, we’ve signed off on it, and the general contractor has signed off on it.”

ProjectSight’s enhanced photos feature provides transparency to the work being done by the field. “Everything is time stamped and the office can see what has been completed, or more easily understand an issue the field has encountered,” Brendan says.

Beyond tracking progress, perhaps most important is the sense of teamwork and ownership ProjectSight has helped foster between the office and the field. “Foremen now can see the status of a submittal or RFI. They know whether a decision has been made or not, if so what it is, and things don’t get forgotten or fall through the cracks.”

Visibility of the status of submittals and RFIs helps Foremen get ahead of delays before they impact the field. A Foreman can push to get an answer if it’s about to impact the project, or a Foreman can see when something is approved and get working on it. “Just giving that information to the field, I think we’re more transparent this way; they can see the bigger picture.”

It’s peace of mind for my Project Managers and my Foremen. They sleep well at night. They know everything has been done and we can move on to the next task.”

— Brendan Myers, Director of Operations

Supporting the unique needs of MEP trades and their service teams

Not only has ProjectSight helped DILFO’s construction operations run more efficiently, it’s enabled the company to get the most from its service business, which can quickly access as-built records including drawings, submittals and more to know what happened on a project when it was built.

With standardization and stronger document control, their service division now can quickly access as-built documentation from the construction phase.“Our business model is built around servicing what we construct,” Brendan says. “If we don’t have a clear understanding of what was constructed, there’s very little advantage for our service team because we’re going in blind. By having a solution like ProjectSight where everything is organized the same way every time and laid out very cleanly, there’s no confusion.”

I was never really sure that I was looking at the most current version of the drawings – or the submittals for that matter. Now that we have ProjectSight, I am.

— Brendan Myers, Director of Operations

Looking ahead to the benefits of a close partnership and increased integration

Brendan sees a bright future for DILFO with ProjectSight because it’s a solution backed by a strong company that is continually updated and improved. “I’ve always been impressed with our relationship with Trimble. There’s really good communication there and they always listen to our questions and feedback,” he says. “ProjectSight is not a software that was bought and sitting on a shelf; it’s constantly changing and improving.”

With a successful transition to their new project management solution behind them, Brendan and his team are growing adoption beyond its basic features so that the company can capture even more benefits. Moving forward, Brendan sees opportunities to increase efficiencies by integrating ProjectSight and the other Trimble solutions that DILFO uses. Next they are looking at diving into budget and cost by taking advantage of the integration between ProjectSight and Trimble’s Viewpoint Spectrum ERP.

“For what we get versus the other platforms out there, it’s priced right, the support is fantastic, I love all of the guides and videos, there’s a lot of resources there, so I’m happy with it,” he says. “Would I do it again? Yes. I am excited about the future with ProjectSight and Trimble. I’ve bought into the ecosystem and we want to continue to grow with Trimble and take advantage of all the solutions Trimble has that are going to help us be a successful contractor. I think we’re both moving in the right direction and I’m excited to see where this takes us.”

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