A municipal design plan has many different “touch points” as it goes through the construction process. There’s the design firm, the lead engineer, the contractors and subcontractors. Beyond that, an alphabet soup of local, state, and federal agencies must have access to ensure codes and regulations are being met.
When all was handled via paper copies, it made it difficult to put everyone on the same page and work through the process in a timely fashion. but the Internet — and more specifically, the onset of cloud computing — changed everything.
Cloud computing gives you the opportunity to upload plans to a browser-based platform. This ensures an enormous amount of control. You can grant access to any applicable party on a need-to-know basis, post modifications as necessary, and get critical feedback regarding compliance without having to wait several days — or even weeks— to see it.
And by the same note of designers controlling what other parties get to see, they may also choose what they don’t see. In other words, contractors and subcontractors may only need to see finished blueprints, not the multiple drafts between designer and engineer that went into creating the final product.
You can use the cloud to easily examine plans, weigh them against the engineering realities, and request updates or modifications as needed. Furthermore, you can provide real-time commentary to contractors and subcontractors — the people who will actually be turning the design into a finished product — as well as interface with government agencies for guidance and communication regarding regulatory compliance.
In the case of city engineers, this is an especially useful tool because you have multiple million-dollar jobs to deal with on a daily basis — everything from lane widenings and new construction to street overlays and crack sealants. Streamlining the process whenever and however you can is essential.
As Contractors or Subcontractors
The cloud’s browser-rooted nature gives you the ability to see the same materials posted by the designer regardless of your access point. Designers can provide you with blueprints and other need-to-know materials, and you can pull them up for easy review whether on a tablet, laptop, or other device. As long as you have access to a browser and an Internet connection, plans are never far away. This keeps you and your employees on the right path, ensuring quality work and fast payment.
As the Agency (or Agencies)
For large-scale public construction jobs, particularly those overseen by city building or utility departments, the public demands transparency. But burdens of bureaucracy, rampant overwork, and notorious understaffing/budget cuts can keep you from doing your work in a timely manner. At least, that was the case when you were at the mercy of other people’s schedules (i.e., designer, engineer, contractors, etc.).
Cloud computing gives you the opportunity to know the status of any job, any change to that job, and any unforeseen challenges that may arise once construction begins. This insight gives you an enormous amount of power when reporting to city leadership and the citizens-at-large.
You also have the ability to exercise more control over the work, making note of codes and regulations and signing off on each portion of the work as it progresses to the end.
For Compliance Officers
Climate change, growing populations, engineering challenges for both immediate safety and environmental stewardship — these are just a few of the necessary issues that government agencies watch out for. Watchdogs and compliance officers need to have unrestricted access to ensure that large-scale developments are handled in a way that will be in the public’s best interests.
Cloud computing has made it possible to cut through the red tape and address issues if/when they arise. With open, real-time access along with the ability to comment and make adjustments, agencies like the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency could have “righted the ship,” so to speak, for the hundreds of communities throughout the United States now under multimillion-dollar (and in some cases, billion-dollar) consent decrees.
The One Thing Your Cloud Needs
Not all cloud-based products are created equal, especially when it comes to large-scale construction. While many generics are out there, very few speak the language of design, engineering, construction, and compliance needed to keep massive million-dollar-plus projects on track. Thankfully, there’s e-PlanREVIEW®, an entirely cloud-based design review platform that allows real-time comments, markup, versioning, and more. Our clients know this space inside-out, and we’ve built a product custom-fitted to their needs. If you’d like to request a demo or see more of the specific benefits available through the platform, check us out today.