For contractor Forcia, embracing digital workflows for RFIs and take-offs, with Bluebeam as a project partner, has helped establish the firm as a leader in its field
Specialist refurbishment contractor Forcia has long served the construction needs of central London, and after making the switch to digitalised workflows a decade ago, the firm has since established itself as an industry leader in the UK.
“We have projects all over the region,” says Forcia’s construction director Terry Crawford.
The firm’s projects range from high-end residential refurbs to commercial and industrial projects. With such a diverse project base and London’s strict build requirements to consider, no two projects are ever the same, which forced the firm to standardise its workflows 10 years ago to improve efficiency and client satisfaction.
Forcia needed to not only review its Request for Information (RFI) and take-off workflows but also come up with a new programme strategy, according to operations manager Mike Ewing.
After having what Crawford calls “an epiphany moment,” the firm turned to Bluebeam Revu, an award-winning PDF creation, editing, mark-up and collaboration solution designed specifically for the built environment.
Digital RFIs are crucial to time savings
RFIs help coordinate site needs and materials, answer general build questions and foster team interaction. Even smaller-scale jobs create hundreds of RFIs, so figuring out the best way to work with them is essential to project success – especially on a complex project like the team’s scheme in Covent Garden, which involves a heavy refurbishment of existing structure. The project team will rebuild the roof, add new openings, create a new lift shaft and then finish a fit-out of flats with high-end finishes.
“You cannot escape from RFIs,” jokes Agim Metsullari, site manager for the project. He explains their process, which his colleague Michael designed in Revu.
“You tick by email, and post which specific person will receive the RFI; choose structural, architectural or mechanical services; type the text of the RFI; attach drawings to it; then attach photographs if you need to, or internet pages.”
This workflow ensures project team members cannot miss information.
Metsullari also expresses an affinity for how the accuracy of the RFI process in Revu enables a simpler sample acquisition workflow.
“For example, in this project, we have a lot of material samples, so we take from the specifications that will go in the RFI, because they will have to be approved and signed off.”
When somebody verifies the information, his team files it away, knowing it is approved without any additional sign-offs needed.
Having everything instantly documented also gives Forcia unparalleled transparency among job partners and subcontractors.
“If someone comes up to you and says, ‘You did not issue me that email or that RFI,’ you say, ‘Yes, I did!’” explains Metsullari.
“Revu keeps it there; it is all part of the history, so you know exactly when you sent it and what you saved when you navigate through the system. It is brilliant.”
Take-offs in a digital world
Given the amount of pre-existing structure the firm encounters, the team depends on accurate estimation and take-offs to meet project expectations.
“Revu makes it easier to do take-offs so you can concentrate on the more difficult aspects of the project,” says building estimator Niall O’Connor.
Additionally, Crawford champions other features in Revu that help highlight inconsistencies on site, helping the firm simplify the overall refurbishment process. Among these are the ability to overlay revisions and quickly add snapshots to the PDF. These features keep the team from “possibly getting swamped by a massive amount of information” and instead enable them to look at site details in isolation very easily.
“We have found that part of the software to be very, very good in figuring things out,” adds Crawford.
Revu as a project partner
“Our clients do not realise that it is not a coincidence that we can run our projects as well as we do – and I believe that Revu is very much a partner in that process,” says Crawford. He explains that Revu enables Forcia to gather complex information and match it up with their site progress, allowing the tradesmen on site to be able to deliver the projects as they do.
“The software has been very valuable to our business,” Crawford adds.
Learn more about Bluebeam Revu at www.bluebeam.co.uk.
Please note: this is a commercial profile