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Contractormag 3001 Cloudcomputing

Cloud solutions track projects, tools

April 11, 2016
Autodesk’s BIM 360 Docs is cloud-based document management software purpose-built for construction projects Currently, Autodesk offers a free trial version of BIM 360 Docs that supports multiple projects Electronic tool tracking is a growing category of software, especially apps that work in the field

Cloud-based solutions enable greater collaboration, cooperation and accountability. Here are two solutions for the office and the field.
Autodesk’s BIM 360 Docs,, is cloud-based document management software purpose-built for construction projects and designed for use by the entire construction project team, from pre-construction through handover. BIM 360 Docs has unlimited storage and does not limit users.

Autodesk BIM 360 Docs puts the project — rather than individual stakeholders who all have different goals and responsibilities — at the center of efficient business information management, with the aim of helping make project information more accurate, relevant and accessible for all project stakeholders.
Designed to aid in collaborative access for all project team members whether in the office or on the jobsite, the solution keeps track of design changes, markups, issues, requests, RFIs, approvals and other input.

It integrates 2D plans, 3D models and other documents and can be accessed on desktop or mobile devices. This capability helps ensure the entire construction project team for a single project works with the latest version of reviewed, edited and approved documents and plans as they evolve, keeping up with the project as it progresses.

BIM 360 Docs supports numerous kinds of files, including Word, spreadsheets, PDFs, CAD, 3D models and photos.

Access control can be defined by role, company or user, with the ability to assign four different permission levels.   

Users can view documents online and offline on the Web, phone and tablet, with access to version control and rollback, which makes it easy to see how the job is evolving. The software includes a single viewer for plans and models optimized for use on iPhones and iPads. Users can navigate between documents without closing the viewer and can easily extract and view document sets from design files.

BIM 360 Docs is one of several Autodesk BIM 360 collaborative construction management software products that connect project teams and data via a shared cloud database for all phases of the construction lifecycle, from pre-construction and execution to commissioning and handover. Others include BIM 360 Glue for streamlining BIM project workflows and improving model coordination, BIM 360 Field for improving quality, safety and commissioning on the jobsite, BIM 360 Plan for lean planning, and Building Ops for the contractor to hand over the project’s maintenance and asset management to the building owner.  

Electronic tool tracking is a growing category of software.

Currently, Autodesk offers a free trial version of BIM 360 Docs that supports multiple projects and includes all available product features. Following the trial period, users can continue to use BIM 360 Docs on their projects at a limited feature level or opt to subscribe to the product to take advantage of advanced features.

Chain of custody for tools made easier

Electronic tool tracking is a growing category of software, especially apps that work in the field. Advantages of electronic tool tracking, which keeps accurate tabs on who has a tool, when it is due back, and when it actually was returned, include reducing cycle time, improving equipment maintenance, and minimizing theft and the risk of careless loss. The practice can boost inventory accuracy and, overall, increase efficiency in tool deployment. It also promotes accountability and responsibility.

Mobile scanning system and tracking via CheckMate Toolroom management system by Dynamic Systems Inc.,, is a mobile scanning and tracking software and scanner system. Used with mobile computers with integrated cell phone capability, it enables tracking and updating inventory in the field. The system can track items by employee, job, location, work order, part number, package type, SKU or other classification. It supports transfer of equipment from one job to another and keeps track, so management knows where each tool is in real time.

Contractors can use portable or corded barcode scanners. Dynamic Systems offers portable and corded barcode scanners, barcode printers, and a variety of types of tags, including metalized tags and barcoded dots, for smaller tools or tools that are hard to affix a metalized tag to.

With CheckMate Toolroom, a barcode is scanned to identify the employee or the job. A second barcode is scanned to identify the equipment. According to the developer, the system is 60% faster than manual checkout and virtually totally accurate.

CheckMate Toolroom also supports the ability to schedule specialty tools, so they are available for projects, avoiding the need to buy duplicates, and can keep records of serial numbers and keep track of expiration dates. The software supports automated inventory management and reconciliation and can manage inventory across multiple locations. Users can set min/max levels at each location and generate reorder reports at will.

The software offers several usual and time-saving options. High value tools can be tracked individually, tools can be grouped together and checked out as a kit in a single scan, and bulk tools can be grouped as a category or consumable quantity on hand. The solution also supports transfer of equipment from one job to another.

Maintenance can be tracked in Maintenance Scheduler. The user can also run re-order reports to keep an eye on consumable. When setting up the system, the software supports use of Excel spreadsheets to upload existing lists of tools.

Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at [email protected].  

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