Taking “Paperless” to the Field

Using technology and digital data in the field to rebuild Daytona International Speedway.

While approaches to design-build project management processes vary by bid size, integrating technology solutions as the central component of the project plan has proven beneficial to projects of all sizes and scopes. With such a variety of ways to approach tech solutions, general contractor Barton Malow used the company’s $400M design-build reimagination of the iconic Daytona International Speedway® (the DAYTONA Rising project) to revolutionize the company’s digital strategies.

Led by Barton Malow Project Director Jason McFadden, along with an intimate team of systems experts and field-savvy IT advocates, Barton Malow explored software solutions to empower and educate employees, as well as project stakeholders. With his own mantra of “one great project at a time,” technology champion McFadden believed a tech-empowered strategy would pay off tenfold. “We knew if we could get a plan to work on a $400 million project, it could absolutely work on a $500,000 project.”

Tech implementation began with the decision to go completely paperless on DAYTONA Rising. “‘Technology-enabled workforce’ is a very different term that we’ve adopted in the past four years as a company, so DAYTONA Rising was a drastic change,” explains Senior Project Engineer Tyler Donnell. “It was the first completely paperless job of this magnitude we’d done as a company.”

But going paperless would have to apply to the field, as well.But going paperless would have to apply to the field as well. Barton Malow’s project managers and engineers sought to implement a suite of software that could not only be distributed on mobile tablets to replace paper documents, but also serve as common ground for veteran superintendents and trades workers adapting to new technological advantages within their respective workflows.

Breaking Ground

McFadden and his team had close to one year of planning before breaking ground on DAYTONA Rising, during which they integrated digital solutions into project workflows, incorporating all the various software tools with which Barton Malow had success on previous projects.

Having successfully used Bluebeam’s solutions on projects before, McFadden and his team standardized Bluebeam Revu and Bluebeam Studio as key components of their jobsite-wide toolbox for intuitive PDF creation, editing, markup and real-time collaboration on office desktops and tablets in the field, achieving the project’s goal of full digital document management and elimination of paper processes altogether.

Bluebeam’s compatibility with Tekla Structures and other BIM-related software was so valuable to Barton Malow that Bluebeam Studio was made the centralized informational hub for the project. The contract for DAYTONA Rising project partners specifically stated that all stakeholders on the job— including trades workers—must use Studio for project documentation, comparison and communications.

“Once we began the project, we put together step-by-step instructions and multiple different tutorial methods to help the contractors learn the software we were going to use, which in large part led to a company-wide initiative to determine how we were going to do this, and what programs we were going to use, on all projects going forward,” remarks Senior Project Engineer Tyler Donnell. This empowerment was exciting to Project Engineer Jennifer Younes. “They provided a laptop, an iPad and an iPhone, handed me a project manual and said, ‘We’re using Bluebeam, Prolog and Tekla—here you go.’”

Younes saw the value of the implementation immediately. “We held weekly meetings for our stakeholder coordination, we caught potential rework items before they went out to the field, and addressed conflicts months before they would have shown up on site. That not only saved the subcontractors money, it made the owner happy because we were meeting the schedule and saving everybody money.”

‘When we combined the BIM world with the technology, tools, software and hardware out on the jobsite, we started to have some pretty cool results.’

Jason McFadden, Barton Malow Project Director

McFadden pushed the digital collaboration even further. “We wanted to use Bluebeam Studio in a way that could make project managers more efficient, and use it for more than aiding clash detection communication,” he states. “We also used it for material tracking, RFIs and constructability reviews to make our project managers better builders. Our owner bought into it, and when we combined the BIM world with the technology, tools, software and hardware out on the jobsite, we started to have some pretty cool results.”

Simplifying Modularization Documentation

Given the technology toolbox available to the team and the challenges presented by the scope of the project, Barton Malow set out to make existing processes more efficient with technology. The positive impact of technology on the modularization process became an important factor in meeting project deadlines, particularly modularization of the stadium’s many metal stud walls. “We prefabricated close to 5,000 metal stud walls, and we created digital shop drawings so that each panelized wall had a shop drawing with a key plan. Then we used Bluebeam Revu to hyperlink the shop drawings—which is something you don’t typically see on a jobsite,” explains Project Engineer Jose Sandoval. “Normally, you get the paper drawings to the field and they go build. But for us, the people in the field had their iPads, and they had hyperlinked sets. They could go to the key plan and click on the link, and it would show them the exact panel they were working on.”

This modularization and its digital workflows expedited the construction process fourfold, improving communication rapport between engineers and field teams.Modularization and its digital workflows expedited the construction process fourfold. “It got to the point where the guys in the field would call to tell me, ‘Hey, this hyperlink is wrong, what are you doing, fix it!’” Sandoval says with a laugh. “I was getting accountability from the field and I loved that. Usually it’s the opposite, where an engineer says, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing?!’ Now we were getting the actual trade guys involved with communication. It was great.”

The Transparency of Digital Documentation

“Technology allows us to be more transparent, and the more we can all be looking at the same information, the quicker we can solve things and align everyone’s goals on the project,” asserts technology advocate McFadden. This mentality spread to all stakeholders of the project from the top down, allowing streamlined coordination between Barton Malow, project owner International Speedway Corporation (ISC), and project designer ROSSETTI.

“It’s not just a feel-good story about sustainability—it’s about using technology that supports human interaction.”With the project paperless mandate, ROSSETTI made the transition to digital documentation. “There was a cultural shift on this project. Barton Malow started with the mantra that this would be a paperless project, and it’s not just a feel-good story about sustainability—it’s about using technology that supports human interaction,” says Design Lead Matt Taylor of ROSSETTI. That crucial human interaction included the project owner seeing both design and build strategies simultaneously in real time, in Bluebeam Studio. As such, Studio became the central workspace platform for the three project partners, who collaborated inside Studio Sessions to review project information. “We got so much buy-in from the owners that they actually refused to look at documents outside the real-time, digital environment—they wanted to look at the Studio Sessions themselves and participate in live meetings and discussions,” marveled McFadden.

Barton Malow’s use of technology was actually a bid-winning asset for the company during negotiations with the owner. “When we first started this project, we interviewed three different companies,” discloses ISC Project Manager Bruce Rein. “One thing that made Barton Marlow stand out was the idea of technology, and how they could use that to understand the project and understand the existing structure. I’m an architect by trade, but some of the executives need visual aids to understand what’s really there. That’s what I think they were able to bring forward—to be able to actually see how you can do it.”

Barton Malow even implemented a digital solution to pay trades workers, using Studio Sessions for pay applications—allowing for the ultimate transparency. “This streamlines the process, and we’re tripling efficiency in this area,” says Beth Overmeyer, Cost Analyst for Barton Malow. “We’re not trying to get someone else paid quicker than another person. Everyone has the same deadlines, and it’s all in black and white for everyone to see. This will be a standardized operation going forward for Barton Malow.”

The Pay Off

“To build this facility in two and a half years? We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the technology, hands down.”Barton Malow’s innovative technology strategies enabled the DAYTONA Rising project team to meet project deadlines and bid value. The business-critical toolbox and implementation methods piloted have become the model for implementing enterprise-wide digital solutions and workflows at Barton Malow. “What makes Barton Malow a great company is that they empower you to do what you want to do,” asserts Younes. “We’re taking baby steps, slowly implementing all the technology that we’re using here at Daytona on other jobsites. To build this facility in two and a half years? We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the technology, hands down.”