A Life Raft for the Shrinking Construction Labor Pool: PlanGrid

12 September 2019All, PlanGrid



The construction industry is experiencing a technological revolution. General contractors and subcontractors around the country are either experiencing the return on investment (ROI) impact of their initial technological implementation, or they are trying to figure out what tech works best for their firm. One thing is for certain, if your firm does not embrace technology sooner than later, it will not only be difficult to work with other contractors on the jobsite who rely on technology, it will be difficult to compete.

The technological revolution is not the only thing shaking up the industry. There is also a skilled labor shortage across the country, which was explored in the recent eVolve MEP blog article, “6 Ways Emerging Technology is Addressing the Construction Industry Labor Shortage.” Throughout all the advancements in technology, materials, methods, and safety which have changed the way work gets done on the jobsite, one element has remained constant: the human element. The industry would be nothing without the skilled workers that “install work.” The workforce is aging, and there are more workers retiring than there are attending trade schools to become skilled craftsmen. This is resulting in challenges for quality, safety and meeting project schedules.  

Despite these challenges, there is a solution that can be like a life raft to companies who are finding the shrinking labor pool difficult to navigate. PlanGrid is easy to train workers on and is proven to provide substantial ROI due to avoided rework and a substantial reduction in plan printing fees.

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PlanGrid construction productivity software was developed by former construction engineers in 2011 after the iPad was unveiled. Since 2011, PlanGrid has been used on over a million projects around the globe and continues to grow in popularity. PlanGrid, an Autodesk company, is designed to eliminate the tedious tasks in the office that take you away from those that are most important: making sure your field personnel have everything they need when they need it.

During my time as an Assistant Project Manager, I had the opportunity to be involved in the implementation of PlanGrid at my firm. The first PlanGrid project that I implemented at my firm was for a high-rise hotel in Austin, Texas. Prior to using PlanGrid, when I would get a new 60-sheet package from the architect/engineer, it would take me over half a day to sort those in our company share drive and make sure the most current drawings were on top of the set. Once we started using PlanGrid, that same task took no more than fifteen minutes.

Sheet and document control are only a small part of PlanGrid. There are also RFI, submittal and task management workflows. PlanGrid helps the office personnel tremendously, but it is even more of a valuable asset to those in the field. The user-friendly PlanGrid interface on the iPad is designed for those who are not accustomed to using technology in general. With the aging construction workforce and high turnover rates in the industry, a simple field interface is essential to minimize the amount of time spent training on tech and maximize the amount of time training on installing work efficiently.

The construction industry will continue to evolve, and technology will be central to the changes yet to come. The one thing that has been and will remain constant is the fact that humans will always be needed to build buildings. With the emergence of lean construction and integrated project delivery (IPD), schedules and budgets are only getting tighter, while the workforce continues to age, and skilled labor becomes more difficult to come by. The best way to adjust to this situation is to employ technology that is designed to help those on the front lines. PlanGrid is a solution that eliminates tedious tasks and rework and gives your firm all of the information it needs in one place.

Contact Applied Software today for a quick discovery call or a demo to see how PlanGrid can become your firm’s life raft as you navigate the shrinking construction labor pool.

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