construction document search

At Autodesk University 2019, DADO launched its search engine for construction to the community at large. Since then, it has been a topic of discussion in webinars, podcast, and conferences! Early on though, our product was much more of a theory than an applied technology. Many had the same age-old question that students ask their math teachers: "how is this going to apply in real life"? Luckily, our product is not a theory any more. 

Since the start of 2020, DADO has onboarded dozens of contractors across 19 states. The search tool has garnered use from a variety of trades - from steel erectors to plumbers. The types of projects the app has helped on runs the gamut, too: From churches in Texas to dairy farms in Michigan. From hockey stadiums in New York to data centers in California!

Of course, all this mileage means there are stories to share. If you've ever wondered "how could a contractor get value out of something like a search engine?", keep reading! I've got answers!

Finding The Right Info Fast 

Finding info post-haste is the core use case for DADO. Most customers start out here before expanding their usage to other areas. This is because DADO can act as a "translation layer" between document controllers and consumers.

A project administrator, for example, oversees a complex set of documents and makes sure they get approved by the right people in time. They may need a folder structure replete with 127-character filenames (or software) to keep it all straight. A lot of that structure and file naming can be confusing for a drafter (consumer) though - it's extraneous for them! DADO helps twofold here: it allows the admin to focus on their own workflows, while the drafter is able find what they need without deciphering someone else's filing system.

Standards & Codes

In the beginning, we convinced ourselves that only skilled trades workers and project managers would find DADO useful. We were gung-ho about being a field-first application! But some of our earliest customers applied DADO in a way we weren't expecting - internal standards and codes. This showed us that search can also be a powerful tool in design, BIM coordination, and estimating!

Collections of permanent documents like these expanded the idea of what a "project" in DADO might be. Construction documents for typical projects tend to have a "life-cycle" whereby they come to life and die with the job. Standards, codes, and safety documents (up next!) are nearly immortal. Internally, DADOers refer to this type of information as "evergreen content".


DADO's search works well for any construction document - including everyone's favorite: safety. A variety of important documents quickly find themselves in customers DADO repository:

  • Company or site safety programs,

  • Equipment cut sheets and product, and

  • Even environment test reports for hazardous airborne materials like silica!

DADO's voice recognition takes the frustrations out of having to remember how to spell the funny-named chemicals that you need SDS sheets for, too. My favorite is "acetylene"; which I checked the spelling for prior to typing it here!

While customers who are using DADO for safety are still early in their journey, we're hopeful that making this type of documentation more accessible will prevent OSHA fines, reduce emails between safety coordinators and the field, and of course improve safety metrics!

How Are You Going to Use Construction Search?

One of the coolest experiences as a ConTech is learning how people use technology beyond its intended design. As a result, customers have kept us excited as they've voluntarily pushed the boundaries of the search engine's original use cases. It motivates us to continue and sharpen our product into a tool that meets people right where they're at - on site, in the pickup, or at the office!

So, this begs the question: How would you use a construction-intelligent search engine?! Please share your answers in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in reading The Biggest Problem With Ctrl F And How You Can Fix It.