Prior to DADO, Allison-Smith Company operated without its own document platform. Instead, they used various cloud storage platforms and leveraged General Contractors’ software to access project information. They wanted to find a low-admin, field-friendly tool that pulled all of their information into one document platform, no matter which General Contractor they were working with, or which platform they were using on that project.
We sat down with Jason Grimes who oversees all of the lighting on dedicated projects, and Drew Barnes who is a General Foreman and also does QA/QC, to hear how they’re using DADO today.
About Allison Smith, Electrical Contractors & Engineers
- Established: 1943
- Specialties: Electrical Contractor, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Design-Build, Electrical Installation Drawings (EID), Smart Buildings / IoT / BAS / AV, ASPrefab, ASModular, Service, Custom Electrical Equipment Manufacturing, Building Operations Support
- Sectors Served: Commercial Office Buildings, Sports Arenas, Medical Facilities, Institutional Facilities, Data Centers, Design-Build
- Location: Smyrna, GA
- Company Website: https://allisonsmith.com
Allison-Smith Company was founded during WWII and expanded with the prosperity of Atlanta in the 1960s. By the 1970s, Allison-Smith had expanded through the Southeast, and in the 1990s it expanded even further.
Their services range from electrical distribution, mission-critical power, lighting systems controls, and lighting color tuning, to security systems, access control systems, fire alarm systems, voice and data systems, building automation systems, smart buildings, IoT integration, AV, and fiber optics.
The software that Allison-Smith uses for drawings and documents includes cloud storage such as Google Drive & DropBox for document access, and BlueBeam for mark-ups, estimating, and so on.
Bringing Information Together for Quick Access
Prior to DADO, like many trade contractors, documents were stored all over and hard to find. Information was in cloud storage, Newforma, Procore, Autodesk, and wherever the current project chose to store and organize information.
To connect all their project information and automatically keep it updated no matter which platform(s) are being used, Allison-Smith uses DADO Sync. Once the project information is all synced in DADO, it’s automatically kept up-to-date, making it much easier for field teams to find relevant information in one place.
“Guys are standing there twiddling their thumbs while I am looking for information - the quicker I can find it, the quicker I can keep guys working.”
Drew Barnes, General Foreman
Drew and his team primarily use DADO to save time to look up drawings and submittals - tasks that make up ~90% of their document needs for searching and marking up project information. There can be dozens of questions that come up each day and for every question, there are 5 or more journeymen waiting on an answer before they can do work. So it’s been helpful to be able to quickly access information and answer questions as a project progresses.
“It’s a time saver in finding the information that you need - really helps break down big scale projects to find information... (It) saves 10-15 hours a week on a 15-man crew! The more you use it, the more it is saving time”
Jason primarily uses DADO to keep track of lighting pieces and parts, and to track progress. DADO makes it easy to quickly navigate across all the different drawings and related documents, and then organize them into digital binders to minimize time spent searching through all of the project information.
A User-Friendly Document Viewing and Markup Platform
Changing tools for every project can cost time: teams need to be trained to use each different platform and have to define how the information would be organized and shared, as well as how to use the tool to collaborate. The Allison-Smith team also ran the risk of their team not using the tools at all and instead, resorting to screenshots and emails with hand-drawn notes, or worst case nothing being marked up at all leaving no documentation to reference later.
Both Drew and Jason noted that successful field adoption relied heavily on a tool that’s so easy to use that anyone - tech-savvy or not - can pick it up and use it.
“I would say [DADO’s] the easiest to train... it's got the drawing tools and [the interface] tells you what the tool is.”
“We have older guys at work here and there. They're less tech-savvy and it's very simple for them to use it.”
Drew Barnes, General Foreman
Tracking Project Status and Communicating with General Contractors
In addition to using mark-ups for team collaboration, Jason and his team use DADO’s mark-ups to track daily project status. A simple color system shows the status of each item, rough-ins, completion, and closed.
Being able to mark up the information, share it as public information on the document, then pass that on to the General Contractor saves a ton of time.
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