Managing Construction Projects More Efficiently & Cost-Effectively with VPO

Challenge:

Customize the company’s construction management platform and dashboards, and more cost-effectively extend the use of the platform to owners, contractors, and partners to more efficiently handle construction management activities through more effective communications in real-time using Microsoft® 365 business applications to minimize construction delays, avoid unnecessary costs, and fully document construction activities.

Solution:

Replace the existing construction management software with the VPO Construction Management cloud-based platform, including customized workflows/dashboards, Submittals, RFIs, Punch Lists, PCOs, Change Orders, Drawings & Specifications, Contract Management, and Archiving modules.

Results:

  • Saved time and money via a highly configurable, real-time, cloud-based construction management solution.
  • Extended platform to owners, contractors, and partners without additional costs.
  • Eliminated the use of email for construction management communications.
  • Maximized resource utilization.


KPFF is a multi-office, multi-discipline engineering, construction management, and construction support firm. The company’s Special Projects Reporting Center has offices in Seattle and Tacoma (Washington) as well as Long Beach (California) and in addition to design engineering, they often serve as an owners’ representative on public and private projects, including infrastructure, roads, bridges, parks, and transit facilities in the Puget Sound region. Founded in Seattle in 1960, KPFF has worked with architects, institutions, contractors, public agencies, and developers to shape Seattle's distinctive skyline and create one of the greatest and most vibrant cities in which to live and work.

With excellence as one of its defining traits and core cultural values, KPFF continuously looks for better and smarter ways to serve its clients so it can continue to consistently exceed expectations and build enduring relationships with its clients and employees. When their previous construction management software system no longer fit their cost or functionality needs, which made sharing the solution with owners, contractors, and partners financially unfeasible, the firm tasked Construction/Project Manager Brianna Navarro with finding a better, more affordable solution that, also, doesn’t rely as heavily on email communications.

“We already knew that we would need greater flexibility for adding users before we learned that the system we were using was raising their licensing fees,” Navarro explains. “Because the licensing fees are paid per user seat, we were selling individual licenses to our clients and other new users, like contractors, as we moved from project to project. We needed a platform to which users can come and go as projects end and start without having to buy additional licenses.”Brianna Navarro Headshot

Navarro did a search to identify other solutions and then conducted a detailed evaluation of available construction management solutions. “We chose VPO not only because it seemed to be the best cloud-based solution—with all the functionality that we needed—but also because of the unlimited users, quality support, personal connection and annual subscription price,” Navarro says.

“This product [VPO] is the most bang for your buck as far as construction management tools go,” Navarro continues. “And the best part is it’s totally customizable, so it’s set up exactly like I want it for maximum ease of use and efficiency on my projects.”

KPFF Special Projects implemented VPO in mid-2020, including the Submittal, Request for Information (RFI), Punch List, Potential Change Order (PCO), Change Order (CO), Drawings & Specifications, Contract Management, and Archiving modules, as well as customized workflows and dashboards. Navarro says that in addition to being cloud-based, which provides access to the platform from anywhere using smartphones, tablets, and laptops, KPFF values the fact that VPO operates in conjunction with Microsoft® 365 business applications, which the company already uses.

“The fact that VPO utilizes Microsoft 365 applications is a huge advantage because many clients and contractors do not have a lot of experience using technology but are generally familiar with Microsoft applications. Plus, the way that VPO is set up, the interface is very easy to learn and use. In short, VPO is set up to facilitate the way that we work instead of trying to force our processes into a different template, like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.”

Getting Started with a Pilot Project

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KPFF first deployed the VPO construction management solution on a pilot project—a roadway project in West Seattle—to validate its choice. “Our initial experience on the pilot project confirmed that we had indeed made the right decision,” Navarro notes. “With VPO, we have a log of all Submittals, RFIs, and access to any and all documents related to a project, which we track and archive, on a 24/7 basis from anywhere because the data is in the cloud.”

Due to the success KPFF Special Projects experienced using VPO on the pilot project, the team has deployed the construction management system on additional projects and will use VPO to manage its construction projects moving forward. “Our experience with VPO has been incredibly positive,” Navarro stresses. “We no longer have to worry about someone missing, losing, or not receiving an email message about a project that results in delays or cost overruns. Everything is right there in VPO in the cloud, so we can access information more quickly and manage projects more effectively.”

Saving Time and Money Managing Projects in the Cloud

Using the cloud-based VPO construction management system helps KPFF save time and money through more responsive and effective construction management. “Our clients hire us to keep projects on-schedule and under budget without sacrificing quality or cutting corners,” Navarro points out. “VPO is a great tool for helping us consistently achieve those goals while maximizing resource utilization. Documents are located and questions are answered a lot faster, and the system saves us a ton of time, and money, because there’s no extraneous effort to locate information or documentation.”

KPFF dashboard

Navarro says that the most used VPO functionality at KPFF are the Submittal, RFI, and Punch List modules. “Everything is so easy to access or update, and everything is tracked,” Navarro adds. “There’s no need to do things by hand or make manual updates. Everything is in one place, and we can manage user rights so that contractors can only access the folders necessary for uploading documents and accessing information. VPO also provides a full workflow history, which is really important because it documents who did what or who made changes to which specific documents.”

Expanding Use for Construction Support

The success that KPFF Special Projects has had using VPO for construction management has led the firm to begin expanding use of the system for other purposes in other areas of the company, such as providing construction support from KPFF Special Projects’ Engineering team. For example, KPFF is utilizing VPO to provide construction support rather than construction management on a new project—expansion of a maintenance building for a large transit facility—for which KPFF performed design and engineering.

“We are using VPO to provide construction support services, which allows the design project manager to use the system to manage that project,” Navarro says. “This will be hugely helpful for the design team for project management because the system is totally customized to match the way in which that team works.”

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