Technology in Construction
Despite the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought, Clancy & Theys Construction Company was well-positioned to handle what came thanks to the forward-thinking of our leaders and a proactive approach to technology that has been years in the making. Clancy & Theys has been winning accolades for its technology innovations as far back as 2005. One award was from the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America’s Best Information Technology Solutions (BITS) for its use of the Field2Base, a new wireless technology tool awarded to Don Street. While we have always had a focus on technology, our dive into new construction technology launched after we participated in several joint venture pursuits with an industry leader that had fully embraced Building Information Modeling (BIM). Tim and Tick Clancy anticipated the coming wave of technology in the industry and set out to bring this recently sprouted technology to Clancy & Theys. Over the last decade we have embraced the latest technology and innovations in our industry to better serve our clients, construction partners, and team.
Our Technology Experts
Clancy & Theys has always been at the forefront of using technology to foster a proactive and engaging experience for our clients and team members. We were one of the first construction companies in the eastern region to implement BIM, a way to visualize and coordinate complex building systems using computer models. Harry McKinney was hired at Clancy & Theys 12 years ago to pioneer our BIM department. He has since seen technology become a more integrated part of the construction process with cloud-based technologies and hand-held computers. Recently, Harry was promoted to Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Clancy & Theys to continue to help our team integrate emerging technologies with our current tools to save time and money in the construction process. As part of our ongoing technology initiatives, Mike Infinger joined our team seven years ago and managed a transformation of our IT organization. Under his leadership, we have reduced business continuity risk to the organization, implemented applications that improve workflow throughout our business, implemented mobile access to critical applications, migrated our infrastructure to the cloud, and improved support for our end users. Harry and Mike’s skillful management has supported us to swiftly transition to a well-prepared remote work environment and has continued to help facilitate our field practices.
Our Field Practices
At Clancy & Theys, we foster a proactive and engaging experience for our clients and field teams when working on our projects. We have implemented various software including Vela Systems, now BIM 360, that has pushed us into a digital world. Now, all project documents from working drawings, submittals, and punch lists are always current and available to every employee on a mobile device, at any point of construction. There is no longer a need to lug around large sets of paper drawings or trips back to the job trailer to check on a submittal in the file cabinet and we can create and distribute punch list in a matter of hours instead of weeks. More importantly, our field practices allow us to maintain consistent communication with owners, architects, and our team no matter the circumstance or physical locations. Owners can easily access all their project’s information, including access to webcams, drawings, and models from a dashboard that can be stored on their desktop or mobile device.
While incorporating these multiple facets of technology into our corporation, it became apparent that our IT systems needed an overhaul to support our extensive technology needs. We selected an IT architecture consultant to review our IT systems and processes in order to provide recommendations. As a result, we developed a long-term plan to build a strong and secure IT backbone to support our current and future technology initiatives. First, we tackled our Enterprise Resource Planning system after undergoing an extensive search, implementing Vista/Viewpoint, a comprehensive software that helps contractors manage all areas of their operations. The implementation of Vista/Viewpoint allows us to modernize our accounting system and provide a unified project management system for all five divisions. A company portal was added to grant digital timesheets and online approval of invoices that can even be submitted from a mobile device. The implementation of Datto Workplace, a cloud-based file storage platform, allows us to move all remaining project files off-premises to a digital environment, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week—another proactive decision that has made remote work possible. One final key component of our strategy was the implementation of Microsoft Teams on an enterprise level and our VoIP telephone system. Now, everyone company-wide can schedule a web meeting on the fly and can answer their desk phone from anywhere. Microsoft Teams has become instrumental in keeping our project teams and support staff connected, whether in the office, on a job site or at home. In addition, we integrated our Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with our Vista/Viewpoint system, connecting our Business Development and Marketing team to real time project data to support opportunity pursuits and other marketing efforts.
Our unified resources have enabled us to stay connected now more than ever, helping create one “Big Clancy”. The goal of our Big Clancy approach was to utilize our technology to unite our five divisions, who had previously used different workflows and software tools, into one unified powerhouse of innovation. Cloud-based technologies have revolutionized workflow in the office and the field by making information accessible to everyone. From drawings and models to schedules and cost data, project information is always fully accessible to any project member through a computer or mobile device. Web-conferencing has proven to be especially useful during this time, helping to connect us even when we are working states apart or practicing social distancing requirements within the same office.
The pandemic has given our work processes the ultimate stress test, but it was a test for which we were prepared. We have learned that our people, coupled with our technology, are up for any challenge. The lessons we have learned will be instrumental to our future success as we continue to apply them today and in the future post-COVID-19 world.