3 Words that Describe StratusVue’s Leadership

When you work with StratusVue, you are part of a company that truly cares about our clients & employees. From the beginning, our leadership made sure that those around us feel empowered. Here are a few words that would best describe StratusVue’s leadership through an employee’s eyes.
Vision
With the dedicated effort and vision of our leadership team, StratusVue continues to evolve into something better.  For example, perfecting an existing software solution, navigating how to bring about new solutions, or brainstorming new ideas to engage both with the team or with the clients.
Approachable
How often can you say that your boss is approachable?  In my experience, it is a rare occurrence but is 100% applicable in this instance. Being able to express myself–whether that is voicing my opinions or asking numerous questions– without fear and to actually be heard and seen creates an atmosphere for constructive collaboration, learning, and growth.
Human
At StratusVue, you will come to know and care about your peers as people, someone more than just a coworker. Leadership here has created a culture where together we acknowledge successes and hardships, where there is ample constructive collaboration and support with finding one’s niche to thrive.
The leadership team has set a high standard and hopefully, that standard is evident in all things StratusVue.

StratusVue’s Guest Speaker Series: SteelFab, Inc.

In our second Guest Speaker Event, we welcome Mike Beigay and Rhonda Pike of SteelFab, Inc. 

SteelFab is a leading AISC certified fabricator of structural steel in the United States. With over 1,200 employees in 15 locations across the Southeast, Texas, and Oregon.  As one of the nation’s largest structural steel fabricators, SteelFab has access to a wide range of resources for our clients and projects. These services were born out of a desire to better prepare and service our clients. Project Management, Subcontract Steel Erection, Connection Design, and Steel Detailing all combine to turn a commodity into a turn-key service. Our advancements in other areas such as barcoding, 3D modeling, and integrated project delivery prepare us to handle the most demanding project requirements. All of these services are part of our commitment to provide our clients with outstanding customer service.

Mike Beigay is a Project Manager at SteelFab, Inc. based in Charlotte, NC.  As a Project Manager, he is responsible for managing the detailing, fabrication, erection, and financial activities of structural steel projects.  Prior to joining SteelFab, Mike worked at Odell Associates in Charlotte as a Senior Structural Engineer for over 13 years.  His background as a practicing structural engineer brings a unique perspective to managing structural steel projects and helps to bridge the gap that is often observed between design and construction.  Mike is a registered Professional Engineer in NC, SC, VA, and FL as well as a Licensed Structural Engineer in Illinois and Georgia.

Rhonda Pike is a Project Manager Assistant at SteelFab, Inc. based in Charlotte, NC.  She has been with SteelFab for over 25 years.  Rhonda supports the Project Management team with a vast array of responsibilities from contract management to accounting.  Rhonda has a wealth of knowledge regarding the administrative and technology practice at SteelFab and is a vital resource to the administrative success of SteelFab.

Join us on June 25th at 12pm EST as we discuss how SteelFab most recently expanded while maintaining a steady culture and profitability from both an operations and accounting standpoint.  Register Now!

Understanding Federal Projects and their Security Requirements

Federal Projects have new standards on document control for your projects. Understanding how these impact construction projects can be a daunting task.

Being International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) compliant or Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) compliant requires a different look at how you use your systems both internally and externally. Let’s take a look at how these impact your company.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

ITARs that control the manufacture, sale, and distribution of defense, space-related articles, and services are defined in the United States Munitions List (USML.)

ITAR mandates that access to physical materials or technical data related to defense and military technologies is restricted to US citizens only. Limiting access to the physical materials is straightforward; limiting access to digital data is key. A US-based company with overseas operations is prohibited from sharing ITAR technical data with employees locally hired unless they gain State Department authorization. The same principle applies when US companies work with non-US subcontractors.

From a security and platform perspective, StratusVue complies with all ITAR requirements. You and your core team will need to validate and keep records (I9s) for all project members who will be accessing the data. The project will require a standards document and we can supply the proper settings that the project would need in the system for access and usage. Aside from the system behavior, the following plan should be established and implemented.

 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS)

DFARS is a set of restrictions to protect the US defense industry. DFARS requires extended security addressing Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Information that is created or owned by the government requires safeguarding or dissemination controls consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and government-wide policies. This is the core focus of DFARS. In order to do DoD projects, contractors are now required to get “Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification” (CMMC) and is a unifying standard for the implementation of cybersecurity across the Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

The StratusVue platform complies with DFARS requirements from a security and platform perspective and can be included in your CMMC assessment as meeting the new requirements for your projects. Join us on May 21st for a webinar hosted by StratusVue CEO John Goecke that addresses the established needs for your federal projects.

Click to Register 

How StratusVue Helps Double Workplace Productivity

Pepper Construction successfully completed a mission-critical data center project for a global company headquartered in Chicago using one of KNAACK’s latest product innovations. The general contracting and construction management firm integrated KNAACK’s recently introduced DataVault product with the project’s cloud-based document management software, StratusVue, to complete the highly-successful project in less than six months.

Project Challenges: Mission Critical and Timeline Driven

The data center’s owner had two goals: speed to market and the potential to expand.  To meet the deadline and collaboratively bring the project to life, the team needed a solution that would streamline communications and improve efficiencies across the jobsite. There were a lot of moving parts from both the programming and design phase to the execution phase. “We were working on an active headquarters campus, work was being done onsite every day and because of the visibility and impact of this particular project, we needed to execute the project flawlessly,” said Kevin Bredeson, Director of Virtual Construction at Pepper Construction Company.

Beyond the extremely fast-paced timeline, the project had several unique challenges, including the facility’s location, the high-profile importance of the project and the environment of the campus. Pepper Construction was using Building Information Modeling (BIM) on this project and wanted to leverage the technology as much as possible to create additional efficiencies. Mobility was also a key factor in selecting this solution.

Solution: Integration of KNAACK’s DataVault Solution with StratusVue’s Cloud-Based Software

To meet this need, Pepper Construction beta tested KNAACK’s new DataVault product, designed to connect jobsite professionals to information by providing the industry’s first fully protected digital plan storage solution for onsite job management. Powered by StratusVue’s cloud-based document management suite, which the project was leveraging, the combination gave Pepper the ability to bring technology to the field safely and ensure the project could be managed more efficiently. It provided an opportunity to get critical, current project information within feet of where the actual work was happening. Prior to that, field superintendents would need to walk back and forth between the jobsite and trailer, often traveling 5-10 minutes each way, just to access specification needs or updates.

Right away, the Pepper Construction team began seeing value from the combined solution. Instead of spending half of the time in the project trailer, the information was accessible on the jobsite for execution. “There was a need for real-time data where the action is, but before we had struggled with how to get it there efficiently,” stated Bredeson.

Impact for the Jobsite Build: Faster Access, Improved BIM Integration, Quicker Implementation

The combined KNAACK DataVault/StratusVue solution allowed Pepper to access information in real-time. It provided the confidence that the information was up-to-date on buildable plans and allowed Pepper to focus on the work vs. waiting on responses. It provided a substantial benefits, including:

  • Faster access to the data.
  • Increased confidence and reduced mistakes.
  • Improved BIM Integration.
  • Reduced wait times.
  • Improved durability, security and mobility.

The KNAACK DataVault/StratusVue solution was used by everyone working on the jobsite—from the project managers to the superintendent to the labor field teams. Bringing the combination of a technology and storage solution together, the efficiency and productivity of the Pepper Construction teams more than doubled. Previously an on-site manager would spend half of their time in-transit or in the trailer. They were now able to spend a much higher percentage of their time on the jobsite.

KEY RESULTS – DATAVAULT + STRATUSVUE
  • Worksite productivity doubled
  • Real-time access to live project data
  • Over 20 minutes per day transit time saved

StratusVue’s Guest Speaker Series: Brian Miller

On Friday, March 26th, we are hosting the first online event in our Guest Speaker Series. Our goal is to connect our viewers with user-based speakers to provide insight into different perspectives in the industry.

Our first speaker is Brian Miller, President of NNI Construction Co. His focus for this event is on how to work within today’s new challenges. 

NNI Construction Co. Background

NNI Construction Co. is a General Contracting/Construction Management Firm that focuses on Commercial Construction. Their offices are based in Ohio, Florida, and Las Vegas.

NNI has a focus that ranges from fitness facilities, retail, national chains, office build-outs, and new construction.

Their priorities include building a good customer base, and making their services available, no matter the geographic location.

More About Brian Miller

“Brian’s experience, technical knowledge and work ethic make him a highly regarded Senior Project Manager in his field. With over a decade of construction experience, he has continued to grow an exceptionally diverse book of business. As a leading national competitor in the construction industry, Brian chose to make his headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and currently maintains an office in Cleveland, Ohio and Mountains Edge, Las Vegas. He uses his expertise in pre-construction to aid his client in lease negations, budgeting and preliminary conceptual budgeting. Brian founded the company with a heavy focus on service and is still a very active Project Executive.”

This is an event you don’t want to miss! Be sure to put your name on our list and register now.

StratusVue’s Live Learning Series: Punchlists

Last Friday we finished up our largest ever live learning event about Punchlists on our StratusVue Platforms.  The turnout and usage increase of Punchlists tells us that our users are fully applying our product from pre-con to closeout.
Additionally, we’ve found that since we have a flexible architecture, our user base has taught us new ways in which the Punchlists module can be utilized.
It’s our goal to listen and adapt to user preference in order to supply a quality product.
Some of the new ways we’ve seen punchlists applied are with PreCon checklists, compliance validations, and tracking work authorizations. All provide a simple method to keep your documents centrally organized and your team efficient.
If you missed this event, don’t worry! We will be hosting more in the future and look forward to you joining our upcoming event.  We will be bringing in an industry expert to talk about “Working within today’s new challenges.”
Interested in attending? Email events@startusvue.com to request the registration link.
If you have any questions about punch lists or any portion of our product please reach out to us at info@stratusvue.com.

How StratusVue Speeds Up the Bidding Process

Ragnar Benson Construction (RBC) is a full-service General Contractor/Construction Manager that has been based in Park Ridge and Chicago, IL, for over 90 years.  RBC’s clientele turn to them for professional, innovative, and collaborative approaches to their construction projects.

Their portfolio of completed projects is now made up of a wide range of different types, including everything from hospitals, office buildings, zoos, sports facilities, higher education and rail, to name a few.

Bidding & Document Management Challenges

An increased geographic and project diversity meant that RBC had to work with many unfamiliar and dispersed vendors and subcontractors.  In turn, several key challenges arose when bidding out work, including:

  • Maintaining control over prequalification and evaluation reporting
  • Managing timelines and notifications of pending bid submissions
  • Scaling access for all trades and contacts to the latest bid documentation
  • Standardizing documentation formats and filing methods

RBC had been using a fax-based bidding system that was not meeting these challenges as the company expanded.  In 2006, they began a search for a new tool that would improve their current operations and be scalable to meet their future expansion needs.

Solution: BidVue

“BidVue offered us all the functionality we were looking for in an easily accessible web-based platform,” said Debbie Eaker, Estimating Coordinator at Ragnar Benson.  “It also offered great value because we didn’t need to worry about per-seat or per-project licensing issues and could maximize our use of the tool.”

Some of the specific features that led to RBC selecting BidVue included:

  • One central, easily accessible repository for current & past documents
  • No file size or file type restrictions
  • Maintenance of an electronic bid book that can be utilized for future work
  • Multiple levels of access to manage call sheets and follow-up communications
  • Role-based environment for managing pre-qualification data

In addition, the services provided by StratusVue offered additional benefits.  Bidders would be able to receive personalized training sessions to ensure they understood how to use the system, and the StratusVue support team would be available to help ensure document quality and proper indexing.

Impact & Results

RBC fully implemented BidVue in the spring of 2009.  They began to see improvements in their bidding process almost immediately.

“It is so much faster and simpler to distribute our bid packages using BidVue,” Eaker said.  “We are able to manage what’s happening all across the country, and with the quality of the product, we consistently reach more bidders and get higher quality responses.  BidVue has made a big contribution towards our growth.”

Since implementation, RBC has used BidVue to manage the bidding process on hundreds of projects across the country.  They have experienced improvements such as:

  • More qualified companies bidding on their projects
  • Shorter bidding timelines
  • Fewer questions from bidders about what to bid on

Thanks to BidVue, Ragnar Benson receives better bid results in a shorter timeframe, and has the ability to continue scaling for future growth.

 

A Look Back at StratusVue’s 2020 Highlights

“What a ride 2020 has been! While it may have turned out different than expected, we made it through together. We are entering 2021 full of energy and feeling optimistic.” – John Goecke, President.

We are almost a week into 2021 and everyone here at StratusVue is feeling determined to continue to provide our clients with the best possible version of our software.

Here is a look at some 2020 year-end highlights and a preview of what is coming in the new year!

2020 In Review by Numbers
20 million new items created
Averaged 43,000 newly created items per day
10 million drawings uploaded

Client Base
100 % year to date client retention
158 % increase in activity

Production Releases Driven by User Feedback
10 Production Releases (More in-depth information here)
58 user feature requests added

Look Ahead – 2021 Road Map
StratusDrive official release
BidVue rollout of new interface, a new look and more function to bid management
PowerBI reporting integrations, organization reporting with interactive filters
Time Tracking, at the project level more detailed time tracking
Live web-based Learning Events

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date in 2021!

How StratusVue Helps Maintain A Budget

Maintaining your budget is always important.  One of StratusVue’s goals is to keep your current and future budgets accurate using our forecasting tool.

The budget is a key factor of your project and is normally set by your company’s estimating department.  It’s vital to stay on track during the job so that the estimating department can refine their future proposals.

The issue is that the Estimator is typically not on the job site and the Project Manager is normally not providing the bids to your clients.   Therefore, communicating what happens on the project, and its effect on the budget, has to be as accurate as possible.  That’s where forecasting software shines. It is the only way to effectively relay actual project information to the estimating team during, and/or after the project.

Keeping Your Budget on Track

For Project Managers, our forecasting tool is the best way to make sure you know where your money is all the way up to project completion.  To achieve this, it’s recommended that you update your forecast monthly.

It’s important to review your costs for the following:

  • What’s complete?
  • What do I know is going to happen?
  • What do I think could happen?

By inputting your forecast numbers for those three items, your estimating department could look at your forecast at any point in the project and understand how they should adjust their internal numbers.

StratusVue: Forecasting from StratusVue on Vimeo.

Creating the Best Possible Outcome

As the project progresses and the risk is reduced, a final number should be generated.  When you start seeing the project finish line, there are two possible options: leave your final numbers as they exist or adjust your budget to compensate.

Ultimately, the decision depends on how closely the estimators follow the project and account for company culture. It is important to understand whether pricing differences are a scope miss, a unique one-time event, or an estimate bust. This tells the estimator what should be carried over to the next project or legitimate added scope.

In the end, the knowledge and management of the costs discussed above is the bread and butter of making money. The more you review, manage, and discuss your costs on the project, the more profitable your company should be in the end.

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How Artificial Intelligence Uses Graph Technology

AI products such as Amazon Alexa® and Google Nest Hub® use graph technology to return desired results to you. If you say “Alexa, play me holiday music,” there are a series of decisions made via nodes that enable a result to be generated based on your “intended request.” This type of AI exists within the construction industry. It’s used in project management software such as StratusVue to help improve efficiency on a job site.

What Is A Graph Database?

A graph database uses graphed references for semantical data associations. In an undirected graph, an edge connecting two nodes has a single meaning. In a directed graph, the edges connecting two different nodes have more than one meaning. Graphed data better improves machine learning and artificial intelligence.

So, How Does It Work?

When we think about the premise of connecting two nodes, it becomes a limitless association between every role and stage of a construction project. When we apply that simple premise that Node 1 can be connected to Node 2 (estimating to buyout) and then Node 2 can be connected to Node 3 (buyout to scheduling) and Node 3 can tie to Node 4 (scheduling to pay apps) the world can now associate data and use it like never before.

We are all used to reports, logs, construction documents, contracts, schedules, and plans. There are so many micro-responsibilities within a successful project. We have defined roles that manage each aspect and each role has specific responsibilities.

AI’s responsibility is to learn the nuance and tactics of each of the jobs. This enables teams to focus on building and constructability. Construction’s biggest gains will come from a directed graph that connects two different nodes and can understand the data semantically; or understand it as a seasoned professional would understand documents.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for company news and updates!