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Construction Guys And It On The Jobsite


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#1 Loudog Dablog

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 12:43 AM

Hi there: I am posting here because I am a new member of the site and they keep asking me to post something, so I am, and my topic is ďConstruction Guys and IT on the Job siteĒ

I would like to hear form anyone who is using IT on the job and what is and isnít working for them. I find that most of the people in the industry arenít getting it, and wonder why every time I hit send on the Fax machine or drive somewhere for a meeting when I know it can all be handled online.


I have been building for over 22 years, and for the last two or three I have been learning about computers and the internet and how to apply this technology in the field, but I am having trouble keeping my systems stable without bringing in a full time IT guy who can monitor my network, let alone keeping up with all the advancements that need to be bought into.


I am using Microsoft Office Pro and Project 2003, Q-Books Contractor, AutoCAD LT 08 and UDA Construction 04 office, but this is all costly stuff that most of the people I deal with donít have it so I have been fooling around with Googleís Docs, Calendar, Talk, G-mail, and Sites, because I feel that it is easier for clients and subs who arenít tech savvy to use, or who just donít want to spend the money on software.

If there is any business that could use real time information exchange its the Construction business. So I would like to hear from other guys who are in the field doing actual work and what they are doing to keep it all together without spending all their time managing their systems.



Loudog Dablog
Constructor with bags on.

Edited by Loudog Dablog, 18 August 2008 - 12:45 AM.


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#2 garmanma

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 10:30 AM

I'm retired now now but I was getting into it it. I used it for scheduling different tasks. Inventory, and maintenance purposes. I also had some stationary equipment tied into the network. My son-in-law's family own a rather large construction firm that serves Ohio and surrounding states. They'd be lost without their laptops and Blackberries. The trick is to find out what works best for you and to try to keep it as simple as possible

Edited by garmanma, 18 August 2008 - 10:32 AM.

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#3 Loudog Dablog

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 02:50 AM

Hey there;

I didn't think anyone would see my post and I kinda forgot to check for a reply, so thanks for doing so and if this is worth keeping alive i would like your opinion. I'm new to this public message board stuff and not sure what my duty to the topic is or if I am even responsible for it.

Anyway; Laptops and PDA's will be what Construction Guys on the job will report too, and with, soon it's just a mater of time. And your are correct in that it needs to be simple because it's hard enough to get anyone to fill in their time cards daily. Have you ever seen the rush to fill them out the day they're due and the looks on their faces when they are trying to remember what it was they did and when?

It's even funnier watching the contractors trying to figure it out so they can explain it to the bookkeeper. The fact is, is, that most of the bad reputation contractors get in the industry is due by bad records, not poor work.

Great tradesmen don't want to bother with the business end of construction outside of getting paid because its not what they do, they understand how important it is to do the book work, but the focus is to get the job done which is hard enough so they rely on phone calls and personal meetings to exchange information. If guys in the field wanted to do paperwork they would have office jobs, and the last thing a guy in the field wants, is an office job.

Too keep your system simple in this environment may not be that simple, because of the people you are dealing with and all the stuff that needs to be done. A 2500 Sq. Ft. house is easy if you know what your doing, but you have to communicate with the owners who are people who don't the process and think every conversation will become a reality.

But the reality is that what they want costs money and time for someone else and they forget that the original contract changes with every idea they have about something or found out they had to do after the job was started.

We all know the story, the question is, which applications and hardware?

The hardware is simple. Make it bullet proof without a lot of buttons,limit the input choices on the device, and don't make anyone read anything.

But that is what makes the application's choice not so simple because there is too much choice out there in the application world and it changes daily, and with those changes comes the conflicts that need patches or updates that these guys wont deal with.

You need stuff that works for everyone who is involved in a project that starts from the first contact to its close-out that the guys doing the actual work can use or you don't have a construction application that is worth having. Period!

Why? Because it's all about job costing.

All the Modeling software that creates material's lists and exports to a C.P.M. app will all its tasks and resource management tools makes the office guys look like their a necessary overhead expense for the project.

God forbid you make anyone go the Microsoft's informational knowledge base from hell when something hangs because that vortex of problem solving nothingness will get you a heap of junk in the dumpster, and this is why I wanted to post my question here.

I suppose a better question for a computer site would be: What is considered simple?

Thanks.

#4 don77

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:09 AM

Hello Loudog Dablog and welcome to BleepingComputer :flowers:

Being in the construction management field I can identify with you seeing you been doing this for 22 years I would take a wild guess your around the same age as I +\- 2 or 3 years.

I have worked with contractors some very savvy with technology and some not. Todays Job supers and project managers are attending a 4 year college program they are trained on the latest and greatest software which gives them a huge advantage over those who have been in the field for better then 10 or so years who are trying to go back and get caught up with technology,,, Not as easy to go back and try and retain all the info while still trying to run a business and keep it productive and profitable.

Thats not to say some aren't picking it up quickly cause some are and just when you think you have a good handle on what the software can do someone shows you that there is a better way or easier way to perform a task... Oh and of course as you said the product itself is upgraded..


Have you ever seen the rush to fill them out the day they're due and the looks on their faces when they are trying to remember what it was they did and when?

It's even funnier watching the contractors trying to figure it out so they can explain it to the bookkeeper. The fact is, is, that most of the bad reputation contractors get in the industry is due by bad records, not poor work.



The way I see it for most of these guys they care about one thing the finish product there is no greater feeling of pride then standing back and looking at a brand new house or a brand new building, stone wall whatever and saying to yourself thats my/our work right there with the greatest sense of accomplishment.
Now hop behind your laptop and put in your time and upon completion of getting all the info in a little window pops up and says Successfully entered not quite the same rush.


While technology is becoming a necessity some will just continue to look beyond it and hope someone else will handle that side of it for them.

I have one very successful friend of mine who owns a paving business he is a work horse sun up till past sundown, He works harder then anyone on his crew leads by example,, If I need to get in touch with him I need to call his wife who in turn calls one of the guys working with him,,, He wont even carry a cell phone someone calling him would be cutting into his work time and if you do call him it better be for good reason!!!


I guess what I m trying to say is one needs to find their comfort level and step outside it some if they can if not look for some one they trust to handle the business side of things.
The other side of it I see is a building tech trying to work on a computer trying to close out calls or respond to e-mails to me thats a waste of time that will take them twice as long as an entry level person to do,,, If the tech wants to learn it great but most could care less,,,,,


Need to get back to work that coffee kick got me going :thumbsup:

Best of luck to you

#5 garmanma

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 09:30 AM

I'm new to this public message board stuff and not sure what my duty to the topic is or if I am even responsible for it


All you did was put the topic out there, no more, no less.

God forbid you make anyone go the Microsoft's informational knowledge base from hell when something hangs because that vortex of problem solving nothingness will get you a heap of junk in the dumpster, and this is why I wanted to post my question here.


I've been known to do that from time to time

Technology equals change, It's human nature to resist change. In the mid '90's we overhauled a chemical plant where everything was done by hand to a computer-controlled process. The older workers wanted nothing to do with it. 5 outright retired on the spot. The younger ones took the time to learn
Mark
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why won't my laptop work?

Having grandkids is God's way of giving you a 2nd chance because you were too busy working your butt off the 1st time around
Do not send me PMs with problems that should be posted in the forums. Keep it in the forums, so everyone benefits
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