Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fear the punch list no more...Newforma to the rescue

Oh the punch list's a mixed bag of emotions! On one hand you're ecstatic, the job is a reality (wood, steel, glass, paint) and there you stand in all its glory.

But, on the other hand, is angst... the punch list walkthrough can be a tedious process, one fraught with miscommunication, data entry and reentry, and the fumbling of plans and notebooks.

Fear the punch list no more...Newforma to the rescue and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) can attest to it.

In fact, according to ZGF Associate Partner Alan Gerencer, "I really love it! Using the app on our tablets gave us a way to take Newforma Project Center into the field and to bring field data back to the office. It's saving time and mitigating the risk of mishandled items that may jeopardize quality."

The app automatically transfers field info to records back in the office so you can get right to work organizing and assigning items to the responsible parties. And for contractors not using tablets they can receive their punch lists on a spreadsheet or PDF.

Read firsthand about ZGF's use of Newforma Punch list and how it has shortened the time to project closeout, eliminated fumbling with notebooks and paper plans, allows for the seamless exchange of information and much more.

Who knows, with Newforma Punch List you might just look forward to the punch list process now.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What’s yours is yours, what’s mine is mine, and what we need to share, we share seamlessly, securely and easily

Newforma to Newforma icon-ConnectA project info case study just published showcases two Newforma customers using a game-changing technology to streamline project delivery.

Newforma to Newforma Revolutionizes Project Delivery” is the title of a new case study featuring Cannon Design and GSBS Architects. They’re joining forces on a new student life center at Utah Valley University.

Collaboration will be easier than ever thanks to a new technology that’s part of the most recent edition of Newforma enterprise software for project information management.

Newforma-to-Newforma technology creates a direct link between Newforma servers. Once the connection is established for a project, team members are not required to do anything different in their use of the Newforma PIM solution.

Minimal impact on existing work processes

Newforma to Newforma icon-SecureWhen you wish to share project information or include someone in a supported work process, just specify the team members you’re sharing with. Newforma software routes the request and associated notifications via Newforma Info Exchange or Newforma to Newforma, depending on the team member’s connection status.

If the recipient is part of a Newforma to Newforma connection, they’re notified and the shared information just shows up, either in the designated project folder on their network or in the appropriate Newforma Project Center log, such as those for submittals or action items, for instance.

If the recipient is an external project team member who is NOT part of a Newforma to Newforma connection, recipients receive an email with a link they click to connect them to the sender’s Newforma Info Exchange server, where the information awaits retrieval.

Retained control of project records

Regardless of how team members connect, the system captures complete and accurate audit trails for every piece of information being shared.

Reduced latency in design/review coordination cycle time

GSBS Architects Principal Garth Shaw, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, says Newforma to Newforma leads directly to improved client service. “Time we save sharing and coordinating models, drawings, RFIs and submittals is time we can spend on design
and construction,” Garth said.

Read the new case study here!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Newforma User Conference - Early Registration Ends March 31

Newforma's User Conference, Nugget 2012, is really coming together and the excitement is building! Join us September 17-19, 2012 in Fort Worth, TX for two and a half days of tips, training and valuable networking opportunities.

Register by March 31, 2012 to take advantage of the Early Bird rate and save $300!

The agenda is jam-packed with valuable sessions so whether your role is IT, administration, training, implementation, support or project management we've got you covered. The tracks are also focused for Architects, Engineers, Construction, Design/Build and Owners. And, there’s even a hands-on computer lab for real-time learning.

Check out the agenda and see for yourself.

It won't be all work and no play, though! Fort Worth Texas is known as the 'City of Cowboys and Culture' so grab your cowboy hat and boots and come enjoy this very fun city.

register for Nugget 2012 by March 31, 2012 and save $300.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Logic behind the Newforma Construction Suite

We have been building Newforma over the past 7 years by following the project life cycle of the AEC/O industry. We initially started working with architects back in 2007 because they were most impacted by the challenges that our early solution solved: managing project email, finding project information on their file servers, and exchanging information with the external team members. This logically led to engineers becoming interested in Newforma Project Center (NPC) because they were recipients of the architects’ information published via NPC.

As the initial projects managed in NPC moved into the build phase, constructors started receiving information exchange notifications from our A and E customers—then they became curious about what we have to offer. And now, led by our construction customers, owners are recently taking a strong interest in our product.

Successful construction projects always have one thing in common: effective communication and collaboration throughout the entire team. This underlying demand from all of our customers to improve their communications ultimately led us to create this optimized suite of collaboration-centric solutions optimized for each major project player. It really is just logical!

This year we’ve had many discussions with our construction customers and observed how their employees are already using our software. The creativity that we witnessed directly shaped the three packages that we now offer within the Newforma Construction Suite.

We discovered that each construction company has different groups with distinct areas of responsibility. Some team members focus on front-end activities such as buyout, or coordination of design models with subcontractors. For these customers, we created the Preconstruction package starring our robust file coordination tools, audit trail and notifications. For project managers who oversee the ongoing construction process, we offer the Project Management package containing the full gamut of document control, RFIs, submittals, action items, meeting minutes, and contract functionality. And some team members are focused exclusively on jobsite activities. For this group, we developed the Field Management package for collecting field information and managing punch lists.

As of today we have over 52,000 subscribers and an additional 400,000 participants in our Newforma Project Network. With our Newforma to Newforma technology we provide a way to link all project team members using one of our Suites to connect so they can seamlessly share information while also managing their internal project information privately. Contractors are an integral part of the Newforma Project Network and as such deserve a solution tailored to their needs that also integrates with the rest of the project team.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top 7 Reasons to Upgrade to Newforma Project Center Professional 9th Edition

Reason #1: Newforma to Newforma
Come to think of it, there are 50,000 reasons to start using Newforma to Newforma - One for each of the 50,000+ Newforma Project Center users at design, construction and owner/operator companies worldwide. "N2N", which has been unveiled in 9th edition, allows Project Center users to seamlessly share, exchange and synchronize project information like RFI’s, submittals, file transfers, shared folders and Autodesk Revit models as if you are all working on the same system – except you’re not! You continue to work locally with files and project information on your local network at LAN-access speeds, and your partners only get to see what you choose to share with them. As one of the early users of N2N from Cannon Design has said,  "N2N completely redefines what it means to be connected to your project team."

Reason #2: The Revamped Info Exchange web site
I really think you are going to like the new look of Info Exchange. I think your clients and project team partners will like it too. We’ve revamped Project Home with  "ATM Friendly" access to Transmittals, Submittals, Shared Folders and more. We’ve also added Project Home widgets so you can tailor each default Project Home to spruce it up with site renderings or construction photos; display primary project contacts and info; or add additional useful widgets for open items, local weather, look-ahead project calendars and more. The  "ATM-like friendliness" extends into the project logs as well with 1-click controls to open attachments or enter responses, as well as drag ‘n drop to update your shared folders. Finally, it ALL works just great on iPads and Android tablets with WIFI or 3G/4G enabled.

Reason #3: Project Publisher
One of the most mundane, oft-neglected phases of project delivery involves the closeout and handover of project information. And is it fair to say that the actual presentation of documentation and materials to the client at project closeout sometimes leaves something to be desired? Not so with the Newforma Project Publisher feature. First use the  "wizard" interface to select record documents, submittals, the project team roster, selected document sets such as warrantees and O&M documentation, and information from any other activity center in Project Center to be part of your closeout package. Then organize the content any way you want in a hierarchical table of contents and publish it to a DVD, USB or network drive. The contents are neatly packaged into tables with each record linked to its underlying data and files. And it’s all professionally branded with your project and company graphics and accessed from a hierarchical table of contents. A far cry from 12 boxes and a cloud of dust!

Reasons #4 and #5: Contact Directory and Custom Word Forms
The new Contact Directory is a standalone app to centrally access and manage your company’s contact database. It works hand-in-glove, or rather  "drag-and-drop ", with Microsoft Outlook and the Project Team activity center in Newforma Project Center. You can also lock down Contact Directory editing privileges with the new  "Content Administrator" role.
But what really makes Contact Directory is its integration with the new Word-based form templates in 9th edition. You can now convert standard,  "boiler-plate " Word documents like contracts and letters into dynamically generated forms merged with company, contact or project fields from Newforma Project Center. Your forms can leverage formatting options from Word like page numbering, headers, footers, repeating column headers and more. And a Mail Merge "Helper" macro helps administrators add smart fields and tables from Newforma contacts and project items like submittals, contracts or change orders.

In fact, we liked the Word form templates so much that we extended its reach to support the built-in forms in Newforma Project Center, including transmittals, RFIs, submittals and contracts, all of which were previously only editable using Microsoft InfoPath. We knew this would be pretty cool – but I have to admit I was surprised to hear from several of our earliest 9
th Edition customers that this was their favorite of all the new features! 

Reason #6: The need for speed
In 9th edition, our engineers made a concerted effort across many aspects of the product to optimize the code. From navigating between activity centers to viewing PDFs to working with projects pinned to remote servers, 9th edition will feel noticeably "snappier". This has been confirmed by our earliest 9th Edition customers.
Reason #7: It’s the Easiest Newforma Upgrade Yet
My final reason to upgrade to 9th edition? Well, to quote one of our early 9th edition customers,  "it felt more like an update than an upgrade."  The whole process is very well documented and can be completed in a couple hours. 9th edition runs on the same hardware as 8th edition and there are no changes to any underlying OS requirements. And for the first time, you can now skip a release when upgrading to the current release. So customers with 7th edition can bypass 8th edition completely and upgrade straight to 9th edition. Once you get onto 9th edition, life gets even better with regards to updating and upgrading the Newforma Windows clients as there is now an option to auto-update clients to the appropriate release when upgrading a Newforma server.

To see a complete list of new features and functionality you can download an overview in PDF format.  To learn more about Newforma Project Center Professional, visit our website.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Litigation mitigation: the best info wins

Everybody’s heard the joke: “What are the four phases of construction?”Lady Justice on the jobsite

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Litigation

What can you do to avoid disputes before they arise, and to dispense with them quickly when they do?

A construction industry lawyer has just published a free white paper that tells you, in five quick-reading pages, what you can do (1) to avoid lawsuits, or (2), if you must go to court, win.

7 Critical Mistakes that Engineers & Architects Make During Project Negotiation and Execution that Sabotage Their Projects & Invite Litigation” is the work of Melissa Dewey Brumback, of the law firm of Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Brumback identifies two mistakes you won’t make if you’re using Newforma software to manage contract administration and archiving.

“Mistake #4: Failing To Have Good Change Order And/Or RFI Management Processes”

This mistake goes away when your company uses our functions for contract management, whether yours is a design firm or a construction company.

“All change orders and RFIs need to be appropriately managed to avoid litigation,” Brumback writes. “You may verbally respond to a written RFI while in the field. That is fine, but be sure to document the verbal response once you return to the office.”

The Newforma Design Suite and Newforma Construction Suite both include functions to capture and connect RFIs, supplemental instructions, change order proposals and other components of construction change management. The resulting audit trail documents all aspects of the contract management process, even when it takes place via email.

“Mistake #5: Failing To Have A Quality Document Retention System”

Brumback cites the problem of lost or hard-to-find project information. “If a project employee only saves documents to his personal laptop and he subsequently leaves your employment, that data may be lost forever,” she writes.

Newforma software makes it easy and practical for everyone in the firm to file their email with other project documents, making it retrievable by other team members months and years later.

As an attorney, Brumback would like to see all project information properly filed and searchable, for “if you get sued, it will be much easier for your lawyer to find the pertinent key project documents.”

Newforma customers are increasingly keeping their archives spinning on servers in order to find information using Newforma’s robust search function. Their primary purpose is knowledge management, but it’s also invaluable for legal discovery.

We hope you implement Newforma software to make your work more rewarding and profitable. But when disagreements do arise, you’ll have an advantage from better project information management.

About the author of “7 Critical Mistakes,” and how to get your copy

Melissa Dewey Brumback is a construction attorney and partner in the firm Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC. She is the author of “Construction Law in North Carolina” (, a blog dedicated to the A/E community, which was awarded the 2011
Best Construction Blog Award by Design and Construction Report. She is rated AV, the best rating of the Martindale Hubbell rating system, and is a certified LEED Green Associate. Visit the blog to download your copy of “7 Critical Mistakes.”

Melissa can be reached at or at +1 919-881-2214.