By its nature, construction project management is a very information-intensive process. Here are two systems that not only help manage entire projects but also have specific LEED certification operability built in.
LEED certification systems in Newforma
Newforma Project Center, billed as being “used by architects and engineers to organize and manage internal project information, share and track published project information with external team members and streamline project execution processes,” offers help with tracking and managing the process of LEED certification.
CEO Ian Howell, in his remarks while introducing a webinar on Newforma, noted that current trends toward integrated project delivery and building information modeling are opening the door to major changes in construction projects delivery. Trends point toward more open projects with greater information sharing, which in turn is leading to a significant increase in not only the volume of documentation but in the necessity to manage it efficiently. LEED certification, he said, is yet another layer of documentation that has to be managed. He described a LEED certification effort as a “project information management challenge.”
According to Bob Batcheler, VP of industry marketing and project management, Newforma begins by making it possible to create a “document set.” Since LEED documentation come in all sorts of formats, the document set gathers them together, and collates them in meaningful ways. Batcheler said Newforma also addresses another key aspect of managing LEED certifications by allowing clear responsibility to be assigned for items in the LEED checklist. These assignments in effect become action items that can be acted upon, tracked, and reassigned automatically via email when follow-up action is necessary.
An Action Item Activity Center shows the status of all items while also tracking milestones in a view outside the timeline. Keywords can be assigned to action items allowing report information to be custom tailored simply by sorting. In this way a report showing only open items can easily be prepared, Batcheler said.
Since LEED certification is rife with requirements to review and follow up on, Newforma provides a Markup Session Activity Center (MSAC) that captures the give and take involved with working out details while simultaneously creating a record of it and, ultimately, creating a record of the decisions that are made. People interact with, and share all kinds of documents, pictures and even portions of building information models within the MSAC as they review items, ask questions, receive answers, and ultimately close the items upon completion. Even those who are not using Newforma can be involved since it is possible to capture all this activity as PDF documents that can then be emailed, Batcheler said.
For the evaluation of local content and materials users can activate Google Maps within the software and capture mileage as evidence of the project’s use of local sources.
A key element of LEED involves things that have to be done after the project is complete, such as reviewing how the building’s systems are performing. Batcheler said this LEED certification system will send out the appropriate emails to those whose are responsible for operations and maintenance.
LEED certification systems in EADOC
EADOC is an online construction management tool that claims to make it possible for all project team members to exchange project documents and financial information. The system's relationship to LEED certification lies in its document sharing capabilities and the framework it provides so LEED processes can be tracked through to completion.
EADOC is customizable; LEED document nomenclature and labels can be written to the clients' needs. It is also possible to add fields, change drop-down lists, and add and configure folders as needed. Even tabs and templates are customizable so they can be matched to each project's LEED certification needs. By setting up custom “send” groups, communication among team members is kept efficient and targeted. Users can create detailed, custom reports and can set up alerts so notifications regarding any aspect of LEED certification will be sent to the appropriate people.
Keep in mind that other construction and building management software (with capabilities similar to LoraxPro and EADOC) may have built-in LEED certification systems, too. In some cases it may just be a matter of setting up an environment within the software package to gather, interact with, communicate about and document LEED initiatives.
Talk to your sales representative about the LEED document management capabilities of the software that you currently use, how much they cost and what it takes to implement them. In addition, get recommendations from your peers at industry events, user group meetings or even at the coffee shop for LEED certification systems they use. This input will be valuable as you consider solutions to the mounting problem of LEED certification documentation.
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