Tools of the trade: Podio and FieldLens

Mark Delpierre NVS Leave a Comment

Managing an office design, buildout, and close-out effectively requires clear communication and efficient document control amongst all parties. At NVS, we use several different tech platforms to make this comprehensive management happen. This post summarizes two key platforms: Podio and FieldLens.

Podio

As a highly customizable collaboration platform used in-browser, Podio allows us to create industry-specific solutions for all of our services. From maintaining a contact and vendor database to creating tasks based on project milestones, Podio links together all aspects of a project in a meaningful way. Vendors, invoices, budgets, and tasks are not just singular entities, but connected ones that show real-time progress to our clients. This progress is captured in deliverables for our clients such as agendas and schedules that are automated within Podio based on our collective input.

Upon award, an NVS PM will create a project item which sets off a chain of automations. These automations create placeholders for budgets, dates for schedule phases based on start and move-in dates, and agenda templates to name a few. Our agendas present observations and questions acquired during lead development and an initial site visit which structures our client meetings. As decisions are made, agendas items are updated with scope changes eventually used in our RFPs. Once it is clear we will need a particular service (carpenter, mover, painter, etc.), budget line-items can be filled and tracked against proposed costs, and eventually invoices. As vendors are awarded for services, we easily produce contact lists to share project-wide, and track insurance requirements between buildings and vendors.

App within Podio showing how a budget report can be automated; has chat interface on the right side panel.

Sample “Report Gen” item from an NVS Podio workspace that shows budget summaries and allows users to create automated reports. Automated reports are attached directly to items for archiving and easy downloading.

Providing opportunities to automate bidding, budget creation, and invoice management to name a few, Podio frees up more time to engage with our clients and get the most out of each space. Also, big shoutout to GlobiFlow which is now a standard extension of Podio – they amped up the potential to automate within Podio significantly.

FieldLens

FieldLens is a mobile and web platform for managing, tracking, and closing out construction work in the field. It allows for direct, real-time collaboration with vendors. Pins are dropped using a phone or tablet directly on to construction plans. These posts can contains photos, videos, marked-up drawing sections, comments, and labels – assigning someone a post provides visual proof of an on-site issue or incomplete task.

At NVS, we use FieldLens from scope development to punchlist creation. During the initial meetings with a client, we review FieldLens posts created during an initial site visit. These posts contain general photos of the space for context as well as red flags noticed by our field team. Since the posts are pinned to the drawings, we can “move” throughout the space raising questions and allowing the client to refine their wants/needs. This is especially useful if a client is traveling or not located in the project’s city.

Sample drawing showing many posts with various statuses of completion (shown with different colors).

After construction starts, NVS uses FieldLens to create punchlists and assign posts to vendors based on their defined scope. Once work is complete for a particular post, a vendor can mark it as “Resolved” and include photos, comments, or questions. Reminders are automatically sent for unresolved posts on the provided due date.

Because of the categories (tags), location, and flagging possibilities for each post, posts can be filtered and reviewed quickly. For example, all punchlist items are flagged with “Deficiency” on our projects. Filtering by “Deficiency” flagged items and creating automatic reports results in a PDF of punchlist-only posts to share with vendors, clients, or owners.

NVS recommends these two platforms highly – FieldLens specifically for this industry, but Podio for pretty much anything. Both create accountability, connect the dots of even the most complicated projects, and keep people talking. The spacial and visual nature of each brings context and clarity to discussions. Every detail matters when transforming a space, and these platforms catalog each detail in a trackable, searchable way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *