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Engineers raise responsiveness, improve efficiency and reduce exposure to risk

At a time when it seems that more firms are chasing fewer projects, BergerABAM President and Chief Executive Officer Arnfinn (Arnie) Rusten wants to make sure his firm takes care of clients as never before.

“Our business is more competitive than ever,” says Arnie. “To make sure clients continue to give us repeat business, we’ve invested in Newforma Project Center software to shorten response times and reduce the risk of mistakes.”

BergerABAM’s highly complex, multi-disciplinary projects generate massive amounts of project information to be managed. Examples include email, drawings, transmittals, specification spreadsheets and more. The information buried in those documents can answer questions and avoid problems.

“It’s a huge advantage to be able to answer questions from clients and team members right away, often while they’re still on the phone,” Arnie says. “Often we can resolve a dispute simply by showing an email that documents our instructions. Newforma Project Center makes it easy, even if that email was generated by someone who’s no longer with the firm.”

“The software also helps avoid problems before they arise,” Arnie says, “such as in the case of drawing revisions, when we use the Newforma viewer to show what’s new or changed between two sets of plans. That way, when we send plans to a jobsite, we can be confident we have not introduced any conflicts which could cause change orders or delays for which we might be held liable.”

Stopping information overload
Project Manager Lars Holte spends his days gathering, disseminating, tracking, logging and searching for project information, whether it’s in emails, plans, transmittals, spreadsheets or any of the other forms project information can take. He’s vitally interested in operating more efficiently.

“Most of our projects are billed on the basis of ‘time and material not to exceed,’” Lars says. “Such contracts require very close monitoring to ensure they’re profitable. Anything that helps us to better manage our project information is a welcome addition.

“Take email management, for example,” Lars says. “Before we adopted Newforma Project Center, we didn’t have an efficient way to file Outlook® email with other project documents, and it could take hours to find an old email. We worked around the problem by copying all team members on many emails, but that only contributed to information overload.

“Some people keep every email from previous jobs on a backup hard drive,” Lars says. “Newforma Project Center makes this workaround unnecessary because Newforma allows us to file project email with other project documents without duplication, and to be able to find it again later with ease.”

Request for information workflows are another area being streamlined with Newforma Project Center. “I showed one of our project coordinators how she could manage RFIs using Newforma software, and she got it right away. That, and transmittals management. The software is easy enough to use that people don’t need a lot of training to see how they can take advantage of it.”

No clouding? No problem
Lars says his colleagues are excited about Newforma Project Center’s ability to compare drawings and show what’s changed between them.

“Architects send revised plan files but neglect to cloud the areas they’ve changed,” Lars says. “Rather than play hide and seek manually, we simply use Newforma’s Compare functionality, which colorcodes
objects that have been added or moved.”

Lars anticipates greater convenience and reduced CAD license costs when summer interns arrive, thanks to Newforma Viewer. When people need to view CAD documents, they won’t have to beg others to close AutoCAD and free up a license, because they’ll be able to see documents using Newforma Viewer.

Efficiencies extend to IT
Information Technology Manager Warren Kring sees many ways Newforma software will lighten his load.

"For example," Warren says, “Newforma® Info Exchange replaces FTP, which slashes the overhead
devoted to FTP site set-up and maintenance.”

Warren and his staff also spend time finding files for engineers. "That chore will go away as people figure out that Newforma's Search function can find just about anything faster than I can," Warren says. “In the meantime, I’ll use Newforma Search to save time.”

The Newforma Search function will help BergerABAM engineers find and re-use archived information. “We’re moving archived projects from CD-ROMs and DVDs to servers, where Newforma’s software can index the data and make it available for repurposing,” Warren says.

"We were looking for a project information management system,” Warren says. “We wanted to solve problems around storage and backup and email. The Newforma solution solves those problems with one package.”

About BergerABAM
BergerABAM is a six-office consulting firm headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, offering services in civil and structural engineering, as well as land use planning, natural resources, public involvement, construction management and support, and underwater inspection (dive). The firm specializes in land use planning formixed-use, industrial, and institutional development; and engineering for buildings, transportation facilities, water resources and utilities, and waterfront and marine facilities. Established in 1951, the firm formed an affiliation with The Louis Berger Group, Inc. in 1988, and continues to work on significant engineering projects not only in the Pacific Northwest, but also across the United States and in more than 50 countries.

Learn more
BergerABAM has adopted Newforma Project Center software as a means to improve client service, streamline operations and reduce risk. For case studies of other companies in other industries, visit, email or phone +1-603-625-6212, Option 1.

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