By ADAM GIFFORD
Construction firms are saving tens of thousands of dollars and weeks of project time using a New Zealand-designed online document management system.
CollaborIT, used by investment banks and legal firms for project assignments, and part of the ConstructionNet portal, was developed by architect Andrew Crosby in association with Greenwood technology.
The service is run using Citrix technology, which allows people to use server-based applications on their PCs over telephone dial-up connections and view large CAD (computer aided drawing) files.
"Users don't need any special software on their Machines to view files," Crosby said. "We have readers for things like Microsoft Project and different CAD formats back on the server."
CollaborIT is charged on a per-project basis for a monthly fee of $150 per company, capped at $750. That encourages project managers to put as many partners as possible on to the system.
Arrow International project manager Derrick Reelick used CollaborIT during the construction of extensions to Whangarei Hospital, and will at Tauranga Hospital.
"We had a five-member project team in Whangarei and the consultants - the architects, structural engineers, electrical, mechanical and fire engineers - down in Auckland and we needed a way to transfer documents," Reelick said.
"We ended up not having to courier any hard copy drawings, it was all soft copies. If we wanted to print something out in A1 we could email it to the print shop in Whangarei. We saved $50,000 in printing costs alone."
Just as valuable was the time saved - drawings could be changed and posted in CollaborIT immediately, rather than requiring an overnight trip to the job site.
When a document is uploaded into CollaborIT, an email goes out to all affected parties advising them of the fact. As administrator, Reelick could say who had access to particular folders or individual documents and see who looked at or printed out any document.
Those audit and security features make CollaborIT suitable for applications outside the construction industry.
Crosby said it had also been used by an investment bank to conduct due diligence.
By ADAM GIFFORD