"Because rform keeps all information together and readily accessible, issues are dealt with immediately, creating a very narrow margin of error in the construction phase - a part of the business in which the architect often struggles for a measure of control." — Percy Poplak, M.E.P., B. Arch., OAA, MRAIC, RIBA, Senior Associate, WGD Architects Inc.
Percy Poplak , architect and urban designer, joined WGD Architects, Toronto, Ont, in 2000. The firm specialises in the design of hospitality and leisure buildings. Poplak - who has over twenty years professional experience in Canada - was drawn to the profession because of, “a fascination with how things go together”. In his role as Senior Project Manager with WGD, Poplak’s focus is production and contract administration.
Because contract administration (CA) is a primary focus of his work, Poplak is acutely aware of the obstacles architects encounter in this aspect of their business. Like so many of his peers, he has struggled to find an efficient and productive way to manage the endless paperwork involved in projects. Over the years, he has used various software programs to manage CA but none was entirely successful. Mr. Poplak was introduced to rform at an architect’s conference. He attended a presentation, given by Paul Lopes, on the effectiveness of rform in helping to get information out to the clients and contractors in a timely manner. Lopes’ presentation resonated with Poplak; rform’s efficiency and ability to keep information/material in one place, and on-line, was appealing and worth further investigation.
With the use of rform, paper filing has been reduced substantially. Correspondence is easy to trace and keep up-to-date. Submittals are presented, reviewed and returned in a timely matter.
Mr. Poplak used rform to manage CA with the North Dumfries Community Centre in the township of North Dumfries, Ontario. The multi-use recreation complex houses a community centre, a gymnasium, an arena, a fitness centre, and program and office spaces. It also contains an outdoor sports park with soccer fields, a basket-ball court and a playground. It has been a valuable addition to the community.
According to Poplak, rform allowed the CA portion of the North Dumfries Community Centre project to progress smoothly. Firstly, it enabled consolidation of correspondence relating to changes in submissions. Secondly, rform made it easy to keep track of important project information: when a document had been sent, who sent it, and when it was received, for example. Lastly, Poplak and his team appreciated that project information was always readily accessible for all parties involved. This ensured their time and talents weren’t wasted on parts of the project - such as paper chasing - that would negatively impact their bottom line.
Because Poplak is only beginning to use rform as a CA management tool, it is difficult to provide an exact metric for how it has positively impacted the gross revenue of his practice. He plans to use rform on a few more projects before drawing such conclusions. However, he notes rform saves him a lot of time. When time is better spent, money is not wasted.
Paperwork is rarely gratifying in the design business. And Poplak, over the years, has done his fair share of searching for documents and correspondence to solve issues in the construction phase of projects. He recalls the days when everything was a paper copy and had to be filed in a cabinet. Finding and tracking information wasn’t easy; the process was far from efficient.
With the use of rform, paper filing has been reduced substantially. Correspondence is easy to trace and keep up-to-date. Submittals are presented, reviewed and returned in a timely matter. Because rform keeps all information together and readily accessible, issues are dealt with immediately, creating a very narrow margin of error in the construction phase - a part of the business in which the architect often struggles for a measure of control.