May 5 2020
Virtual Site Reviews: Overcoming the Distance Challenge
Leveraging Technology to Keep Projects on Schedule
We are committed to continually delivering uncompromising performance for our clients, especially during this pandemic. COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the way we deliver our engineering services, but we’ve taken them all in stride, each time prioritizing the health of our people, our clients, and our communities.
One amended service offering has been virtual site reviews. While nothing beats being on site for inspections, Entuitive has been conducting these virtually to help our clients stay on schedule with their projects.
Virtual Site Reviews – A Solution to Social Distancing
Virtual site reviews start with the contractor or subcontractor taking photographs of the site in question, followed by a virtual discussion to review the images collaboratively. Since still photos may not capture the whole story, we believe it is critical to have these conversations. This process allows us to go through all the details in the images together and ensure we’re providing the best analysis to our clients.
“With the current state of emergency, virtual reviews permit us to service our clients while keeping our staff safe,” says David Thompson, Principal and Building Envelope Specialist at Entuitive. “And without travel time and site coordination, these reviews have been more expedient than in the past.”
The East Lansing Project
On the East Lansing Mixed-Use Development project in Michigan, Entuitive has been providing virtual site reviews to our client, the Walsh Group. The East Lansing project comprises a new 13-storey residential/retail development over more than 200,000 ft². Entuitive is providing Building Envelope Consulting services on this project, having transitioned to a virtual service when work from home orders were implemented.
“Virtual site reviews have allowed us to stay on schedule with this project,” says Tyler Kondel, Project Manager at the Walsh Group – Walsh Construction & Archer Western. “We’ve had many trades unable to work due to COVID-19, but Entuitive’s reviews have allowed us to continue with some key trades on site.”
As the contractor on the project, the Walsh Group has been uploading site images to their Procore account during construction. Entuitive’s Building Envelope team has then reviewed those images to provide guidance and direction to Walsh. Our commitment to collaborating and solving for the best solutions together has enabled our teams to work together to get around these challenging times.
In addition to allowing construction projects to remain on schedule, virtual site reviews enable cost reduction through the elimination of travel expenses, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of the project.
“Post-COVID, we can certainly envision keeping virtual site reviews in tandem with in-person reviews,” says Kondel. “Instead of performing 10 site visits, for example, we could have Entuitive perform four in person and the rest virtually, eliminating unnecessary travel while still focusing on any issues that need attention.”
How to Get the Most Out of a Virtual Site Review
Getting the most out of a virtual site review starts with the consulting engineer having a solid understanding of the project. “By really understanding the project, we can direct our client, the Walsh Group, on the types of photos we need and the specific details to capture,” says Fariz Dhalla, Building Envelope Specialist at Entuitive. “This has been served even more by our positive, cooperative partnership, where both parties play an active role in the virtual site reviews.”
Getting on the phone to discuss the images is the next critical step to making the most of these virtual reviews. “Our client may not always know precisely what we need to see,” says Victor Diec, Building Envelope Specialist at Entuitive. “So it’s integral to have that back and forth with them. We need to ask questions, but also be prepared to answer as many questions as needed, always proactively seeking out the answers.”
Entuitive’s commitment to true collaboration and partnership has enabled us to continue delivering our services to our clients during COVID-19. We’ll get through this together, and virtual site reviews are just one way we remain available to our clients.