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Seattle Contractors Use Bridgit App To Keep Pace With Construction Boom

The Kinects Tower under construction, as seen from Melrose Avenue in Seattle

As of December 2016, 68 buildings were under construction in Downtown Seattle, with another 123 in pre-development, according to the Downtown Seattle Association. The rapid growth is putting pressure on general contractors to deliver high-quality projects on time and on budget. 

Contractors have increasingly turned to apps to improve efficiency and to prevent costly errors. Construction software company Bridgit offers a digital take on a crucial step in the construction process: the punch list.

A punch list acts as a fail-safe against mistakes made toward the end of construction. Bridgit Closeout, available for both residential and commercial projects, brings that list to computer and mobile use. Contractors can access a detailed tally of outstanding issues, like window repair and missing elevator permits, at the tap of a screen, efficiently tracking, sharing and assigning work. 

The Bridgit Closeout app on a mobile device

General contractor Andersen Construction used Bridgit Closeout while building Indigo, a rollout of high-end urgent care facilities. The centers bring a high-tech, high-service approach to the healthcare market and accommodate growing demand for easily accessible walk-in health services. Indigo is on the leading edge of what is being called the “retail healthcare” movement, offering amenities like WiFi, espresso machines and a healthcare concierge.

Each facility averages 4K SF and takes 60 working days to complete. The rollout includes 15 buildings, with nine opening within one year of the start of construction. Andersen had up to five facilities under construction concurrently and delivered three within eight days. Bridgit Closeout was a critical component to the delivery model, bringing the most recent clinic in at a punch list of zero.

Bridgit’s app offered a way for Andersen to streamline communication during construction to a single point of contact.

On a computer, project managers can set up and navigate through new projects on the platform for each center and review each separate punch list. They can quickly mark tasks as urgent and draw on photos to give a visual explanation. Subcontractors can directly respond to assignments, providing feedback on problems and keeping communication flowing. 

An aerial of Hoa Mai Gardens, a new residential complex in the Yesler Terrace redevelopment

Andersen made use of Bridgit Closeout on construction of the Kinects Tower, a LEED Silver, 41-story mixed-use apartment high-rise in the heart of Seattle. The general contractor broke ground on the $150M project in February 2015.

For this project, the Andersen team had to communicate effectively with subcontractors like Expert Drywall, Mehrer Painting, Sustainable Flooring and Cabinets NW to ensure the finishes installed in the project were of the highest quality and done according to Bumgardner Architect’s design. Bridgit Closeout allowed the team to filter reports by specific task types and create a much more efficient system of distributing punch lists, quality control documentation and trade damage reports. 

Hoa Mai Gardens, part of the Seattle Housing Authority’s efforts to redevelop Yesler Terrace into a model mixed-income community, presents its own construction challenges for Andersen. The complex is a three-building, 128K SF project that will have 111 affordable housing units, according to Andersen.

Andersen project engineers, like Sean Holt, use Bridgit Closeout to beat the clock on numerous construction deadlines.

"We have a very tight schedule," Holt said. "Bridgit is helping us make that schedule possible."

Bridgit’s app allowed Andersen to focus on important details, like the two skybridges that connect the buildings, without getting bogged down by an inefficient punch list process.

Bridgit Closeout founders Mallorie Bordie and Lauren Lake

Automated reports have also played a big part in optimizing work time.

“Before Bridgit, I used to spend a couple of hours a week preparing reports," Andersen Construction project engineer Austen Kartic said. "Now, everything is automated and the process of approving or rejecting work is a lot easier. I save three to four hours a week on reports alone.”

More Seattle-based contractors are turning to construction apps to help them keep pace with the construction boom. Bridgit Closeout has become a part of that toolbox.

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