Bridgit’s Builders: JHL Constructors
“Bridgit is an intuitive, simple system that is customizable and great for closeout — it's lightyears ahead of what we were doing.”
We recently spoke with James Torres, Senior Project Manager with JHL Constructors, a Centennial, Colorado-based company offering pre-construction and construction services for projects ranging from small interior renovations to large ground-up projects.
James is the first feature in our latest blog series, Bridgit’s Builders, where developers and contractors who have used Bridgit first-hand in the field discuss their experience with the tool and how it has helped them improve their process.
James, who was voted Project Manager of the Year by the American Subcontractors Association of Colorado, was the first at JHL to adopt Bridgit. Since then, he has used the tool on four projects, including a 130,000 square foot middle school.
We wanted to learn about why James selected Bridgit, and how the tool has helped him expedite closeout across projects.
How long have you been with JHL Constructors?
I’ve been at JHL for about five years now.
How did you hear about Bridgit?
I first heard about Bridgit when a representative reached out to me on LinkedIn.
I hadn’t heard of the company before, but I checked out the website and set up a call for a ten minute presentation over the phone, where I got a short overview on what Bridgit does.
I was really interested because we didn’t have a platform like this to manage closeout.
When you initially took that call, you had already been pitched on other solutions. Why did you stick with Bridgit?
At the time, we were using one product for managing our project documents, and our subcontractors were also using it. We were looking into new ways to manage closeout — our punch list was Microsoft Excel: we would have a file and manually add line items in for everything that needed to be done.
We were pitched on a product that did both document management and closeout. It wasn’t a fit — the punch list was an afterthought.
In comparison, Bridgit is an intuitive, simple system that was customizable and great for closeout — it's lightyears ahead of what we were doing. At the end of the day, we saw the savings we would get with Bridgit, and it was worth it.
Making a business case for Bridgit can often be a challenge — getting everyone in the field on board can be difficult. What was that experience like?
When we first brought Bridgit in, I got the whole team together for training. A lot of the younger guys were excited to use it — they’re technically savvy, so they see the value in it right away and are confident to start using it.
The harder part is that we’ll have superintendents who have been on the job for 30 to 40 years and hardly want to sit and check an email. But once they see how intuitive the app is, they start wanting to use it, too. One thing that did surprise me was how receptive subcontractors have been to using Bridgit.
Did you lean on Bridgit’s customer support or were you self-sufficient?
I was pretty self-sufficient after the training.
Bridgit's easy-to-use and whenever we want to make changes — like add subcontractors or tags — I’m able to just make those changes myself in the settings.
What projects are you using Bridgit on now?
Right now, I’m using Bridgit on a school project. But this is the fourth job that I’ve used Bridgit on — this summer, I had three jobs, and I had Bridgit on all of them.
For this project, we’re using Bridgit differently than we have before. This time, I’m making sure that we’re using it throughout the entire project, and I’m pushing guys to use it for quality concerns.
How has Closeout helped you be more efficient?
It makes it easy to manage subcontractors by keeping their tasks organized and sending off notifications when tasks are incomplete. The job summary that the app generates is helpful because it updates us on who the big hitters are and who we need to push on closeout.
It also helps that there’s no data re-entry — when you use Excel as your punch list tool, punch is handwritten in the field and then has to be entered into Excel manually when you’re back in the office.
When you use Bridgit on a punch walk, tasks are entered as you go and then the punch list is complete at the end of the walk. It immediately notifies the respective parties as soon as it’s entered. So overall, the communication, organization, and intuitiveness of Bridgit creates efficiencies for me.
How much time have you saved by completing your punch list with Bridgit?
Completing the punch list with Bridgit has really accelerated the closeout.
To give you an example using a recent project, we used Bridgit for the closeout of a two-story, 130,000 square foot middle school. To closeout a project of that size, we would typically need three to four months. We would have to constantly communicate about changes and then update a punch list we managed in Excel.
With Bridgit, we had real-time updates — it was easy for our subcontractors to use their iPad or phone in the field and knock out all of the tasks. It was their to-do list, and we were able to complete 2,000 tasks in eight weeks, which is twice as fast as we projected.
What were the savings as a result?
In Colorado, superintendent billable rates are between $75 and $95 an hour, while assistant superintendents range from $60 to $75 an hour.
Using the higher end of the billable rates, it can cost around $6,800 a week to have a superintendent and assistant superintendent on site closing out the punch list.
At the end of a project, their time adds up quickly, and so the quicker we get off the project, the more money is saved. By taking half of the time to complete the school project, we were able to save around $54,400.
What have you been able to do with the time you’ve gained back?
As a project manager, I typically have two or three projects going on at the same time, so my workload is spread across multiple projects.
Bridgit has let me focus on the other jobs that are running concurrently while I’m closing out another project. This way, I’m able to spend less time worrying about completing the punch list, and I can focus more time and effort on change order closeout and general contracts closeout.
Would you recommend Bridgit to a colleague?
Because of the success we’ve had with Bridgit, a few other project managers at JHL have already started using it on their sites as well. People have seen the value of it, and how it pays for itself in the end.
About JHL Constructors
JHL Constructors is a provider of construction services in Centennial, Colorado, with project experience ranging from small interior renovations and tenant improvements to large ground-up projects. Their portfolio includes K-12 education, higher education, healthcare, multi-family and senior living, office, worship, and recreational facilities.
JHL’s pre-construction and construction services include: conceptual estimating, value engineering, construction management/general contractor services, and design/build services.
In 2018, JHL was voted General Contractor of the Year (Over $100 Million) by the American Subcontractors Association of Colorado.