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Sundt Construction Switches to Tablets



Motion Computing published a case study yesterday that details how Sundt Construction has replaced its laptops with Motion F5 tablet PCs. The news caught my eye since I grew up working on construction sites. Back then, I always marveled at how my father and his colleagues managed to complete enormous projects without a computer in site. To this day, many commercial job sites are run without mobile computers. Instead, a desktop is often shared amongst project managers, superintendents and sub-contractors in the project’s trailer. Notes, change-orders, supply requests, punch lists and other critical data are often scribbled with pen and paper and then transcribed into email back in the trailer.

I’ve shown my father what tablet PCs are capable of and he said he’d save several hours per week if he was set up to use one at work.

You can read the case study below:

Case Study: Sundt
Motion F5 Tablet PCs Helps Construction Firm Enhance Technology at the Jobsite

Overview: Finding the Right Technology to for Use on the JobsiteSundt Construction provides general contracting, construction management and design-build services for private and public sector clients. Founded in 1890, the company has a rich history of historical projects including the relocation of the London Bridge to Arizona and construction of Launch Pad 39-A at Cape Canaveral, which was used to put the first man on the moon.

The company performs preconstruction, construction and post-construction services and is always looking for innovative ways to improve how it does business. One of the ways it continually enhances operational performance is through the application of the latest technologies.

Recently, Sundt was looking for a solution to replace the standard laptops used on its construction projects, which were bulky and difficult to use while walking around to inspect work, meet with subcontractors, etc. The company was in search of a highly mobile, rugged PC that would enable them to seamlessly use technology while in the field, but also support the highly mobile workflows of its staff, from field superintendents to those responsible for quality and safety.

Chris Lake, Sundt’s VP and Director of IT, was familiar with Motion tablets and began evaluating the technology on jobsites in April of 2008, following a successful pilot program performed in July. After proving its successful application in the field, the company dubbed the new computer technology the Remote Office Construction Kit (ROCK). The ROCK is comprised of the Motion F5 tablet PC and Adobe ® Acrobat ® software.

F5 Tablet PCs Improve Efficiencies in the Field, Saving Time and Money
Sundt chose the Motion F5 tablet PC because of its rugged design and integrated features. The digitizer input enables users to easily move between programs and files, making the tablets convenient to use while walking on the jobsite. The handle, light weight and size make them highly portable for use throughout the workday. Additionally, the integrated camera streamlines the photo documentation process, enabling users to seamlessly capture photos and make them part of the jobsite record.

The team at Sundt considers the ROCK to be a major improvement, as it allows the superintendent and quality control representatives to spend more time in the field observing and managing the efforts of subcontractors instead of spending valuable time shuttling back and forth between the field office and the project site. By enabling users to access a dynamically linked set of drawings, specifications, RFI’s, shop drawings and other key documents while in the field, Sundt has virtually eliminated communications delays and project teams are able to immediately resolve issues while in the field.

““Before we began using the F5s, we were working within the limits of the laptops that weren’t really designed for field use or running back to the trailer to look at hard copies of the records and trying to integrate information,” said Frank Bejarano, a Sundt project superintendent. ““Now project information is more accurate and accessible, making it easier to stay current on project status and issues.”

All documents are now available on the tablets, updated automatically and shared with subcontractors more efficiently. The company is also using large screen monitors in its jobsite trailers to display documentation for discussions with a variety of project team members.

““The tablets save us a tremendous amount of time by allowing electronic documents to be with our project staff whenever, wherever,” said Lake. ““Using the integrated camera for documentation and the tablet input to update punch lists is also significantly improving productivity.”

Measurable Results and Future Plans
Based on the success of the ROCK among jobsite superintendents and quality and safety personnel, Sundt is now looking at innovative ways to use the solution across other roles, such as project management. The ability to use a set of Digital Record Drawings (DRD), and a large viewing screen in the project office to offer access to the most current documents significantly reduces the amount of paper generated for projects which supports Sundt’s corporate value of being a good steward of the environment by being as sustainable as possible.

For project owners, Sundt uses the F5s as a digital storage tool to eliminate the issue of finding necessary information after a project is completed. At the end of each project, owners can receive the tablet with a comprehensive set of electronic files with all of the project documentation included. The availability of the information electronically is a great benefit to managing the life-cycle-cost and the maintenance needs of the facility and is a unique value that Sundt adds to its projects.



  1. harv

    06/16/2009 at 8:40 pm


    You might go back and ask them which software products they are deploying with the F%. My company uses the Motion J3400 for the same benefits Sundt discovered. We have also been using other software to facilitiate centralized document control, while having the latest information distributed down to the lowest level in the field. We use Bluebeam, and Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended. We also use Vela and NewForma, but are considering our options because they are expensive choices.

  2. archiwiz

    06/16/2009 at 10:44 pm

    Nice. Its good to see more db&c co’s embracing technology. A construction company I interned with had Motion LE1600’s and 1700’s deployed on all their project sites and it saved time and more for the people who were willing to use it. Some of the guys felt that a computer was too new-fangled, and that the old reliable way was the ponly way they could do their jobs. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Surface will be very useful if deployed in the project office. Seeing drawings on a wall will not be very useful, especially as many times we need to compare drawings side by side, and the zooming and possible redline capabilities would especially help while drastically reducing paper use.

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