Drawboard Projects & D’Angelo and Associates: A Case Study
Joseph D’Angelo and Associates, Inc. (DNA) was founded to provide a different and more advanced level of audiovisual and technology consulting. Filling the gaps that are left open by typical consulting firms, the DNA team are highly experienced and develop drawing and design sets that are over-the-top in terms of detail and accuracy.
DNA utilizes decades of design, fabrication, and project experience when working through their design process, and pride themselves on their outside of the box thinking and invention.
When looking at how they could improve the way that they coordinate their design process and move faster, it was CEO Joseph D’Angelo who initially discovered Drawboard Projects and the team embraced it with open arms and minds.
“When you find a cool tool like Drawboard Projects, it changes what you are capable of producing. It’s had a profound impact on the final product that we are able to put out.”Thomas Bates, Senior Consultant
Thomas Bates, Senior Consultant at DNA explains that due to the nature of the projects that the team is working on, being able to efficiently handle revisions is critical to the successful delivery of projects.
“We are audiovisual systems designers and we do all of our work within Revit. We generally use similar standards to that of an architect. However, our quantity of revisions can be much more extensive.”
Having a broad scope on projects and the team to handle them is a point of pride for DNA.
However, the team is primarily made up of Revit designers and AV consultants. This can make things challenging throughout the review process as both teams are using different software.
As Thomas explains, “we’re reviewing our drawings multiple times per day because what we are trying to do is create a process that allows our AV Consultants to stay out of Revit entirely.”
Embracing efficient processes
Since implementing Drawboard Projects, the team has embraced the new workflow, allowing everyone across the business to operate more efficiently.
Thomas talks about how the team is so tied to the process; they even call him out when he’s not following it.
“If I start asking them to provide feedback, and it’s not created as an issue in Projects, they’ll tell me “thanks, but can you please create a Projects issue for this”.”
“They don’t want to have to stop working on the tasks they are focused on and pick up random comments from me every time I happen to think of something new,” says Thomas.
“We also want to be able to delegate tasks to the most appropriate team members. This way our BIM manager can easily jump in and assign issues based on who is going to be the best suited to complete each task.”
DNA has evolved their workflows to create a more efficient design process by combining their Drawboard Projects reviews with Microsoft Teams calls.
Ultimately, Thomas tells us that their goal over time is being able to work through all design communications using a single platform and Projects is a promising option.
Thomas gives us a walkthrough of how he’s refining his review process to allow more autonomy within the team.
“Normally I jump into a drawing set and create issues where needed. I’m starting to cut back on the number of markups that I put on the sheets in favor of giving a clear description of the change in an issue. I have switched to this method because issues are easily tracked through multiple revisions.
“We’ve found that this enables the team to generalize an issue to an entire project, rather than only addressing what I’ve highlighted as a single markup in a specific area.”
Since implementing Drawboard Projects, the DNA team has been using the tools across a wide range of projects to improve their workflow.
“We’re currently using Drawboard Projects for a range of different projects that we are completing at the moment, ranging from very large scale designs for companies, to boutique projects for smaller firms.”Thomas Bates, Senior Consultant
“I always really like using the iPad app, but our computers are our primary place of access. The amount of detail that some of our clients ask for is extraordinary – so we want to be able to show it off on the desktop and app-based versions – and Projects really helps us to do this.”
Another way that Projects is used by the DNA team is for running their project meetings. Being able to talk through and markup designs on the fly allows the team to save time.
“A lot of our meetings are conducted using Drawboard Projects with the presenter sharing their screen and doing a walkthrough. That works very well for us.”Thomas Bates, Senior Consultant
“I always love going full screen. I hate when you are on a video call and you’re seeing windows within windows inside of a browser. So it’s great to be able to go full screen and eliminate that”.
Drawboard Projects; a better fit
Finding and implementing new software can be challenging. But as Thomas explains, achieving outcomes from their previous software tools wasn’t easy either. Drawboard Projects is a great fit.
“We’ve been using Projects for about 6 months now. Previously we were using another platform, which seemed like it would make more sense for us because it had 3D capabilities, and we could attach that to the 3D model.”
“In reality, we actually just wanted 2D markups.”
“There were some significant things that stopped us from using our previous platform. There was a huge lag, which made it really slow to work with, whereas Drawboard Projects’ real-time sync is much faster.”
“Our President was actually the person who found the software using a good ol’ fashioned Google search. The team took to it right away.”
“Automatically grabbing sheet info from the title blocks helped quite a bit. It’s not uncommon for us to have drawing sets that are over 200 sheets on large projects, so we don’t even want to entertain the idea of adding title block details manually.”
Speed is key
Like any company, being able to optimize the time to complete a project can save large amounts of money, as well as being able to streamline delivery times. Projects has directly impacted both of these elements at DNA, and helped the team to optimize their internal processes.
“What remarkably sped things up for us was the ability to create issues while the Revit team addressed them. If you have a set that’s 200 sheets, and you have to complete markups on every sheet before you can move on to the next task, it makes things really slow.”
“Being able to create issues and markups early on in the process means that we save a lot of time with rework. “
“Drawboard Projects saves us a significant amount of time. I’d say it’s made our revision process about 5 times faster.”Thomas Bates, Senior Consultant
A better team
Talking about impact, Thomas says that it’s not just a time saver. The team is learning how to complete tasks with less input from the design team.
“Previously I had to do 100% of the markups on a set before our Revit team could do their work. With the new process, consultants can quickly provide a great level of detail and the team can then pick up those notes and run with them.”
“In the end, we really use Drawboard Projects as a training tool. Over time our Revit team learns what is needed with fewer detailed markups. This saves us from needing to mark up 100 sheets with the same thing over and over again. This speeds up our turnaround time while giving us a more knowledgeable team and a better end result in the end.”
Drawboard Projects brings handwritten markup to a cloud based team platform accessible on Windows 10, any web browser and iOS. Project teams can see everyone’s markups and annotations in real-time on any PDF drawing or document, wherever they are in the world.
Projects is powered by a document management system that is the first of its kind, eliminating the need to print, deal with version control problems, and use disparate systems for markup control.