KAST Construction is a general contractor based in West Palm Beach, Florida. As an ENR Top 400 ranked contractor, KAST specializes in high-density residential, hospitality, and commercial projects. KAST has 300 employees located in offices and job sites in and around West Palm Beach, Miami, and Tampa, FL.
In 2015, KAST Construction management began to expand the company’s use of technology, particularly Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). Rob Sloyer was hired on as director of technical services, and his first priority was to implement the new technology effectively.
To do this successfully, Sloyer and his team needed to ensure that project teams could work collectively and securely in new and efficient ways.
“Our job is to manage Procore, our drones, and the VDC program, all of which includes training, policies, and procedures,” said Sloyer, now the VP of innovation and strategic services.
KAST saw VDC as a way to improve how they built. They believed it could positively impact the quality of their projects through better collaboration, lowered costs and enhanced safety. But as they rolled out the initiative, they found a series of data management inefficiencies that hindered any improvements in productivity.
For starters, the VDC team operated almost independently of the projects they supported. The team began every project by asking the project manager a series of questions—addressing the areas that needed to be coordinated, the expected outcome, the budget, and deadlines. Then they would go work amongst themselves to produce the designs.
That approach involved a lot of back and forth with a project manager who was extremely busy with project startup. If the VDC team scheduled time to work on a project but lacked all the necessary information, such as the current budget or schedule, they had to email the project manager to get it answered. Waiting for responses slowed everything down and resulted in the loss of scheduled days.
In addition, teams executing the projects—the ones who needed the designs, schedules, and budgets from the VDC team—couldn’t find the information. “If a project team is looking for model files, and they are hard to find, hard to access, and hard to use, they are just not going to do it,” Sloyer said.
As a result, the VDC team wasn’t providing the full support the project teams required, and the project teams were wasting time and money either searching for designs or building off old plans.
Sloyer knew that for the VDC program at KAST to be successful, it required a shift in mindset and a better way to facilitate the exchange of information between the project teams and the VDC team.
Sloyer had always used Egnyte to store project drawings that were hyperlinked back to Bluebeam so he could access files from his desktop, laptop, or mobile device. And he recognized the opportunity to leverage that same use case at a larger scale.
“I realized this was something that could serve everyone, from the project teams to the subcontractors and trade contractors,” Sloyer said. “What if the information was easy to find when people needed it, no matter where or who they were?”
With that realization, Sloyer’s team stood up standardized Egnyte file structures for both Precon and Operations. And now when a project begins, the VDC managers know exactly where to find the information they need without having to ask anyone or wait for an email response. When they have to develop schedules and budgets for the VDC process, they just go to Egnyte, find the information, and start generating plans. And when the plans are ready, they post them back to Egnyte, making them immediately available to the Precon teams.
The same goes for Operations. They have their own project folder but can easily go back to the Precon folder to find the VDC information they need. And while they can’t edit or delete the files (ensuring data integrity), they can download and upload them to the Operations project folders for easy access when needed. Plus, the Precon and Operations folder structures are customized for each group to better address their unique needs.
The standardized folder structure makes it easy to find the right information on any project. As teams transition between projects, they know what information will be in each folder and how to get it, saving countless hours.
Project-based access controls make it even easier to find the right folder through all the noise. “When I go into Egnyte as an Administrator, I can see 300 projects with 800 folders each,” Sloyer said. “That’s a lot. But our project managers only see the projects they are working on. They don’t have to click around to find the right folder, so it’s really simple and saves a bunch of time.”
Egnyte also enables secure file sharing with subcontractors, which is critical because KAST doesn’t do any self-perform work. “With Egnyte, we can share with our subcontractors for the duration of the project and when the project is over, we can revoke their access. We can even lock the file after it has been downloaded. That gives us a lot of control and the confidence to know we can protect our clients’ sensitive information,” said Sloyer.
Egnyte allows KAST to facilitate the flow of data to the people who need it, when they need it. When the VDC team has time scheduled to work on a project, there is no more searching for files, no more waiting for email responses, and no more wasting schedule days. And the benefits of Egnyte go beyond the VDC team.
Before, when KAST shared project administrators between job sites, the team needed to wait until the admin was physically on their site to get files or questions answered. Now, with Egnyte’s integration with Procore, the admins can access and share the files teams need no matter where they are.
“How we operated before resulted in a lot of waiting around. Now, the admins can respond to needs from a specific person no matter where they are. That saves time and improves job satisfaction,” said Sloyer.
The recent strengthening of the integration between Procore and Egnyte will make it easier to access the latest Procore files from any device. And the fact that co-editing is now available on any device will improve how they collaborate together.
“Now teams can work from home, from the coffee shop, from their kid’s Little League game,” Sloyer said. “The people, and firms, who can integrate work and life will eat the lunch of those who can’t, and Egnyte gives us that flexibility.”
What started as an individual use case to increase productivity, has now resulted in the entire VDC team providing better service to the organization.
KAST is building smarter and faster with a little help from Egnyte.
Architecture Engineering and Construction
West Palm Beach, Miami, and Tampa, FL
Platform Enterprise Lite
File Sharing & Collaboration,Access Governance