The big room is an incubator for collaboration, relying on the ability to openly share information in real time. Team members can turn to one another to get answers. Technology also can support this instantaneous sharing and the following technology decisions can help maximize the collaborative nature of a big room:
● Choose a cloud-based program. Schedules, estimates, progress drawings and even models should be shared on a common file server, such as Box or Bentley Systems’ ProjectWise, for all team members and companies to access. One of the challenges is to make sure that everyone is aware the information is available and understood.
● Work in the same software and model. Working in the same software makes it easier to access and share the latest information, reducing time wasted on uploading, downloading and translating different file types. One of the opportunities that recent technology affords is the ability for all teams to work in the same model. In this scenario, there is less time spent looking for up-to-date material or working with outdated info. There is also the prospect to implement the “draw everything once” methodology. In a traditional delivery method, details are often redrawn multiple times — once by the architect, second by the engineer and third by the trade partner. A shared model with clear articulation of drawing responsibility provides not only transparency and shared responsibility, but an increase in efficiency and speed to opening.
● Don’t batch reviews. Traditionally, a design team compiles a set, turns it over for review, then waits to respond or answer comments. Instead, collaborative tools from such companies as Bluebeam Inc. can be used to share and review documents. Comments can be made, answered and picked up in the same PDF almost simultaneously, expediting decisions and documentation. All markup activity is tracked and recorded in one place, providing real-time transfer of knowledge across all team members.