The mobile app makes using blueprints and technical drawings easier at a Sutter Medical Center construction site.

A new mobile app has streamlined communication at the construction site of the new $750 million Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center in Sacramento, Calif.

The new 242-bed, 10-story, 395,000-square-foot facility is part of Sutter Medical Center, and will make it one of the largest medical campuses in the western half of the United States. Encompassing a six-block area, the sprawling campus will include both retail and commercial space and a children's theater.

The Boldt Co., Appleton, Wis., the lead construction firm on the project, tested the app, which was developed by PlanGrid, a California firm. The app, also called PlanGrid, makes loading, reading and updating blueprints and technical drawings easier on a tablet and enables contractors, architects and others to collaborate more easily.

Even as Boldt beta tested the app while on the project and PlanGrid fine-tuned it, users immediately recognized the benefits.

"The work done with this app at Sutter Medical Center has made having documents in our hands extremely easy and useful," says Mike Mielcarek, project manager, Boldt.

"Whenever there is an update, everyone has it immediately and work gets done accordingly. We aren't guessing who has the latest and greatest of the more than 6,000 sheets we work with," he says.

Originally, Boldt had to identify issues in the field at the Sutter project, bring them to the appropriate subcontractor and then physically check that the issue was fixed. PlanGrid cuts most of that process.

With the app, a superintendent can take a photo of an issue and assign it to a subcontractor. Then the photo shows up on the subcontractor's tablet on the map of the Sutter site and the subcontractor can fix the issue, Mielcarek says.

The subcontractor can take a photo of the completed work as well, so the superintendent doesn't need to check it in the field," he says.