In this video Jim explains how PlanGrid works and that construction drawings must be uploaded as PDF files. Jim Explains that PlanGrid is a software as a service with apps available in Android, iOS, and Windows
- [Instructor] Before I start showing you all the features and tools that are available in PlanGrid I think it's important to take a few minutes to make sure that you have a good understanding of the overall concept of how PlanGrid works. I think this broad overview can really help you get a better understanding of how and why things work in this system. So for now, sit back, watch and listen as I go through this broad overview. Don't worry too much about following along. I'll go into detail about everything I talk about here again later. So first PlanGrid should be thought of as a service rather than as a single piece of software.
In technical terms PlanGrid is considered a software as a service system. Meaning each user needs their own account in order to access the projects that are stored in PlanGrid. I'm here on PlanGrid's website where it talks about user accounts, and you can see that these are set up on a per-user, per-month basis. And this is great if you just have a small group of people or if you're an individual that wants to use PlanGrid right now so you can go digital and get rid of those paper construction plans. You can get started immediately by creating your account here and then setting up your project.
Now this is also where you would start if you were a subcontractor and the general contractor on a project has told you that plans and specs and issues will be traced and updated on their PlanGrid system. You would start here by signing up for your individual account, and then the general contractor could grant you access to their project. Now let's talk about that access. A project that's set up in PlanGrid lives in the cloud, not on any one person's computer. This makes it so that everyone's looking at the same documents at once.
In other words a project manager only needs to push a set of planner visions to the cloud one time and then everyone that views that project will see those latest revisions. No need to email revisions or push them out to everyone that has a set of plans. Now to access that project that's stored in the cloud, a PlanGrid user has several options. You can use the web app which is accessed by going to PlanGrid's website and logging in with your username and password. So I would do that here. I could click on login.
And since I already have an account it would log in and I'm on the web app and I'd see a list of all of my projects, and I'd also have access to any projects that anyone else has granted me access to. Again, this is called using the PlanGrid web app. And you can use most modern and current internet browsers to get there. Now if you're not sure about your browser's compatibility, you can go here to PlanGrid support site and check out their FAQs on what do I need to use PlanGrid.
And you can see here that they say they currently support Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, and then the current stable releases of Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. So their support is most modern web browsers will get you onto PlanGrid. Now web access works great if you're at your desktop or you're in the field with your laptop, and the web is the only way to create a new project. But if you're in the field and you wanna access your project documents on the go you also have a few more options.
So back on the PlanGrid website you can see that there's also an Android app that's in the Google Play store that works on Android phones and tablets, and an iOS app in the app store that works on the iPhone and the iPad. Now you'll also see over here that there's a native Windows app that you can install on your Windows computer that you can then use to access your PlanGrid projects. Now I'll tell you that these apps all function a little bit differently from each other. But what they all have in common is they all let you access your PlanGrid projects to view plans and documents.
They let you view and mark up their plan sheets and they let you store local copies of the plan sheets and project documents on your computer. Now this is important to remember, and I am going to explain that a little more. I said a couple minutes ago that your PlanGrid projects and documents live in the cloud, so that when multiple people call up those documents at the same time using the web app or any of these software apps, they're all viewing the same documents. And everyone stays up to date with the latest information because everyone's viewing the same master copy.
So just like going into the job trailer and looking at the master set of drawings, only now you can do this from anywhere. You don't need to go to the trailer. Now one common question that I do get is where specifically are these documents stored? So I'm jumping here to another PlanGrid FAQ page on their support website that answers that, and it says here basically that all PlanGrid data is stored on the Amazon web servers, so that's the cloud storage system used by PlanGrid, and that's where the web app goes to retrieve the latest copy every time you asked to see it.
Now we all know that there are times when we don't have internet access, but we still wanna use those construction drawings. For example, if I'm traveling on a plane to get to an out-of-state project, I might wanna view those drawings on the plane, but I probably won't be able to use the web app because I won't have internet access. This is where those software apps that you can download come in handy. So here's the Windows app. Now these apps, and again, they all look a little bit different, and I'll show them to you each as we go throughout this course, but these apps get installed on your computer or your mobile device and they'll let you download copies of all of these sheets and drawings and documents to use even when you're offline.
Now the nice thing is that the apps will let you know when you're working offline and they can sync back up with the server copies when you do get back online. If anyone made any changes while you're working offline the app will let you know. And if you have access to make changes and markups and publish those to the master copy, anything you did offline will upload and sync to that master copy on the server when you get back online. Now let's talk about these documents that are stored in PlanGrid and how they get there. So first new projects can only be created in the web app.
Let's go back and take a look at that. So here's the web app and you'll see this is the only place I'm gonna find this button that says new project. So you'll have to be online to create a new project and use the web app. Now when you create that project you'll be asked to load up the construction drawings or the plan sheets, and these have to be in a PDF format, just like the exercise file for this course. Now the PlanGrid system will take the plan sheets from a PDF format and it will process and convert them for use in this PlanGrid system.
It will not process plan sheets from any other format. So if all you have are CAD or Revit files, those are gonna need to be converted to PDF using other software or the software it was created in before you bring those sheets into PlanGrid. You need that PDF format to start. Now that rule applies to plan sheets. As for other documents like project specs, contracts, or photos, these can be in many different formats that you can see here on the list on the PlanGrid support website.
So we've got lots of different image files we can use, we can upload spreadsheets and store them with our PlanGrid project, Word or text documents, videos in lots of different formats, lots of different CAD files, Revit files, even Google Earth files. Now just remember, that even though you can store all these different file types in the PlanGrid system, the system itself and the system viewer can only open and view certain basic file types. You see those here on your screen.
For example, you can store a Revit file in PlanGrid, and you do have unlimited storage for these documents. But you would have to have the proper software to open and view that Revit file. Now a couple more general rules. Currently you can view many types of documents using any of the apps, but to add documents you have to use the web app or the Windows app will generally let you add sheets or add documents that you can see here. The mobile apps won't allow you to add documents.
And they also won't allow you to publish markups to the master set for any uploaded documents except those plan sheets. And for that you have to have been granted the proper administrative rights. Now in PlanGrid it's important to remember that most of the functionality, like marking things up, centers around these plan sheets. Even functions in PlanGrid like generating an RFI, or request for information, are initiated from a plan sheet. Now these plan sheets then function as the central hub of information in the field.
That way if I'm looking at a drawing for a particular area, I can see things like as built markups, RFIs that have been asked or answered, punch list items, and any other issues that have been applied to the drawings, and I see those all right here on the drawing itself. Okay, now that you have this big overview of the PlanGrid system, let's jump in and start looking at the details.
This course shows construction professionals how to leverage the power of digital construction documents using the PlanGrid platform, from initial setup in the office using its web-based interface to use in the field on tablets and smartphones.
- How PlanGrid works
- Creating a new project
- Adding construction drawings
- Processing plan sheets
- Navigating through construction drawings in PlanGrid
- Setting up the issues list
- Inserting plan revisions
- Staying in sync in Windows and the mobile apps
- Marking up construction plan sheets
- Adding, managing, and exporting issues
- Using the mobile apps
- Closing a project