These are uncertain times, but one thing is certain. Our team is dedicated to continuing to offer the highest level of service and deliver your projects safely and on time as we navigate COVID-19. While things have been anything but normal, KGA’s use of technology and process has made our transition to a remote work environment quick, with minimal interruption. Here’s what you can expect when working with KGA.
Virtual meetings are a great way to connect when either physical distance, or the need for social distancing, prevent us from meeting in person. Virtual meetings are nothing new. We’ve used GoTo Meeting with clients for several years now. Until recently, we’ve been a bit camera shy. But, with our current situation, we’re learning to love video calls. Another great advantage to GoTo Meeting is the drawing tool, which allows us make redlines to plans in real time on screenshare for our clients.
What does this mean to you, as a client or potential client? We’re fully operational and available to meet via video call. Now isn’t the time to press pause. We don’t know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, so let’s keep things moving forward in our new normal. We happen to use GoTo Meeting and Microsoft Teams the most, but we’re flexible and happy to use the video calling service that works best for you. Whether it’s an initial meeting so we can get to know each other, or we’ve been working together for years and need to review details on construction documents, our team is available for virtual meetings.
Real Time Project and Budget Management
Scheduling and time management are critical for delivering a successful project on time and within budget, especially when working remotely. At KGA we use Ajera, an integrated accounting and project management software built specifically for architecture and engineering firms. Ajera allows us to optimize our staff to meet schedules and accurately project each person’s workload. With Ajera, our project managers can track hours and dollars spent in real time to make informed decisions on managing your projects within budget. It also lets us provide detailed and accurate billing in a timely manner.
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to make you wear goggles…yet. That said, using technology to virtually walk a space, whether that’s a custom home at the preliminary stages of design or as a framewalk before construction starts, can save time and money. We use various software to create 3D models in order for our clients to experience the design and make informed decisions to move forward.
Tools like Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram make it easier than ever to collaborate on design ideas. We love getting Pinterest boards or Houzz idea books from our clients. Pictures go such a long way in communicating design ideas and intent! We can’t emphasize enough the value of these sites as design tools. And, the communication isn’t just one-way. We often use Pinterest to organize our design ideas or create shared boards where all team members can contribute pictures and comments about likes, dislikes and priorities.
Contracts and Sign-Offs
We use DocuSign to facilitate signing contracts, additional service agreements and work sign-offs. If you aren’t familiar with it, DocuSign makes it super easy to sign agreements electronically from your computer or mobile. Once the scope and terms are understood and agreed upon by everyone, DocuSign is a quick and easy way to execute our agreements so we can begin working. The same goes for work sign-offs. Throughout the architectural process there are a few milestones where we require you to sign-off on work completed before moving forward. This way we keep everyone on the same page and avoid misunderstandings.
Communication & Collaboration
Keeping everyone organized and on the same page is paramount to working remotely.
We use Trello, an online collaboration tool that helps us stay organized. Imagine a white board filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task for you and your team. Now imagine that each of those sticky notes has photos, emails, document attachments and a place to comment and collaborate with your teammates. At a glance, we know what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in the process.
Autodesk Design Review allows KGA to take digital documents and create redline sets. This is great for 2 reasons. One, in our new state of “business as usual”, we can’t currently share physical documents. Two, leveraging technology to do redlines virtually cuts down on the total number of paper copies, making it a sustainable practice. This process of digital review helps us collaborate as a team remotely, keep digital records of our redlines and progress, and easily collaborate with clients. Looking at redlines with our clients and coworkers via GoTo Meeting helps us have a better line of visual communication in the digital world. Being able to refer to a page and specific redline that both parties can turn to helps expedite work and the team’s understanding of projects as they develop and change. Since this program is free to use, our clients can download it and easily collaborate with their own notes, comments, and questions.
When the team is not physically in an office you run the risk of losing the opportunity for spontaneous group discussion. Whether these conversations are about a design challenge, drafting technique, the latest art exhibit or a nature hike taken over the weekend, they all feed the creative and technical process. We’ve been able to collaborate and maintain our sense of team with Microsoft Teams, where we can share our screen, chat or video conference with multiple people on a whim. GoTo Meeting and Zoom are our go-to’s for maintaining culture and having fun with virtual discussions and happy hours. After all, much of what keeps us creative and connected are our co-workers and clients, which can’t always mean getting together in person.
While we’re physically distanced for the time being, technology allows us to remain close. At KGA, we’re leveraging technology everyday to keep business moving forward for our clients. Current events are bringing the importance of home to the forefront of our minds. Home is not just a place to drop-off your stuff and sleep at the end of a busy day. It’s where life happens, and life doesn’t have a pause button. This makes the homebuilding industry more important than ever. Thanks to technology, we’re ready and excited to keep working with you to create incredible homes.