The challenges faced by major Architectural, Construction and Engineering companies when sharing large files across multiple sites.

As a specialist IT services provider to some of Australia’s largest architectural, construction and engineering companies we see a vast majority of customers experiencing major business disruption and security challenges when sending or managing major design files. Some of these files, or project documentation, may be shared across multiple offices around the world, and accessed by phone, tablet or laptop in often remote and austere environments.

Construction data management along with the management of plans, specifications and drawings, can be a big headache for capital project owners with frequent or multiple simultaneous projects. Providing access and presenting these documents to external suppliers, or joint venture partners is a must, as well as the requirement to version control.

We’ve identified five major challenges that capital project owners, architects and construction engineers face when storing, managing and sharing project-related documents with site staff, contractors and subcontractors. These include:

1. Old school print and deliver method is the antithesis of innovation

Unless we’re still in the 1970s, there should be no more printing and mailing of hard-copy paper documents for engineering and architectural plans. Continuous changes, compliance requirements and multi-supplier inputs in these documents mean that old school printing and delivering isn’t fast or reliable enough. 

2. Electronic filing systems are poorly organised and difficult to access for large files.

While the major digital filing systems tout their collaboration benefits, they’re often hindered by poor file management organisations and inadequate naming conventions that lead to an inability to search. Large AutoCAD or Revit files can add thousands to the yearly storage bill, while also making it difficult for external users (such as contractors or external suppliers) to access documentation and move it from one folder to the other. 

Time is wasted, frustration is mounted and often engineering teams are asking “is there a better way?”.

3. Version control - or lack thereof. 

Anecdotally speaking, the key culprit to architectural and construction defects is the usage of outdated design documents. These outdated documents can come from printed versions, or file sharing options as noted above and are used on-site to manage implementation and project phases. 

Accessibility and dissemination of up-to-date construction documents and plans is imperative to the success of any project throughout all phases, from initial design, to bidding, to subcontractor briefing and project management. Until a solution is employed that mitigates these problems, construction projects will continue to be plagued with unnecessary expenses and delays - which - given the state of Australia’s construction sector at the moment, is not ideal. 

4. “But we use email… That seems to work okay…?”

If you have ever trawled through a 14-page email thread looking for a certain attachment, you will know that using email to share and collaborate on design and project files is absolutely inefficient. Email also has the same issues as version control (if not moreso) and can be incredibly slow to load. Say you need to send a 230GB AutoCAD file over to a remote mining construction site in Western Australia within an hour, but the email server falls over halfway due to the size of the file? Not ideal when you have up to 1000 people waiting to start work after the file is received. 

The solution is growing clear that there needs to be one centralised place where users can access the same up-to-date documents all in one place. 

5. The file sizes just keep growing.

The further the project goes downstream, the larger the file size - CAD data grows enormously the more architects, engineers and project teams collaborate. Since AutoCAD/Revit/SolidWorks don’t allow for versioning control either, collaborators just make copies and copies of the same large files to preserve design history. This makes the volume of data grow exponentially until the IT team is hit with a HUGE cloud storage bill, plus a growing need for back-up solutions. 

It is these challenges in the industry that made us seek out the best solution to solve this problem. A number of existing solutions are already in the market, however, we have found a perfect solution tailored to the AEC industry and have partnered with LucidLink.

Working remotely can be challenging with distributed teams accessing large files and collaborating over great distances. Cloud Solutions Group and LucidLink solves this problem providing the fastest and easiest way to access, share, and work with files stored in the cloud. It provides the familiarity of a local drive and accessibility for remote teams to work collaboratively without the limitations of traditional shared storage.

Meet with us to learn how to:

  • Get immediate access to your files from any location (including personal laptop, phone or tablet)
  • Eliminate download and upload wait times
  • Effortlessly keep assets in sync across your team
  • Collaborate in real time from across the globe
  • Utilize infinitely scalable cloud storage
  • Work on any major operating systems, macOS, Windows and Linux

Huge files are immediately accessible from any location, enabling teams across the globe to easily collaborate simultaneously on projects. Cloud Solutions Group and LucidLink solves the problem of distance and latency in cloud environments to enable any size file to be delivered efficiently and streamed on-demand.

Would you like a consultation? You can schedule your time here (feel free to invite your colleagues!)