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Case Study - Mortenson Solar

With Mortenson in a bit of a closeout pickle, Buildr is called upon to come into the game in the 9th inning
Don’t let the simplicity of solar panels fool you. This project’s closeout data will be gigabytes upon gigabytes
Don’t let the simplicity of solar panels fool you. This project’s closeout data will be gigabytes upon gigabytes
Don’t let the simplicity of solar panels fool you. This project’s closeout data will be gigabytes upon gigabytes
By
the team at Buildr
,
July 19, 2019
Timely and meaningful extraction of Inspection, Observation and Photo data for owner handover

Mortenson Solar Background

Founded in 1954, M.A. Mortenson Company, Inc. is a privately-held Minneapolis-based construction company. A top 20-ranked builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services, Mortenson is committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward.
Buildr was founded last year by two Procore alum, Michael Stock and Edward Gonzalez, along with Caleb Taylor. Buildr focuses on helping project teams complete jobs faster while automating construction workflows. This ultimately strengthens the entire handover process between general contractor and owner, as project data is transformed into the foundation that is used to maintain the owner’s project for the next century. Influenced by their years of experience at Procore and observation of the way the industry was trending, Buildr launched with the blessing of Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche. While still continuing to build on the Procore platform, Buildr provides customized workflow solutions to exponentially save time and money for construction companies.

Mortenson Solar Challenge

During the progression to closeout on Mount Signal 3 Solar Farm in Calexico, CA—the largest solar project in California and one of the largest worldwide—the Mortenson Solar project team encountered an enormous challenge regarding the sheer amount of data that the project produced. More than 45,000 Quality Inspections, 32,000 observations, and a countless number of photo attachments needed to be systematically organized and packaged for handoff to the owner. The team began manually downloading each individual file before realizing their encroaching deadlines wouldn’t allow for such a painstaking process. To make matters worse, the project area’s remoteness caused connectivity issues, bloating download times even further. By this point, there were less hands on deck than ever as project team members had already begun working on other assigned projects.
Sensing that time was of the essence, Bryan Rumple (senior project management controls engineer) and Alison Hart (manager of project solutions) reached out to Procore in hopes of accelerating their data extraction. They discovered that Procore’s mass data extraction process was going to take 1-2 weeks which exceeded Bryan and Alison’s strict documentation deadlines, not to mention file format customization issues. “Procore’s new extract tool is [nice],” said Bryan, “but it could not handle this volume of records we were trying to [extract] in enough time for us to meet our deadline.”

Quick Extraction for Mortenson Solar Handover

Bryan and Alison heard about Buildr and the capabilities that their tool provided. They contacted the team at Buildr to discuss if they, instead, could possibly handle Mortenson’s data extraction given such a tight timeline. After reviewing internally, the Buildr team resolved to help the team at Mortenson. When extraction began, Bryan and Kevin Belke (project engineer for Mount Signal 3) were put in direct contact with Buildr using their internal Slack channels to communicate needs and resolve issues the moment they’d arise. Circumventing a few minor hiccups, Buildr was underway extracting the information needed for the project in an ideal format and naming structure requested by the project team.
We started at the end of our project and the export for tens of thousands of items took very little time, especially compared to other alternatives. Buildr also matched the output, so there was a minimal visual difference between Buildr and the standard output.
Kevin Belke, Project Engineer
Once the current project was completed, the Mortenson Solar team was able to work with Buildr to optimize their closeout process and completed the entire export within three hours.

Accelerated Closeout = Better Use of Everyone’s Time

Through the features that Buildr provides, Mortenson discovered that the closeout data they needed from Procore could be extracted at a much more efficient pace, making the closeout process for the Mortenson solar project rapid and seamless.
In general, it’s not a good use of our engineers time to do closeout. At this point, they’ve lived and breathed this project, it doesn’t really require much of their attention. It kills everyone’s spirit when all they want to do is finish the project and move on. There is a better use of everyone’s time.
Alison Hart, Manager of Project Solution
While Buildr’s last minute assist was ultimately successful, it’s worth noting that Buildr’s true value is in being included from the jump. With Buildr along for every step of a project’s workflow and post-construction, a “fire drill” situation wouldn’t be conceivable in the first place. To illustrate—Buildr
can
be a closer who comes in with the bases loaded and shuts the door on a few pitches, but they can also throw a perfect game if assigned the start.