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Case Study: G. Christianson Construction – Resource Management for Construction Companies

Case studiesEngineering and Construction

For more than 35 years G. Christianson Construction has been operating throughout the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA. The personal relationships the company is able to build with clients, coupled with their sustainable building practices and materials has earned them a high amount of trust in their local community.

Yet as was the case for many businesses, the pandemic has taken its toll. For the construction industry that means there’s more work to be done. Great! While also dealing with higher costs for materials and resources. Not so great. It appeared that G. Christianson Construction needed to reevaluate their current resource management and project scheduling workflow. 

Corvallis, OR, USA
https://gchristiansonconstruction.com/

The Challenge

“We build and remodel homes our clients will enjoy for a lifetime.”

Whether it’s commercial buildings, interior home remodels, or their own custom built cabinets –  G. Christianson Construction adds their own unique spin and personal touch to every project in their diverse portfolio. That’s why at any given time they have multiple projects running simultaneously throughout Corvallis, Oregon and beyond. 

The past few years especially saw a steep increase in upcoming new projects. And with came the need to manage all the people, material, machinery, and subcontractors required to complete the work. As Owner, Carl Christianson put it:

“We are now booking new projects over a year out. This highlighted the challenge of managing resources and scheduling dozens of projects.” 

On top of this was another issue that couldn’t be controlled: a sharp rise in building costs. Which only compounded their scheduling headaches. Noting:

“Material prices have skyrocketed in the construction industry. On many of our projects, the cost of lumber rose by over 200% from the time we signed the project to the time we actually did the work. It helps to maintain a tight schedule so orders and returns can happen quickly. When a project drags out and deadlines keep getting pushed, we always end up spending more.” 

4 pieces of software = countless problems

The job of managing all these construction projects fell on the company’s 4 superintendents. Who cobbled together project schedules with a mix of Google Calendar, spreadsheets, Monday, and the construction management software, CoConstruct. But this was leading to noticeable conflicts and miscommunications. 

“We were using CoConstruct to schedule each project. However, no one could see how each project schedule was impacting the others. With over 40 active projects, this was a big problem. 

We started a Google spreadsheet to try to anticipate long term projects and be sure we would have the manpower for them. We scheduled the next two weeks on Google calendar. And we managed our cabinetry scheduling and much of our ordering on Monday’s project management platform. All this makes for endless repetitive tasks and it doesn’t really solve our biggest problem, which is seeing how each project impacts the others.” 

This setup in their project management software was negatively affecting the company’s workflow. Especially because: 

  • The software didn’t sync together very well, and there was a lot of manual input. 
  • Managing 2 separate schedules resulted in miscommunications between subcontractors and managers. 
  • Multiple project managers couldn’t work together on a singular project schedule. With no view of the “big picture,” managers couldn’t see how the company was doing as a whole.
  • Projects couldn’t be planned as far in advance as they would have liked.
  • There was no way to properly track project resources. And superintendents didn’t know when their project tasks and resources were overlapping with other superintendents’ projects. 

The Solution

G Christianson Construction use Ganttic for their resource management and project scheduling.
Photo courtesy of G. Christianson Construction

To tackle these problems, the superintendents took action. Having tried out Ganttic in 2018, they didn’t think the app was a perfect fit at the time. But some feature updates on our end, and the need for an improved workflow was enough to change their minds. Plus, as Superintendent Tanner Wood noted:

“Four years later, we came to realize that there’s no perfect solution. What we were using was so imperfect, we were comparing it to building a grand piano with a hatchet.”

Building their own solution

Ganttic’s customer support team worked closely with G. Christianson’s superintendents in the onboarding process. Doing so helped in recommending the best features and project scheduling techniques to better suit their specific workflow. 

Some of these include:

  • Project templates – built by users. In their case, G. Christianson Construction created templates that come with tasks that are pre-assigned to subcontractors. 
  • Different ways to organize data – Color coding options and project Kanban boards organized by superintendents.
  • Curated Views – Something that provided “One Gantt chart for the entire company”  but that could also be segmented by project or superintendent. Ganttic’s private and shareable Views were able to do the trick.
  • Task dependencies – you can’t build a house without a foundation and G. Christianson Construction knew this first hand. Task dependencies ensure that there’s no costly delays or waiting around.
  • Resource overview – not only seeing who’s doing what, but that no resources are double booked. 

Assistant Superintendent, Joshua Rowland,  had this to say about the result:

“The capabilities of Ganttic to overlay project needs, assign resources, and collectively display company-wide actions is exactly what we had been looking for. We have been able to stop using both CoConstruct and Google Calendar for scheduling purposes. Monday.com has been relegated to mostly CRM duties. “

The Result

“Data entry has been reduced by ½. We are now managing one calendar where we were managing two.”

Christianson Construction has been using Ganttic for the past 4 months. And since then, there’s been plenty of positive changes already. They’ve ditched ⅔ of their project scheduling tools, and are only managing one universal calendar. Not only has this reduced manual data entry but as they say:

“With Ganttic we now have the ability for everyone to be working on the same calendar and see how individual actions affect coworkers. We are able to make sure we make the best use of our crew’s weekly work hours, and ensure that when we schedule projects months in advance, we don’t overbook our crew or our cabinet shop”

This makes for more accurate long term planning when scheduling upcoming projects. It reduces the risk of costly booking mistakes or delays. And it also helps them use their resources more sustainably. Allowing the company to concentrate on what’s really important: their clients’ projects. Which in turn helps build up their business.

“G. Christianson is taking on a lot more projects, and has hired more carpenters. We find Ganttic to be a great scheduling tool for both our current and future projects.“

What’s Next for G. Christianson Construction?

“Our focus in sustainability is to make homes durable and highly energy efficient. Ganttic helps us to avoid delays in construction, something which ALWAYS result in additional waste and pollution.”

Gaining a more streamlined and resource efficient workflow within their project portfolio means that G. Christianson Construction can shift their focus to improving sustainability and going greener in other ways. This has been a mission statement of theirs for the past 30 years. And the company has been looking for new ways to implement more green building practices. Both in the office and on the job sites.

“We are more paper free and we do more remotely. Our design meetings, production meetings, and contract review meetings are all done virtually. All of our construction vehicles are set to be replaced by the new Ford Electric transit cargo vans and pickups to switch from gas and diesel to electric for our crew to travel in between each job site.”

A kitchen remodel by G Christianson Construction, who can be more sustainable thanks to Ganttic resource planning.  
Photo courtesy of G. Christianson Construction

Not to mention all the work they can provide for clients. Transforming whole houses into passive buildings. Preserving historical buildings with energy efficient upgrades. Utilizing the most durable, long-lasting materials. And integrating solar powered energy into their designs. 

All of these practices help further G. Christianson’s pledge for more sustainable construction. While simultaneously ensuring their clients’ happiness for years to come. 

Find out more about G. Christianson Construction: https://gchristiansonconstruction.com/

See how Ganttic can improve the resource management and project scheduling for your own construction company.

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