Continuous access to key project information
How Rousseau Construction said goodbye to paperwork thanks to PlanRadar
Family-owned construction company, Rousseau SAS has been in operation for 3 generations. Originally a carpentry company, it has expanded its activities over the years to specialise in timber construction, repairs, and fittings. Operating mainly in the Pays de la Loire region and neighbouring localities, the company now employs 120 people and has sales of €13 million.
Rousseau Construction is the branch of Rousseau SAS that specialises in timber projects. It operates in the public and private construction markets for multi-family housing, detached houses, sports halls, and tertiary sector buildings. Its team of experts provides site supervision for all building trades, from earthworks to handover. Thanks to its know-how, and the relationships of trust it has built up with its customers, the company continues to grow. Rousseau Construction has chosen to digitise its site supervision in response to this growth, while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.
The challenge: Reduce the number of paper documents in the office and on the worksite
Nicolas Boisrame is a project manager at Rousseau Construction. Once a tender has been won, he is responsible for site supervision and managing the teams of subcontractors working on the project. In this role, he ensures that the project progresses on time and on budget, and that it meets the expectations and requirements of his customers. In the context of public contracts, which are particularly closely regulated, Mr Boisrame constantly monitors compliance with standards and contractual commitments, and ensures that the building’s performance complies with the service orders. As the customer’s main contact, he does his utmost to ensure that projects progress quickly and smoothly. At Rousseau Construction, customer satisfaction is at the heart of every project, and is achieved through the in-depth knowledge of our customers and their needs.
Prior to 2022, Rousseau Construction did not use any site monitoring software. As a result, all site documentation was printed out and archived in binders. As well as being cumbersome, paper is not always suited to the climatic conditions on site: “In winter, or when it’s raining on the site, the plans get wet and quickly become illegible. You have to reprint everything, which is neither efficient nor environmentally friendly”. In the office, filing cabinets accumulated, taking up storage space. Finally, paper-based documentation made finding information more time-consuming and complex: “When a subcontractor or a customer called me to obtain information on a specific part of the project while I was away from the office, I was often unable to respond immediately. I had to wait until I got back to the office, so that I could retrieve the information requested. This wasted a lot of time. With the increase in the number of projects, as Rousseau Construction’s business developed, such a procedure was no longer appropriate. In fact, it was after winning a major tender for 55 single-family homes from the public housing company Maine-et-Loire Habitat that it became clear that it was essential to digitise site monitoring in order to continue delivering high-quality projects and thus maintain customer satisfaction, which is of paramount importance to the company.
The solution: Centralise information on a digital platform
When Rousseau Construction decided to bid for a major public contract in 2022, the company knew that site monitoring software would be decisive in ensuring that the project ran smoothly. Nicolas Boisrame and his teams evaluated and tested several software packages before deciding on PlanRadar.
The public contract won by Rousseau Construction comprises 55 single-family homes – social housing and senior housing – spread over several small towns of 500 inhabitants, on the outskirts of Angers. When he visits the project, Nicolas Boisrame can visit 3 to 4 locations per day, and several building sites per location. During these trips, he has to carry with him all the documentation relating to each of his building sites – previously, this meant travelling around with many bulky binders. What’s more, some sites don’t have an internet connection because of their isolated geographical location. “With several houses on different sites, we quickly realised that it was going to be very complicated without the help of digital technology. It was unthinkable to carry on with dozens of paper files to transport for each trip and run the risk of not having the right file once on site. What’s more, with so many sites to keep track of at the same time, searching for documents was becoming tedious. That’s why we quickly looked for a solution: to help us improve our organisation and have continuous access to information, even when we’re away. A site monitoring software package was needed to enable Rousseau Construction to meet all these requirements.
The PlanRadar platform was chosen by the company for a number of reasons. Firstly, it centralises all information relating to the site in one place: plans, key documents, and technical data sheets are saved and synchronised on the platform. This documentation can then be accessed in the office from a computer, but also on the move, on a smartphone or tablet. Finally, even in isolated locations, work is never interrupted thanks to the offline mode: information remains accessible, notes can be taken, and documents added. Synchronisation takes place as soon as the internet connection is re-established. “We use offline mode every day. The sites where we work are sometimes isolated, and in some cases we even find it difficult to get a telephone connection. Thanks to offline mode, I can access the plans in any situation. We have all the information with us at all times, even when there’s no reception. That’s one of the key advantages of PlanRadar,” explains Mr Boisrame.
Nicolas Boisrame first tested PlanRadar on one project. Following this initial conclusive test, he extended the use of PlanRadar to 7 other projects within the first 6 months of subscription and continues to implement it on the new projects for which he is responsible. Although he is now completely autonomous on the platform, Mr Boisrame particularly appreciated the availability and quality of customer support at the start of the project, which was essential to the success of the first test.
The result: Saving time and making it easier to find information
Thanks to PlanRadar, Nicolas Boisrame has eliminated 99% of the paperwork involved in site monitoring: “Since we’ve been using PlanRadar, we no longer need to buy boxes to store documentation at the end of a project. Our paper archives have been completely replaced by digital archives. Now, only an A0 plan for the site office is still printed. PlanRadar has completely replaced paper files for the project manager: “Today, I no longer have any physical files on all the operations I’m involved in, as all the information I need is on the server and on my tablet. During the construction phase, all I need is my tablet. I’ve said goodbye to paper files. For example, when I meet my customers on site, we look at the plans on the tablet. For my note-taking, I fill in the tasks on the tablet and make annotations directly on the plans. In the end, I’m able to move around with just one tablet, and I have the information with me all the time.” As well as being more economical, this represents a definite ecological advantage for the company.
With the switch to digital technology, Mr Boisrame’s objective was clear: to stop wasting time looking for information, and to be more responsive to daily requests from customers or subcontractors. PlanRadar has provided a perfect response to this objective: “I’ve seen a definite increase in time efficiency in terms of the speed with which I can find and distribute key information to move the project forward. Previously, if a subcontractor called me with a question about the site and I didn’t have the plans with me, I had to ask him to call me back the next time I came into the office, often the next day. The next day, I wasted time going back over the file and reprocessing the information. Today, I’m able to give the information immediately when someone calls me, without wasting any time. In concrete terms, I estimate that this has saved me between 30 minutes and an hour’s work a day.
Nicolas Boisrame sums up his experience of the platform as follows: “Having information with you at all times, on site and offline, is the major advantage of PlanRadar.”