McCarthy Building Companies Produces Prints for More Efficient Construction
America's oldest privately held general construction contractor, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has a long history of building facilities that drive greater value for its customers. This requires having access to accurate, high-quality plans and drawings onsite and in the office. The company acquired a HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer to ensure it could produce flawless prints quickly and cost-effectively, regardless of location.
McCarthy has 1,700 employees in locations across the United States, specializing in constructing ambitious new projects for a variety of sectors including healthcare, hospitality, renewable energy and education sectors, among others. Each of these projects needs detailed plans and drawings that can be shared and updated on a daily basis by all team members.
This requires high-quality prints; however, by relying on numerous local reprographics companies, the company was spending a considerable sum on producing the necessary material.
"Although we share a lot of information electronically, we still occasionally supplement these with physical prints onsite so we can all gather together and make the necessary amends," explains Steven Karp, McCarthy Project Director. "Traditionally, we would use third party suppliers but the cost of production was high and there was a lag in terms of delivery. Things change onsite all the time so we need to have access to great quality prints as soon as possible.
"Outsourcing the production of our many drawings and plans is expensive and involves a lot of coordination in terms of billing and invoicing. We wanted to find a more effective, in-house solution that could provide on the ground prints instantly without compromising on quality."
The potential ability to produce detailed large-format prints onsite without the need for third party suppliers was unsurprisingly attractive. Therefore, when the opportunity to trial a prototype HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer arose, McCarthy was keen to explore further.
"We use a lot of regular A4 printers in our onsite offices but we've never had the capability to produce precise, large-format prints so this brand new device offered a new approach to our construction process," adds Karp. "When given the invitation by HP, we were keen to try the new HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer."
The HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer is a lightweight and durable printer that can produce up to A0 format prints quickly and at remarkably high quality. Assembled on castors, it can be wheeled or carried easily around construction sites so that crucial changes can be made in seconds and distributed on paper and online via WiFi Direct to every relevant party.
"We began with the prototype model but soon after HP installed the production version of the HP DesignJet T830," continues Karp.
"It is a robust, mobile and versatile device that produces precise prints of the highest quality via an intuitive mobile app or the device's touchscreen."
The HP DesignJet T830 is the most compact 36-inch device on the market and can perform large-format print/scan/copy functions. The flexibility of its mobile interface enables enhanced workflow integration and improved communication between teams. It's also durable and is built to withstand the dust and detritus of a construction environment.
"The touchscreen and app work nicely, making it simple to create the perfect print, and switching between printing from a roll to cut sheets is effortless, which gives us the ability of two printers in one," says Karp. "And in terms of connectivity, it is easy and quick to connect to users via the mobile app. When subcontractors, engineers, architects and other parties need to produce large format prints, they can be up and running within minutes.
"When you are building a $250 million project, you need physical plans in front of you. Although we're moving more to a digital environment, we'll always need to have large-scale, accurate plans that we can annotate by hand. The HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer gives us that ability in a compact and portable format."
Introducing the ability to produce clear, sharp and accurate floor plans and drawings is helping transform how McCarthy operates onsite.
"We are working on a huge build for a prestigious university and teaching hospital that involves a 500 capacity underground carpark as well as a 10-floor tower with five new connecting pedestrian bridges," comments Karp. "As we were building the parking deck, they were still designing the tower. Being able to produce sketches, 3-D modeling and architects' renderings onsite helped us through that design process."
The HP DesignJet T830 also integrates seamlessly with Bluebeam, which makes smart, simple solutions for paperless workflows, while enhancing the potential for building information modeling (BIM). This means that digitally mapped changes can be brought to physical life complete with all the virtual mark-ups, thus improving onsite coordination.
"We can make graphical modifications to a PDF with Bluebeam, identifying signage, people and traffic for example, before we begin to pour the concrete," says Karp. "That's when the HP DesignJet T830 comes in handy as it can print the original file and all the amendments so everybody knows exactly what they are doing."
Karp is delighted with the performance and reliability of the HP DesignJet T830 and expects that McCarthy will invest in more models.
"It's our first engagement with large format printers and throughout the process HP has been very responsive with top notch service, even dispatching an expert from Portugal to help us learn all the features," concludes Karp. "The principal benefits are the immediacy, convenience and lower cost. It enables instant collaboration between everybody and is also portable so we can move it between temporary construction trailers and simply plug and play thanks to the wireless capability. I'm confident that all of our projects could benefit from having this tool onsite."