Recently we got word of a new Web-based construction-administration software tool for the AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) industry. Called Rform, the web-application is essentially a tool for architects and contractors.
What makes Rform special is that it essentially operates like a true Web 2.0 application, very much in the style and philosophy of popular 37signals web-app, Basecamp. However, unlike Basecamp, which is industry non-specific, Rform is made especially for architects and general contractors.
Make no bones about it, Rform represents the future of software applications. Based on the SaaS model (software as a service), Rform offers its users/clients an unmatched and specific application for the administration of construction contracts during the design-build-deliver cycle.
Background – My Brother is an Architect
I spoke with Paul Lopes, designer of Rform and asked him how they came up with the idea for the application and he said: “My brother is an architect. And he always wanted something like this. So his company and my [web] company teamed up to create what is Rform today.”
“We wanted to create something that was simple,” said Paul Lopes, “to develop something that is very straightforward…so you just work instead of manage the system that produces the work.” What was created is a very elegant web application that works across multiple platforms, including smartphones with advanced desktop-grade Web browsers like Apple’s iPhone.
Rform – How it Works
Rform is a web-based application that streamlines the creation of construction contract administration documents and increases the speed at which these documents are created, reviewed, approved and eventually archived.
At the heart of the CA Phase (construction administration phase) are RFIs, COs and Certificates for Payment. Change Directives, Supplemental Instructions, Request for Information, Change Orders, and Proposed Change Orders are all handled via a series of forms created by Rform. And an added feature that makes Rform really unique is that as costs for Change Orders are approved they are automatically carried over onto the Certificates for Payment and tracked there. The Submittals module is very useful to architects and contractors where they can electronically manage the shop drawing process via a Shop Drawing Submittal module in Rform.
Rform also features a built-in mini FTP site where team members can upload files for other members to review or print. And finally the key component to managing a project through CA is the Schedule of Values, which Rform manages. Paul Lopes walked us through the details of how Rforms works. Let’s take a look. (see image 01)
The main logged-in interface for Rform brings you and your team to a Projects window. Unless you are the account manager you will only see projects listed to which you have been assigned. If you are an Account Manager–typically someone within your company–you will have access to all projects and full privileges to their working settings.