How Thermal Construction uses eSUB’s field documentation tools to solve legal disputes.
It’s often said that the person with the most documents wins. That’s certainly held true for the owners of Thermal Construction out of Reedsburg, Wisconsin.
Thermal Construction was founded in 2005 and specializes in building food plants. They handle everything from renovations to constructing new buildings, with a focus on creating food-grade environments.
After a particularly contentious project back in 2015, they realized they needed a system to document their projects accurately to protect their company from risk and ensure they always get paid for the work done.
“We were looking for a program where we can put in daily reports and add pictures,” said Sheila Myers, co-owner of Thermal Construction.
This led them to eSUB.
“[With eSUB] we can put in any issues we’ve had on the job to record it so that way we know what’s happening day to day on the projects,” Myers explains. “And so that way it can combat lawsuits from happening.”Sheila Myers, co-owner of Thermal Construction
And it’s continued to pay off for Thermal Construction.
Their use of eSUB, and thorough adoption of the field notes and daily reports capabilities has enabled the company to document everything on the job so there is a complete record when issues arise.
Myers recounts a recent project that went sideways, and how eSUB helped them from losing money on the whole thing.
“We were doing a project and … it was a disaster,” Myers says. “So, we kept notes, we kept track of any issues that the people running it were causing us. We kept a record of delays that they were creating.”
“…We had the documentation to prove what happened on the job.”Sheila Myers, co-owner of Thermal Construction
The result was, when issues came to a head, Myers and the Thermal Construction team were prepared because of their documentation efforts and records. Using eSUB helped them get paid, and avoid a lengthy, costly lawsuit.
“When we had issues with getting paid, we had to go through litigation,” said Myers. “But because of the field notes and the different things we had reports for, we had the documentation to prove what happened on the job. It proved that there were issues and we got paid and didn’t have to file a lawsuit.”
Accurate documentation and having project records, daily reports, and field notes all at your fingertips is often heralded as an efficiency boon for construction companies who use eSUB.
But it’s also a lifesaver when disputes arise.
“There’s always potential for losses,” Myers said.
And she’s not wrong. According to Bisnow, and referencing a study by engineering consulting firm Arcadis, construction lawsuits are on the rise. Even worse: the average value of these lawsuits is at a record high. $42.8 million at the end of 2022, and up over $12 million from 2021.
The bottom line is construction lawsuits are incredibly costly. And they take time. The average length of construction lawsuits, according to a study by LevelSet, is around 16 months. In an industry where cashflow is a struggle, that’s a hardship subcontractors just don’t need.
Myers appreciates that eSUB helps Thermal Construction stay prepared to avert the need for lawsuits proactively. “Getting the information put into the program every day, and having it there means we’re prepared for whatever could happen,” she said. “That’s definitely the first step to prevent anything.”
It’s that preparedness, and thorough record-keeping, that has helped Myers and the team at Thermal Construction get their field teams to adopt eSUB.
“They all understand why and how,” Myers said. And, despite how busy things get, and how crazy project timelines can be, there is an understanding about how important that information and record keeping is.
“We’ve been emphasizing to everybody that runs projects, and puts the information in, that this is vital,” Myers explains. “We have to have it.”
It helps the team that eSUB makes it easy to create field notes and daily reports. The field crews a Thermal Construction appreciate that they have software that helps them get it done.
“The program’s easy to use that way,” Myers said. “You put it on your phone and when there are issues on the job site, you can look around with your phone, and take pictures,” Myers explains. “Then we can download them, and everything is easily accessible. To be able to do what you need to have the information right there in your hands, is crucial.”
And that helps Thermal Construction get paid.
“eSUB is a money saving investment, because we’ve had issues getting paid,” Myers said. “But because all the information that we have in eSUB, if we’re ever in that situation, that information is all right at our fingertips. We have the pictures, we have all the notes that we put in there, and it all helps us with whatever we may have to do to get paid.”
Thermal Construction’s attention to detail and thorough documentation processes have also helped their relationships with General Contractors they work with. Their reputation of documenting everything and being on the ball has grown.
“eSUB is a money saving investment…”Sheila Myers, co-owner of Thermal Construction
“It makes us more organized, and they see that,” Myers said. “They see that we’re doing whatever we can to make sure that a job runs smoothly and that everything is in the system like it should be.”
Ultimately, everyone appreciates when a project is well documented and in order.
“[eSUB] is beneficial that way because when you have all the documentation, if there are issues, then you can show [the GC] and explain to them what’s going on.”
Thermal Construction’s story underscores the pivotal role of thorough documentation in the construction industry. By integrating eSUB into their daily operations, the company not only streamlined their project management but also fortified their legal defenses.
This case study highlights the tangible benefits of eSUB, from averting potential lawsuits to ensuring timely payments. Ease of use and accessibility have made it a vital tool for field teams, fostering a culture of thorough record-keeping. This proactive approach has not only safeguarded Thermal Construction’s financial interests but also bolstered their reputation among General Contractors.
In an industry rife with potential disputes and escalating lawsuits, having a reliable system like eSUB offers not just operational efficiency but, more importantly, peace of mind.
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