The Renasant Convention Center (formerly the Cook Convention Center) is one of the largest recent construction renovation projects in Memphis. From March 2018 to June 2020, the Memphis Reprographics team worked alongside LRK Architects and MFA to keep the project flowing smoothly throughout the pre-bid, bidding, and construction process. While all our projects and clients receive a unique approach, this project was on a much larger scale.
A Custom Planroom Approach
It was clear from the beginning that the sheer volume of documents and files for the Renasant Convention Center would surpass every other project we had worked on. Even more, as a very public-facing project, it required a high level of vendor communication and an accessible user experience that only a custom planroom could provide. Typically, a client hosts multiple projects in their planroom. In this case, we built a planroom that solely housed the convention center information without any competing project listings to distract users.
If the convention center project didn’t have its own custom planroom, it would have required hundreds of individual links be sent out to interested bidders with every update or addendum. With a project of this magnitude, managing that level of users and files gets out of hand all too quickly and just isn’t sustainable. But within the convention center planroom, we were able to store, organize, and update files all the while keeping interested users and bidders up to date with automated email notifications. Contractors benefit from this system because they can easily find their relevant documents since they are named and sorted upon upload. The architect and owner benefit from this system because they can simply field questions about the project itself, instead of also answering questions about how to access the documents. The database of bidders was organized and included email receipt confirmations when any update was made.
Since this project benefits all of Memphis, it was important to build a system that gives access to all and provides an equal footing for bidders. All of the information stored on the planroom was not only free to access but also searchable by Google. When information isn’t hidden behind a paywall or password, the public buy-in and inclusivity only increases. Memphis Reprographics also was able to promote the planroom link directly on social media and other digital outlets which allowed the information to be highly accessible. Further, since the Renasant Convention Center was the only project listed in the link shared, it was simple to find without other projects competing for attention in the same platform.
User Experience and Excitement
With the launch of the custom planroom, it was important to us, LRK, and the City of Memphis that the project had a high level of participation from the public. The Memphis Reprographics team attended pre-bid meetings and educated prospective users on how to access the planroom system. We produced printed and digital collateral to instruct users on how to access files, bid deadlines and how to submit bids. Even throughout the re-bid process, the MR team worked alongside LRK and MFA to manage the documents and user experience.
This easily accessible custom planroom system had the added benefit of news and press outlets gathering the info they needed straight from the planroom. They could access the floorplans just like anyone else and help get the public excited about the renovation to the convention center.
Files, Files, and More Files
We like to think document management is one of our strengths, and this project certainly put it to the test. A typical project that comes through our office has between 100-300 pages total. With a project as large as the convention center, even just one addendum was larger than our average project. At the end of the project, there were 13,661 files in total hosted on the planroom, including 7 volumes and the original Cook Convention Center drawings from 1969 as reference. Of course with this level of documents to manage, the opportunity for error was extremely high and carried high stakes. Our team worked tirelessly to confirm all files were organized and named correctly so that work kept flowing smoothly. To read more about our quality check process and benefits, check out last year’s blog.
Let’s face it, not all projects you tackle are going to be this large. But, a custom planroom can be a flexible option for document management no matter the firm or project size. Overall, our goal is to make your business better and increase your ROI— a custom planroom can be a big piece of that puzzle. If you have a big project coming up or want to learn more about custom planroom options, reach out to our team.
All images provided by Ken West Photography