Owen Knott, CEO and Co-founder
For facilities management and maintenance industry veteran, Owen Knott, providing extraordinary experiences to clients takes precedence among hisbusiness goals, and has always incorporated innovative technologies to achieve it. While steering the company, Knott Mechanical, a premier commercial HVAC and plumbing service provider, this commitment led him to find a new approach to managing work order data for various owners it catered to. Knott developed a work order management platform to streamline operations in asset management and maintenance, thereby helping clients gain efficiency and productivity.
Around this time, Knottwas introduced to Whiting- Turner Contracting Company, a leading construction management firm. Their discussion was focused around the challenges with handover data during a construction process. Typically, most of the data collection was carried out manually through multiple spreadsheets. Often times, the project stakeholders, including owners, designers, and contractors,name assets differently in their spreadsheets. This created miscommunication between stakeholders and silos in the process. Discussing these pain points resulted in an interesting question that became the cornerstone of a revolutionary software for the construction industry—Is it possible to collect the handover data during the construction process?
Addressing this critical need, Knott built a facility data management platform that empowers owners to seamlessly manage construction data through the entire process—from design to delivery. Consequently, he incepted KTrack to make it commercially available in the industry. The platform simplifies the process through well-built data standards that enable owners to identify specific asset types for collection from a standard list and assign data templates to those types. The designers and architects can then associate their design elements with the owner’s assets types within the design tools, helping strip down the generic definitions of assets unfamiliar to owners and bring clarity to design data for all stakeholders. The web and the mobile-enabled platform also allows project stakeholders to access asset information in real-time from anywhere. “We provide a common data environment with asset requirements and model data, facilitating real-time access to all stakeholders,” says Owen Knott, CEO and co-founder of KTrack.
KTrack enables integration of Revit and AutoCad models and owner’s specific asset types into a project portal and allows the project team to create a data collection strategy.
This includes defining who will collect what information and why that data should be collected, informing all stakeholders. Instead of preparing multiple spreadsheets, the platform assists stakeholders to assemble information and connect source documents seamlessly. For instance, consider a project with models in Revitand construction documents such as drawings, submittals, and warranties in Procore. KTrack syncs all elements from the models, documents, and drawings from Procore with owner’s specific asset type standards and gives access to the responsible stakeholders where they can assemble data sequentially and connect source documents.
Through its innovative data management services, KTrack ensures optimized data assembly at scale and delivers high-quality, reliable data to the owner while increasing efficiency throughout the process. “Before KTrack, what used to happen is at the end of the project some interns go through all submittals, extract information, and put together a spreadsheet for the owner. The process was flawed because it did not accurately reflect assets installed in the building, asset information was not verified against the physical asset, and required data was often missing,” explains Knott. KTrack’s defined data elements eliminate this pain point and increase efficiency such that it reduces processing time from 2-3 hours to 3-5 mins. Further, the company has a one-to-many approach allowing stakeholders to extract data from submittals at the model level and apply the information to all related assets. Knott explains this by highlighting a project where KTrack delivered more than 7000 assets with 168 asset models. KTrack’s data collection process focused on capturing model type data and applying it to 7000 assets instead of extracting data for all 7000 assets. This approach saves significant processing time.
KTrack also supports asset data collection and verification in the field. The platform helps verify whether the asset model numbers, manufacturers, and locations defined are accurate. Once this is done, the field datacan be captured, including serial numbers and bar codes to identify the asset. This also creates the opportunity to flag variances in the submittal and resolve data discrepancies.
Unique to KTrack is its ability to ensure transparency and visibility across all the project stakeholders during data collection. With spreadsheets, owners had no visibility into what was going on with the data collection and which assets are ready for data collection. Utilizing the project data standards, KTrack provides a comprehensivelist of assets with location information for simple navigation, grouping, and filtering. It indicates which assets are ready for each phase of data collection guiding stakeholders through the process. Further, KTrack provides dashboards for all stakeholders to view asset status in the data assembly process with real-time updates. Once the field data collection is completed, KTrack provides a final processing workflow for quality checks where the stakeholders review and mark all the assembled data as quality control checked and stage them for delivery.
KTrack’s data collection workflow also incorporates a synchronous document assembly of assets. At every process stage, the platform allows project stakeholders to assemble documents within the workflow— whether it’s attaching submittals, O&M manuals or photos during field data collection or processing warranties and commissioning documents. “We assemble data similar to a pick list for an Amazon shipment. For the product X ordered by a customer, we pick information from various documents and check quality before passing it off to owner as a completed element,” comments Knott.
Such unique capabilities of KTrack’s platform have made industry veterans call it ‘the BIM to FM management platform.’ For the future, KTrack plans to enhance the technology for improved project efficiency and accuracy of the information and integrate with additional construction management platforms such as Fieldwire and Kahua. The company also aims to expand to new regions such as the UK, Europe, and Australia. “Ultimately, we strive to provide a single platform for owners incorporating all their data requirementsand a standard process for contractors to execute their functions,” concludes Knott.