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Navigating Nightmares: What Keeps Federal Construction Stakeholders Up at Night?

We all have our challenges with our jobs, right ... those things that keep us up at night and just won’t leave us alone? 

For owners in the federal government space who are planning and executing construction that involves significant resources and coordination – ranging from a small revamp to multi-billion-dollar projects – lack of sleep can be commonplace. 

We hope we were able to alleviate some of those concerns this week as we met in Washington D.C. with customers at our Federal Construction Forum. It was a chance for agencies using Kahua to share best practices on how they utilize our construction project management information system (PMIS) platform. In addition to sessions from the stage, there were many conversations our attendees had with one another and Kahua experts. 

There’s something electric about the air in Washington D.C., and I really do mean this in a good way. So many people there are trying to get things done to make our country run more smoothly and to improve our infrastructure. That’s actually a perfect parallel to what Kahua works to achieve every single day. 

Our first session was with Steven Perez and Kristian Penev (General Services Administration Public Buildings Service) and Andy Blackmore (U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Building Operations). All three acknowledged the struggle of convincing workers how much faster and better they could conduct their work if they embrace all that technology (or more specifically, Kahua) has to offer. Blackmore said some people could reduce their work significantly, simply by nixing their copy-paste-copy-paste-copy-paste environment and discover the single-source-of-truth experience that Kahua provides. The extra time could be spent on project management activities that can help deliver the project on time. 

I like to paraphrase Blackmore on that: Both roller skates and a Ferrari will get you there, but one definitely helps you arrive more quickly and happily. 

Perez spoke of the ease of generating and sharing reports for client agencies as well as a top-notch GSA-created training website for its thousands of users; Penev referenced how Kahua’s scalability will help reduce future pain points. (You should know, the GSA’s and State Department’s roll-out of Kahua has been hailed as some of the most thorough of any customers we’ve ever seen. They have become experts in creating employee buy-in and utilizing our features for maximum efficiency.) 

There’s not enough space or time to share all the other golden moments from our Federal Construction Forum, but here are a few: 

  • Chris Thomas, Director for Cybersecurity Integration and Synchronization in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff: “The installation is no longer the sanctuary.” Meaning, the military base, etc. isn't necessarily safe. Bad actors are trying to take down water systems and power grids, anything to prevent the military from deploying and doing its job. Maintaining the safety of infrastructure is paramount to defending the country. As retired Army deputy CIO Greg Garcia added, “We used to think about protecting the moat. Now we have to think about protecting the castle.” 

  • Monte Ingram, contractor to the National Science Foundation/Arctic Research Support & Logistics Program: Researchers must get themselves and their equipment into the Arctic region to take core ice samples to study centuries of life encased in them. Because the ice is moving and melting more rapidly these days, structures must be physically moved. This labor and planning intensive construction process is managed within Kahua, and the security provided by us being FedRAMP Authorized, eases concerns about data safety while NSF workers can easily access large design files and drawings. He said Kahua’s implementation experts have the knowledge, bandwidth and temperament to get things done well and as smoothly as possible. 

  • Ted Kowalsky, Director of Sustainability Consulting, Guidehouse: Climate-related events are impacting the economy, and both the public and private sector are investing billions in sustainability and resilience. They will need construction project management reporting to manage, track and share their efforts toward meeting the ever-evolving rules for federal regulations, including ESG. (As new mandates become a reality, Kahua can help, just as it has for GSA.) 

Federal agencies have so much to consider as they’re planning and executing their construction projects: Protecting their infrastructure so that federal agencies can do their jobs; ensuring data security and ownership; managing sustainability requirements; and so much more. 

I’m very proud that Kahua is helping our nation execute these extremely important initiatives. When the stakes are this high, we want these stakeholders to get a good night’s sleep. 

About the Author

Scott Unger is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kahua, the creator of the world’s only collaborative Platform as a Service (PaaS) for construction project management. Prior to Kahua, Scott was co-founder, president and CEO of Constructware, the first cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) project controls solution. Constructware was acquired by Autodesk in 2006, and Scott served on the Autodesk executive team following the acquisition. Scott was also co-founder of Compliance 360, where he helped major corporations streamline and manage their risk and compliance programs. Scott’s passion for improving productivity in the construction industry grew from his experience as co-founder, President and CEO of Nix-Unger Construction, a commercial contracting firm specializing in painting, wallcoverings and specialty finishes.

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