Locations in CxAlloy TQ

When we were building CxAlloy TQ we knew we wanted a flexible, powerful system for locations. We didn’t want to just have a list of rooms and a “Location” field on an issue. We wanted to be able to express the relationships between locations and to deeply integrate them with equipment, issues, checklists, and tests. This desire grew out of specific uses that we wanted make possible, including:

  • Getting a list of all issues on a floor, including issues associated with equipment on that floor.
  • Getting a list of all equipment in a building on a multi-building project.
  • Making it natural to create locations like “Roof” and “Garden” that didn’t fit well into the Room Name/Room Number model.
  • Creating checklists based on a location instead of equipment for room walkthroughs or similar applications.
  • Allowing the creation of relationships between locations, but not require those relationships.
  • Seeing easily the related room, floor, and building for equipment or items associated with that equipment.

In coming up with solutions that addressed these needs we were greatly aided by the work done for the COBie standard (you can read more about our integration with COBie here). In particular their concept of “spaces”, a broader concept than “rooms”, was a great insight.

Besides calling rooms “spaces”, the basics of locations work as you’d expect – buildings contain floors, which in turn contain spaces. Importantly, you don’t need a building or a floor to add spaces. By allowing you to add spaces first and then connect them to floors later (or not at all), we make the software faster and more flexible. When you are adding equipment and realize you need to add a new space, it’s much nicer to be able to add the space right then without having to worry about what floor and building it’s in, especially since you may not have created the building or floor in CxAlloy TQ yet.

Equipment Add Space

Earlier incarnations of CxAlloy TQ had both an “Equipment” and “Location” field for issues. As we put together the current version we realized that having both fields is redundant. If the equipment has a location and the issue is connected to the equipment, shouldn’t we know the location?  CxAlloy TQ is much smarter now – for example, let’s say you create an issue for AHU-1 which is in Room 101. When you create an issue for AHU-1, you don’t need to add “Room 101” to the issue because it’s implied by the connection to AHU-1. And not only that, we know it’s on the first floor in the main building!

Of course, these connections aren’t that useful unless you can use them to organize your issues. We knew that and carried this concept into our filters and sorts. For example, if you filter your issue list to the first floor, you’ll see issues connected to equipment on the first floor right along with issues connected to spaces on the first floor and issues connected to the floor itself. You can sort by location as well. And, like with all of our filters and sorts, you can generate a professional PDF of the filtered and sorted set.

Issues Location Sort Expanded

Finally, you want to be able to see these relationships as you work with issues, equipment, and other items. We do this by having a list of related location information showing you that not only, for example, is an issue connected to AHU-1, but it is also in Room 101 on the first floor of the main building.

Asset Tree

I’ve been focusing primarily on issues and equipment, but CxAlloy TQ lets you take locations even farther by integrating with Checklists and Tests. All of the same functionality that I’ve outlined for issues is available for Checklists and Tests. This really opens up their potential uses.

The flexibility and power that locations in CxAlloy TQ affords – while still being easy to use – is really quite remarkable. I hope I’ve been able to show you a little of the benefits that CxAlloy TQ and its location model can bring to your projects.

First COBie Compliant Commissioning Software

COBie

We are excited to share with you our latest news! CxAlloy Total Quality (TQ) has achieved COBie compliance as a result of our participation in the National Institute of Building Sciences’ COBie Challenge. CxAlloy TQ is the first and only software to include commissioning issues as part of full COBie compliance, and we are proud to share this accomplishment with you!

By achieving COBie compliance, CxAlloy TQ is even more useful for everyone involved in the design, construction, commissioning and operations of a building. CxAlloy TQ now allows for easy import of other COBie compliant data and quick export in the same format. By integrating with COBie, we have removed the barriers to communication and data sharing from design to construction to operations.

This latest free upgrade provides for an easier, more intuitive, and more productive user experience.  Our goal is to continuously improve our software to ensure that we are the best in the field.

For more information about COBie please see our website here or read the full press release here.

Thanks,
Kirk Maxey, CCP, QCP
Director of CxAlloy
Direct: +1 504-864-3504
Office: +1 678-324-3874

CxAlloy TQ Version 4

It’s finally here. Version 4 of CxAlloy TQ is now live!

We’ve been working diligently on the latest version of our CxAlloy Total Quality software and have now released it publicly. This is an exciting day for us at CxAlloy! This new version combines all the great features and benefits of version 3 with a whole lot of new features. New technologies have allowed us to again raise the bar on what quality management is all about.

What’s the same? We’ve kept the transparency and simplicity. Those things will never change. But we’ve updated a lot of the features you’ve come to enjoy, based on your feedback. Here’s a taste of what’s changed:

Notifications. Some folks like to get notified of every single change in their project. Some don’t want any emails at all. We’ve listened and devised a strategy to accommodate all preferences. Now each account user has a personal profile section that allows customized notification options. These options include immediate email notifications about all changes in a project or summarized daily emails of activity. You can change the frequency, the project, and even specific items of interest.

Offline Compatibility. Our software works well on a tablet, but there are times when you don’t have good Internet connections. To mitigate this we developed a mobile application that enables you to continue working in the database when Internet is not available. Just download your project to your mobile device while you are connected to the Internet. The ability to continue entering and accessing data is seamless whether connected or not. And the best part is the synchronization happens automatically the next time you are connected to the Internet. No interruptions, it just happens.

Customizations. When we first began developing CxAlloy TQ we met with industry professionals and made some big decisions about data organization. We then incorporated those decisions into CxAlloy TQ. Some of those organizational elements included issue statuses, report names, and permission levels. Over the past year, we revisited these options and decided to allow organizations to customize CxAlloy TQ more to fit their own needs. We believe this will allow even more groups to start enjoying the benefits of our quality management platform. We still believe in providing this structure, which we call, “sensible defaults.” However, account holders now have the option to customize CxAlloy TQ to best fit their internal quality process.

Top 3 Reasons to Upgrade to Cloud-based Design and Construction Software

Real-time data increases efficiency and quality. There’s no time like the present, especially when it comes to information. Desktop applications just can’t keep up when your team is spread out in the field, in the office, and everywhere in between. That’s why you need to have constant access to your data. Without it, you can’t make the most informed decisions, and that affects quality. If you have to wait until you can gather all the facts, then that affects your efficiency. Keeping all your data with you while providing a secured, access-controlled interface to update it allows you to stay ahead.

Spreadsheets can reduce your productivity. Time is one of the most significant first costs you will have. However, we must look past that initial investment on a given project and see what tools and processes maximize our return in the long run. Yes opening a spreadsheet and typing data is initially quicker than using other software, at least a little. However, updating it isn’t. Distributing it isn’t. Trending data certainly isn’t. Data entry speed is important, but it doesn’t capture the full lifecycle of an issue. For a slight tradeoff in initial time, a few seconds per issue on average, you can keep your information organized and provide a mechanism for collaborating effectively with your team. Then, when the project is finished, you can trend all that data and use for further analysis.

Portability is key.  How often do you have the luxury of waiting until you get back to the office to check for project updates? Those days are gone, and in order to keep up with the fast pace of squeezed project schedules, you must have the most up-to-date information at your disposal. With cloud-based software, you can take and update information wherever you go. There’s no need to invest in expensive enterprise equipment. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can collaborate with teams all over the world. And with newer technologies and multiple levels of networked devices, you can actually increase the reliability of data and minimize the risk of losing your information.

Being Future Friendly

Over the past year, we have been attempting to design and redesign our applications to meet the needs of all our clients. This has been an enormous challenge since our users come from varied backgrounds with some having little to no computer experience while others are pros. We also see a range of devices that are being used. New technologies are coming out at an increasing speed, and everyone wants their device to work instantly. With all these rapid changes, we’ve been consistently meeting to come up with ways to address these challenges.

I found an article recently that articulates the problem. Brad Frost points out in his article, we must work towards a web that is truly “Future-Friendly.” This means that we can’t get boxed in to a particular format and either ignore or react to whatever comes next. We need to prepare now for what’s coming next. This verbalizes exactly what we’ve been trying to do, but have lacked the words to describe it. We must get rid of the clutter, get rid of the distractions that people are now being bombarded with on a daily basis. When people visit our sites, they need to be presented with only the tools and features that they need, not some cute or fancy interface that puffs up the experience.

We also need to cater to our client’s devices. This doesn’t mean everything works in all places the same way. Instead we must evaluate the needs of the user in each situation and address those core challenges. Some of the other ideas out there include responsive web design, mobile first design, and getting away from viewing web pages as, well, pages. We’ll be discussing those later. Check back with us often, we look forward to hearing from you.