They go by the not especially affectionate nickname of “dam walls”, and are somewhat reminiscent of the gigantic prefab buildings in East Germany: Around 2,500 people live in a confined space within the four elongated buildings of the Telli housing estate in Aarau. Two of these rows with a total of over 580 apartments are currently being renovated from top to bottom, in one of the largest energy renovations in Switzerland. And smino is the central digital platform behind this mega project.
Hundreds of cars are parked in the car park that has been specially asphalted for the renovation period. Today, at 12 noon sharp, they will once again be able to drive back into the renovated underground car park. Florine Geiser, Construction Manager for Drees & Sommer, has the situation fully under control. Despite the project’s approaching completion, she takes her time for us on this cold and gloomy winter day. Since she started working with smino, many of her tasks have become much more efficient: “Before we used smino, all the documentation was always a big problem. Pictures taken with a smartphone first had to be transferred to a PC, and that took a lot of time. Things were also sometimes forgotten or postponed, simply because something wasn’t documented properly,” she explains.
In addition to the two huge residential blocks of the Telli with its 24 houses, around 700 parking spaces are also being redeveloped in the underground garages. A renovation project of this size, in which the tenants are not asked to move out, is unique in Switzerland – and the timing is highly complex. During the tour of the construction site, the finishing touches are being added to the first of two underground garages to be renovated, marking the completion of one sub-project. Clearing away a few things here and there and, just to make sure, raising and lowering the garage door before the tenants can drive their cars back in again on time. “I’m currently inspecting all the different areas of work that’s been done in the underground car park. Then it’ll be the turn of the authorities and the building owner. This is why a load of preparatory meetings are also taking place at the moment,” says Geiser. smino can provide valuable support here too: “smino makes it easier and more efficient to record minutes and keep a construction journal. The documentation is also more accurate and detailed, because many of the functions already exist in smino. All the defect recording is easier with smino, and the inspection reports are completed more quickly.”
“smino fully meets all of my expectations. The software is still young but has so much potential,” adds Geiser enthusiastically. She is not the only one to be convinced by smino – her colleagues are, too. As soon as we set foot in the construction container, we are greeted warmly from all sides: “Are you from smino?”, asks one of Geiser’s colleagues. “I’d have a suggestion for the minutes.” Geiser adds that smino’s customer service is unique: “We coordinate with smino on a regular basis. If I notice something, I can just say so. Input is taken on board and approached constructively, enabling the platform to be enhanced according to the customer’s wishes. This is one of the biggest arguments in favour of smino!”
In addition to the outstanding support, the minute keeping function was a key feature when it came to introducing smino: “Minute keeping was the original incentive. We introduced smino to the project back during the planning and bidding phase, when we were really having a lot of coordination meetings,” says Geiser. Traditional minute keeping was problematic mainly because of a lack of shared server storage: “smino allowed us to record minutes centrally right from the start, so that everyone involved has access. Storing and managing everything in one place was also especially valuable in view of the upcoming large-scale renovation at Telli with its multiple sub-projects.”
As in any construction project, there are many meetings, and smino is a constant companion throughout: “Depending on the scope, I can save half an hour or more for each set of minutes. That amounts to at least half a day a week I can use for other work. Thanks to the central filing system and the automatically generated to-do lists and decision lists, the staff who prepare and write minutes for me are also much faster.” smino thus not only makes things better, but also more efficient – so that the large numbers of tenants in the Telli buildings can now start using the renovated underground car park again as planned.