Common Areas has launched Common Plans, a new software that promises to bring efficiency and ease to site and building planning. The GPS-enabled software is a cloud-based asset mapping program that pairs with Common Areas to create, store and share work orders for properties and facilities. We sat down with Casey Rue, the founder and CEO of Common Areas, to talk about the new software, what users can expect and how it will impact the commercial real estate industry. You recently launched Common Plans. Can you tell me a bit about the impetus for the software?

Casey Rue: As everyone in property/asset ownership and management knows, a tremendous amount of work goes into the daily upkeep of properties and facilities; and there are a wide range of professionals involved. Often times, maintenance and repair work is highly time sensitive and with all of those moving pieces the ability to share the right information with the right people is critical. Having easy access to a property or building’s architectural plans can be a tremendous asset during these times, however that is a luxury and is typically not the case. On top of this, having access to architectural plans does not guarantee that the person looking at them knows how to read them.

We’ve created Common Plans to take the complexity out of traditional architectural and engineering plans. We deliver the customized plans in an easy-to-read, online format that everyone can use—regardless of their plan-reading skill level, profession, or native language. And the plans are cloud-based, so they can be accessed anytime, anywhere and from whatever device—mobile or otherwise. How does Common Plans work in conjunction with Common Areas?

Rue: Common Areas is a collaborative operations software that simplifies the process of managing the ongoing work at properties and facilities. From day one, it was intentionally designed to be an “inclusive” platform, providing an environment where everyone can work together to make their jobs easier and more efficient.

Common Plans adds another dimension, creating a new level of planning and preparedness, inside and out. For example, the ability to go inside and view multiple layers within buildings—seeing utility plans, furniture and equipment plans, life safety systems, and others, regardless of size—adds a level of detail and clarity that is beneficial in so many ways. Who would Common Plans be good for and who might most benefit from using this kind of tool?

Rue: Property Owners and Managers, Facility Managers and Service Providers all can benefit from using Common Plans. Property Owners and Managers benefit by having immediate access to the information they need based on the scenario at hand (e.g., plumbing leak, floor plans, fire alarm system, etc.). With that information, they can more easily share details and have a true blueprint for solving problems. Maintenance and service providers, from electricians and plumbers to janitorial and security, and so many more, gain an increased level of clarity in being able to locate problem areas, and better understand complications that may exist when all elements of a property are layered in. Regardless of the work you do at a property, adding clarity increases operational efficiency which saves time and money; two of the most valuable commodities in property and asset management. Why was now a perfect time to launch? What did you see missing in the marketplace that Common Plans addresses?

Rue: I actually believe the timing of Common Plans has been right, and the need has been present, for quite some time. The problem has been the lack of technology needed to support the solution. A variety of products have addressed certain parts of the problem, such as sharing physical or digital architectural and engineering plans. There have also been products that have done this in mobile applications. What has been missing, until Common Plans, was the ability to integrate the use of these plans within a collaborative operations platform like Common Areas and delivering its problem-solving capabilities in a way that everyone can successfully use. We are seeing more technology integrated into real estate in general. Rue:How do you think this will have a broader impact on the industry?

The pace new technology is being introduced is unparalleled in our industry. In most cases, this new technology, whether it is Common Plans or other property management related tools, is lowering operating expenses by increased efficiency, productivity, transparency and accountability.

There is another impact as well, and this is how new technology really inspires creative and innovative thinking, paving the way, down the road, for something that will further enhance the capabilities and outcomes within the industry.

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