PlanWell PDS FAQ

PlanWell PDS: FAQ

 

PlanWell PDS FAQ Responses

 

What is PlanWell PDS?

PlanWell PDS is a service offered by a reprographer that combines an online planroom and online ordering of plans and specs from the planroom.

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Why use PlanWell PDS?

The management of construction documents can dramatically affect the course of a construction project. The wrong plan to the right person, the right person but the wrong plan, the right plan to the right person at the wrong time - these scenarios are commonplace and frequently disruptive to any job without the means to effectively manage document control. A review of the Features can point out specific benefits of the system, but in general terms, PlanWell PDS will save you time, save you money and increase your efficiency, no matter who you are, where you are, what you do, or what project you're working on.

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How does an online planroom work?

Plans and specifications are given to the reprographer who scans (or electronically converts them) to non-alterable image files. The files are stored at the reprographic shop as a project document collection, available for viewing and ordering over the Web.

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What software do I need?

All you need to use PlanWell PDS is a current Web browser. No special software is required.

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Why are the costs of PlanWell PDS often reimbursable?

PlanWell PDS is a reprographic service. On most projects, the cost of purchasing plans is generally considered a "pass-through" cost. Your invoice from a PlanWell PDS reprographer is like any other reprographic invoice: it will reflect the cost of purchasing plans. Thus, in most cases, the invoice can be passed on for reimbursement.

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Do I have to purchase plans to view them online?

No. If you have access to a project planroom (a username and password are usually required), you can view any plan for which an online thumbnail has been generated. Purchase of the plans is not required. You will need a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to view the plans on your computer.

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Can I download plans from PlanWell PDS?

No. Currently downloading is not available in order to protect the integrity of the digital drawings, the security of the reprographer's servers, and the intellectual content of the drawing's owner. Files can easily be compiled by the reprographer, however, and sent to an FTP site or burned to a CD.

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Can I print to my own printer from PlanWell PDS?

No. (See "Downloading") While this feature is being evaluated, currently downloading is not available in order to protect the integrity of the digital drawings and the intellectual content of the drawing's owner.

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Do I always need a username and password to enter PlanWell PDS?

Yes. A username and password are required to enter a planroom. Projects, however, are not password protected and can be freely accessed once inside the planroom. In most cases, multiple projects reside in a single planroom.

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What security measures are in place to protect the documents inside the planroom?

PlanWell PDS uses standard encryption protocols for its usernames and passwords. Your reprographer may enhance those security protocols by using SSL procedures, similar to those used in online banking. Check with your reprographer for details.

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How are the drawings protected from alteration?

Live files are never posted to the Web, nor are printable files posted to the Web. What viewers look at on screen are non-alterable, low-resolution thumbnail images that do not print well. Even the printable files, stored on the local reprographer's servers, are non-alterable. Unless otherwise specified, files are saved as 400 dpi Class 4 TIFF images, meaning that all vector data (line and layer information typically used in programs like AutoCAD, Microstation, ArchiCAD and others) are unavailable for manipulation.

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What happens if the files or databases becomes corrupt, or are lost due to a computer crash?

PlanWell recommends that all reprographers using PlanWell PDS have strict backup procedures in place to protect both the files themselves, and the database of drawings. Typically, this includes daily, weekly and monthly backup to remote media. Such procedures make restoring files fast and result in minimal (if any) data loss. Check with your reprographer for specifics.

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What happens if the Internet goes down? How will I get my files?

While PlanWell PDS is a Web-based service, it is managed by your reprographer. Your drawing files and databases are maintained locally, inside the reprographer's shop. If your internet connection fails, or a general service interruption occurs, you can still call, fax or walk into the repro shop and have your order printed and delivered conventionally.

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Can I still get plans at the counter or over the phone?

Your drawing files and databases are maintained locally at the reprographic shop. You or your team members (some may not have an internet connection) can still call, fax or walk into the repro shop and have your order printed and delivered conventionally.

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Can documents be delivered to people who order from outside my local area?

PlanWell PDS includes delivery and shipping services offered by the reprographer available to customers as part of its ordering functions. You can specify a local delivery from the reprographer, or indicate alternate methods of delivery such as FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. Through a remote printing queue, your reprographer can even send the electronic job ticket and all files to another location for printing through the PlanWell PDS Network.

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How do I know the set or drawing I order is the most current?

Each drawing entered into PlanWell PDS is assigned a number of unique data points that allow a database to search and find it. One of these data points is the date the drawing was entered into the system. A new drawing posted to the Most Current Set always replaces the earlier version. Historical versions of drawings can be maintained, or simply ordered conventionally with a phone call to your reprographer.

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Can I handle a bid distribution through PlanWell PDS?

PlanWell PDS was designed to make the bid distribution process efficient and hassle-free. More than half of PlanWell PDS customers use the system for the first time to reduce the headaches of bid distribution. Create plan sets, choose recipients, and order. It's that simple.

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PlanWell tracks orders, but what if the person ordering has the plans sent to someone else? Can I find out who received the plans?

Yes. The order in its entirety is organized by date and order number, and is immediately available through the "Order History" link once inside the planroom.

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Can I view and order individual drawings?

Yes.

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Can I compile customized sets of drawings?

Yes. Simple browse the Most Current Set list, choose the drawings you need, name the bundle and save it. When ordering, choose the bundle then the recipient, and submit the order.

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Can I import my contact information from contact management application (ACT, Outlook, etc.) into the plan recipients list?

Yes. Your reprographer can take your contacts as a text file and import them for you to quickly and easily populate your address book.

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