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John Hunter
Senior Member
Username: johnhunter

Post Number: 62
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 06:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Does anyone have experiences with Newforma that they'd be willing to share? We're looking at revising our project information systems and Newforma is one of the applications being considered.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 311
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 10:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It has some cool things - great markup, image tools, submittal tracking, and document distribution and tracking - but some of the "features" they promote aren't all that special. I'll see what others in the office have to say.
Christopher E. Grimm, CSI, CCS, LEEDŽ-AP, MAI, RLA
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 152
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2008 - 07:48 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We've been using it for about a year. The interface is mostly straighforward and not to hard to learn. The only confusing thing is sometimes "Sent Items" and "Inbox" don't have the same meaning as you would expect - messages from anybody might occasionally end up in "Sent Items", so if you don't see something check the other one.

It seems to have all the important features except maybe one - It lacks any type of folder structure, so after using it for a while on a long project, participants may become frustrutaed that it is difficult to find the latest version of any specific file.

There is also an advanced client application that is purchased separately and may be important for key users to have. For example, without it you can't download individual files from a message, you have to download the whole group of files as a single zip attachment first, then extract and delete all but the one or two files you really want.
Don Harris CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA
Senior Member
Username: don_harris

Post Number: 196
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2008 - 04:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We just started two test projects. Looks interesting. I'll update as we get deeper into the projects.
Robert E. Woodburn
Senior Member
Username: bob_woodburn

Post Number: 38
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 03:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Newforma will soon be our firm's project/document management software. So far we've had only a 1-hour introduction; we'll have a 1.5-hour training class next week. I know virtually nothing about how it handles specs, other than that Newforma will become the default repository for all spec-related computer files. That may be complicated by the fact that we use 3 very different systems to develop project specs--SpecLink, SpecsIntact, and MS Word based owner-developed masters.

This thread has long been dormant. Any additional insight? Questions to ask, etc.? Thanks.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 630
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 04:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We've been using it for several years. It has some interesting and useful features, but many things aren't all that special, and can be accomplished with shortcuts and other existing tools. The problem with that is, few people know how to use those tools.

E-mail tracking is not as useful as it may appear. I find it much easier, more convenient, and faster to use Outlook for all project mail, and upload to Newforma what's left after documents are issued.

File comparison (virtual light table) is great. You can overlay a variety of file formats to compare drawings and other documents. For example, I had our own drawing, a pdf from outside, and another document. I was able to overlay them, adjust the scales so they matched, and quickly identify differences.

I don't use it myself, but our CA staff likes the submittal tracking.

The only real convenience I have seen for project manuals is the ability to define document sets, which pull documents from various locations without moving the files. Otherwise, opening Word and pdf documents is about the same as through Explorer.

Other useful features are, as is always the case, as useful as you make them. There is a part for the project team, which could be useful, but only if someone takes the time to fill in all the information. My experience is that the name, company, e-mail, and phone numbers are there, but no one bothers to indicate if a given engineer is in mechanical or electrical, or who the team leaders are.

The result is a list of many people from the consultant company, with no indication of who does what. And, because the directory is set up early, some of the people don't end up working on the project, while others who were added later don't appear.

It's the old computer adage - garbage in, garbage out.
Nathan Woods, CSI, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: nwoods

Post Number: 523
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 04:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Sheldon. We use Newforma, and for some things its great, for others its agravating. It's great for archiving email. It's smart enough to know that the same email sent to 4 people in your office, if you all tag it to be archived in Newforma, it only keeps one copy, not 4. HOWEVER, finding that email later is nigh impossible. The search functions in Newforma are primitive, unintuitive, and non-functional. What I am seeing is that people are creating their own Outlook PST files, then copying that archived email into Newforma (per corporate policy), and then into Outlook PST folder so that they can find it later. This hogs up server resources and back up drives and greatly complicates data discovery and retrieval in a legal sense. If I could wish for anything in Newforma, it would be useful and effective search.

What it does do really well though, is handle document issuance's and large file distribution, automatic transmittal generation and tracking, and things like that.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 631
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 09:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Nathan is right about distribution and, again, tracking. I don't use that function, but those who do use it love it. It may be that tracking is its best feature.

The problem with e-mail tracking is that it doesn't recognize a thread (I'm not sure how it would) and keep only the last e-mail. It's frustrating to search the e-mail and have every step of a thread appear.

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