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Construction workers swap pen and paper for digital app

Roger Showley, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Some of the most high-profile projects here and elsewhere have been documented using Raken. Besides the InterContinental and a San Diego-area community college district, the software has been used by various defense contractors, the company said.

Elsewhere it's been employed at the $1.7 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium that opened in August in Atlanta, the $1.3 billion Transbay Transit Center under construction in San Francisco and $1.1 billion Salesforce Tower, also under way in San Francisco.

The app is the product of a company founded by Kyle Slager, 36, the son of a Columbus, Ohio, home builder who majored in economics at Brown University.

He worked on Wall Street before moving to Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.-based Brandes Investment Partners, an investment advisory.

"I had an itch after doing that for a few years to create something," he said.

He interviewed scores of construction companies and concluded that they badly needed some technical upgrades in the daily chore of monitoring subcontractors.

"What I didn't know at the time was that construction companies can be sued up to 10 years after a project is completed," he said. "A plumbing leak on the 14th floor can cause $500,000 in damage (costs) to a general contractor and they go back and forth with the plumbing contractor they hired."

Who's to blame often comes down to who has the best records. And if they're incomplete, somebody has to pay up.

Raken makes it simple and seamless to keep impeccable notes and photographic evidence that can be retrieved as needed.

The software also helps smooth interruptions in the construction schedule due to weather -- that app automatically includes weather condition reports -- or delays in construction material deliveries.

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