Back in 2006, Jeff LaRosa and Baker Brooks couldn’t believe how long the $72 million renovation of the downtown Baton Rouge Hilton Hotel was taking.
LaRosa, representing the project’s architect, and Brooks, there on behalf of the general contractor, took some two days walking through each floor of the 10-story hotel, logging deficiencies during the construction’s punch list phase.
The punch list—which notes every item that doesn’t conform to contract specifications—is a critical document, especially since the general contractor doesn’t get final payment until each item has been corrected. For many contractors, architects, engineers and developers, it’s a headache that normally lasts a couple weeks.
“We were like, ‘Man, we just spent months of our lives doing this one thing; wouldn’t it be cool if they made something that could do it for us?’” LaRosa says. “But the iPhone concept was so new, we didn’t even think about how that would happen. We just had this dream.”
Brooks and LaRosa realized they needed a developer’s perspective; that came in 2009 when they met Derek Fitch working on the renovation of yet another hotel, Hotel Indigo. Once they pitched him the idea, Fitch was in.
Out of their decade’s worth of discussions comes Pinbloop Punchlist, a U.S. trademarked web and tablet application that simplifies the punch list phase of a construction project for everyone involved. There’s also a smartphone app, Pinbloop Sub-Viewer, and another product, Pinbloop Field Reports, in the works. Everything is available in the App Store and Google Play.
A group of Baton Rouge architects is investing in the initial development of the app. As LaRosa, Brooks and Fitch embark on the next funding search, they’re also in the midst of a soft rollout, as Pinbloop has already been used for the $102 million Patrick F. Taylor Hall renovation, the $20 million Water Institute of the Gulf and the $200 million Nicholson Gateway project.
“That’s where we are: We took it, we were funded, we built the app and now it’s totally ready for a full-fledged market rollout,” Brooks says. “And it’s actually functioning in the market right now.”
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