Manufacturers claim their new steam showers, convection ovens, and other high-end appliances are easy to use, but installing and maintaining them can be more complicated than ever. “You have to baby-sit these things,” says Linden Telford, a lead carpenter with BOWA Builders. So the company, based in McLean, Va., developed a simple method of collecting and disseminating the specifications or cut sheets, and being able to access them easily.

The coordinator of each project team is charged with gathering specs for “just about everything we install,” Telford says, from windows to microwaves. In some cases, getting this information requires going online or calling the manufacturer. The crews refer to the specs during the course of the project. When the job is complete, one copy goes in a binder that is presented to the client, and a duplicate goes in the project book that is filed in the office.

Besides streamlining installation and client relations, this system supports BOWA's warranty division. “If a product fails within the warranty period, we'll have the information we need to fix it,” Telford says. “There's no guesswork.”