Accurate, Quick Answers are the Key to Wow and Win Clients
When owners are ready to move on a construction project, they need answers about the design and how much it might cost—and they want answers quickly. The preconstruction group first to the table with accurate, detailed estimates and models has the best opportunity to build a customer relationship that can lead to winning the work.
While many competitors are still at the drawing board, firms using Beck Technology’s DESTINI® Profiler can turn around a detailed 3D model and cost estimate in as little as one day, offering them an early opportunity to showcase their capabilities.
Detailed Conceptual Cost Models for Faster Estimates
Preconstruction firms have also been able to “wow” customers with highly detailed, early estimates and models using DESTINI Profiler. Bouma Construction, for example, has accelerated the preconstruction cycle by using DESTINI Profiler’s macro BIM technology to quickly create highly granular cost models early in the cycle, with limited available information.
In many cases, starting from just a hand-drawn sketch, a few notes, or a phone call, Bouma can tap into the historical cost data it has stored in DESTINI Profiler to create a conceptual cost model quickly for a client.
Recently, Bouma received a call about a project on a Friday afternoon and used DESTINI Profiler to create four alternative building models, each with different layouts and pricing, to present at a client design charrette the following Monday. The owner selected one of the four options, and Bouma was given the nod to proceed with design-build planning.
“If we had not used DESTINI Profiler, we would not have been able to respond with that many alternative solutions in the necessary timeframe for our client,” says Corey Torres, preconstruction manager at Bouma. “Clients are looking for immediate or real-time financial or cost information on a building to support their discussions with financiers, investors, and board members. DESTINI Profiler helps us respond to our clients’ sense of urgency.”
Bouma has also found DESTINI Profiler to be an excellent resource beyond their design-build and construction management projects. “We’ve learned to utilize DESTINI Profiler on competitive general contract opportunities as well,” says Torres. On one such project, Bouma was able to turn around a parametric building cost model for a five-story (330,000 sf) multi-housing facility in a single day. This early cost model was used as a reference during the remainder of the estimating and proposal planning process and ended up being within 3 percent of the final submitted proposal.
“We are impressed with the accuracy, speed and flexibility with DESTINI Profiler,” Torres says. “On other projects, we have spent up to three weeks building a detailed cost model, but in this case, we just didn’t have that time available. We were able to accurately model the project and build a cost reference framework with DESTINI Profiler.”
For Bouma, using DESTINI Profiler early in the process is one way to keep the firm at the top of its game. “We were looking for unique technology that would help us leverage historical cost data and provide a visual presentation of construction costs for our clients,” Torres says. “Contractors today need agile tools to address the needs of clients in a fast-moving marketplace; DESTINI Profiler helps us to achieve that goal.”
Nailing Project Scope and Making the Sale, Early in the Game
Focused on the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of manufacturing factories for domestic and international industrial clients, O’Neal Inc. knows how to showcase its expertise to make a positive first impression and win work. O’Neal uses DESTINI Profiler to model and estimate almost every incoming project, impressing clients with detailed visual models and pricing at the earliest point in the preconstruction planning process.
“When a manufacturer comes to us and wants to sit down and begin planning, we try to get them to understand early what it is they want,” says David Hardy, preconstruction facilities manager at O’Neal. “Most of the time, people understand their manufacturing process, but not the building they are about to put it in and the local codes. With DESTINI Profiler, we can bring understanding to them really quickly.”
Hardy and the entire design team at O’Neal come together to use DESTINI Profiler throughout the entire design and engineering process, from capital appropriations process through project delivery.
“It gives us a level of communication, both with the client and with the designers downstream,” Hardy notes. “DESTINI Profiler is the main tool we use in our effort to tell the customer we have something special that others don’t have.”
Combining DESTINI Profiler’s 3D modeling capabilities with its extensive historical cost database, developed through decades of industrial projects in the Southeastern United States and other regions, O’Neal is able to nail down project scope at the earliest possible point in the process.
The O’Neal team often begins by creating a DESTINI Profiler model based on one of the client’s existing factories, adapting the design to meet specific project specifications and local code requirements.
The software’s macro BIM capabilities automatically populate rooms with everything from termite protection to tile to toilets, allowing the estimator to toggle among high, medium, and low-priced options while calculating costs in the background.
“When I draw a space and label it ‘mezzanine,’ it knows to put six-inch slab with layer of reinforcement as soon as it’s drawn,” Hardy explains. “As soon as I draw a 9-by-10 rectangle, it knows that’s a truck door and automatically throws in the dock seals, leveler, door restraint, and all the things a truck door needs. As soon as I draw a specific room volume, it populates it as a canteen, with base cabinets, wall cabinets, and sinks. For a crane bay, I just draw the room, and the drop-down estimate for that has the roof structure to support the crane beams, the crane beams themselves, grid intersections, and the foundations and footings associated with a crane room.”
These highly detailed early models and estimates also include high, medium, and low pricing options for site utilities, such as water, sewer, and gas for the factory. Integrated Google Earth aerial views have been particularly valuable for clients evaluating potential building sites based on engineering and design parameters, as well as proximity to human resources, transportation, and utilities.
“We use DESTINI Profiler live as a sales tool, trying to get a group of people together to recognize what’s unique about their project and sell them on it,” Hardy says.
Arriving at client meetings with such highly detailed estimates and 3D models enables quick decision-making, which gives clients the information they need to secure funding and get projects off the ground faster.
“We try to get two or three people on our side of the table asking the right questions of two or three people on the other side of the table,” Hardy explains. “That’s part of the customized experience we try to sell our clients. We have this thing tuned to just what they are doing, in the area that they are doing it. We use this technology to get at an estimate and preliminary design as quickly as possible. It’s been a really fluid way of dealing with our clients.”
While many of O’Neal’s clients are international companies seeking to build factories in the United States and Mexico, DESTINI Profiler has been a valuable visual and communications aid.
“It helps us bridge the language gap when we are working with people from Japan, Israel, or Germany, for example,” Hardy says. “It’s so helpful to have that visualization. They really appreciate that we are all on the same page. That’s something we have really enjoyed.”