This article was written by Stewart Carroll, COO of Beck Technology, and published April 2017 on Construction Today.
It’s 5 a.m. Monday, and Jeff Ratcliff, director of preconstruction, wakes up to a ringing phone. It’s Chad Schieber, the business development director at his construction firm, who received an email late last night from the client with the $100 million mixed-use project. Surprise: The budget review meeting planned for Wednesday has to happen this morning. Scrapping plans for breakfast with the kids, Jeff rushes through his morning routine and jumps into his car. His laptop is back at the office, and he’ll need it for the meeting at the client’s office.
Sprinting in and out of his office like Usain Bolt, Jeff grabs the laptop and gets to the meeting room where the client and Chad are waiting, only to realize that he left the projector behind. At his request, the receptionist rolls in a cart with a projector that looks like an industrial oven. Jeff only sees a VGA cable and asks for an HDMI adapter, and after a few minutes of the receptionist hunting through drawers, he’s finally connected and can start his presentation. The one-hour meeting is already halfway over.
The client starts asking questions, and all is well until he asks how his project compares to other projects of a similar size. Jeff left his historical cost spreadsheet on his office’s network drive, so he spends 10 more precious minutes trying to connect to the client’s Wi-Fi network and launch his VPN connection before the client says he’s out of time. Now, let’s replay this same scenario in a mobility-enabled world.
Jeff wakes up to the phone ringing with news of the meeting change, but rolls over to catch a few more minutes of sleep before making the kids’ pancakes. Then, he showers, grabs his phone and hits the road. At the office, coffee in hand, he sets his phone on its hands-free holder and kicks off a video conference, making sure that his phone’s camera has him in frame.
On his phone, Jeff brings up a web browser and logs into his corporate account on the web-based preconstruction platform, quickly navigating to the client’s estimate. The client and Chad appear on Jeff’s screen. They exchange pleasantries, and Jeff shares his screen. He brings up his web browser and walks the client through his budget and integrated takeoff, showing the project by area, and the corresponding costs by area. Along the way, Jeff shows critical project metrics, like the gross floor area, the project rentable area, the area of each floor, the floor-to-skin ratio, and how the metrics on this project compare to other similar projects.
The client is blown away by how quickly Jeff can react and how much data Jeff can provide in a one-hour meeting. He says he’s ready to move forward with the project and asks about next steps. There are a few things we can learn from this comparison: Not only is mobility good for the blood pressure and kids who love their Dad’s pancakes, it’s good for business. Read more