Flying High

This article was written by Stewart Carroll, COO of Beck Technology, and published August 2017 on Construction Today.

As many parents have learned in the last couple of years, the fastest way to a tween’s heart is to give him the freedom of flight, packaged in a cardboard box from Amazon. Cheap, mass-produced drones are always a welcome kid gift, but the higher-tech versions of this burgeoning technology are much more than just a “hot toy.” Advanced drones have given countless industries – from gaming to moviemaking to real estate – a fresh perspective on the world. And for the construction industry, the possibilities are as limitless as a clear blue sky.

Construction firms are using drones to capture aerial footage of existing building conditions, and to accurately document the contours of undeveloped land. They’re feeding three-dimensional data maps into software to form a basis for 3-D construction models, quickly catching errors and translating construction drawings into constructed buildings. They’re sending robotic cameras into dangerous areas, instead of human beings.

These construction pioneers are making known the previously unknown by using drones for mapping and modeling, documentation and inspections, and engaging clients.

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How Beck Technology’s CTO is Powering Software Into a Reluctant Industry

This article ran in the August 15, 2017 edition of the Dallas Business Journal and is authored by Shawn Shinneman, DBJ staff writer.

Michael Boren, Tech Titans FinalistWhen it comes to adopting the latest technologies, construction companies haven’t exactly been ahead of the curve.

But persistence has paid off for Dallas-based Beck Technology, a spin-off of the long-running construction and architecture company The Beck Group. Current Chief Technology Officer Michael Boren has seen the company through its various stages – from a secret Beck division built to give the company a competitive advantage to its own company, with a suite of construction software products and boasting 100-percent growth over the last three years. Beck Technology started selling products commercially in 2006.

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Understanding Changing Skills & Requirements for Construction Estimators

Construction Estimator Skills Evolving to Keep Up with TechnologyEstimating in construction once meant receiving a set of plans and sending back a dollar figure. However, today’s owners want to know, in detail, exactly what’s behind that number. Thus, construction estimator skills have evolved as more demands have been placed upon them.

If an estimate isn’t based on accurate assumptions, then costly change orders and delays are inevitable. Getting the assumptions right requires deeper collaboration not just with owners, but with all key players of a project – including estimators.

“Client expectations are driving estimators to wear new hats,” says Craig Mulliniks, director of virtual construction for The Korte Company, an integrated design-build construction company. Read more

Why You Should Standardize to One “Best-In-Class” Estimating Platform

Summary: For Balfour Beatty’s construction estimating software, VP of Preconstruction Ray Miller, chose what he described as “Best-in-Class” – Beck Technology’s DESTINI Estimator.

This article was written by Ray Miller, Vice President of Preconstruction at Balfour Beatty US, and published in the July-August 2017 issue of Design Cost Data Magazine.

Construction Estimating Software "Best-in-Class"As part of an international infrastructure group providing general contracting, at-risk construction management, and design-build services, our team at Balfour Beatty US has a significant amount of internal estimating brainpower. We recently identified the estimating technology that we believe will best leverage our collective brainpower across the country to all our offices, and help facilitate our continued growth.

Having expanded our presence in the United States through organic growth and strategic acquisitions over the course of the last decade, our estimating teams traditionally used legacy estimating systems already in place in our various markets. Last year, when my own team in Georgia was piloting an estimating platform, the folks in California were conducting their own estimating software evaluation, while teams in other geographies continued using their own legacy software and workflows they had been using for several years. Everyone was using their own systems and methods to achieve their estimating goals.

Then, in one meeting, we collectively recognized an opportunity to significantly improve the way we approached estimating on an enterprise-wide scale that could enable our team to work even faster and smarter than ever before.

The Turning Point
In 2016, we brought together our preconstruction leaders to collaborate on how we could work better together and support our company’s long-term growth strategy. It was the first time since I joined the company in 2014 that all our leaders were together, and it didn’t take long to realize that we had an enormous wealth of estimating expertise and data on which we could capitalize.

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2017 Q2 Recap & Updates

The second quarter of 2017 has all but flown by as our team and clients continue to pursue innovation in the A/E/C industry and our “Best-in-Class” construction cost estimating software, DESTINI Estimator as well as the DESTINI Profiler platform. Below is our quick quarterly update with the latest on the preconstruction and estimating technology front.

Best-in-Class Construction Cost Estimating Software, DESTINI Quarterly Review & Update

What’s Driving Change & Why Care

A Recap on the Need for Change in the A/E/C Industry

The Advancing Building Estimation 2017 conference took place on May 22-24 in Houston, TX. Beck Technology hosted a half-day pre-conference workshop, “Why Do We Need Change?,” where attendees listened as speakers shared their companies’ change story as well as engaged in dialogue focused on the future of the A/E/C industry. We were pleased to hear the insights of client speakers including:

Ray Miller, Vice President of Preconstruction Services, Balfour Beatty Construction Services US

Andy Leek, Director of Virtual Design and Construction, PARIC Corporation

Brent Pilgrim, DESTINI Applications Director, The Beck Group

For those of you unable to join us in person, the following video recording  of the main speeches and Q&A with the audience is below. Or, you may read a written summary here.

 

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Advancing Building Estimation Workshop Summary: Why Do We Need Change?

Change is a constant in the construction industry. The ability to recognize changes, and pinpoint solutions to adapt to them, allows forward-thinking companies to stand out from their competitors. Talking about the subject of change, without taking action, doesn’t help construction companies or the industry actually advance.

During the opening workshop of the “Advancing Building Estimation” conference in Houston on May 22, Beck Technology posed the question, “Why do we need change?” A panel of speakers who have real-world case studies of tough, actionable change shared their stories, and small group discussions provided attendees valuable peer-to-peer time to discuss this important topic.

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Beyond the Demo … What’s Next?

This article was written by Casey Wilt, Implementation Specialist at Beck Technology, and posted to his LinkedIn Pulse May 2017.

When my faithful old pickup truck began to show signs of “impending doom” at the end of college, I immediately began perusing car lots to find a suitable replacement. The salesmen, without fail, had excellent canned comments about each model. I was able to go on a carefully pre-determined test drive loop of less than 10 minutes in each one, after which they believed I would have the information I needed to sign my bank account away. Only one shopping experience sticks out in my mind from that day. The salesman at the Jeep dealership looked out the window at my truck, looked back at me, and tossed me the keys to a beautiful 2-door Jeep with only 5 miles on the odometer.

“Take it home for the weekend, take it camping, and let me know if you still want it when you bring it back on Monday.”

The extended test drive was the opportunity to use a potential purchase in my world, in my way, without constant oversight, and see if it was a good fit for me. That concept is CRUCIAL to the process of making informed purchase decisions, and our adaptation of it, the pilot project, is a very important part of the buying process here at Beck Technology.

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Game Changer

This article was written by Stewart Carroll, COO of Beck Technology, and published April 2017 on Construction Today.

In an industry built on blueprints, clipboards and spreadsheets, the move to databases and 3-D modeling systems has been nothing short of a revolution. Change may have been slow in coming, but make no mistake – it’s here. And as more construction technology moves to the cloud, the biggest changes of all are on their way.

Astonishing advances have been made in every step from preconstruction estimating to 5-D modeling, and layered on top of it all is the cloud, which houses software and data on the Internet rather than your desktop. This centralization of data will be a game changer for today’s construction businesses, and how they adapt to it will be a deciding factor in their future ability to win work.

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2017 Q1 Recap & Updates

The Beck Technology team, as well as our clients, launched into 2017 with so much vigor and drive that the first quarter flew by at what felt, a record pace. Please find below our quick quarterly update with relevant news on the preconstruction technology front.

Register for Workshop

Beck Technology Joins Forces with Advancing Building Estimation 2017 to Present a Pre-Conference Workshop on Driving Change

Registration is open for the Advancing Building Estimation 2017 conference (formerly Estimation Technology for Construction) scheduled for May 22-24 in Houston at the Westin Houston, Memorial City.

Beck Technology is hosting a half-day pre-conference workshop “Why Do We Need Change?” that will explore the factors driving changes in the A/E/C industry. Our team and client speakers will discuss topics from mitigating risks to the expectation of accurate real-time data in a dialogue focused on why we need to change, what it looks like, and who is spearheading the effort.

We are pleased to share the podium and conduct tabletop discussion groups with client speakers including:

  • Ray Miller, Vice President of Preconstruction Services, Balfour Beatty Construction Services US
  • Andy Leek, Director of VDC, Paric Corporation
  • Brent Pilgrim, DESTINI Applications Director, The Beck Group

The workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Monday, May 22. Information on the workshop and full conference may be found on the conference website. Early bird registration ends Friday, April 21.

As a reminder, this workshop format replaces our Beck Technology Roundtable this year to enable clients to bundle greater learning and networking as part of a larger conference.

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Guest Post: Which “Tech Toys” Will Affect Your Bottom Line

This article was written by Brian Gallagher, Director of Marketing at O’Neal, Inc., and published in the March-April 2017 issue of Design Cost Data Magazine.

 

New tech advances are poised to affect jobsite practices – and project costs – in ways that seemed like science fiction just a few years ago. The biggest change is the way that individual technologies are now synergistically working together and giving rise to emergent processes; the biggest challenge is to choose the technologies that are right for you and your company. The tech processes go beyond stand-alone solutions, which have typically been acquired and used by individual contractors, and are creating systems that will require high level buy-in and strategic implementation.

Investing in tech for tech’s sake and hoping for a return on investment doesn’t usually lead to optimum outcomes. Large-scale construction projects that have made the most extensive, and integrated, use of technology have shown verifiable improvements in total costs and completion time, as well as in quality and safety.

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