Helping Projects Get Funded

The H.J. Russell & Company’s mission is to deliver exceptional service, resulting in enhanced quality of life for the community. They envision being a catalyst for community and economic growth in the real estate and construction industries.

Mr. H.J. Russell, company founder, believed excellence to be the hallmark of his company’s success. Striving to be the best, rising above mediocrity, would have tremendous pay back. With 60 years’ experience, the H.J. Russell Company’s commitment to this belief has resulted in being consistently ranked in the nation’s Top 100 Construction Management firms.

H.J. Russell & Company was contacted by a developer to provide conceptual estimating for their construction project. The go/no-go situation was that a construction budget would be reviewed and compared against the developer’s budget to see whether the numbers worked, get approval for funding, then combine that funding with additional local funding, tax credits, and private equity to fully fund the project.

The developer wanted an outcome of a newly renovated multifamily complex in an underserved area with the intent of sparking further development in the area. All H.J. Russell & Company was given was a rendering and a site plan. Turnaround time for the estimated budget was one day, which was actually only one-half of a day due to the request coming in on the day before Thanksgiving.

The standard process, when working with an Excel file, was to make changes in that file. However, in this process the link between the model and the budget is broken and is not a good practice for continuity. DESTINI Estimator has the look and feel of familiarity in working with Excel, i.e. columns, rows, cells, etc. Therefore, “double time” was not necessary to learn the estimating software.

After DESTINI Estimator was installed, a Beck Technology team member ran through the product with H.J. Russell & Company’s Preconstruction Manager, Corey Sanders. With their current DESTINI Profiler model already in place, it took about two hours to set up DESTINI Estimator, customizing it for the company’s needs during that time.

The client did not know about DESTINI Profiler or DESTINI Estimator until the first meeting. As a picture of the model was a deliverable, the client was shown the model. Corey would modify the project based on their preference, and once they saw how simple it was to make changes, “the flood gates opened” as different options were viewed. Doing so added some time to Corey’s process, but the client enjoyed the flexibility of considering the various options.

The project’s budget was used by the owner to submit in the first round of funding/tax credit approval by the state. Additional non-modeled scope was added to the project as it was continually being changed and updated in DESTINI Estimator. The plan is to use DESTINI Estimator as the project goes through the bidding process.

The process was a little more efficient in the beginning because the information from Corey’s DESTINI Profiler model was automatically formatted into DESTINI Estimator. He stated, “I do see the value in the long run because I have this base estimate I created. Any changes that I do I can save as a different version, and now I can start pulling up those variances. That’s pretty powerful! As you do 2 months or 8 months of preconstruction you’ll do multiple iterations of the estimate. DESTINI Estimator is more efficient … maybe 10-15% more efficient. But as we move forward, I see my efficiency growing because of the comparative analysis between estimates.” DESTINI Estimator makes it easier to compare estimates in a larger platform for major enterprises, making it the better performer in the long run.