This article was written by Andy Gerlach, Technical Services Manager at Snyder Langston, and published in the January-February 2017 issue of Design Cost Data Magazine.
The information revolution – like the agricultural and industrial revolutions before it – is freeing up human energy by creating a more efficient construction process with less waste. In this era of technological innovation, our industry’s talent is rapidly developing the skills to design and build fantastic buildings, in less time, with less money, and of better quality.
However, change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Technology can shift the way we do business only if accompanied by large shifts in processes, infrastructure, and business relationships. To free up time and energy in the future, we must make a significant investment in time and energy now.
At the firm Snyder Langston, we view this investment as building on our tradition of being a Trusted Advisor and Master Builder to our clients. The first step in our strategy is to implement the right estimating software across the enterprise so we can create more accurate estimates in less time. We’re also working to leverage our relationships with subcontractors by seeking a common language that reduces the internal risk and time involved in traditional design-bid-build. Additionally, we’re evolving the idea of “cost” by harnessing big data to create a “cycle of cost” approach that encompasses the conceptual estimate to contract to actual costs and back to cost database. See cycle of cost to the right.
Time for Change
In 2012, I transitioned from the field to the office at Snyder Langston, with a goal of infusing technology into our estimating department. Having seen the benefits and possibilities of technology in the field, I was eager to put a new spin on estimating and saw a great opportunity to help move the industry forward.
I saw how technology could give us a better way to do business, and was interested in BIM as a starting point. But I wanted more than just “Hollywood BIM” (a BIM that looks flashy, but doesn’t really help the bottom line). My question was, “How could we leverage 3D models to provide faster, more accurate estimates, and be more responsive to our clients’ needs?” Read more