Question of the Week – DESTINI Estimator: How does the Set Escalation feature work?

Questions of the Week are asked and answered in the Beck Technology Community. Anyone is encouraged to join the community to discover additional tips and tricks.

How does the Set Escalation feature work?

Mo Black, Technical Solutions Analyst, answers this question on our Community. He walks users through the feature using an example coupled with screenshots of the feature.

It’s Time to Join the Information Revolution

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

Newsletter Q4

Welcome to a new year full of possibility. It’s hard to believe that we’re already marking the beginning of 2017, as 2016 seemed to fly by at lightning speed.

For this roundup, we have included a few “coming soon” features of note to mark on your calendars.

Save the Date

Please plan to join us at the Advancing Building Estimation 2017 conference (formerly known as Estimation Technology for Construction conference), scheduled for May 24-25 in Houston, Texas, at the Westin Houston, Memorial City.

Beck Technology will host a complimentary, half-day preconference workshop for conference attendees and invitees, in conjunction with the conference. Filled with client speakers, technology insights, and panel discussions, this event will walk through ways to enhance your estimation process with technology. Look for a focus on the need for industry change, as well as a keynote speaker and a panel of owners sharing their ideas of what ideal estimates would look like.

This workshop format will replace our typical spring Beck Technology Roundtable program, allowing attendees to learn from and network with more peers, as well as streamline their travel budgets.

Read more

Question of the Week – DESTINI Estimator: What information can be found in each $$Sheet$$ of the Dashboard in Estimator?

Questions of the Week are asked and answered in the Beck Technology Community. Anyone is encouraged to join the community to discover additional tips and tricks.

What information can be found in each $$Sheet$$ of the Dashboard in Estimator?

Becky Shires, Sr. Implementation Specialist, answers this question on our Community. Each $$ sheet in the Dashboard contains information that is automatically kept in sync with the open estimate. Becky explains what kind of information each $$ sheet can contain depending on the estimate.

Guest Post: Form, function and creativity: building smarter with 5D Macro BIM

Guest post authored by Todd Imming, Director of Marketing for The Korte Company, and was originally posted to the Korte blog on May 24, 2016.

Traditionally, early stage architectural design consisted of little more than napkin sketches and conversations between architects and owners. It’s long been an imprecise process that’s often created confusion between project parties and uncertainty in project execution.

Enter 5D Macro Building Information Modeling (BIM) — a game-changing technology transforming architectural design.

What is 5D Macro BIM?

5D Macro BIM is a tool that allows a design team to rapidly create realistic 3D computer models of the earliest-stage design ideas. The fourth and fifth dimensions of the model are the estimated construction schedule and the construction cost associated with the design. These estimates are based on robust, real-world databases of material and labor costs. As design elements are altered in the design, the cost and schedule estimates change with them, bringing clarity and predictability to decision-making in the early design process. This combination of enhanced design and reliable data fosters collaboration, creative problem solving and transparency in the design process.

Image courtesy of The Korte Company

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Question of the Week – DESTINI Estimator: How does the dashboard work?

Questions of the Week are asked and answered in the Beck Technology Community. Anyone is encouraged to join the community to discover additional tips and tricks.

How does the dashboard in Estimator work?

Becky Shires, Sr. Implementation Specialist, answers this question on our Community. The purpose of the Dashboard is to provide Excel-like access to all of the information within the open estimate.  Each $$ sheet in the Dashboard contains information that is automatically kept in sync with the open estimate. These $$ sheets can be referenced to create dynamic reports, dashboards, etc. that are updated in real time as changes are made to the estimate.

Marketers Need to Understand BIM

Authored by our head of marketing Julie Huval, this post was published in the August 2014 edition of Marketer (a Society for Marketing Professional Services publication) and reprinted in November 2016 in AGC’s Business Development Best Practices Series.

The acronym “BIM” is showing up more and more in our industry. Owners are requiring it on projects, countries are setting standards for it, and firms are touting expertise in it. But what is Building Information Modeling (BIM) and, as marketers and business developers, why should we care?

What is BIM?

First, let’s educate ourselves. BIM is the graphical representation of architectural design, engineering components, structural loads, construction sequencing, facility management, and historical project data. It is the culmination of every detail within a project. BIM tells the story of a complex, tangible product. While a digital model looks very impressive, the robust data behind its creation speaks more than the eye-catching visual.

With the rise of public-private partnerships and integrated project deliveries, the need to showcase a collaborative project team is more paramount than ever.

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Question of the Week – DESTINI Estimator: Is there a simple, yet content-rich way to interact with estimate data?

Questions of the Week are asked and answered in the Beck Technology Community. Anyone is encouraged to join the community to discover additional tips and tricks.

Is there a simple, yet content-rich way to interact with estimate data?

Becky Shires, Sr. Implementation Specialist, answers this question on our Community. The Dashboard in DESTINI Estimator can display important estimate data in easy-to-read charts, summaries, and reports that you create and is not reliant upon any complicated or difficult to use report designer tools or programs. Becky’s answer includes a sample dashboard for DESTINI Estimator users to start from.

Question of the Week – DESTINI Estimator: How can I sum up the total cost of a cost category in my dashboard?

Questions of the Week are asked and answered in the Beck Technology Community. Anyone is encouraged to join the community to discover additional tips and tricks.

How can I sum up the total cost of a cost category in my dashboard?

Jon Bowser, Product Manager, answers this question on our Community.  He walks through which functions to use (SUMPRODUCT) as well as giving detailed instructions on how to customize the function.

Question of the Week – DESTINI Estimator: How can I configure my estimate to see the aggregate cost sum for different WBS properties?

Questions of the Week are asked and answered in the Beck Technology Community. Anyone is encouraged to join the community to discover additional tips and tricks.

How can I configure my estimate to see the aggregate cost sum for different WBS properties?

Mo Black, Technical Solutions Analyst, answers this question on our Community.  He lists out the the steps to see the aggregate cost sum in DESTINI Estimator.  Mo also includes screenshots to help walk through the process.