Top-ranked ENR and Building Design + Construction contractor Balfour Beatty was struggling with consistency in deliverables. With multiple offices around the country, the preconstruction team was juggling 12 different tools, had multiple ways of creating estimates, and variances in how they approached work.
Estimates coming from Balfour Beatty didn’t all look the same. Their clients with multiple projects were getting confused. And since Balfour Beatty takes a collaborative approach to estimating, they wanted all their products to look exactly the same and present with continuity.
Landon McQuestion, Director of Preconstruction and Estimating at Balfour Beatty, says, “If everybody knows how to do it the same way and everybody has the same standard operating procedure, it makes it a lot cleaner.”
In the following webinar, Landon explains the benefits of DESTINI Estimator capturing historical cost data, line items, and Team Estimating and how the software has benefited Balfour Beatty.
There were two major reasons why Balfour Beatty wanted to standardize their preconstruction process.
1. Training junior estimators
Landon says, “What we used to run into was one chief estimator would like it done one way, one senior estimator liked it done another way and the junior estimators who were doing all the takeoff and grunt work would have to learn it six or seven different ways based on how each person liked it done. “
DESTINI Estimator has allowed Balfour Beatty to teach their junior estimators one way of doing things. Landon explains, “…and that’s how they work no matter who they’re working for.”
2. Historical cost
DESTINI Estimator captures all your historical costs so you can benchmark, compare, and create accurate conceptual estimates with confidence. It was important for Balfour Beatty that every estimate had the same line items in every estimate. Landon says, “We can look across 50 estimates and see exactly what the average price is for [a certain line item.]”
Standardizing the preconstruction process has helped streamline Balfour Beatty’s training process. Before DESTINI Estimator, training new estimators was “ad hoc,” but now with a single source software everyone is getting trained the same way. Landon says, “The biggest advantages are the use of training. We hired quite a few new people over the past year and training them, even remotely training them, was really easy because all of the operations were there, how it was supposed to be done was there…so they’re learning a lot faster.”
Utilizing DESTINI Estimator’s integration with Microsoft Power BI has become a “huge resource” for Balfour Beatty. Landon explains, “The more standardized your estimates are, the more valuable that information is. The more useable that information is. If every estimate is a little different, the historical cost is next to useless.”
The Microsoft Power BI dashboard allows Balfour Beatty to inform clients better and faster, especially for their clients who build schools. Landon says, “They’re always very interested in how much they should put out for this bond. They’ll ask how much is a two-story classroom building going for right now or how much is a stadium in two years…how much should I plan on spending in two years for that? Using the historical cost data, we can inform them a lot better and a lot faster. “
How to Standardize Your Precon Process
Landon says one of the most important things you can do is to get buy-in from everyone on the team at the early stages. He says, “One of the most important things you can do is get the entire team’s input and get that early and collaborate early with everyone and make sure everybody’s voice is heard.”