Team Estimating Wins Over H.J. Russell—A DESTINI Estimator Case Study

Picture this: no more back and forth with the preconstruction manager for review and changes at the last hour. Now imagine your whole team being able to work in one estimate simultaneously, seeing updates and changes in real-time. How much time would this save you?  

Project owners want a general contractor that can deliver on time and on budget. But you aren’t able to do that when old tools hold you back. In the 2021 JBKnowledge Annual Construction Technology Report, 60.7% of commercial contractors that responded said they use dedicated software for estimating. The software most used by those respondents is Sage Timberline. Construction still lags other industries in use of technology (bdcnetwork.com) 

This decades-old software has rebranded and is now Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and says it “is perfect for larger businesses looking to improve efficiency in job cost tracking, change order management, accounting and payroll, estimating compliance, project management, service management, [and] property management.”  

But that’s not what you need. You need takeoff, historical cost data, conceptual estimating capabilities, comparison reporting, information capture, and benchmarking. And you especially need software that saves you time, delivers defendable data, manages risk, and creates confidence in project owners.  

Like those contractors in the report, H.J. Russell was also using Sage for its estimating efforts.  

The Challenge

The Atlanta, Georgia-based H.J. Russell & Company was founded in 1952 and is now one of the largest minority-owned construction companies in the country and is also number 25 on the BE (Black Enterprise) Top 100 list. 

Before switching to DESTINI Estimator construction estimating software, the preconstruction team was using Sage, Excel, and OST, but only one person, the senior preconstruction manager, was able to work in Sage. And not because the team was lacking the technical skills or the estimators to do it but because Sage was only allowing one person at a time to work in an estimate.  

Carina Mansilla, Senior Estimator at H.J. Russell says, “It was really difficult for other people to start using the same software, and based on the way that information was recorded it was not very easy to read, it was not custom-made for the client.”  

That problem, combined with H.J. Russell’s office expansion, a focus on multi-family projects, and the frustration of having to split projects between Sage and Excel, led Carina and her team to seek out new software.  

The Solution

In January 2021, after receiving recommendations from other contractors about DESTINI Estimator, H.J. Russell decided to make the switch without evaluating any other estimating software.  

The primary drivers behind choosing DESTINI Estimator are the software’s team estimating, historical cost data, project tab, templates, conceptual estimating, and Procore integration features.  

Carina says, “One of the biggest reasons for our decision was that we can have multiple users working in the same estimate. Additionally, the estimate data is captured at a database level making it easier to dive into historical data. Then there is the project tab’s flexibility which gives the ability to work on conceptual estimates and create templates for project information. Finally, its integration with Procore is very helpful.” 

One thing that makes Beck Technology stand apart from Sage is the custom implementation plan that is included in included in your license purchase Carina says, “That’s something that DESTINI has, you work with the implementation team to customize your templates, to have your own firm’s name on every page, the color that you want to use, the information you want to show.”  

H.J. Russell & Company has been fully implemented in DESTINI Estimator since July 2021 and reaping the benefits of switching to the single-source solution. 

The Results

H.J. Russell & Company was confident that Beck Technology would support their preconstruction team as it expanded into its new offices in Dallas, Texas and with integrating a new database system.  

Beck Technology provides H.J. Russell with solutions and helps them maximize the team’s usage of DESTINI Estimator based on their specific needs. Carina points out that with clear and transparent communication, Beck Technology keeps the precon team updated on product releases, updates, and technical issues in a “timely manner.”  

Carina says, “My favorite thing is that a lot of things can be easy and can be done very quickly. For example, I can create a project based on a template, or I can create a project based on copying another estimate so that the process is easy and make us more productive.”  

When asked about their overall experience with DESTINI Estimator and Beck Technology, Carina replied, “The customer success specialists are very helpful because they are with you every step of the way, helping you to get where you want to go with the software. That’s very helpful. I haven’t seen that in any other software. So, that’s great.”  

Beck Technology has been providing general contractors with innovative preconstruction software solutions for over 25 years. We’re a company born from industry with a mission to make the world a better place by creating data-driven technology that solves many of construction’s biggest problems. The DESTINI suite of products streamlines and standardizes the preconstruction process, as well as giving the precon team back its time to spend on higher value tasks like value engineering and project pursuit. 

If you are ready to see how the DESTINI suite can elevate your precon efforts, schedule a call with us today by clicking the button below.