Software Exploration is the First Step in Major Commitment at Haselden and Layton

Making a major commitment should include plenty of research prior to jumping in with both feet. Asking plenty of questions, feeling comfortable with leaving behind the “way I’ve always done it” and embracing new possibilities, and having a plan for the future all go into discovering if your new commitment is right. As any general contractor knows, moving to a new estimating platform is a big decision.

Blindly making the decision based on functions and features is not the way to embrace a technology that plays a major role in winning work and winning over clients. Additionally, being stagnant with an archaic estimating system is just as detrimental because it limits growth, innovation, and collaboration to build a better future for the company.

Haselden Construction and Layton Construction Company have both completed Beck Technology’s DESTINI Estimator exploration as part of their research in finding a preconstruction solution for their companies. Randy Gunn, Senior Estimator for Layton Construction, stated, “We wanted to look out there and see everything that was involved, and, really, I think Beck Technology was the only one that provided that opportunity for that kind of an exploration. This was very hands-on, very personal, and very tailored to us.”

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Transparent, Hands-On Implementation Planning and Support for a Seamless Software Rollout

An award-winning ENR top 400 contractor and top 100 Design-Builder, The Korte Company helped pioneer the design-build construction method and was an early adopter of BIM estimating technology. Since 2015, Korte has used DESTINI Profiler’s 5D modeling and estimating capabilities to conceptualize and estimate projects in the early preconstruction phase. In 2017, Korte decided to take the next step toward streamlined, collaborative estimating by implementing DESTINI Estimator as its nationwide estimating platform.

“As a truly integrated design-build firm, we need to take advantage of the 3D modeling that our design department generates. With DESTINI Estimator, I think we will see increased utilization of the information that we have today in our design department, as well as a more efficient takeoff and estimate setup method,” says Korte Chief Operating Officer Jason Mantle. “One of our business requirements was to gain a support system that would listen, change, and grow with us, providing the product that will make us the most efficient we can be as technologies and systems change.”

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Accurate, Quick Answers are the Key to Wow and Win Clients

When owners are ready to move on a construction project, they need answers about the design and how much it might cost—and they want answers quickly. The preconstruction group first to the table with accurate, detailed estimates and models has the best opportunity to build a customer relationship that can lead to winning the work.

While many competitors are still at the drawing board, firms using Beck Technology’s DESTINI® Profiler can turn around a detailed 3D model and cost estimate in as little as one day, offering them an early opportunity to showcase their capabilities.

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Webinar Recap – Implementing DESTINI Estimator in a Traditional Timberline Shop

Implementing a corporate software change can be cumbersome. Teams must ensure data is properly transferred and monitor company morale, in addition to training and fully integrating the new software. Challenging as it may seem, the return on such an investment often leads to long-term benefits.

The Beck Group made such a decision when they opted to upgrade from their current estimating software, Timberline, to DESTINI Estimator. Brent Pilgrim, DESTINI applications director at The Beck Group, explained the rationale behind the decision and discussed the implementation plan put in place.

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Taking DESTINI Estimator Companywide, One Power User at a Time

Brian ParkerWhen Sundt Construction’s director of preconstruction services, Don Goodrich, recognized that the firm’s estimating software platform was becoming outdated, he knew it was time to act. He wanted a system that tied in with DESTINI Profiler, so he reached out to Beck Technology.

Having already used Beck Technology’s DESTINI Profiler 3D modeling and estimating software to impress clients and win work, Lead Estimator Brian Parker understood how Profiler and DESTINI Estimator could work together to take the company’s estimating capabilities to the next level. Brian was selected to be the company’s DESTINI Estimator implementer. As a DESTINI “power user,” Parker is now training others within Sundt to make the most of the DESTINI suite of products.

Parker recently took the time to share Sundt’s unique power user strategy for rolling out DESTINI Estimator as its intelligent, enterprise-wide estimating standard.

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Real-Time Modeling & Estimating Builds Relationships, Wins Work for The Korte Company

When clients are curious about the cost impact of a change to their building design, they don’t want to wait hours or days for an answer. So when a preconstruction team walks into a client meeting with a 5D model containing integrated pricing with the ability to make modifications in real-time, a noticeable impression is made.

Beck Technology’s DESTINI Profiler allows estimators, business developers and architects to service clients by providing parametrically visible cost information in the form of 5D. Regardless of the individual using the tool, this transparent cost-communication approach fosters a positive and productive team engagement. Simply put, DESTINI Profiler generates positive discussion.   

Bringing the Owner’s Ideas to Life

Many larger, national design-build firms, including The Korte Company, are also using DESTINI Profiler as a communication tool during the business development stage when their estimators and architects collaborate while using the software’s unique combination of 3D modeling and granular cost data to initiate dialogue with clients.

Korte has come to rely on DESTINI Profiler as a daily healthcare tool to create 5D cost models on all design-build and construction management pursuits. Regardless of the size or scope of work, Korte utilizes DESTINI Profiler to establish a baseline for time, cost and logistics. Owners are consistently impressed with the firm’s ability to provide conceptual yet highly flexible cost models based on their custom healthcare cost database.

“If you go to a presentation, the worst thing you can hear is crickets,” says Craig Mulliniks, CPE, LEED GA and Korte’s director of virtual construction. “If you’re properly using DESTINI Profiler, you won’t get that silence. It’s a promise. In fact, those meetings are typically inquisitive, interactive and high-energy.”

Korte’s DESTINI Profiler users can make changes and updates to their building models in real time, giving owners immediate cost answers for their “what if” scenarios.

When a customer asks about changing the building skin components; increasing, decreasing or reconfiguring departmental spaces; verifying parking spaces or even deleting an entire floor, the team can make those changes to the DESTINI Profiler model in real time, allowing the owner to see the visual and cost impact of their ideas, while maintaining a transparent atmosphere.

“If you can show an owner that kind of value in the meeting room, you’re differentiating yourself and fostering a relationship,” Mulliniks says. “You can add and subtract a floor for an owner, rather than go back to the office to do it. You can actually see the change and all the costs associated with it, so you develop immediate confidence. It’s a real differentiator.”

The real value though for Korte is the fact that DESTINI Profiler helps Korte win projects. The firm relies on Profiler for the cost approach as well as the primary method of presentation with potential clients.

Mulliniks continues, “DESTINI Profiler plays a critical role in gaining owner confidence. We recently won two new projects using this dynamic business development and preconstruction tool. The capabilities are simply impressive.”

Additionally, he noted that the software can handle even his most robust models, having recently used Profiler to model and present a design that exceeded 228 megs of memory.

Test-Driving DESTINI Estimator on Actual Projects

When Senior Estimator Taimoor Khan came to work at the $1.5 billion construction company Walbridge, he brought a passion for technology and a visionary spirit. So when the company began evaluating the DESTINI Estimator software as a replacement for traditional, spreadsheet-based estimating methods, Khan was a natural choice to lead the charge. He became a “super user,” exploring the software’s capabilities through real-life project application.

He shared his journey with us during the evaluation period, discussing his favorite product features, relationship with the Beck Technology team, and ultimate rollout plans.

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McCrory Construction Wows Customers with Fast, Accurate Models and Estimates

In continual operation as a general contractor since 1918 and with as much as 90 percent of its business coming from repeat customers, McCrory Construction for decades used traditional spreadsheet-based estimating methods for most projects. But for preconstruction and design-build projects that called for collaboration with architects and owners earlier in the process, the firm sensed that spreadsheets and drawings weren’t enough and sought a more integrated, visual option.

“We would go through the process from schematic design and drawings to final drawings and implementation in the field, but we never had a visual representation of what we were doing beyond the architect drawing,” says Matt Solomon, an estimator for McCrory with nearly two decades of experience.

To maintain and expand McCrory’s position as a leading force in the Southeast construction market across 13 states, the company invested in Beck Technology’s DESTINI Profiler in 2009. The small, fourth-generation, privately-owned firm is the first of its size in the region to embrace this next-level estimating technology, gaining a competitive advantage with faster, more accurate estimates and impressive visualization capabilities.

“We are at the forefront of technology in our area overall and especially for a firm of our size,” says Solomon. “Incorporating DESTINI Profiler in the preconstruction process has, and does, serve as a strong point of difference for our firm. Customers respond with shock and awe when presented with a detailed 3D model, complete with pricing in a matter of days, making DESTINI Profiler a valuable marketing tool. The technology speeds collaboration and improves transparency with owners and architects for projects.”

Design on the Fly

Combining 3D modeling with pricing, DESTINI Profiler allows the McCrory team and their clients to visualize in 3D how different design elements affect pricing and creates more accurate estimates than could be achieved with 2D drawings.

“The technology gives a true visualization of everything we are doing,” says Solomon. “It’s very impressive to owners that we can make changes on the fly, with the click of a button. We’re able to explore in real-time how changing a finish option or room configuration will impact the visual model as well as the overall project cost.”

By pulling topography data from Google Maps into DESTINI Profiler, Solomon can visualize exactly how a building would sit on the contours of the land. This application was particularly helpful for one multifamily project, in which two stories of parking were to be built beneath the building on a sloped site.

“The ability to pull in images from Google Maps and set the project on the exact site to show the elevations from a true vantage point wows our clients,” Solomon says. “It’s hard to envision two stories of parking with half in the ground and half above ground on one site. When you are able to take a building and lay it on a site using the actual layout perspective, that’s priceless.”

Working with subcontractors, he established specific pricing for each type of unit in the building, then assigned those values to each unit in the model. As Solomon built out the 3D model, he worked on the conceptual design with the owner, who was able to visualize via DESTINI Profiler each unit and floor within the building and what was included in the pricing. The entire model and estimate was complete within three weeks.

Another project, a small office building, took just five days to model and price, including creation of several site concepts with different building skins, window arrangements, and finishes. The result was a clear view into how the various options would affect pricing.

Rather than simply viewing a list of numbers and trying to imagine a building in his head, he is now able to visualize every angle of a finished structure, price out various options, and clearly show owners what they are getting for their money so they can make informed decisions.

A former construction superintendent and project manager, Solomon is also pleased that DESTINI Profiler catches measurement and other errors that might have been overlooked in drawings, avoiding problems during construction.

Cost Database Under Construction

With each project Solomon estimates using DESTINI Profiler, additional cost data are built into a growing database. As he estimates different types of projects – from multifamily properties to commercial, industrial, medical, or retail facilities – all cost data for specific elements stay in the system, making estimating similar projects in the future faster and easier. Solomon predicts estimated to actual project cost accuracy is better than 10 percent improved using the software.

To further build out the DESTINI Profiler database, Solomon has reverse-engineered projects that have already been bid or built, transforming lump-sum pricing into square-footage and per-room macro BIM pricing that can be quickly applied to future estimates. He has created several pre-programmed packages with specific line items for different types of rooms, such as a women’s restroom or hospital room, and across various building formats. In one instance, he selected a multi-floor university alumni center project where the technology allowed him to create a 3D model and accurately apply cost to each office space, common area and room, taking into account everything from ceiling height to cabinetry and flooring.

He is also upgrading and converting the company’s existing database into a new master format that will seamlessly integrate with DESTINI Profiler, work with any architect’s systems, and feed information directly into McCrory’s accounting software.

“The idea is to build a robust database, so when we have a client that comes to us with a similar project, I’ve already got the data in the system and can build the model on the fly, providing an accurate market price,” he says. “We’re able to estimate more projects in less time and reduce any learning curve.”

As the pricing database grows along with Solomon’s skills using the software, he has turned around small-building estimates in just a few days and large, highly complex projects within three weeks, allowing McCrory to get owners the estimates they need faster.

Building on two days of initial training in 2014 at Beck Technology’s headquarters in Dallas, Solomon receives ongoing support from Beck Technology via individual web conferences, adding to his arsenal of techniques for tackling specific challenges.

“It’s been very productive,” Solomon says. “They can see what stage I’m at on a project and offer the pointers I need to keep moving forward and developing my skills.”

Currently, McCrory is training additional estimators on the system and integrating DESTINI Profiler with DESTINI Estimator, streamlining the entire end-to-end construction process from estimating through project management, accounting, and production. Per Solomon, the combination will yield powerful results by embedding estimate line items with intelligence directly from the 3D models they were born from.