As your business grows, naturally so does your tech stack. The need to automate increases as you add more work and resources. From admins to C Suite, software should speed up the efficiency of everyone’s tasks. But after a few years of growth, you may find yourself working harder, not smarter. You realize that the tools your company invested in have been purchased by different departments and regional offices for different reasons, none of which consider a technology roadmap. Now processes are disjointed, systems aren’t working together, and instead of collaboration, work is siloed, and deliverables are inconsistent.
The more tools you add, the more manual tasks have become…copy/paste, needle-in-the-haystack searches, piecing things together like Frankenstein’s monster…ain’t nobody got time for that! Somehow, you’re making it work, though by sacrificing long hours, stressful rework…sending off a conceptual estimate on a wing and a prayer.
Let’s look at it like this, would you jimmy-rig something on the construction site with used zip ties you found on the floorboards of your truck? What super in their right mind approve that?
Preconstruction is the fundamental foundation of any project. Why are you holding it together with zip ties?
To stay relevant as a business and in your job, you must learn and embrace new software and other workplace technologies. Warehouse robots, construction site drones, and robust project management computer programs have all helped increased productivity and efficiency, as well as eliminate errors. There’s no denying the multiple advantages that technological advancement provides the world.
With the rapid pace that technology evolves now, scientific, and technological breakthroughs might not seem as astonishing as it has in the past, yet, every new discovery and innovation makes an impact. Though there are industries reluctant to change—the construction industry being one of them—no industry is immune to the crippling consequences a business faces when slower to adopt new technologies.
Fortunately, there are companies, like Beck Technology, that recognizes how the lives of preconstruction and construction professionals, contractors, and owners are vastly improving by incorporating new technology in the office and out in the field. Building on the innovative and rebellious spirits of great designers and builders that came before us, we continuously ask, "what can we do to make preconstruction and construction estimating better?"
Instead of thinking of the ominous philosophy of ‘adapt or die,’ consider the plethora of new construction technologies as an opportunity for exponential growth for your business.
Integrated software increases productivity, reduces errors, saves money, provides a better end-user experience, eliminates silos, and reduces inaccurate data.
At one time, it was necessary for general contractors to use multiple programs to complete the preconstruction lifecycle. Takeoff, line items costs, project management, financials—there just weren’t programs that talked to each other. For example, before integrating its tech stack, Balfour Beatty used 11 different estimating tools! But with integrated preconstruction software, estimators no longer need to toggle between multiple programs to get their jobs done.
What Truly Distinguishes a Product or Application as Integrated?
Many construction software companies claim to integrate multiple applications. However, they mistake importing and exporting from one application to another for integration, which is not integration at all.
Real integration brings in multiple aspects of estimating and causes them to work in unison with each other, bringing in more resources for the client to use. Like the way that our flagship estimating software, DESTINI Estimator, integrates 2D and 3D takeoff, as well as Autodesk BIM 360, all in one unified platform. Truly integrated preconstruction software allows the user to operate in one tool, eliminating the need to go back and forth between dozens of programs. As a result, it creates an organized strategic plan moving forward.
Why is Integrated Preconstruction Software Important?
The construction industry traditionally operates in silos, which results in a higher margin of error between preconstruction and on-field construction teams. As projects face greater complications and complexities in an ever-changing market, the previous era of working in silos is quickly ending. The construction industry's demand for integrated technology has never been greater, thanks to technology's revolutionary ability to bring multiple pieces of a workflow into one single source of truth.
Decisions made in the preconstruction process set the tone and pace for the entire project. One mistake in preconstruction can create a domino effect of errors throughout the project, creating more work, longer hours, and less efficiency. It is an essential part of the life cycle of a project, and failure to execute properly in the preconstruction phase can result in a project never getting off the ground.
For preconstruction teams to make the best project decisions, all data used in the preconstruction of a project needs to be tracked throughout the rest of the project's phases. This is called the preconstruction data lifecycle. A complete preconstruction data lifecycle allows estimators to make the right project decisions based on benchmarking and analysis. With technology that captures the preconstruction data lifecycle, you can correlate key data points to gain better insights based on past projects. However, if your preconstruction programs don’t talk to each other, you cannot collect this data properly.
Integrated preconstruction software solves many common preconstruction problems because it speeds up your workflows while reducing errors along the way. A software product is truly integrated when it features multiple applications and resources in one platform, with the purpose of letting these applications communicate with each other to complete a project.
What are the Benefits of Integrated Preconstruction Software?
Integrated technology in preconstruction creates a domino effect of benefits, the primary ones being able to complete more work with greater accuracy and consistency. Projects are completed more quickly because all the tools needed to build an excellent estimate are within one software.
When preconstruction software is integrated, there is greater team alignment. Your preconstruction teams, even those across multiple offices, can collaborate under one platform in real-time. With access to the same information, problems like miscommunication, inconsistency in project deliverables, and missing data are conquered. This then minimizes the margin of error for on-field construction teams, saving money, time, and labor that would be wasted otherwise.
The era of endless amounts of data sheets and paperwork, manually counting and checking numbers for countless hours is over. The construction industry is entering a new age with integrated technology, and as a result, there’s much less need for going back and forth between different construction tools.
Integrated technology is essential to the future of preconstruction because of how it transforms those companies that adopt it, and its ability to completely restructure the industry so that we can make the world a better place in the future.
What is the Impact of Integrated Estimating Software?
The construction industry has been slow to embrace modern technologies. This is especially true within preconstruction. But, within the last few years, this has dramatically started to change. The availability of high-tech software, photography, laser technology, drones, A.I., and other advancements significantly improves not only the way preconstruction teams collect data, but also improves the amount and type of detailed information collected about the project.
Because of the positive impact of technological innovations, more general contractors are embracing new software, systems, and processes, and are more willing than ever to pioneer new ways of doing things. This begs the question, of course: why the sudden change? What's the inspiration behind these trends to forward-thinking in the industry? And more importantly, what impact have these trends had on the industry so far?
One of the biggest reasons behind these trends is simple: trying to solve the age-old problem of doing more work in less time. Estimating departments are constantly being asked to produce a plethora of results under extremely tight deadlines. They are asked to provide higher volumes of estimates and provide more information along with the estimates with even greater accuracy, all with less amount of time given to complete estimating and budgeting activities. In the past, this was often a difficult request to fulfill; multiple tools and manual calculations opened lots of potential for error. As a result, general contractors sought to find ways to automate manual calculations and bring more of their tools under the same platform, resulting in several different processes and software that strive to accomplish this goal.
Without estimating software that integrates, estimators resorted to importing and exporting files, workbooks, and documents through various applications, creating a highly disorganized workspace, missing information, a lot of broken formulas, and missing pieces. Integrated software eliminates these problems and allows estimating teams to do more with less.
The impact of general contractors adopting integrated technology is easily seen in the positive results it brings. An integrated platform will enable a seamless transition for estimators because they can all work with the same database, same estimate, same output, and the same organization, mitigating any risks. Mitigating risks in the workflow and using the time saved by implementing integrated technology, allows for more time to analyze data and evaluate trends in preconstruction. Integrated technology continues to give preconstruction teams more time to do more problem-solving, be more creative, and find more innovative solutions to a project's problems.
How is Preconstruction Software Becoming Integrated?
Technology has always been a driving force of change and innovation in any industry. One form of technology that has infinitely changed preconstruction is the construction cloud. Before the industry was introduced to the cloud, all files and documents were scattered in multiple platforms, spreadsheets, and databases. Every day, firms risked the possibility of missing a sketch, not having accurate information across multiple spreadsheets, difficulty finding an important file, etc., resulting in more manual labor to recreate what was lost.
With cloud construction software, all documents and files reside in one application, creating a highly organized and efficient storage that anyone on the team can access, in any place with an Internet connection. A remote worker and an on-field construction team member can access the same information with little to zero inefficiencies or delays and can trust that the information provided is completely accurate.
The construction cloud is just one form of technology that has revolutionized preconstruction. Along with the cloud, integration between various features that were once isolated is also changing the way estimating is conducted. For example, DESTINI Estimator combines multiple individual preconstruction tools such as 2D Takeoff, 3D Takeoff, and Autodesk’s BIM 360 in one software. As a result, your workflow is more streamlined.
While technological advancements are sure to develop, integration between companies is becoming more prevalent in preconstruction. More industry leaders are beginning to see the value in integrating and collaborating with other leaders to produce the best possible product and value for the customer.
Does Your Estimating Software Integrate?
Beck Technology believes that an integrated preconstruction world is the future of the construction industry. Collaborating with estimating professionals, we’ve seen that once a precon team integrates its tech stack, it leads to positive outcomes—increased collaboration, improved standardization, greater efficiency, and attracts the best talent.
The preconstruction software you use should allow you to perform all your estimating activities in a centralized hub which also stores all your data. This means that software companies specializing in preconstruction, takeoff, and estimating software should work together to form integrations with each other. Innovation doesn’t happen in a silo.
DESTINI Estimator integrates with Procore, AutoDesk BIM 360, Togal.AI., and Join, with other essential estimating software to follow.
Choose Software That Integrates
Integrated estimating software will consolidate tasks that are usually separated across several different programs. Having an integrated system is essential to developing and maintaining a cost history database.
A truly integrated software not only seamlessly meshes with the existing tools that a preconstruction team needs to keep in their workflow but will also house most of the tools the preconstruction team is already using. For example, Beck Technology’s DESTINI Estimator has an interface and functionality extremely like Excel, meaning that estimates can be built directly within Estimator. Additionally, 2D and 3D capabilities are all housed under the Estimator platform, eliminating the need for an additional tool that deploys these features.
By choosing software that integrates, preconstruction departments dramatically reduce the number of tools they use, which also means significantly reducing the chance of introducing inaccurate data into estimates. It’s all too easy to make an error when juggling data across so many programs, particularly when exporting or importing. That's the first of many problems solved by integrated technology.
Integrated software also opens the door for better data tracking and analysis of trends. Within preconstruction, there is a mountain of data that can be used to help make project and business decisions, but when that data is housed in multiple platforms that don't easily talk with each other, then the data sits stagnant. When integrated technology is introduced, the stagnant data comes to life and tells a story of lessons learned, trends to take note of, and how the company can continue to improve.
Further, Integrated software doesn't just affect preconstruction departments. When the preconstruction data lifecycle becomes attainable and visible, the construction company, project team, and our built environment all benefit.
DESTINI Estimator is your one-stop shop for completing estimates.