Productivity - and why it should matter to your construction business

Get more done, in less time, at lower cost, with higher margins. More profit, less stress. Easy to say, hard to do, especially if you're in the construction industry.

Recently, ConstructionDIVE published an article on why the construction industry struggles with productivity gains vis a vis other "rival" industries. The content is good, worth your time, worth taking notes (their stock photo on the other hand doesn't cut it - 3 guys, 2 wearing ties, 3 different coloured hard hats - never ever happens).

For 15 years, we've been helping contractors and specialty trades benefit from BuildIT... one of the pioneer web based efficiency tools created specifically for the construction industry. Efficiency and productivity are huge parts of our business ethos, and guide much of our development. 

In my previous company, I worked with residential and commercial contractors teaching them how to use proprietary building products that beat conventional products hands down. We created custom design software solutions that helped architects, engineers and suppliers (contract lumber yards, truss manufacturers, and panelizers) size and specify products way faster than doing it "the old fashioned way" with tables, charts, and legal pads.

So when you investigate BuildIT for the first time, you'll see a "systems approach" to managing jobs, contacts, scheduled tasks, files and communications. Add to that mix the magic of collaboration - everyone (you, staff/employees, trades, investors, clients, design professionals, building officials, vendors) working together, on the same page, to produce something of value.

The aforementioned article boldly claims that "collaboration is the key to productivity"... and we couldn't agree more. They hint at the "old guard" who do not have a collaboration background, but rather are individualistic and view constant collaboration as a negative. No software solution can fix that... but over time, as new hires come on board who are open to embracing new technologies and methodologies, they will totally embrace tools like BuildIT in order to make the magic happen on their job sites.

BuildIT allows all stakeholders on the job (wherever they are) to have access to computing power, real time scheduling, and instant notification. Our notification system lets your people know what changed, and what's coming up - you control who gets notified, when, and under what circumstances. It's all done for you, automatically - allowing you to focus on higher priorities that generate greater returns for your time (read: more profit).

I spoke with a customer yesterday that had to fire two employees. Employee turnover is disruptive and costly. Unlike a warm body, the BuildIT web based scheduling system is a fraction of the cost of an employee, it never calls in sick, is available 24/7, and actually comes with a real human being on standby should you need that support to crank out a schedule, or solve a problem. It's a remarkably good deal.

Take a bold step towards greater profitability in your business - it all starts with a free test drive.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

4D BIM Scheduling, String Theory and Einstein

Most of the world is still dealing with 2 dimensional drawings/blueprints. Plan view, section details, quantity takeoffs... then simple construction schedules to plan out the work. If that's you, you're in the right place.

Well, simple schedules can get very complicated very quickly. While doing a search online for construction schedule examples, I stumbled across this image that stopped me dead in my tracks:


Wha !?

Welcome to the world of BIM (Business Information Modeling) and 4D BIM Scheduling.

If you haven't come across it yet, here's what you're missing...

BIM essentially allows companies (with very expensive software) to "build the building" digitally before it's built on site. The 2D drawings that have been the mainstay of construction for decades are turned into 3D models... great for impressing clients, spinning the building around on a computer screen, and seeing how the building will fit into its environment. 

Now, add the schedule to these 3D BIM geometric shapes, and well, you have 4D BIM scheduling, and the schedule may look something the picture above.

When I saw this, I had to take a second look. People actually create these, understand them, and can build off them.

Reminds me of an except from Brian Regan on when he came across a Nova documentary on String Theory. It's worth a few minutes of your time, trust me. He tops it up with a beautiful reference to Einstein.

Fortunately BuildIT schedules are simple to create, and simple to read (as shown below).


And you don't have to be an Einstein to figure it out.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Task Notification System

So you've made a change to your schedule. People affected by that change need to know what's going on, as soon as possible.

With BuildIT, your people can be notified... automatically... by email.

There are 2 general types of notifications:

  1. Immediate, based on changes to tasks
  2. Overnight, based on upcoming tasks

You get to set the rules - who gets notified, when, and under what circumstances.

Immediate Notifications

When you open a task in BuildIT, make one or more changes, then click [save and close], you can configure the system to send out an email notification. There are several options here (as shown in this partial screen shot), and we can help you make the proper adjustments so the right people are getting notified about the right things.


For example, based on the configuration above, if you add extra days to a task, and that task is shared with an outside vendor or sub-contractor, that person will get an email notification that may look something like this:


Easy to see who it's for, what job, the task name, and what changed. The contact can even click a link below and go directly to their shared schedule web link (Contact Schedule) - a feature that sets BuildIT apart from the rest – where they can see ALL tasks for ALL jobs you have assigned to them, as well as ALL related job files you wish to share with them.

Overnight Notifications

Your contacts (vendors, employees, sub-contractors, clients, etc.) can now be given a "heads up" email notification several days in advance of a task you've assigned them to. Now, if there are any scheduling issues, they can be dealt with in advance, not the morning of!!

For more information on BuildIT's task notification system, and how to get it working for your team, give us a shout.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1