BuildIT History 101

BuildIT was started by a couple contractors back in 2000 who had an idea... help folks like them be more productive. Since contractors use physical tools to build structures, the idea at the time was to provide "digital tools" to build systems that could be the backbone of the contractor's business. Tools such as calculators, online filing cabinets, file sharing, coordination and scheduling, and so on - tools that would be available through the Internet... so the contractor could have access to them from any Internet connected device.

The idea started to blossom. Known then as "e-tool-time" - a play on the popular Home Improvement TV Series "Tool Time" which aired from 1991 - 1999, the founders shared their story, and brought on investment and talent, and began building the product... and the business.

Denis Apchin, one of the founders and past president of the company, has used BuildIT continuously for his own award winning project management business since the system went live 13 years ago. Here is what Denis has posted on his website (www.apchin.com):

BuildIT Systems is an innovative solution to the organizational, scheduling, and communication problems inherent to construction. Denis Apchin co-founder and former President of BuildIT, recommends the services provided by BuildIT to any construction professional who wants to increase efficiency, save time and money, and, perhaps most importantly, reduce stress. When he developed the concept for BuildIT, he was responding to a need for a standardized method in the construction industry. Having experienced the oftentimes chaotic world of contracting, he sought to implement a system that would resolve the central problem of any residential or commercial construction project: that of coordination.

With BuildIT, contractors, homeowners, or anyone responsible for the completion of a project can provide schedules and organized information for all who are involved. Home builders, project managers, architects, designers, trades workers, and site supervisors can access your BuildIT account online to visualize how and when their contribution will fit into your project. By adding users to your account, you can ensure that all members of your team have access to project information whenever they need it.

Your BuildIT account serves as your administrative hub, allowing you to maintain contact information for partners and schedule appointments with clients, consultants, legal authorities, vendors, and financial associates. Facilitating strategic coordination and information sharing, BuildIT eliminates scheduling errors, improves the efficiency of your team, and makes everything easier on you.

Furthermore, BuildIT's clerical tools allow you to track assigned tasks, import and organize documents and photos, send files and information to contacts, address health and safety concerns, access contracts and purchase orders, and network with other construction professionals to generate future projects. While the extent of possibilities may seem overwhelming, BuildIT focuses on simplification, and, thus, provides online tours, training, and examples to familiarize you with the system. Soon, the many user-friendly document templates will save you hours of formatting work while providing a thorough record of your data. BuildIT even offers a mini-web site creator which will allow you to showcase your portfolio to clients. Since 2000, BuildIT Systems has offered its services at a reasonable cost, helping construction professionals across North America to standardize and improve their methods of organization, scheduling, and communication. I urge you to take the free 15-day Test Drive at builditsystems.com.

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

Trade Conflicts Report

For contractors who want to ensure they haven't double or triple booked their best subcontractors, try the new "conflicts" reporting in BuildIT.

Conflicts Report

This report works for any contacts that have been assigned to 2 or more tasks, either in the same job, or across several jobs. The system will generate a report showing:

a) the contact

b) the 2 tasks in question

c) where the conflict is graphically

From this report, you can link to several areas:

1. The contact record

2. The "contact schedule" for that contact

3. The schedule view filtered by that contact

4. The specific task

We also have a preferences area where you can set your defaults, and have the conflicts report tailored to your needs.

Besides "trade conflicts", this also works for customers that have several crews or employees. You can see where the overlaps are, and where the gaps are in the schedule that can be filled. In doing so, you can optimize your staff, and increase your billable hours per month. Graphically, you can see on the BuildIT Gantt chart across several jobs where you have gaps, and where tasks overlap.

Make your edits, then re-run the "conflicts report" to ensure you have a schedule that is buttoned up. You'll be better scheduled, and your trades will thank you.

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

Smart Phones and BuildIT

With the massive proliferation of smart phones in recent months, and their adoption en masse by contractors and field personnel, we're getting a lot of enquiries about whether BuildIT has "an app" available.

It's not a question of whether we will build one, it's when.

An "app" is specifically designed for a small screen device and is fairly "light weight" in terms of feature set. And they're all the rage now. There are goofy ones (like the Orc detector... you can tell if one of your friends is an Orc from Lord of the Rings, then of course, you'd have to kill him)... then there are those designed for productivity.

But what we've found is most customers are having success using iPhones, Android smart phones, iPads etc. with BuildIT as is. All you need is a web browser, and you can access your BuildIT account.

I've been using a Samsung Galaxy smart phone for a few months now, and can easily access most of the functions and controls in BuildIT. And while there are some current limitations (that will likely be solved as 1000's of smart phone customers clog up tech support lines and online technical forums), we see most BuildIT customers benefiting from wireless access to the system with these devices.

Case in point - prior to writing this, I just spent 18 minutes on my smart phone, logged into my BuildIT account.

Here's what I did:

1. Created a new job (Martin Residence)

2. Entered a schedule template of 28 tasks related to a kitchen renovation.

3. Modifed durations of 2 tasks using the Gantt popup power bar... watch the schedule adjust in real time.

4. Set 1 task to 100% completed - keeps the schedule up to date.

5. Entered specific details in one of the tasks... while it was on my mind.

6. Entered a note tied to the Martin Residence... for others on my team to reference

7. Assigned a task to a sub contractor... so he would know where he's supposed to be, and when.

8. Created a standard "invitation to tender" from the myriad of construction document templates available to all BuildIT users.

9. Faxed that invitation to tender to a contact on my team (and was messaged minutes later from him about that fax he received!!).

10. Created a calendar appointment tied to the project... where other BuildIT users can see so they know when my time is booked.

11. Sent a text message to a contact (the contents of which get stored in BuildIT in the "sent email" folder, and tied to the Martin Residence).

12. Then logged out and got on with my day.

You don't have to be a 13 year old with lightning fast thumbs to make BuildIT work on a smart phone. Just an interest in becoming more productive and taking advantage of the technology to allow you to manage your business and make decisions wherever you happen to be.

Imangine: you and/or your employees accomplishing this much in 18 minutes for your business... from the truck !

Personally, I find it easier to be in front of a computer typing on a regular keyboard, and viewing a large monitor, but I don't always have that luxury, and neither will you or your employees.

Make the jump soon to becoming "untethered, and get more out of BuildIT.

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