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

Free construction software... comes with a price !

We just got our hands on a report published by Software Advice on free vs open source vs proprietary software (that is, software with a price tag).

For the full report, click here.

For those of you who value your time, I'll summarize:

  • proprietary software such as BuildIT is worth the investment
  • project managers who use proprietary software report fewer challenges and are more satisfied with product features (98%), usability (91%), and support (81%)
  • you're more likely to be completely satisfied with a proprietary software purchase/subscription, rather than free or open source
  • while the lure of free software is appealing, chances are you'll be back searching for a better solution... and you will have wasted precious time and lost profits in the process
It's true - you do get what you pay for. More features, better usability, and customer support. You get your problems solved.

Some new kids on the block do offer free versions of their proprietary software (free for so many projects, sub contractors, etc.). It's a strategy to gain some users and help with their beta release. So while you may think you are getting a good deal, you are actually paying a price to help debug their software.

Questions you should ask yourself before going for the free option:

  1. When I need support, who am I going to call?
  2. If I do connect on the phone with a support guy, how is he getting paid?
  3. If I'm not paying for their free software, and other people presumably aren't paying for their free software, then who is?
  4. What happens when the party is over, and they change their pricing strategy and start billing me?
  5. What happens to my data when they close their doors?
Yes, software companies come and go. Some show up for a year or two, have their flash in the pan, then they're gone... leaving a wake of distraught users that have to retool and catch up with their competitors that bet on the right horse. Their software generally is feature poor, their contact details on their website vague, site links not working, stock photos on their website of smiling contractors in white hard hats or call center girls wearing headsets, their site is void of resources to help you win at your business (contrast with BuildIT's 100+ blog articles like the one you're reading now)... these are the tell tale signs to run quickly in the other direction!

NO construction software exists that is purely free and is paid for by advertising, or is free for the express purpose of attracting a critical mass of users (like mass appeal social media giants Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) - these tools just don't exist in the construction project management space. 

If you search for "free construction software", you will get lots of hits... but most are offering a "free trial" of their system; you will eventually be moved into one of their paid plans. 

Yes, some software is fully free, but (BIG but)... it comes without support, with difficult-to-navigate manuals, or is so vague (like a general calendar system with some task tracking) that it's a stretch for most users to make the connection between the software and the construction world they live and operate in.

As they say, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

Having said that, with your super low subscription to BuildIT, here's what we do offer free/complimentary:

  • free 15 day test drive (and we're easy to persuade, if you need a bit more time to try us out)
  • free activation
  • free setup/configuration of your account
  • free training (phone, email, Skype, chat support)
  • free importing of your data (job list, contact database, schedule templates)
  • free customizations to the many pre-formatted construction document templates in the system
  • free construction calculators (these crazy things get used daily all over the planet!!)
  • free "relevant" advice given our background in construction - you speak to someone who speaks your language, not a generic commissioned salesperson whose sole purpose it is to sell you their software
  • free construction scheduling consulting - we'll help you get your first construction schedule out the door
Take BuildIT for a free test drive, and learn about the advantages of our "proprietary" construction software for yourself.

 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