The following article about the importance of digitising construction from our Managing Director is taken from Housebuilder & Developer February 2020 issue
Adrian Wild of Integro Construction Software explains why every housebuilding business should be using the software now available to maximise profits.
In 2020 there are plenty of property developers and construction firms who still haven’t properly embraced digital construction – no wonder the CITB has launched an initiative to train up to 2,000 construction industry leaders in digital skills.
Not too long ago, there wasn’t a single software product on the market that came close to meeting most builders’ construction needs. But for many, software can provide the cost control firms often lack.
Software can manage users’ workload, secure profit, and make sure nothing is missed. This transformational power of software can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.
Software has come a long way
Here we are in the third decade of the 21st century, and forward-thinking businesses large and small are beginning to recognise the value of integrated design and estimating software.
Before, people had to do it the hard way. Today, software has truly evolved into something sophisticated yet accessible. Combining CAD with live pricing in an integrated solution was unimaginable two decades ago, but today it’s a reality, and an opportunity that ought to be snapped up by building firms, architects and property developers.
Builders now have all the construction software tools they need to succeed. If they choose the right kit, there’s no excuse. But there’s still more to do, and awareness of digital construction’s potential should certainly be higher.
The ‘Partners launch’ of ‘Digital Transformation through leaders’ was recently held in Glasgow. The CITB is funding a ‘Digital Construction Skills’ programme to offer, in some cases free, training and consultancy to companies in support of their digital journey. This could take the form of in-house training, eLearning, online tools, research, workshops, and so on. It is vital that software firms play their part to make sure no company is left behind.
It all starts with accurate costs
Who doesn’t want to know the accurate cost of a housebuilding project? You want to evaluate feasibility and profitability. You want to know whether the sausage machine is going to churn out profit once all the keys are handed over.
Back in the day, this was no easy task. Now, as you design a project, you can be served the regularly updated prices for intelligent BIM products to produce an instant cost; you can easily scrutinize labour productivity, usage factors, wastage; the list goes on.
Planning application setbacks
Then of course, once you arrive at your figures, it all goes out the window when the local authority requests a different roof pitch, or maybe a hip, a different render, and so on. It’s money down the drain when your data has to be reworked multiple times.
Thankfully now, depending on your software, as every alteration is made, the effect of the change will cascade across the entire project. So you can quickly review the design, swap products and rates in and out of the project, and see how energy performance will differ. In no time, you can ascertain whether the job is still viable.
So much of housebuilding is about customising house styles and repurposing for the local market. Not all software offers high quality BIM objects. But, find the right software product with clever CAD functionality, and you can revise designs with an instant project cost update, rather than start all over again every time. It’s a real game changer.
Managing the entire project
It’s never been more important to have an efficient process that ensures you sustain your business and maintain a decent profit. Software that provides a single source of truth, employing joined up thinking, gives your business a fighting chance.
So if you’re currently producing your project designs and costings separately, then think again. Software has come a long way – it’s time to properly digitise your business.
Adrian Wild is the founder of Integro Construction Software
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