How software is helping construction scale to meet global demand
Presented by Procore
Imagine waking up with the ability to predict every obstacle or misstep you’ll encounter that day. You’d likely save yourself a lot of frustration and maybe even a few dollars. Now, imagine construction companies had the same ability to avoid missteps that could cost them millions of dollars and completely alter their project timelines.
McKinsey estimates that annual global construction spend will reach $14 trillion by 2025 — approximately 13% of the world’s GDP. The UN estimates we’ll add 2.5 trillion square feet of buildings by 2060 — the equivalent of building an entire New York City every month for the next 40 years.
I share these numbers to illustrate the massive scale we’re talking about, and to help people who don’t live and breathe construction understand that efficiently managing construction projects is an immediate, global issue.
In the next decade, we’ll see continued emergence of vertical software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions designed to provide the construction industry with the visibility, data, and predictive insights needed to scale capacity. Construction is collaborative at its core, which means these tools must connect all team members in real-time to improve how they estimate projects, manage design, and control costs.
Prioritizing preconstruction is the secret to scale
Mistakes made in preconstruction are propagated and amplified through the life of a project. Some of the most crucial decisions are made during preconstruction: estimation, takeoff, prequalification, and bidding set the context for the whole project.
These decisions are often managed manually with emails, spreadsheets, and point solutions that don’t integrate with a larger workflow. Siloed systems make it difficult to collect documentation, collaborate on planning and budgeting, select the right partners, and produce multi-faceted bids. This leads to miscommunication, errors, and rework — even multi-million dollar change orders.
Today, SaaS is transforming the preconstruction process to help lay a solid foundation for every project — both structurally and financially — which is rooted in three areas:
1. Centralizing & digitizing projects
Project timelines are complex and dynamic. We hear from customers daily that eliminating silos in the preconstruction phase is essential for accuracy and visibility into project performance.
When everyone has access to the same information, the estimating team can efficiently develop and win competitive bids or price changes that occur. Meanwhile, the project team can move forward without their work being impacted by outdated or lost information in the handoff from the preconstruction team.
Prioritizing connectivity in these beginning stages also pays off in future projects. KSC Inc, a leader in specialty architectural metal fabrication, uses Procore’s integration with Esticom to provide critical feedback to their estimating teams which results in higher accuracy and efficiency for future estimates. There’s exciting potential here; we’re building a robo-take off solution to build estimates from construction docs using AI. This will take the burden off estimating teams, and predictive insights will alert them of any missing items from the plans that could lead to disputes in the future.
2. Collaborative & Efficient Design
Constructability review is a collaborative process between the design team, project team, owner, and specialty contractors to eliminate confusion and rework in the field. A major piece of this is effective building information modeling (BIM).
While BIM itself is not new, construction technology companies continue innovating to make cross-stakeholder collaboration in the design process easier and more useful. For example, Procore recently announced updates to our BIM software, including the ability for teams to track, manage, and collaborate on all 2D and 3D design issues in one location. Design management must go beyond simple design authoring in order to be effective; when you combine best-in-breed BIM tech with a best-in-breed platform, you get supercharged design coordination.
3. Ongoing Cost Management
Data loss and slow-downs largely occur in the handoffs between the preconstruction and course-of-construction teams. Connectivity is essential for accuracy, as well as project cost management. Time and materials are never set in stone, and with narrow profit margins, there’s little room for error.
Stakeholders need accurate and complete information to make decisions, so the solutions the industry uses must be updated in real-time to reflect the project’s true financial health. For example, general contracting company Kitchell Contractors uses Procore’s advanced forecasting and analytics capabilities to enhance cash flow projections, volume of earned revenue, and profit forecasting.
At Procore, we talk about “Deep Collaboration” — meaning collaboration tooling can’t be a destination, it must be embedded in the work itself, and combine productivity and collaboration functionality in one place to get a specific job done. A deeply collaborative future is what the construction industry needs to tackle essential scaling efforts as the global population and infrastructure demands skyrocket.
Learn more about how Procore is helping construction pros lay the groundwork for profitable projects during the preconstruction process.
Tooey Courtemanche is Founder & CEO of Procore.
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