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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

General Contractors now embrace latest construction technology to win more bids

Recently the construction industry is undergoing a tough situation due to recession. As a result the general contractors from all discipline are loosing jobs in their own countries and migrating to other countries for finding jobs.

Now the construction market become so competitive and the contractors are choosing alternative ways like lowering their bids, adopting new types of construction, going down-market for better job etc.

But the contractors can overcome this situation by adopting latest web based technologies. These technologies help contractors to create the cost estimates required to bid on projects in other regions more effectively.

Among these technologies the most important are online plan rooms, bid management software, takeoff and estimating software, building information modeling (BIM), and cloud-based project management software.

Online plan room
With the development of online planroom now, contractors have the option of either doing everything online by going to a physical planroom. Here the contractors will find Plans, Specifications, Addenda, Bid Invitations & Planholders available 24x7.

Contractors can manage and track plans, order prints, arrange for deliver, and compile a historical record of plans and specs. The contractors can also download these to estimate costs and bid on the projects. The contractors will be able to search for construction projects by type (e.g. commercial, industrial, and transportation), by trade (e.g. HVAC, concrete, and plumbing) and by location.

Of late, the process is further accelerated by integrating online plan rooms with backoffice software.

Bid Management Software
By applying bid management software, contractors can easily bid on jobs in other regions. The software centralize and simplify the distribution of Bid Invitation and Bid Management for General Contractors. The contractors will be in a position to know how much they spend, and set the parameters to alert when the cost of a desired spot exceeds the designated amount. As per the situation the contractors can decide whether to raise their bid or settle for a lower ranking.

A sub contractor receives a bid invitation and can submit a proposal after downloading supporting plans and project specs. From there the general contractor can evaluate bid proposals, view a project’s history and statistics, and prequalify their sub contractors all online.

These types of software help buyers (i.e. general contractors) connect with sellers (i.e. subcontractors and suppliers). These software contain some advanced features like contractor pre-qualification, bid solicitation and response tracking, and document management.

Onscreen Takeoff and Cost Estimating
Contractors get the ability to complete the entire estimate process from digital plan takeoffs, estimating materials and labor, and creating bid reports all on one screen. This helps contractors to win bids in less time.

After calculating the material quantity, estimating software draws real-time pricing information from national databases, thus letting contractors to calculate the cost precisely for any category of construction in any region.

Most companies achieve ROI from their On-Screen Takeoff software investment within the first year

Building Information Modeling
Building Information Modeling can automate measurement and costing of construction works. BIM can enhance the speed of takeoff work. With BIM the contractors can manipulate how qty's are calculated, re-assign Take off Items and Take Off quantities and generate quantities by location without changing the actual model at all.

BIM provides 4D (Adding the aspect of Time to a project phasing/sequencing) and 5D ( Adding the aspect of Cost to a project cost estimating) virtual modeling of a building. Now the contractors are using 4D BIM extensively. In 4D BIM the cost information is contained in the BIM or can be linked or associated to the building objects. Construction schedules can be created with model elements and associated with tasks and the corresponding materials, resources, and labor; all of which are optimized by location.

5D BIM can be utilized for coordination, quantity takeoff, cost estimation, project scheduling and production control. With 5D BIM the contractors can easily understand which aspects of the project are contributing to changes in cost.

Cloud-based Project Management Software
Cloud or web-based project management software facilitates contractors to create, manage, track, and share project documentation more efficiently, and communicate and collaborate with project team members more effectively.

These software can keep track of documents and seize them in one central easily-accessible place. The contractors can make decisions faster, automate documentation and reduce costs.

The status of project items like daily schedules, change orders, punch list items, requests for information (RFIs) and other project tasks can be viewed quickly.

Read more on the Software Advice blog : Technology Accelerates the Migration of Contractors

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vico Software presents Vico Office R3

Vico Software launches Vico Office R3 that generates a Construction-Oriented 5D BIM Environment for owners and contractors.

By utilizing this latest software the contractor get the ability to produce several types of BIM model with cost and schedule information.

The general contractors can computerize the task of generating location-based quantities both for estimates and for the powerful Flowline™ schedules.

This integrated construction management software is very useful for large complex building projects and can be utilized for coordination, budgeting, and project control alongwith modeling, scheduling and estimating.

Vico Office R3 converts 3D BIMs by integrating construction-caliber quantities with location, 4D scheduling data, and 5D cost estimating data to evaluate the schedule and cost impact of changes throughout preconstruction planning or throughout the project's build phase.

Posted by Rajib Dey
Senior Executive
Global Associates (The pioneer company in construction estimating)
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