As the construction industry evolves so too does the use of construction technology on projects and in companies. One area that continues to progress is online bidding and subcontractor prequalification. Managing all this can be challenging, but construction companies are finding technology can ease processes.
Such is the case with the Swinerton Family of Companies, www.swinerton.com, San Francisco, Calif. Part of the company’s strategy is to prioritize investment in construction technology. The company has adopted technology for years, but systems and processes within the company have evolved as the industry progressed.
Looking back 15 years ago, the company was using home-grown construction management and accounting software, along with scheduling software and customized spreadsheets for estimating to access data in the field and manage business processes.
Today, the company uses invitation-to-bid technology online and via mobile devices. The software provides employees and subcontractors an easy way to access information through one database. Swinerton began using SmartBidNet technology, www.smartbidnet.com, Bryan, Texas, roughly a year and a half ago, and has found the system to provide a number of benefits.
For example, during preconstruction of a $60 million retail project, Swinerton Builders was able to receive documents and communication from subs quickly and budget the project within a week. The technology allowed the construction company to expedite processes.
The construction company also uses the SmartBidNet mobile app for access to the subcontractor database and phone numbers for bidders.
While online subcontractor prequalification is not new, the technology has been gaining more interest in the construction industry as of late, as a way to speed up preconstruction processes and allow subcontractors to have an easy way to respond to requests.
Late last year, iSqFt, www.isqft.com, Cincinnati, Ohio, made a big announcement that is accelerating the use of online prequalification across the country. The company is contributing its online solution to AGC, www.agc.org, Arlington, Va., general contractors at no cost. iSqFt says this gives contractors the information they need to find the right subcontractor bidders and to identify risk, prequalify vendors, and manage data.
Subcontractors can also respond to requests for free. With the tech, subs can save a centralized form one time and securely share information with any general contractor.
This news also followed up iSqFt’s announcement that it is working with ConsensusDocs to offer online access to industry-standard documents that reflect best practices for prequalifying contractors and subcontractors.
Partnerships such as this will continue to accelerate the adoption of online prequalification in the construction industry. As partnerships and technologies continue to advance, contractors have more options for improving efficiencies and expediting preconstruction processes in the future.