Angus Cowan Constructions | A Total Shift from multiple Software to Buildern
Angus Cowan Constructions has been in the residential construction business for over 25 years. The recent years have been transformative for them, as innovative technologies in the construction business management completely changed the company’s workflows.
Discover how Angus Cowan Constructions transformed its construction business – from estimating to project management and payment – with Buildern’s comprehensive solution.
Read about the journey the company’s founder, Angus Cowan and his team embarked on to streamline their construction processes and improve overall efficiency.
That’s a story about two contrasts. Managing a construction business in the pre-technology era with several separate software and spreadsheets and managing one with Buildern, an all-in-one solution that centralizes and automates all aspects of the construction process.
The Challenge: Creating an Efficient Business Management Scheme Amidst Diverse Construction Processes
Construction is one of the most complex industries in project management and coordination. With various stakeholders, including clients, contractors, suppliers, and workers, involved in every project, along with processes that happen simultaneously but in different phases, it can be challenging to keep track of everything and ensure efficient communication among all parties.
Before a construction proposal is shared, the internal team needs proper coordination of various departments, followed by accurate estimation, scheduling and tracking.
And when you win the project, you need to establish a three-sided communication between the construction team, the client and the suppliers.
On top of all this, billing and payment processes can become a nightmare without proper management and integration with other aspects of the business.
Construction businesses – probably more than many other spheres – require integrated and streamlined management schemes.
Angus Cowan Constructions’ Specific Challenge
As a growing company, Angus Cowan Constructions struggled to keep up with the increasing demand for its services and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
The lack of a centralized software solution meant the team had to rely on different software and spreadsheets for each aspect of the construction process, leading to inefficiency, errors, and delays.
At least two separate software products were always required to share, communicate with and bill clients. The cornerstone phase of estimation was carried out in one software, after which Angus Cowan had to force-feed the information to another – project management software.
“Even after I had completed this, throughout the project, I would have to keep referring back to the original estimate, which was also not online. So there was a lot of inefficiency and frustration, and it took many, many years until I found a Buildern,” says Angus.
One of his most daunting hurdles was the difficulty of referring back to the original estimate to see the allowances made for certain aspects of the project. Allowances being forgotten or not recorded properly are the major source of cost overruns and disputes.
As stated by Angus Cowan, “the time inefficiency in loading up data from one software to the other was extremely time inefficient and also brought in the issue of possible human error during the importing process.”
“Buildern was the only software to cater to all of my requirements and actually had higher ratings than most other software in the majority of the modules”.
The Solution: Shifting to Buildern’s Collaborative Construction Management Software
After struggling with multiple software and spreadsheets for years, Angus Cowan stumbled upon Buildern. This all-in-one construction management software promised to centralize and automate all aspects of the construction process.
The core goal was to stick together all aspects of the process, from bidding to completion, and there was a need for a solution that includes as many construction modules as possible – not just group elements into one platform but provide true integration of data and processes.
A Truly Comprehensive Solution with Every Construction Functionality Included
Buildern goes into the very small details of estimating, budgeting and the flows between cost centers. And the project management part integrates well with everything else.
“It is the only software with all the modules I require to run my residential construction business. I set up a spreadsheet and listed all of the modules that I required to run my business, and then I listed all of the possible software I could put on that list from months of searching online for possible products,” shares Angus.
Construction cost management was the most vital aspect for Angus Cowan Constructions and Buildern comes with a solution that is as complete as possible.
- There is a Takeoff module that helps estimate the necessary quantity of materials for your project based on blueprints and construction plans.
- Further, there is an Estimate module that’s constructed based on the takeoff data. The synchronized approach allows you to transfer takeoff data to the Estimating module, add labor and equipment costs and get a complete project estimate.
- By transferring your estimated budget to the ready-to-use Proposals form, the team can also quickly get quotes signed by their clients. The shared proposals include a detailed estimated budget for the budget with a cost breakdown.
There’s more that comes to complete the process – bid requests, purchase orders, bills, etc. All of those eliminated the need for third-party modules and allowed Angus Cowan Constructions to have a single source of truth for all project data.
Bringing the Puzzle of Construction Project Management Together
Angus Cowan Constructions shifted to Buildern to automate not only cost tracking but also scheduling, communication, and data sharing with clients and suppliers.
With Buildern’s scheduling module, the Angus Cowan Constructions team is able to create detailed schedules for each project, assign tasks to different team members, and track progress in real time. Further, based on those schedules, the team is able to coordinate with suppliers and subcontractors, manage deliveries, and avoid delays.
Moreover, Buildern also offers a Customer Portal that allows clients to access project information and progress updates. This improves communication between Angus Cowan Constructions and their clients and makes billing and payment processes more efficient.
This way, no need for any additional product, system or software. There is one source of truth; everyone working on the project can access the right information in real-time.
The Success Story: The Journey of Transition to a More Effective Approach for Construction Management
Angus Cowan gradually started the transformative journey of his construction company, module by module, with Buildern. It was not a small change; it was a transformation process that took time and effort from the whole team.
There was not an instant complete shift. For the first period, the company continued using its original software for some functionalities while introducing new modules from Buildern step by step.
“There may be a time when you will be running two systems for a short period of time as you complete a project/s. However, all of your new projects can commence with the new software,” tells Angus about his transition.
As Buildern has an easy way of integration with other software and a supported importing of data from most other software, Angus Cowan Construction was able to avoid losing any data while migrating. The seamless work with Buildern and the adaptability of its software allowed Angus Cowan Constructions to continue running its construction projects smoothly while implementing a new system.
“The transfer from one software (or multiple software) over to another can always appear a bit daunting. However, if you make a plan (List) of all the things you need to do, it’s not that hard. All of the contacts and templates can be set up quite efficiently whilst you are still using your current software.“
With time, the entire company shifted to Buildern, eliminating all other software and spreadsheets. The key breakthrough was when the company discovered time-saving features such as syncing with Xero and QuickBooks, enabling them to track expenses and project costs without having to input data manually.
Two-sided integration with Major Accounting Software
All expenses, invoices, and payments can be automatically synced between both systems, making it easier for Cowan Constructions to track project costs and manage their finances. This has not only saved the company time and effort but also improved accuracy in financial reporting.
With Buildern, Angus Cowan Constructions was able to streamline invoicing, make financial data easily accessible, and gain a comprehensive overview of their business finances. All invoicing and payment information is now recorded and stored in one central location, reducing the risk of errors and allowing for better financial management.
“Now, all of my Estimating, Proposals, and Project Management are all located in the one software, and it’s online and has a great mobile app for onsite management of our projects.”
Angus describes its experience with Buildern as a completely integrated and efficient approach to project management, eliminating the need for multiple software and spreadsheets.
Accelerated Growth and Increased Efficiency for the Company and the Whole Team
“Once I was fully using Buildern for all of my projects, the workflow from estimating for new projects through to completing a job and informing clients, sub-contractors and suppliers along the way just simply became easier, and I’ve been more organized, which actually clears the head of any extra stress,” says Angus.
Now, there is only one cost-effective and organized source of project data – Buildern. Thus, every task, from cost tracking to scheduling and communication with clients and suppliers, is done through one platform, increasing efficiency and saving time for the whole team.
Angus Cowan Constructions has experienced accelerated growth since transitioning to Buildern, with better project management leading to increased client satisfaction and referral business. The company has also been able to take on more projects and expand its business operations without compromising on quality.
“The ability to scale our business is certainly there now. We have been using Buildern for our business for about 12 months now and new features keep coming, making it easier for my team and I. Scaling a business is not just all about software – good systems have to be in place, however great software plays a core role in assisting implementing those good systems.“
It’s also a major uplift for team communication. There is no more scattered communication and employers missing important tasks or updates. The field workflow is as informed about the ongoing projects as the office team, thanks to the real-time updates and notifications in Buildern.
There is a mobile app of Buildern – available both for iOS and Android, installed on all construction workers’ devices and there is seamless communication between the team, as all updates in Buildern are available for them in real-time.
The notification and alerts system in Buildern has also improved accountability for team members, ensuring that all tasks complete on time and according to project requirements.
“The whole team knows what they are doing and have all the information at their fingertips. This is a must to grow your business; otherwise, as they say, if you try and scale your business without good systems, you will create a monster, and it won’t be a happy ending.”