After decades of low productivity and operating under manual processes, the construction industry is finally starting to acknowledge the productivity gains that can be achieved with technology. And technology vendors recognize this and are flooding the market with solutions. According to global management consulting firm McKinsey &Company, there are more than 2,400 construction technology solutions! How is a construction company supposed to navigate this crowded marketplace and find the best solution for them? This article will help cut through the noise and highlight the best BIM design, project management and accounting solutions for subcontractors.
Many trade contractors have distinct divisions in their business:
- Design and Pre-Construction – Many mechanical and electrical contractors have design and virtual design teams that can develop plans in conjunction with architects to help owners reach their targeted design and budget goals. This team utilizes CAD, BIM, and other tools to help provide value-based engineering and designs.
- Construction Operations – The operations team works toward the delivery of the project. From scheduling to project tracking this also includes the coordination of labor for demolition, prefabrication, material procurement, and installation.
- Accounting – The operations and accounting team work very closely to track, categorize, and invoice project costs accurately. The Accounting team closes the loop on projects to ensure that job costs and project finances are aligned.
Each department has its software that they utilize. However, all departments must share information seamlessly to accomplish the singular goal of delivering the project according to schedule, budget, and quality expectations. Integrating design, operations, and accounting team improve the project lifecycle.
Best in 2019 – Design Software
Before construction begins, the team develops the designs. As the developers for AutoCAD and Revit, Autodesk is the dominant leader in design software. Architects, engineers, and trade contractors utilize AutoCAD for creating 2D and 3D designs. On the other hand, architects, engineers, and trade contractors use Revit to develop building information models. Revit takes BIM design software to the next level to collaborate and share model data between designers, engineers, and trade contractors. While users utilize Revit to design detailed models, it also produces 2D plans and documents needed for construction.
In JBKnowledge’s 2017 construction technology report, Autodesk’s design products ranked within the top nine responses to be the dominant leader in CAD and BIM software. Further, according to an ENR report, 93% of the ENR Top 250 use Autodesk design software.
Sketchup by Trimble and Bluebeam Revu received notable mentions in the JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report. Sketchup received 9% of responses while Bluebeam Revue received 5% of responses as CAD/BIM software in use by respondents.
Best in 2019 – Subcontractor Project Management
Decisions made at the design and planning phase significantly affect construction. It’s essential that the construction operations team and the design team work in sync to produce constructible designs. Any issues caught and resolved in pre-construction will save time and money during the construction phase.
Autodesk’s BIM 360 delivers a common data platform to create a bridge connecting the design team with the construction operations team. eSUB Construction Software is a leading provider of field data collection and operations tool for subcontractors. With a direct integration between BIM 360 and eSUB, subcontractors have direct access to drawings and models to improve collaboration with owners and designers. Through eSUB’s cloud-based platform and mobile app, subcontractors capture job site activity to initiate documentation and billing.
eSUB is singled out as best in construction operations because it is one of the few solutions on the market focused on subcontractors. Subcontractors perform the majority of the labor in commercial construction projects, which is why the operational processes for subcontractors drastically differ from those of general contractors. eSUB has developed its project management solution from the ground up to support the subcontractor workflow. The application’s core features include tracking and managing job site activity, labor productivity, job costing, and document control through a simplified user experience regardless of location – in the field or the office.
Additionally, Software Advice named eSUB Construction Software, a FrontRunner for construction project management software. Software Advice analyzed user reviews and product data on hundreds of solutions. With a score out of 9.31 out of 10, eSUB received the top total score concerning usability and user recommendations.
Roots Software and Co-Construct receive a notable mention as a Construction Management FrontRunner. Roots Software received a total score of 9.29, while CoConstruct received a total score of 9.19.
Best in 2019 – Accounting
The Accounting team is equally important in the construction project lifecycle. Accountant likely never step foot on the job site, but they are essential to the profitability of the project. They manage project billings, account receivables, account payables and host of other responsibilities to ensure the financial health of the project.
According to the JBKnowledge Construction Technology report, “Sage® software solutions provide versatile options for builders of all sizes, making it the most used accounting software for this year’s respondents.” In the survey, 27.7% of respondents utilize Sage software. Sage offers many different accounting solutions. Sage 300 CRE (formerly Timberline) is primarily used by many large construction companies. Many project management solutions, including eSUB, offer integrations with Sage 300 CRE.
Viewpoint Vista and Quickbooks receive a noteworthy mention. They were the next most popular accounting software utilized by respondents in the JBKnowledge survey. In the JB Knowledge survey, 17.4% of respondents use Viewpoint Vista, while 10% of respondents use Quickbooks.