Driving the industry forward with the right technology.
A convergence of trends is driving construction companies and corporate owners to consider moving off traditional legacy-based systems and seek new solutions to keep up with the current demands of the industry. Terms like mobile, BIM (building information modeling), and collaboration aren’t just buzzwords anymore. Rather, these concepts and processes are leading contractors and owners toward a new way of thinking that encompasses a change both in business initiatives and technology adoption for 2013.
Such an undertaking isn’t easy. In order to effectively develop strategies for mobile and collaboration, contractors need to identify how business processes will function within the company before developing the plan for technology adoption. Then when selecting new technology big-ticket features such as being able to share data between the office and the field or even between various project stakeholders becomes essential.
The Constructech Top Products can serve as a guide to the hottest technology available for the construction marketplace. When judging the 2013 Top Products, the editors of Constructech took into consideration the backbone and core functionality of each technology platform, which helps determine whether or not the product is scalable and built on a platform that allows for future growth. The editors also identified if the product has new functionality and features that allows for more progressive strategies surrounding mobility and collaboration, among others.
Top Products can fall within two categories: New Products or Trusted Products. The former has a combination of a solid foundation along with the potential for future growth. Trusted Products must also meet the requirement of having a good technology backbone, but must also demonstrate timely enhancements. This year’s Top Products for 2013 are indexed on the following page by company, product name, and application. Enhanced writeups of products can be found on the subsequent pages.
As more technology providers are acquired and the emergence of mobile, BIM, and collaboration begin to truly take hold, contractors are going to have to do business in new ways—and technology is going to have to play a big part in the culture shift. These Top Products have the core functionality needed to do better business and the innovative functionality to take your company to a whole new level.
Taking it to the field, Aconex Field is a cloud-based mobile and Web application built for the inspection and issues management process. The product captures, distributes, and tracks defects and other issues at the point of creation, and then sends this data back to a collaborative Web application that manages project information. A key aspect is everyone involved in resolving issues can access the system in realtime via a mobile device, view a live punch list for a location, update issue status, and report completion and close-out. Constructech editors like the clean and easy-to-use interface, which seems very intuitive when operating on a device like an iPad. Also impressive is that the company has tailored the solution around role-based tasks that enable users to assign issues by worker. Aconex Field integrates with the company’s project collaboration platform.
Collaboration remains essential in construction and Aconex continues to refine its platform built for this very task. At its core, the product facilitates a collaborative environment by providing a single platform for organizations to exchange data and manage cross-organizational processes, while creating an audit trail that cannot be deleted. The audit trail is key as owners require a record of all communications on a project to manage risk. Delivered as a cloud-based service, the product features enhancements such as an operations and maintenance handover solution, a mobile field inspection and issues management solution, and BIM management tools such as a Revit plug-in. Constructech editors like the BIM Viewer addition with redline, collaborative view, and a “walkthrough” in 3D, which shows a commitment to improving collaboration as it relates to virtual design and construction.
When it comes to reviewing and analyzing project information, infrastructure project teams continue to rely on Bentley Navigator. The company blends together versatile viewing capabilities with an intuitive user experience to help project teams stay ahead of errors through the ability for sophisticated analysis of project metrics. Closed loop redlines contained in the product allow users to assign markups, display redlines in MicroStation, and contain support for hypermodel. An i-model Publishing option helps with filtering and renaming of i-model data using data transformations. Support for the point cloud and raster help users further manage the process. Constructech editors like the upgrade for the iPad, demonstrating the versatility of the software for the field. Overall, Bentley Navigator is a powerful and trusted tool for infrastructure projects.
Built as a system of collaborative servers and services for AECO information, ProjectWise helps manage information related to design and construction while work is in progress. By establishing a secure and managed environment the product facilitates work sharing, content reuse, and dynamic feedback capabilities, such as review, mark-up, clash resolution, and visualization, among others. Upgrades to Project- Wise V8i include work-sharing capabilities such as point cloud data management, Web, and mobile access. Constructech editors like the inclusion of Bentley Transmittal Services, which includes a transmittal register to keep track of all project deliverables in a single location. It also includes a Web portal for the delivery of transmittals and submittals. In all, Bentley continues to refine its collaborative solution, demonstrating why it remains a leader for infrastructure teams around the globe.
Contractors and owners are constantly looking for a better way to collaborate on projects. Bluebeam Software takes collaboration to a whole new level with Bluebeam Revu 10. The PDF-based collaboration product—which is in use at many construction corporations across the country—allows project teams to manage, share, review, and redline project documents. Bluebeam has taken the technology a step further, offering Bluebeam Studio, which is cloud-based technology that connects project partners throughout the project lifecycle. Constructech editors like that the product can be used on a desktop or tablet, enabling users to collaborate by sharing project files online. With a product like Revu, teams have a much easier way to share and markup documents.
ConEst Software Systems
ConEst’s estimating program, designed specifically for electrical, low-voltage, and data-cabling industries, allows users to determine labor and material requirements. Following up on the 2011 announcement that the company released a new version of the software built on the Microsoft.NET platform using SQL server, the company has since spent the past year developing additional enhancements and upgrades for the product. The Constructech editors like that ConEst continues to create integrations with takeoff, accounting, and CAD (computer-aided design) software, making processes easier for contractors. With the ability to automatically calculate material and labor requirements and check installation against code specifications by accessing built-in NEC tables, it is no wonder this product continues to be adopted by electrical contractors nationwide.
ConEst Software Systems
ConEst provides powerful project management for electrical and low-voltage contractors. JobTrac helps users focus on the core objectives: knowing the correct labor unit for installation. This is done through the product’s ability to help users schedule, track, and bill each project in an efficient manner, while also creating a historical repository for actual costs for each project based on occupancy type. Constructech likes the focus the company has placed recently on integrating the product with its estimating software in order to provide full cycle job costing to help ensure what is estimated can be performed in the field. It is simply another way to keep a better eye on the process— an action ConEst seems to have covered from all angles.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Combining estimating, project management, job-cost control, scheduling, and collaboration under one integrated Web-based platform, Corecon V7 is a powerful tool for commercial and residential contractors. Corecon remains steadfast in its commitment to deliver a product that appeals to contractors both large and small. Alongside the robust functionality contained within this product set that helps deliver lead tracking, estimating, bid management, contract admin, procurement, and others, Corecon is ensuring the user experience meets industry standards. Constructech editors like the move to make the product compatible with all Web browsers, ensuring it can be used on all devices and operating systems. Add in the TeamLink Portal that facilitates collaboration with outside team members, providing access to project information, and what you have is a well-rounded solution to efficiently manage projects.
San Diego, Calif.
eSUB offers a solution for tech-savvy subs—in the cloud. The “cloud” capabilities, combined with its focus on the specialty contractor market, are what make this project-management software stand out. This is one of the reasons Constructech editors selected the product: It is a cloud-based solution designed specifically for subcontractors to manage documents, bids, emails, deadlines, timecards, and other functions from any device. eSUB’s project-management software also integrates with many third-party accounting software to eliminate duplicate data entry and is also gaining momentum with subs moving toward managing projects via mobile devices. Each year, the company continues to add new customers and releases new features on a monthly basis. Some include: two way project-specific and document-specific email integration; automatic email and text message reminders; and integration with Microsoft Outlook, Google, and iCal.
Launched in 2010, HomeFront Software continues to grow its base of construction clients and product capabilities in its Job Simplicity product. The technology, which is designed for both commercial and residential construction companies, provides construction-management capabilities that integrate with thirdparty accounting solutions including QuickBooks and Sage products. What does the product offer? Estimating, job costing, project management, scheduling, change management, progress billing, and more. Constructech editors like that the product addresses common challenges in the construction industry such as lost change orders and outof- date spreadsheets, helping improve profit margins for builders and commercial contractors. HomeFront has added workflow automation components and automatic notifications based on events, among other new capabilities.
Heavy construction companies, here’s a product for you. Although launched in the United States in July of last year, HeavyWorks Construction Software is not brand new. The product has been sold as Maestro*ERP in Canada for years. The technology is modular in design, meaning it is built on a framework that allows for scalability as the construction company grows. Still, the core project management and accounting functions are intertwined throughout the entire product architecture, with specialized modules for lien management, work order, executive dashboards, inventory management, and small tools management, to name a few. Constructech editors like that the company continues to develop the product, announcing HeavyWorks*CONNECT, a suite of cloud-based applications to securely handle data in the cloud and on mobile devices.
Launched in 1993, Prolog has been one of the top project-management solutions for the construction industry for nearly two decades. However, that alone isn’t what earns it a spot on this year’s Top Products list. Meridian continues to build out the product with new functionality to manage project information from the field to the backoffice, making the product appealing to today’s contractor. The Prolog Suite of applications includes Prolog Manager, a Windows-based desktop client and Prolog Converge, a Web-based application built on Web services. With the additional capabilities of Prolog Mobile, contractors can access project data directly from mobile devices. Constructech editors like that Meridian continues to build out the mobile capabilities, while also enhancing other critical pieces such as cash-flow forecasting and adding a BIM viewer.
Looking for a better way to document as-built records on your project? Consider the services offered by Multivista. Through an online interface, contractors can monitor actual jobsite conditions through photos, videos, and Webcam services. Multivista’s “Visual-As-Builts” serve as a permanent digital record for projects. Building on its photo documentation services, the company added video documentation capabilities in November 2011 and Webcam services in January 2012. With big-name owners and contractors using this technology, Constructech editors like that the services are applicable to projects of any size, scope, and duration. With more than 700 million sq.ft., on thousands of construction projects, Multivista has a high level of experience providing these services to the construction industry.
Collaboration is key in the construction industry today. To address this need, Newforma has built technology that allows all members of a project—contractors, subcontractors, consultants, and owners—to collaborate. First launched in 2012, Newforma Project Cloud delivers on the company’s overall vision to offer a single Web-based document repository for all users in construction, design, and owner operations. The Web-hosted software automates workflows for construction administration, document approval, PDF markup, and general project communication, sharing information between the design, construction, and owner’s teams. Constructech editors like that Newforma is addressing the needs of all the project constituents in the Newforma Project Cloud product. As the industry looks to connect data from concept through project completion, Newforma offers a solid solution.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
Contractors have a new option for scheduling: RevelPoint. The cloud-based software allows construction professionals to build, update, and view schedules from any device, making it easy to view and update schedule information on tablets and smartphones. Executives, supers, and subs can view the same schedule—but configured for their profile and security. With the technology, users can schedule in both critical path and vertical production methods, giving the manager graphical views of the project. Some features include the ability to compare two schedules, perform “what if” scenarios, and do time impact analysis, among others. The system is scalable, making it a good option for small companies all the way up through large, multi-national companies with enterprise requirements. Constructech editors like that RevelPoint is filling a niche in the market, offering a cloud-based scheduling solution.
Sage Construction and Real Estate
Technology providers understand the importance of modern, updated infrastructure to support a platform. Enter Sage Construction Anywhere in May 2012, addressing two big trends in construction today: mobility and collaboration. The company’s new cloud-based service gives construction teams access to project information on tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices. Also, by putting the data in the cloud, team members outside of the construction organization can gain access to project information on mobile devices. The platform was in development for more than a year and is built on the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud-service platform. The initial launch focused on allowing users to access accounting and project management information. Constructech editors like that Sage plans to add time and project files functionality into the product in 2013.
Accubid, a product brand of Trimble
For MEP and electrical trades, Trimble Accubid Enterprise has become a staple in the estimating process. Consistency is what Trimble instills with this product, helping contractors manage the entire workflow from project creation to estimating and change management from one unified application. New for 2013, Trimble has introduced a powerful array of new features. Constructech editors like how Trimble has introduced features that allow users to work inside the product with third-party applications. For example, the ability to email RFPs and other critical info straight from the system, as well as an Export to Microsoft Excel function that sends data from each tab into a separate worksheet in an Excel file. A report design engine allows users to create customer reports for metrics, analysis, and review. All-in-all, Trimble keeps the estimating process manageable and intuitive with Trimble Accubid Enterprise.
Mobile Field Manager by Viewpoint Construction Software provides contractors a mobile application suite to track and record time, equipment, and production data at the jobsite. Constructech editors like that with Viewpoint Mobile Field Manager users can access data via a Windows client, a Web client, or a mobile client, which is available for both Android and iOS platforms. The suite of applications can track and record crew time, equipment usage, and production hours on tablets and smartphones. Viewpoint Mobile Field Manager is also integrated with Viewpoint V6 Software and other leading ERP (enterprise-resource planning) software to send data back to the office for review and approval. The benefits are clear: reducing paper,minimizing duplicate data entry, fewer rekeying errors, and overall efficiency improvements.
Viewpoint Construction Software provides one of the top accounting and project management solutions used by many construction companies across North America and Australia. Viewpoint V6 Software is a scalable and integrated ERP (enterprise-resource planning) solution tailored for mid-to-large-sized construction companies. Already built on scalable technology with functions for project management, preconstruction, equipment management, and business intelligence, Viewpoint continues to enhance the capabilities of the product regularly. For example, the company’s Work Order Management module is designed for contractors to manage small service jobs that don’t have project management and job costing associated with large construction projects. Constructech editors like that Viewpoint Construction Software continues to evolve V6, particularly its intent to offer new functionality for niche construction markets.
Below, please find the full list of winners.
Aconex Online Collaboration Platform from Aconex; Bentley Navigator from Bentley Systems; ProjectWise from Bentley Systems; Bluebeam Revu 10 from Bluebeam Software Inc.; IntelliBid Estimating Software from ConEst Software Systems; JobTrac Project Management Software from ConEst Software Systems; Corecon V7 from Corecon Technologies Inc.; eSUB from eSUB Inc.; PocketClock/GPS mobile app from ExakTime; Job Simplicity by HomeFront Software from HomeFront Software; Innovaya Visual Estimating from Innovaya LLC; IPM Project Management from IPM Global; SmartBidNet from JB Knowledge Technologies Inc.; Prolog from Meridian Systems; Visual Construction Documentation: Photo, Video & Webcam Services from Multivista; Newforma Project Cloud from Newforma; PlanSwift from PlanSwift LLC*; Projectmates from Systemates Inc.; Trimble Accubid Enterprise from Trimble Navigation; Viewpoint V6 Software from Viewpoint Construction Software
Aconex Field from Aconex; HeavyWorks Construction Software from Maestro Technologies; RevelPoint Project Scheduling from RevelPoint LLC; Sage Construction Anywhere from Sage Construction and Real Estate; Cloud Takeoff from To-Scale Software LLC; Mobile Field Manager by Viewpoint Construction Software from Viewpoint Construction Software
*Acquired by Textura in February 2013