Benefits of web-based construction software

Web-based software is a growing trend in the construction industry. It is typically subscription-based by the month and, perhaps, by the number of users, so there is no hefty initial outlay. Software that resides online 24/7 provides complete project visibility among all enabled project team members any time and any place there is web access.

Web-based software is a growing trend in the construction industry. It is typically subscription-based by the month and, perhaps, by the number of users, so there is no hefty initial outlay. Software that resides online 24/7 provides complete project visibility among all enabled project team members any time and any place there is web access.

Corecon V7 Pro Edition, www.corecon.com, is a suite of web-based construction software encompassing business development, estimating, project management, job costing and scheduling. It supports constant connectivity not only through Internet-enabled computers and netbooks but also, using the integrated Corecon Mobile solution, on smartphones or tablet devices such as the Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, HP Palm, Microsoft 7 Phone and RIM Blackberry. Real-time updates to project information using Corecon Mobile appear immediately in Corecon V7 without requiring synchronization. Scalable for any size firm, Corecon V7 also supports integration options to popular productivity software such as Intuit Quickbooks, SAP Business One, Sage Simply Accounting and Microsoft Office.

Business development features include a contact management system tailored to contractors, architects and engineers, a full lead-tracking system using User Defined Classification Structures (e.g. commercial, residential, office building, school), and a lead calendar showing bids due. The software also has the ability to create and track drawings, estimates and correspondence for each lead, using user-defined stages such as reviewing plans, bidding, bid submitted, awarded, not awarded. For awarded projects, a handy Project Wizard creates a project from the lead and transfers over all related documentation, correspondence and estimates.

Users can create and share all kinds of construction project related documents, including checklists, daily logs, permits, punchlists, safety accidents, and test and inspection results. Photos, drawings and other external files can be uploaded to documentation records. The correspondence module includes RFIs, submittals, transmittals, work orders and comply notices.

In preparing estimates, contractors can build their own unit price and assembly cost databases or use industry standard databases from RS Means to create various types of estimates (i.e. conceptual estimates, base bid plus alternate 1, alternate 2, and change order estimates) and can organize them in up to four tiers using Work Breakdown Structures (WBS). Corecon V7 Pro can handle estimate markups at three levels: line item, WBS Section, and Global for the entire estimate. Integrated RFQ packages within the estimate feature allows contractors to request, collect and analyze vendor prices.

For project management Corecon V7 provides a comprehensive set of documentation and correspondence features. Documentation options include checklists, daily logs, permits, punchlists, safety accidents and tests/inspections. Photos, drawings, and other external files can be uploaded to most of those features. The correspondence module includes comply notices, RFIs, submittals, transmittals and work orders.

For Contract Administration, users can create four different types of contracts: fixed lump sum, cost plus with guaranteed maximum price, cost plus without guaranteed maximum price and unit price. Wizards are also available that can create the contract, job cost codes and budgets using either a Corecon estimate or a spreadsheet. The software generates a full complement of professional-looking documents relating to contract administration, including prime contracts, change proposal requests, change orders and prime contract invoices.

The Corecon V7 Time and Expenses module provides numerous options for entering time. Administrators or supervisors can enter timecards for employees and for equipment. Alternately, field staff that has a login and smartphone, can enter timecards remotely via the Corecon Mobile solution. In addition, labor and equipment timecards can be imported from Microsoft Excel for job costing purposes and later exported to QuickBooks Payroll, ADP and other third party payroll services.

Labor analysis dashboards calculate cost overruns or future savings by Job Cost Code using estimated hour budgets, actual timecards, and percentage complete and unlimited customizable report options are available. The data likewise can be exported to QuickBooks Payroll, ADP and other third party payroll services.

The Job Cost Control module provides a centralized single point of data entry for financial management on active projects, giving management complete financial oversight on projects using Corecon's Dashboards. Specific views are available to analyze cost, revenue, labor hours and equipment hours. Estimated versus actual reporting can be done at the project, contract and job cost code level. Drill-down options to see the financial transactions are also available at each tier.

The web-based scheduling module provides the ability to view and update task information from laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and tablet computers. Multiple schedules can be tracked for each project and viewed in both Gantt Chart and Calendar formats. Resource views which show tasks assigned to companies, employees, and equipment are also available. Schedules can also be imported from Microsoft Excel and Project.

CoreconLink Utilities close the entire business process by exporting project financials to their respective accounting package, eliminating duplicate data. Corecon V7 enables customizable security roles, has 24/7 server monitoring, and performs nightly backups.

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at [email protected].