In 2011, having left her job as a corporate lawyer to manage the construction company her father and husband had founded, Tiffany Hosey had a problem: how to keep up with all the moving parts on one large construction project.
Workers were performing tasks based upon dated blueprints, which meant managing the project was even more difficult. She’d be looking for a door in one spot and find it several feet away. Sometimes, due to inaccurate or nonexistent tracking of progress on tasks, work crews were underpaid for their work since they couldn’t document and weren’t sure about all the work they’d done.
Then while visiting the project work site, she discovered the contracting company wasn’t using software to track such progress. The problem was so vexing to the attorney that in 2012 she decided to quit construction and construct her own AEC project management software company, BuilDATAnalytics.
“Owners of large construction projects are our target customers,” Hosey says. “While subcontractors of all sizes can benefit from the use of our CTBIM SAAS solution, we’ve had greater traction with Real Estate Developers. That said, owners purchase our system for use by all subcontractors on a project.”
AEC Next News recently caught up with Hosey, CEO and Founder of BuildDATAnalytics, to talk about streamlining workflows in construction, 3D modeling, getting actionable information from software, inventory tracking, mining current project data, and how it all works together.
What kinds of important data can a user get daily from CTBIM?
Hosey: “They can get quickly accessible data, in an integrated enterprise system that includes location-based building specifications, asset information, comprehensive inventory information, architectural plans, near real-time CPM progress, near real-time percentage of completion data and amount of contractor budget earned, updates on completed build activities, all project design changes, RFI and submittal tracking, and 3D PDF ‘how to’ videos of assembly and disassembly of chosen assets.”
What’s different about your software?
Hosey: “We build a project-specific database at the beginning of every engagement. Our CTBIM system collects objective data from the subcontractors and minimizes the subjectivity of information communicated directly from the field to the owners, owner’s agents, CMs, GCs, architects, etc. We also collect more granular data than any other enterprise system in an integrated environment that analyzes building specs, CPMs, completed build activities and amount of budget dollars earned by each contractor in near real- time. This data, captured in a streamlined mobile application, is accessible from any location in the world through a robust web application.”
Why should most contractors be looking for actionable info? What kinds of savings can be had?
“Cost overruns, schedule delays and poor planning are the top concerns of owners of complex construction projects. Since labor productivity has stagnated at an annual growth rate of 1% over the past 20 years and there is a labor shortage, subcontractors must find ways to manage the financial risks inherent in construction activities to ensure they make money on projects. In the process of a build, any error, omission or field change can cause schedule delays and/or budget overruns. Data that can immediately identify deviations from the architectural plans can be remediated at minimal cost. Additionally, when the amount of project completion claimed in a pay application is challenged or rejected, having real-time access to the objective data backing up the amounts claimed in the pay application can validate the accuracy of the request and get the contractor paid for the full value of its services.”
Is it hard to adopt CTBIM?
Hosey: “It’s not difficult. We designed our software to be the ultimate in user-friendly. Acknowledging the differing skill levels of people on construction sites (and different languages), we limited the interaction with the CTBIM mobile field application to four simple touch points, which deliver a ton of actionable data. They are scanning in inventory at delivery, logging completed construction activities, taking a picture/video of completed build activities, and noting any anomalies observed onsite.”
Why should any contractor be looking for actionable data?
Hosey: “Failure to manage the financial risks realized during construction projects has been a persistent problem since the times of Vitruvius, Chief Engineer to Emperor Augustus and Julius Caesar. According to William Bruner in the William Mitchell Law Review, Vitruvius complained of ‘inadequate cost controls and poor construction management,’ a sentiment which is as applicable today as it was when expressed in 24 B.C. Macro, objective data when captured in near real-time can bring actionable insights to team members who can make decisions that can stave off loss. Actionable data, analyzed to be meaningful for project stakeholders, can enable foreman to make more efficient decisions on the number of laborers needed to maintain a project schedule, assist general contractors in the analysis of the reasonableness of change order price proposals, better manage and track the submittal approval process and better manage claims disputes among contractors, among a myriad of other things.”
When you started in construction, you were new to the industry. How was that a challenge?
Hosey: “Construction was a culture shock for me, with written and unwritten rules that I properly violated… My introduction to the industry was not easy. What surprised me most was the [construction]process, which struck me as being really archaic.”
Were there any challenges to working in construction, being a woman?
Hosey: “In the beginning, I had some experiences where I was sure I was being underestimated because of my gender. Those situations were great motivations. I have not only been in the field and learned about the process, I’ve also developed relationships with subject matter experts. These days, when I enter a boardroom I’m sometimes met with skepticism from people. When I start talking, I find those same people become very engaged in conversation.”
Have you found it challenging being a woman in the male-dominated construction industry?
Hosey: “James Baldwin once said he could not read a person’s mind to determine whether they were racially biased, he could only judge a person by his actions. That’s been my experience. As it was with practicing law, my challenge is getting a foot in the door.”