Using BIM, VDC to Improve Construction Bidding and Planning

BIM = Business information modeling
VDC = Virtual design and construction

Construction Bidding and Planning

Seven years ago, we in the construction industry pondered the pros and cons of BIM software. BIM was new-to-us at that point but the concept – and the term – was introduced in 1992. Today there’s no doubt there are many advantages to business information modeling and the software that drives it.

VDC followed in 2001 by the CIFE (Center for Integrated Facility Engineering at Stanford University of California). The institution strives to lead the world in academic research for architectural engineering virtual design and construction.

A Competitive Edge in Construction Bidding

“Construction has one of the most costly and time-consuming bidding processes of any industry, owing to the high complexity of projects,” said marketing pro Tyler Riddell. With BIM and VDC, bidders can include a visual, integrated model that includes product and material information.

Your bids will leave no doubt as to the level of organizational efficiency and collaborative abilities of your teams. Your accuracy in estimating costs will also improve, and that usually means greater profits.

Minimize Poor Construction Planning

BIM uses data and 3D modeling to strengthen design concepts for one or more construction project segments. We use it to portray how finished physical objects will appear.

VDC complements BIM. This application incorporates the BIM models into a start-to-finish project presentation. This application “gives each team member access to updated, real-time project information,” says the design software company ALLPLAN, “while optimizing engineering and construction.”

Trying to envision a finished project was difficult for many stakeholders, no matter how accurate the 1- or 2-D drawings and architectural presentations are. VDC can be used to reveal every phase of a construction project.

The software data factors-in:

  • Constructability
  • Costs
  • Staging
  • Turnaround times

BIM and VDC can reduce the issues associated with poor construction planning:

  • Everyone on the project team is able to “see” the end result and each person can speak to the design concepts confidently.
  • It proves the project is doable as-planned.
  • Labor costs can be reduced because you save time taking the design to a deliverable plus it helps you determine what and when labor is needed.
  • Material costs can be reduced because you’ve pre-planned and identified types and layouts. You’ll know when/what to order, staging required, and shipping times.

Ignoring the business management and development tools you have available can be more costly than you realize. Construction Monitor data can help you increase business. Get more information today.

Construction Business: Bidding Badly

construction bidding

You can bid badly and win construction business that is bad for business. The construction business can be more a science than a crapshoot if you use technology tools.

Here are some tips for bidding badly:

  • Be ignorant about your equipment – Don’t keep records of maintenance; if you’ve got construction business machinery that’s due to fail, you’ll forget to pad the bid with rental equipment costs. Forget fuel and transporting your equipment to the project site expenses.
  • Bid fast – Put your bid together quickly without double-checking for mistakes.
  • Don’t pay attention to data – There are construction business software programs that factor-in employee turnover, injuries, and days off work but don’t bother with those numbers. Assume there will be no overtime.
  • Don’t seek clarifications before bidding – Making assumptions usually leads to disaster but you don’t want to look dumb. There’s likely a cut-off date for questions but don’t pay attention to it.
  • Don’t visit the project site – You’ll be unaware of conditions that affect the project, like accessibility and location.
  • Forget risks – Every project has risks, but don’t analyze the probability and potential for profit loss.
  • Make math errors – You’ve made math mistakes in the past but don’t ask someone to double-check the numbers this time. Avoid using software that does the math for you.
  • Make subcontractor assumptions – Assume your subcontractors can work for a certain price and are able to deliver what you want on-time and under-budget.
  • Miscalculate – Under- or over-estimate construction costs and the quantity of materials you need. Using square feet when you should have used square yards can definitely skew profits.
  • Never request competitive subcontractor bids – You’ve been working with your buddy’s construction business for 10 years.
  • Skip the pre-bid meeting – You’ll miss the opportunity to fully understand the job requirements. Someone else may ask questions and get the answers you needed before you won the bid.
  • Underestimate materials – Even though the material costs and supplies change almost weekly, lock yourself into costs that may be out-of-date.

Profitable bidding begins with you (And, yes, you need the right software program). Construction Monitor has the software data you need to grow your construction business.

Use it. Contact or email us to learn more.

10 Tips for Bidding on Construction Projects

bidding on construction projects

Subcontractors bidding for work on construction projects face a number of challenges to submit a winning proposal. Effective bidding requires confirming the client’s requirements and budget while also ensuring your costs and profit margin are fully covered. Overbidding risks losing the job to a low-balling competitor. Conversely, a bid that is below your actual expected costs eliminates profit potential.

Here are ten tips to increase your chances of a successful, profitable bid:

  1. Meet with or speak to the prospective client/contractor. Discuss requirements and what will be necessary to fulfill expectations.  
  2. If blueprints are available for the project, inspect them. If the job site is accessible, conduct a walk-through.
  3. Estimate the days involved to complete the work and look for special circumstances or complications that could impact the cost of getting the job done on schedule.
  4. Figure costs of materials and work hours involved as well as any other likely overhead. Allow for unexpected expenses. Estimate daily costs then multiply by the expected number of days to completion.
  5. Determine your preferred profit margin and add that figure into the total.
  6. The formal written bid must include name, business address, and other relevant contact info. Summarize the work to be done and state expected start and completion dates. Include payment terms as well as the terms of any warranty.
  7. Itemize all estimated costs for materials and labor. These figures may be subject to negotiation with the client, so allow for changes, if necessary. 
  8. Arrange for a meeting with the client to present the bid. Be prepared to verbally describe all details of your planned work. 
  9. Expect to negotiate terms, including completion time and costs, if required. Decide in advance what your negotiated limits will be.  
  10. Following the presentation, provide the prospective client with business cards. Arrange a follow-up call or other meeting to provide additional information or answer further questions.

Get an edge when bidding on construction projects by utilizing data from building permits. Contact the professionals at Construction Monitor for more information.

How to Find Construction Projects to Bid

construction projects to bid

If you haven’t read any horror stories lately, check out “The Successful Bid That Put the Contractor Out of Business.” You may need the cash flow and feel an obligation to keep good employees working, but if you don’t find the right construction projects to bid – and bid them the right way – you could be writing your own horror story. Or obituary.

Here are some ways to find construction projects to bid:

Double-Dip

“If you’re a general contractor (GC), you really should be pursuing jobs as a subcontractor,” says estimator pro Daniel Quindemil. He calls that double-dipping. He says you may not always get the job as a GC but you’ve got a good opportunity to get work through the bid-winning general contractor(s).

Get Out There and Look

You must either pound the pavement, hire your nephew, or use a lead-generation service. It is essential you get out there every week to find real-time leads. Which of your subcontractors have jobs in the pipeline? Find out what, where, and when.

Connect regularly with HOAs (homeowner associations) throughout your region. You want to be the first name they think of when renovations are needed. Some GCs calendar reminders to network with potential customers.

Fact: You should spend 80% of your time involved with sales and marketing and only 20% actually running your business.

Google It

You’d be surprised what you can learn from Monday-morning search-engine surfing. Let’s say you’re serving Marion and Hamilton counties in Indiana. You enter this search string:

New+real+estate+development+carmel+indiana+2020

Here are some leads you might generate:

…and more.

Lead-Generation Services

There are plenty of them out there and several are good. If your time and budget for resources are limited, utilize a low-cost comprehensive local information source.

You not only want up-to-date data, but you also want access to construction industry historical trends in your area. Building permit information is key to finding the right construction projects to bid.

Let us know how we can provide topical, relevant information customized for your business. Contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

Using Data in Construction Bidding

Construction Bidding

Subcontractors use construction data to stay on top of area analytics. They want to know what companies are winning the most bids for new-builds and commercial or residential renovations. The subcontractor that sent you a basket of fruit over the holidays? That’s the company that made money with you last year and wants to partner with you this year.

If subcontractors are on top of their game, they expect you to be even better informed. You have construction projects to bid. A lot of people and other companies depend on you to win the bid. What kind of information do you need to make profitable bids that hit a home run with municipalities, project managers and investors?

Ways to Bid to Win Construction Projects

You need a good software program to help you make the best bids. The construction bidding software for 2020 garnering the most favorable reviews and recommendations* include:

  • Adoddle
  • B2W Estimate
  • Building Connected
  • CoConstruct
  • Contract Complete
  • e-Builder
  • HCSS Heavy Bid
  • HeadsUp iCPM
  • iSqFt for General Contractors
  • McCormick Estimating Software
  • Methvin
  • OmTrak
  • Pantera Tools
  • PAS Concepts
  • Pipeline Suite
  • PlanHub
  • Relatics
  • SmartBid Bid Management

“Bid first, know your competition and don’t chase every job.” –Borderstates.com

Staying profitable in a competitive bidding environment means you need to know as much as possible about your local market. Every week, the latest regional construction project bids ready to preview are listed. Armed with that info, decide which jobs you can bid for profit:

  1. Do your homework – Be able to speak to design details and their ROI.
  2. Know who the decision-makers are – Learn what they require to build confidence.
  3. Push your qualifications – Be straight-up about why your team can deliver better value, stay within the budget, and meet project timelines.
  4. Embrace technology.

When You Have Construction Projects to Bid, Technology Delivers

Your software can help, but nothing can give you a better edge than local, timely, relevant construction data. Contact Construction Monitor. When you win, we win.

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*Construction Monitor does not formally endorse nor recommended any project bid/management software.