Specialty Construction Pros Build Self-Esteem with Team Building Challenge Courses
Challenge Design Innovations
Pineola, North Carolina
Allison Wilson, Project Manager at Challenge Design Innovations, uses ConstructionSuite to design, build, and maintain hundreds of challenge courses across the United States. With 10+ years of experience in the construction industry, Allison coordinates two field crews, trainers, inspectors, and in-office employees who together, design and build anywhere from 12-20 new construction projects, and complete 200+ training and inspection projects each year.
Challenge Design Innovations is a national leader in the challenge course industry, where they design, build, service, and provide training for Military Tactical Training Facilities, Education Team & Confidence Building Courses, and Recreational Adventure Courses and Canopy Tours. What in the world is that, you may ask? Those intricate and challenging structures you see on military installations or state parks with the ropes, repelling towers, zip lines, obstacle courses, and more - that's what they build, and they're the best at it, responsible for hundreds of facilities across the country.
With over 300 clients, and 200+ projects per year, it's incredibly important for Challenge to be organized, timely, and accurate, and finding software to help them was just what they needed.
Reminders Make Scheduling a Breeze
Challenge Design Innovation invested in the ConstructionSuite software after searching for a project management system that included estimating, scheduling, and contact management. More than anything, Challenge needed something to help them organize their hundreds of projects every year, and they found exactly that with ConstructionSuite's built-in scheduling, calendars, and reminders.
"One of the big key items that made us choose ConstructionSuite was the reminders," said Allison, "It's a big job to keep up with clients and their yearly inspections. In ConstructionSuite, we can do the reminders," which automatically alert the user when an annual inspection is due, helping them schedule inspections well in advance. Keeping up with the 200+ inspections they do every year is a hard task, but they're able to stay ahead of schedule and not let anything 'fall through the cracks' because of the organization and reminder system that ConstructionSuite provides them.
Explaining why they started looking for software, Allison says "Coming on as a project manager here, they had been using a database that was kind of antiquated, not easy to use, and didn't have a lot of extra project management tools that I was looking for, like the automated estimating. I was looking around for something more and found ConstructionSuite during my research. After experiencing the Free Remote Demonstration, we purchased and are glad we did."
With ConstructionSuite 2011, Challenge can schedule more quickly & accurately with newly introduced, OnPlan Scheduling. OnPlan allows ConstructionSuite users the ability to keep their project on track with additional features like critical path view, unlimited baselines, and multiple resource selections. Users can also quickly filter their schedules between two-week and four-week views for easy printing, and in Challenge's case, easy planning ahead.
Special Software for Specialty Contractors
In ConstructionSuite Corporate, Challenge can take advantage of a multitude of benefits, ranging from Advanced Estimating, Resource Allocation and Change Order Management, to OnPlan Scheduling, Reporting, and QuickBooks & CAD Integration. For Challenge, they create a project in ConstructionSuite - one for each of the 200+ they complete each year - so they can create estimates, schedules, proposals, reports, and more.
Accurate estimating is incredibly important to Allison, especially when she's working on such a large number of projects each year. Since Challenge Design Innovations is a specialty contractor within the construction industry, standard costbooks, like the RS Means Costbooks that are included with every version of ConstructionSuite, don't fulfill their needs.
Instead of using standard costbooks, Challenge was able to setup a custom costbook, where they were able to include all of the materials they use in their type of business. She explains, "It took a bit of time to get all the materials that we use into a custom costbook, since it is so different from standard construction, but now that all of the information is in there, it's really starting to pay off."
Taking the time to create that costbook was a great investment. Allison explains "Now, when I go into an estimate, I can pick individual materials or assemblies, which has all the materials and labors calculated into for the specific element, and build a custom estimate in minutes. This alone has cut our estimating time in half, if not more."
Not only does ConstructionSuite help save Challenge time, especially when estimating, but it also saves them an abundance of money. Allison explains "ConstructionSuite saved us money right off the bat, particularly because we were paying a god-awful amount to keep our antiquated database running - almost $1,200 per month. Just purchasing the software saved us money, but even further, we had to pay our database manager $100 per hour just to get help when things went wrong."
Instead of paying outrageous support fees, Challenge subscribed to The TotalCare Service & Support Package, which provides them with Annual Updates & Upgrades, a Personalized Training Session, ConstructionOnline SuiteLink, and Unlimited Priority Phone Support. TotalCare pricing depends on the ConstructionSuite version and number of licenses, but for Challenge, it's easy to justify the extra cost.
In terms of support, "You kind of try to figure out stuff on your own a lot, and you dread calling tech support at a lot of places because #1, they don't really know what's going on, and #2, a lot of times they are hard to talk to...with you guys, we save time because we don't hesitate to pick up the phone, because we know we're going to get the answer that we need, and fast," said Allison.
Have iPad, Will Travel - ConstructionOnline & iPad
As TotalCare members, Challenge Design Innovations receive the TotalCare Only benefit of SuiteLink - the direct connection to ConstructionOnline. ConstructionOnline is quickly becoming the new face of construction, providing construction professionals with a location to create a free profile, and invite potential clients, subcontractors, team members and more, to share estimates, schedules, photos, and more.
Sharing files, photos, videos, and other documents can be a time consuming task, but with SuiteLink, Challenge is able to instantly sync projects, files, contacts, and more, directly between ConstructionSuite and ConstructionOnline. ConstructionSuite 2011 introduces SuiteLink 2.0, which now includes the ability to manage and view all of your ConstructionOnline files from inside ConstructionSuite, making it even easier to sync and share your information.
Mobile phone and tablet users can also begin to take advantage of ConstructionOnline and its mobile capabilities. By simply downloading one of the iPad apps, OnSite Files or OnSite PlanRoom, Challenge is able to log in and have instant access to all of their ConstructionOnline files. They can open and view word documents, excel spreadsheets, PDF's, images, and videos instantly.
"It's a dream to have access to everything on the iPad," says Allison. "When one of us goes off site, they take the iPad. They have access to all of our files and photos, either to share or review from the field. When they're talking to new clients, they can immediately show those clients all of our information. It looks good, and it's just easy. We have the mentality 'Have iPad, Will Travel' now and we love it.' The trio of UDA Products, ConstructionSuite, ConstructionOnline, and OnSite Mobile Apps for the iPad, enable Challenge to take mobility to a whole new level, and they're loving every bit of it.