Trade Contractors Unite: Integrating Construction Apps and Conquering “App-ageddon”

August 14, 2019 Josh Cheney

The number of construction apps and point solutions is exploding, and for good reason.  With over $2 billion invested in construction technology in 2018, the industry is being subjected to a wave of technology disruption, and there are now over 2,400 construction technology  solutions and counting. 

However, with all these options, how can trade contractors navigate through thousands of constructions apps to find solutions made for them? Because trade contractors deliver the majority of labor on construction projects, they track time, money, and information through a different lens than a General Contractor. They have unique workflows and need solutions that work especially for them. 

 

The Importance of Field Data for Trade Contractors

This massive boon in construction technology is due to the fact that the construction industry is thriving. As of 2017, the construction industry in the United States was valued at $1.18 trillion and is growing each year. But of that amount, a whopping $15 billion of spending is on rework, according to the Construction Industry Institute! Rework is more costly than you might expect. It does not simply double the cost of work to tear down and replace work. Some studies estimate the cost of rework at up to 7 times the initial cost! 

(55%) of rework claims are due to inaccurate data. Because teams in the field are so busy doing the work, they often don’t have time to capture field data. But contractors don’t get paid for the work they do, they get paid for the work they document. The right point solutions and construction applications tailored towards field documentation and other needs of trade contractors can help avoid costly rework and make sure they are working efficiently and getting paid on time. 

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Why Trade Contractors Need Their Own Construction Apps

On a construction project, the general contractor typically serves as the prime on a contract. The GC then subcontracts with trade contractors to complete the work. The GC is responsible for managing the work of the various trades and serves as the liaison between the trade contractors and the owner and designer. 

Because the trade contractors perform the work and the General Contractors manage the work, their roles and workflows are drastically different. This is why there is a distinct difference between what each needs from a project management system. A GC-based cloud project management system enables collaboration between the different stakeholders, collect documentation, and route them to different parties. Contrast that to how a trade contractor manages projects. A trade contractor is responsible for completing the work and managing resources effectively. They need to schedule crews, track labor hours and productivity, order materials, track job costs at a more specific detail, communicate to the General Contractor, and more. 

Most construction project management systems are geared towards General Contractors and serve their particular needs. Yet trade contractors have a whole other set of functionality they need. Furthermore, trade contractors are usually working on multiple projects with multiple general contractors, meaning they are using different systems from different general contractors, which doesn’t help them holistically manage their own projects. 

 

Finding the Right Solutions for Trade Contractors/Subcontractors

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Unfortunately, trade contractors are being underserved by the vast majority of solutions. That is why Autodesk invested in eSUB Construction Software, a field data collection, labor productivity, and operations platform exclusively focused on the needs of trade contractors. 

Recently eSUB, Autodesk and Pacific Rim Mechanical had an enlightening discussion on why trade contractors need a system made for how they work, not how General Contractors work. You can watch it here.

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