T&G Construction, Inc.
T&G Construction, Inc. has been one of the few construction companies that have experienced significant growth over the past few years during the economic downturn. Jeff Jung, an estimator for the firm, credits the numerous highway and military base projects it has completed and the automation of its processes as two key reasons for the growth, in addition to its reputation for high quality services.
Founded in 1952 as Grayson Sand and Gravel, T&G is primarily involved in general contracting for roads, parking areas, subdivision, underground utilities, earthwork, grading, and related enterprises. With more than 200 employees and annual revenues of approximately $40 million, the company focuses heavily on state highway work and other government paving projects within a radius of 80 miles of its Lawton, Okla. headquarters.
The contractor was using legal pads, pencils, scales, roller scales, construction calculators, digitizers, and Blackberry devices to handle takeoff and estimating. They wanted to eliminate multiple steps to speed up their process and improve accuracy.
T&G utilizes Maxwell Systems ProContractorMX as its takeoff and estimating software solution to improve accuracy and speed of their processes. Using ProContractorMX for digital takeoff, T&G does not incur the costs and time associated with scanning paper blueprints. They use the solution for takeoffs on everything from earth changing and building pads to streets and drainage structures. After they generate accurate cut and fill quantities, they seamlessly use that data to assign pricing and quickly create an estimate.
By leveraging Maxwell Systems ProContractorMX as its seamless takeoff and estimating software solution, T&G Construction is able to takeoff jobs quickly; keep track of all quantities, cost item specifications, and historical pricing; and estimate accurately. Ultimately, they are better able to reduce costs and bid competitively.
The Move to Digital Takeoff
Jung joined T&G as its second estimator right in the middle of the recession. He believed that automating more of the company’s processes would help them be more efficient, create tighter estimates, and be more competitive.
The firm has been using a Maxwell Systems estimating solution for 10 years and a digitizer board for its takeoffs. However, Jung and the company’s chief estimator decided that moving from a digitizer board to digital takeoff would make a real difference. After an in-depth evaluation of digital takeoff products, T&G selected Maxwell Systems™ ProContractorMX™ Takeoff and Estimating solution.
“It came down to functionality,” explained Jung. “ProContractorMX has all the takeoff and estimating capabilities we need as well as all the supporting features to run a construction company. The other programs we evaluated would have some features but not others. ProContractorMX is turnkey within itself.”
A Seamless Process
With digital takeoff, T&G is now able to use digital plans and not incur the costs and time associated with scanning paper blueprints. They use ProContractorMX for takeoffs on everything from earth changing and building pads to streets and drainage structures, typically ranging from $100,000 to $5 million.
With ProContractorMX, T&G downloads digital plan files from an online plan room and performs the takeoff using computer and mouse. Then they generate accurate cut and fill quantities and seamlessly use that data in the estimating process to assign pricing.
The T&G estimators use the Notepad feature in ProContractorMX to keep track of all of their quantities and cost item specifications and utilize the solution’s sitework database, as well as three RSMeans databases and one of their own custom catalogs to keep track of historical pricing.
Once the quantities, measurements, and calculations are in the system with assigned pricing, ProContractorMX makes it easy to quickly create an estimate.
“We used to rely on legal pads, pencils, scales, roller scales and digitizers,” explained Jung. “You wouldn’t catch me without my construction calculator, pad, and Blackberry. Now, we use ProContractorMX for digital takeoff and estimating and so we have eliminated multiple steps and doubled the speed of our takeoffs. For example, a $1.5 million subdivision job that used to take us two hours to takeoff can now be completed in under an hour. We have no unnecessary steps. It is just a few clicks and we’re done.”
“Also, because it’s digital, we can’t lose the digital plan, pricing data, estimate, or other important data. And, if a new estimator is hired, he can get up to speed quickly because all past work is in ProContractorMX in an easy to understand format.”
The Keys to Success – Accuracy and Efficiency
“ProContractorMX gives us peace of mind,” said Jung. “The program checks itself and it is really easy to notice if something is off. One wrong line, just one foot off – could cost thousands of dollars. We have really improved our accuracy. Before, with the digitizer board, it was good enough, but never great. Now, when we trace a line it looks like we have actually redrawn the picture.”
T&G has found that the increased accuracy is especially valuable when working with partners. Jung explained, “We get our own quantities and sometimes correct our partners’ quantities because we are able to produce much more accurate numbers with ProContractorMX.”
Jung added, “In such a competitive market, estimates must be tight. By streamlining our processes, we have become more accurate and efficient, which is key to being a good estimator.”
Looking to the Future
T&G has relied on the team at Maxwell Systems for training and support. “The Maxwell Systems team has done a fantastic job in handling our issues and quickly connects us to the right people to answer our questions,” explained Jung. “With a comprehensive solution there are always questions and we’ve never hit a snag. We also really valued the private two-day training last year and would like to receive some more training this year.”
With the additional training, Jung hopes to leverage more of ProContractorMX’s advanced functionality, “We are slowly moving towards using more functionality offered in ProContractorMX and believe if we can take advantage of the whole program, we could really reduce our costs and significantly impact our bottom line.”