Procore is used by construction professionals worldwide looking to digitize the entire construction cycle. But every company is different, from what they hope to gain from a project management solution to how they implement new software. At Procore’s recent webinar, Owners Tell All: What it’s Like to Manage Projects on a Single Construction Platform, three owners shared how they’re managing projects on the Procore platform, they’re learnings along thew way, and offer advice for industry professionals just getting on board.
Breaking new ground
At the beginning of their Procore experience, the owners admitted they didn’t fully grasp the benefits the platform would give them.
“I don’t think you realize what you’re doing until something like this comes along and then changes your whole perspective,” said Tim Allsop, Director of Construction at Seasons Retirement Communities, which owns and operates senior retirement communities in Ontario and Alberta.
“We started out working on paper, taking the drawings and colouring them in — that’s just the way it was done,” Allsop continued. “Then you do Excel sheets and Word documents… Everyone’s got their own ways of tracking things like their RFIs. I was using a much cheaper construction management software, and you get what you pay for. It was really limited. You then realize that things can be a lot simpler and easier to work with under one platform.”
Everyone’s got their own ways of tracking things like their RFIs. I was using a much cheaper construction management software, and you get what you pay for. It was really limited. You then realize that things can be a lot simpler and easier to work with under one platform.
Victor Zuniga, Business Systems Analyst at Minto Group, explained that while they saw the potential benefits from the start, it took a bit to line up the new tools with their own practices. Zuniga shared that he previously believed there was a risk in having the site and accounting teams sharing a platform.
“It took some time, but once everyone was on board, they understood,” he said. “They see the whole picture. I need to do my stack, so the accounting guy or the finance team can do their stack, and it pretty much reinforces the whole collaborative environment.”
Clear Line of Sight
Getting your own employees on board is one thing, but the trades you work with is another, said Rocky Sethi, COO at Adera Developments. But they too quickly realized what was made possible by a unified platform.
“We’ve been very fortunate with our trade partners,” he said. “They can access [Procore] at no cost to them, but they have a clear line of sight on our schedules. They get automatic emails regarding schedules or pictures or whatever, as it relates to their scope of work. It makes their business much more efficient and ideally more profitable. After a full cycle with a couple of these trades, I don’t think they would ever do it any other way.”
More Data, Less Issues
The idea of packing all ongoing processes into a single platform can seem daunting, but the synergies between the tools and new capabilities they provide quickly made clear the value of putting all that data in one place.
“I think that provides us with a lot of powerful tools to be able to forecast and provide the most accurate information to our stakeholders,” said Zuniga. “Having the ability to collect a huge amount of project data, not just for your current project, but also for future project planning, being able to collect all that information and transfer that to your product development and non-development teams, it’s really useful.”
He noted that once owners are comfortable and have a good pile of data in Procore, it’s worth diving into the open API to find further insights.
Sethi explained that the data is valued by many potential customers as well. Especially municipal governments which are hungry for reassurance that a big project won’t disrupt its neighborhoods.
“One of the stakeholders that I deal with most frequently are city councils and the mayors of those cities,” he said. “Traffic is a hugely contentious issue with communities we build in, and whenever we go for approvals, that’s generally one of the top five issues for the public. We know how many people and roughly how many cars are on site, and demonstrating that level of professionalism and control to the city councils and mayors that we deal with has been a really significant benefit.”
For Allsop, the benefits are experienced daily, perhaps even by the minute given the real-time data flow.
“Something that I would miss if we didn’t do Procore anymore is just having that accessibility all the time,” he said. “I go and take my walkthrough. I’m taking photos directly to Procore. Everyone can see them as soon as they’re uploaded. You see an issue, you mark on the drawings, instantly make comments, observations… Even if it’s something really minor, it’s something that needs to be done. Within seconds of you walking around, you’ve got that information out there, and it’s been answered, sometimes before I’m back to the cabin.”
As a last tip, Zuniga said that any companies planning to give Procore a spin should do so deliberately to prevent a choppy transition.
“Meet with your team leaders, collect all the different requirements from your departments,” advised Zuniga. “Document both these and any questions they have before you set up your demo.”
Just be careful because all three agreed that once you move to Procore, you might find yourself unable to go back to your old ways.
“I just don’t think we could do what we need to do now without it,” said Sethi.