Straits Construction is one of Singapore’s leading builders. Their quantity surveyors initially used manual methods for measurements and calculations. Data management became messy and the limited solution alternative led to a drop in accuracy. Frustrated by inefficient processes, the team knew there had to be a better way. To scale up the productivity and be BIM-ready, their team dived into Cubicost’s cost estimating digital construction software. Keep reading to find out how their transformation journey ended with a “We can’t imagine going back!”
Glodon’s International Marketing Manager, KC Chan, attended a BIM sharing event co-hosted by Glodon Singapore and Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SSIV). After the event, he met with Forbes Seah, Tender QS at Straits Construction, who has been using CubiCost to manage tenders in their Commercial Department for over a year.
To understand Strait Construction’s digital journey, let’s rewind the clock back to 2017, when they struggled with data management.
Before CubiCost, we were using very labour intensive methods, such as making measurements directly from PDF, which gave us limited qualitative information. We would extract the dimensions from our measurements, import them into an Excel file, and then process the information to suit our needs.
The 2D drawings showed dimension, however, pertinent information such as technical parameters and volume were not shown.
This lengthy process would often cause frustration within the team as lack of solution alternatives forced them to use methods that would stretch project timelines.
“Without the right resources, doing basic tasks like data management took a long time to finish. On top of that, we are often overloaded with work and end up rushing to meet deadlines.
Another issue faced by the team was the lack of accuracy when using manual methods.
“There were minor details which we might not notice, such as beam drop. We normally would not take details like this into account because it’s too time consuming. Unfortunately, this affects how precise our calculations are.”
According to Forbes, Straits Construction aspired to become a BIM-ready company and implement its processes. From a professional standpoint, Forbes aimed to manage the entire tendering process because he believed it would help to enable his team to have an overall competitive advantage to win more tender projects.
“I wanted to handle tender and data all by myself and settle everything but this is difficult since there is so much to do for each tender.
Forbes elaborated the advantage of having one person responsible for a specific tender process, to help us understand why this achievement was so important for him.
“When our team collaborates and exchanges information, there will be an information loss. So, the more people are involved in tender, the less accurate the tender will be.”
Forbe’s colleague initiated the digital transformation journey by implementing CubiCost. Even though the company had the software, initially no one used it until they received direction from management to dive into the software and help the company become BIM-ready. Like any other software, there is always a learning curve to understand how to use the platform. This largely depends on the individual and how comfortable they are using technology.
The onboarding experience for the software was smooth. I picked it up very quickly, because I generally like plan drawings. So that made it an easy transition for me.
One of the most impactful takeaways for the team after using CubiCost has been the ability to manage and consolidate data as well as reduce calculation errors.
“The data management process is so different now. All our data is stored in CubiCost’s software. Previously, I had to split up everything into different files and it was all over the place. But now, the software helps me to consolidate everything into one centralised location, which is essentially what a BIM concept encourages to do.”
Forbes and his team explained that they found the 3D modeling feature especially useful.
With the 3D modeling feature, it’s easier to make comparisons, spot discrepancies, and check measurements. It’s fulfilling to actually see a model of the building and if something is missing, we will notice it right away.
The team also experienced a difference in terms of the time taken to complete the tendering and takeoff process.
We’ve seen a 30% increase in productivity. We spend less time on mundane tasks and instead have time to do other things like pricing.
Further to this, Forbes shared an example to illustrate the dramatic difference in efficiency. “Using the traditional method, it would take one day to complete tracing and measuring of one floor. With CubiCost, the software helps to complete one floor in one hour. For the first time, we can complete a 30 story building in only 2 weeks.”
Another outcome that has risen as a result of implementing CubiCost is job rotation.
“Now that we have a software we are doing a job rotation so even junior team members have the chance to learn more advanced techniques. It gives everyone the chance to be proficient in different scope of the tender process.”
When asked to summarise his experience with CubiCost, Forbes replied, “I love the fact that it helps me to consolidate data measurement, so there’s no more calculation errors and now I can handle tenders from start to finish single handedly, so I'm able to demonstrate my proficiency.”
12 months from now, the team at Straits Construction look forward to centralising their BIM process even more, with the help of a digital software.
Chan ended the interview by asking if Forbes could imagine going back to the manual method after using Cubicost. He laughed and responded, “No, there’s no looking back!”
Ready to experience one powerful platform to accelerate your digital construction journey?
With our software, you can:
- Boost profit by completing quantity take-off faster
- Enhance project quality by eliminating human error
- Save time by easily checking and modifying quantities