How well do you spend your working day? You know, in a lifetime you spend literally years sleeping, eating and queuing, months and months checking junk emails, sitting at traffic lights, brushing your teeth… So what about making the rest of your precious time really count.
Construction companies are typically fully on. And if you’re the boss you could easily be involved in estimation, delivering quotes, design, planning permission, approvals, health and safety, trips to the merchants… But if you feel like you’re consistently wasting time then take a look at what productive people do well and what undoubtedly contributes to the success of ambitious building firms!
“Time flies but the good news is you’re the pilot” as someone cleverly put it. If you could save even 30 minutes a day, think of the goals you could achieve with a bit more time? Maybe…
And if you only pick up on one point here, it’s a start. Busy isn’t always a good thing, it could be masking a few short-comings. It’s all about time management, whether you’re a house-builder, doing loft conversions, renovations or extensions.
And if we can offer any advice on using the right software tools to increase your productivity, such as HBXL’s EstimatorXpress 2017 for speedy estimating, take-offs and quoting, then give us a call on 0117 916 7898 or email email@example.com - we’ve got the time if you have!
It’s very easy to write January off when the weather lets you down, customers too - and the odd subbie. It’s dark, wet and there’s no money around… But all is not lost, far from it – the quieter period presents a great opportunity to review your business and decide how to take it forward. So we’ve listed here 10 goals to construction success in 2017 to set you on your way.
|Review your business direction - Starting with the biggie! What projects do you want and like to take on. Consider the 80/20 rule – could you concentrate on the 20 percent of the work that generates 80 percent of your revenue? And say no to the less profitable work? Do you want to diversify? What about Design & Build ? Walking is a good activity for clearing your mind and thinking afresh. Yes even builders can take an afternoon walk! Then break down your big ideas into daily, weekly or monthly actionable goals that you can measure.|
|Improve your bottom line - This usually involves 1) Raising your rates 2) Doing more work 3) Reducing your expenses. Look at the figures for last year and see how you could trim some overheads. Did your profit margins drop unnecessarily? Do you keep reducing your profit margin because of oversights? Find the leaks in your bucket.|
|Stop being busy and be more productive - Busy isn’t necessarily productive. ‘What’s the point of spending your days climbing a mountain, only to realise at the end of this new year, you’ve climbed the wrong one?’ (Quote courtesy of Robin Sharma, leadership expert). Do you enter the same data into multiple documents? Put systems in place that will streamline various processes.|
|Learn to delegate - Have a good long look at your role. Do you really have to do it all? Perhaps it’s time to stop being pulled in different directions and concentrate on the bigger issues. Make a list identifying the things that someone else could do. Estimating? Speaking to suppliers? Booking subbies?|
|Review your approach to health and safety - How confident are you that you have a handle on health and safety? Are your employees and the public properly protected? Do you know what the HSE expect from you – have you properly sussed out CDM 2015? How about putting some time in the diary to gen up on it, do an online health and safety course and get others onto it as well.|
|Review your customer service - Remember the customers pay the bills. If you want good reviews, if you want them to recommend you then make sure they stay happy. A single A4 sheet with your expectations of your employees and subbies will make sure everyone knows the policy. What about giving customers the opportunity to feedback at the end of a job – you could come up with a short questionnaire? At least make sure to ask them to give you a review.|
|Research cloud computing - If you’re not already using Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive or another cloud storage application, then consider the benefits they could bring you. Saving and accessing files such as estimates in the cloud are really easy, and using cloud over physical file storage can save money as well. And of course you can be anywhere and still access your files remotely. But possibly most important of all is backing up - a must if you don’t want to lose something important following a systems failure or malfunction.|
|Promote your business better - It needn’t be anything grand. What about updating your website (you have got one haven’t you?)? How out of date are the projects on there? What about a Facebook page? Perhaps it’s time for new livery for the vehicles, new polo shirts, some better signs? Sponsor a team or event. Whatever, put together a list, add some time frames and make them happen. And why not book in a bit of marketing training on this – some short courses are available to do from home or office.|
|Become a tiny little bit of a geek - You don’t have to know your Bytes from your RAM but technology really will help you work more effectively, which means faster computers and clever software. Make a point of keeping up with new and changing technology that would impact you directly. Don’t just think about power drills and the latest plasterboard. What IT could you invest in to make your business run more smoothly?|
|Commit to new learning - Your business has to stay safe and compliant. Put some remote online health and safety training on the calendar. And why not think about learning a new skill. Find out about software for designing your own extensions and loft conversions for instance.|
We hope our 10 goals to construction success in 2017 proves helpful. If you would like any more advice on streamlining your processes, tightening up on admin and improving your profit margins, give one of the team here at HBXL a call on 0117 916 7898. Our suite of software is aimed exclusively at the builder and developer and was founded by a builder who knows only too well about the pressures of running a successful business. Have a great 2017!
Do you ever feel like you’re wasting time? Even if you’re meeting your targets, do you wonder whether there is a better way? Thousands of building firms have found a way to spend less time estimating, win more work, stick to deadlines and budget and all with considerably less effort. How? By embracing a software solution. Read on to discover how HBXL’s Productivity Bundle could help your building firm improve construction productivity and return a higher profit.
All HBXL products are integrated for a complete end-to-end experience and designed with ease of use in mind. Start with plans and share the information across the range to produce everything you need to run a project from start to finish effectively. Let us take you through the steps.
One, draft an architect quality building plan effortlessly in PlansXpress using simple drag and drop tools. No CAD knowledge needed! (Or if you have been given plans from your client, simply scan and trace them to make alterations and capture essential construction information such as dimensions and specification).
Two, using these details imported directly into EstimatorXpress, the software does an almost instant take-off of the plan, producing a 100% accurate estimate of your build costs as well as many handy documents to help you run your project more efficiently and impress your customer. Including Gantt chart, schedules of works (JIT labour, plant and materials), cashflow forecasts, stage payments and a customer quote – all produced automatically off the back of your estimate. Just print!
Three, import your estimate into Health & Safety Xpert and it will use your job specifications to automatically generate all the required health and safety documents you need including Risk Assessments, Construction Phase Plans, site checklists and audits to ensure that you meet required HSE compliance including CDM 2015 and CHAS.
Four, import your estimate into ContractsXpert and it will use your estimate details to directly prepare a watertight customer building contract and ensure you meet Doorstep Selling regulations, as well as properly contracting with your subcontractors.
Five, use ProjectXpert to ensure you run the most productive construction project possible. Plus, manage multiple, simultaneous jobs and keep track of how your whole year is panning out at any point, not just at the end! If you’re thinking you don’t normally have more than one job at once, then you really need to try the software. You don’t know what you’re missing out on!
The Productivity Bundle has so many features that will help you run a more effective, efficient and ultimately profitable business that there is no way we could fit it all in this short article so give us a call on 0117 9167898 to see what it can do for your business.
At HBXL we are committed to regular development to make sure our users have the best and latest construction software on the market. Read on to find out what our latest construction software developments are and when you can get your hands on them…
To most, it will only feel like the beginning of the year but at HBXL we are already working on an update for our recent EstimatorXpress 2017 launch! The new improvements come from our Business Support Manager working in tandem with a long time user and supporter of HBXL, Lee Goodwin of Oakleafe Property Services. Lee focuses mostly on renovations and insurance work (at quite a scale of operation) so is the perfect building firm to work with on enhancements to this area of EstimatorXpress .
We think that listening to our users’ suggestions and ideas is an essential part of our development process and we are sure this plays a huge part in why our software is so well received by builders, developers and judging panels alike. Below I have outlined the first wave of improvements stemming from our work with Lee and there’s more to come!
These are all about calculating the costs of safeguarding the existing property whilst internal works take place. For example, zip walls and floor protection to prevent dust and dirt of the site and materials from damaging the existing property the builder is working in.
We have all new replacement floor covering workbooks including assorted new ceramic tile, porcelain tile and stone floor systems as well as engineered wood flooring and floating floors.
Following on from the success of the ribbon feature addition into EstimatorXpress and PlansXpress, we have added a new ribbon feature to ProjectXpert! This new feature allows for easier and faster navigation as well as the improved benefit of a similar user experience across the software range.
Coming soon to Health & Safety Xpert is a new record for Hand Arm Vibration exposure (HAVS). This addition is to work in collaboration with our recent Hand Arm Vibration Risk Assessment that was part of our latest health and safety software update. The new form helps builders and developers keep track of the time spent using hand held power tools to help them ensure that no staff exceed the daily limit as noted in the RA.
As usual all Health & Safety Xpert updates come with a general review of all the regulations to make sure all our builders are following the most recent requirements.
At HBXL we firmly believe that if you aren’t up to date then you’re behind. Whether this is in relation to software developments or staying on top of latest regulation changes, the costs of falling behind can be severe. Give us a call on 0117 9167892 to make sure you’re software is up to date.
You may already be benefiting from EstimatorXpress so you probably already know the time, money and effort saving possibilities of embracing a software solution. BUT, the real clever stuff begins when you combine HBXL software products. Read on to find out why and give us a call to discuss our December deals…
EstimatorXpress as a standalone product is still something to be valued as suggested by the number of estimating software awards it has picked up this year alone. This being said, the benefit of using software to prepare and manage your construction projects extends beyond estimating.
Our building software helps with every stage of the building process, enabling efficiency savings which in turn improves your profitability. It’s an essential toolkit for anyone wanting to run a more productive construction site. As Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and the same can be said for our software range. So extend your suite and start seeing the bigger benefits.
All HBXL products are fully integrated for a complete end-to-end experience to reduce the amount of time and effort required by you. If you are already using more than one of our products, you’ll know how easy it is to share information between the programs so that you don’t have to enter details more than once. If you have been using EstimatorXpress on its own, you’ll be amazed what the software range can do with almost no extra effort! PLUS, because all the information is shared across the package, you can be sure that everything matches up to reduce errors and omissions.
Starting with PlansXpress, simple drag and drop tools will help you draft architect quality plans, 2D elevations and 3D models. (Or if you have been given plans from your client, simply scan and trace them to make alterations and capture essential construction information such as dimensions and specification).
Then, for an almost instant quote, import your building plan into EstimatorXpress to get a
complete cost break down of the project. Now that’s efficiency savings – save on architect and QS fees and your time.
Next, import your estimate into Health & Safety Xpert and it will use your job specifications to automatically generate all hethe required health and safety documents you need including Risk Assessments, Construction Phase Plans, site checklists and audits to ensure that you meet required HSE compliance including CDM 2015 and CHAS. There are whole host of site management documents automatically produced – all the quicker still for using Health & Safety Xpert in conjunction with EstimatorXpress.
Afterward, import your EstimatorXpress estimate into ContractsXpert and it will use your estimate details to directly prepare a watertight customer building contract and ensure you meet Doorstep Selling regulations, as well as properly contracting with your subcontractors. So much better than clients defaulting on payment and causing you cashflow issues, and subcontractors walking off site when a better offer comes along.
Five, use ProjectXpert to ensure you run the most productive construction project possible. Simply import one or multiple jobs from EstimatorXpress to manage single or multiple, simultaneous jobs and keep track of how your whole week, month or year is panning out at any point, not just at the end! If you’re thinking you don’t normally have more than one job at once, then you really need to try the software to see how it improves the management of the individual projects you have on the go. You don’t know what you’re missing out on! (The import is worth focusing on as not only does it bring across your build program, but also your resources and costings…this means you can manage planned build program versus actual, resource allocation and costs versus actual too…
HBXL reward our existing customers too… we offer exclusive user discounts for anyone who already owns any of our software range. Give us a call on 0117 9167898 to discuss your own deal today!
HBXL have had a great 2016 filled with regular construction software updates and a whole heap of awards for our estimating software – EstimatorXpress, our company as a whole and our fantastic support team. Read on to be reminded of all the improvements we’ve made to our range of market leading construction software products for builders and developers so you can check if you are bang up to date with the latest features and regulations.
Winner of three awards in 2016, EstimatorXpress has just undergone a major transformation to EstimatorXpress 2017 as well as two previous, updates to the 2015 version. You certainly get your money’s worth with a year’s Support & Updates!
EstimatorXpress 2017 comes with new estimating ribbon navigation and a new ‘quick start’ estimating wizard , which remembers your preferences on how you work. This dramatically speeds up the time it takes to get an estimate and also furthers the benefits of the Spring and Summer updates including a whole host of new features such as new drainage and sewage workbooks, improved integration with Health & Safety Xpert, new mini specs for guttering and “no decoration”, updated PlansXpress integration of the Notes Wizard in partnership with Assure Building Control, new build phases for internal renovation and improvements to existing Workbooks.
For existing users of EstimatorXpress 2015, all these updates plus access to our very helpful support team 9-5, Monday to Friday is just £179+VAT. Absolute bargain, I’m sure you’ll agree! Make sure your Support & Updates are in place here. Head’s up…there are LOADS of new EstimatorXpress features and Workbooks planned for launch in 2017. Watch this space.
Our fully integrated construction software range starts with PlansXpress, the easy building plans software which has again had some major improvements this year with the release of a PlansXpress spring update.
This huge development took four people around 300 hours or eight man weeks to produce. Included in this major development was an update building regs as part of our partnership with Assure Building Control and improved connectivity with the EstimatorXpress Notes Wizard to intelligently analyse the drawing and identify the relevant Building Regulation clauses required to pass building regulation plans inspection, often reducing the process to a single mouse click! Find out more here
Our construction health and safety software has had two significant developments this year seeing the release of Health & Safety Xpert 2016 and our autumn update just recently. These both included a health and safety regulations review to ensure the software is up to date with all the latest changes in legislation. As part of this we developed 91 additional COSHH Assessments, 15 new or updated Risk Assessments and a new Simple Construction Phase Plan to address the requirement for a CPP for jobs of any size. This helps gets boots on the ground quicker, helps your company avoid unwanted attention from the HSE and work towards a safer construction industry. To find out more about the latest additions to Health & Safety Xpertread the full article.
Back in January we released ContractsXpert 2016 which has been completely revamped and was written (and updated) in conjunction with a leading construction lawyer to ensure all our contracts are watertight yet straightforward so that both customer and builder are on the same page. Payment is made simple and it is easy to make alterations to match changes in the work. All documentation required for Door Step Selling compliance is produced within minutes requiring minimal effort. For more information please read the full article.
We think you’ll agree that we’ve had a busy year and in our eyes it’s all made worth it when you hear back from happy, successful users and receive such great awards. At HBXL we attribute this success to our ongoing commitment to research and development of all our construction software. We reinvest 25% of our turnover back into product development to make sure our users get the most out of their Support & Updates. In order to benefit from all the investment and work we do, AND to be able to use our award winning Support Team, make sure you keep your Support & Updates in place here.