BG Contracting Streamlines Succession with Benchmark

Managing Director of BG Contracting, Jonas Paterson, admits that ten years ago the company was pricing ‘on the back of a cigarette packet’. “No productivities could be allocated when bidding items. There was no comparison possible with other projects that we had bid previously,” Jonas Paterson said.

“There was no particular major error that led us to taking on Benchmark. We did recognise at the time, however, that we had no ability for the project team subsequently building the works to understand how the job had been priced.”  The light bulb moment was when “We realised there needed to be succession planning in regard to the business intelligence of how we were estimating,” Jonas reflects.  

When selecting the software “We realised we needed a system that allowed us to grow and be successful,” Jonas said. “A system that allowed us to adjust our estimates by manipulating margins and including for risks.”

In selecting the software for the operation, this New Zealand company put aside ‘cross-ditch’ rivalry and selected Benchmark against other options, which they considered to be too Americanised. “While there was not a New Zealand product at the time, we considered the ‘Australian local’, Benchmark, was local enough for us,” Jonas said.

Ten years on and the company’s success is evident

BG Contracting Ltd was established in 1982 in Kaiapoi near Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island. It has now grown to a point where it has 85 employees, and even three full time estimators. There are operations across the whole country building a diverse range of services including roading, drainage, earthworks, surveying, subdivisions, and sewer treatment works.

The impressive growth of the company has been assisted by the streamlining of business process that Benchmark provides.

Pricing Everything in Benchmark

Ten years after purchasing their first Benchmark Estimating Software licence, BG Contracting are continuing to realise the benefits of being really ‘into Benchmark’. Now having expanded to three Benchmark licences they are pricing everything in Benchmark – this includes not only bids, but also variations to contract, alternative options and even assisting with scheduling.

Jonas explained that they are using the Template Projects feature for bids where a Bill of Quantities was not supplied automatically provides a consistent structure for the estimate, enabling bids to be produced quicker. This uniformity continues by using standard reports for reviews – the resultant transparency means that reviews are more efficient and so taking less time.

“We also use the Regionalisation function for our 2 regions – Christchurch and Auckland,” Jonas explained. “This function has been particularly beneficial due to variants in some of the direct costs between the areas. It has enabled the team to cut the time dramatically for producing early bids using rack rates. Wherever the job is we simply produce an estimate, nominate whether it is Christchurch or Auckland, and Benchmark automatically prepares a bid appropriate to the area. If we did not change rates from area to area that would be catastrophic!” Jonas said.

“The transparency provided by the standard reports is great when the job is won, and the project is handed over to the construction team.  We then use this data as a budget for job costing purposes,” Jonas said.

Standardisation Spearheads Success

When asked what they see as the major benefits of using Benchmark Estimating Software, BG Contracting highlighted the standardisation of how things are approached.

“It really stands out how stable the Benchmark platform is. Additionally it is easy, really easy to use,” Jonas said.

Jonas also appreciates the potential for errors being greatly minimised due to the Library Items and Item Variables, the ability to do quality reviews, ease of use and the good interface of Benchmark. 

The company recognises that implementing Benchmark has been a significant part of the company’s ‘growing up’ and a major contributor in achieving the success that it enjoys today.

Being Into Benchmark

On their own admission, BG Contracting is really ‘into Benchmark’ and advises other companies to do the same. “Don’t use it like you use Excel,” Jonas said. “Just because you have always done things a certain way, it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it. The Benchmark team know estimating, and the methods built into Benchmark really work,” Jonas said.

BG Contracting is indicative of organisations in over 20 countries which have recognised the award-winning software. The experience of BG Contracting also highlights how companies implementing the software in the early stages of their development will assist in streamlining processes, facilitating succession and growth so as to achieve success.


If you identify with the experience of BG Contracting, no matter what country you’re are operating in, our team are ready to discuss your requirements and how we can work with you to implement Benchmark Estimating Software in your organisation. Please contact us and start the conversation.