Case Study

Civtec streamlines and simplifies cost estimating processes with Benchmark Estimating

January 11, 2022

Learn how using Benchmark Estimating's cloud based solution, Civtec turned their prior method of estimating on its head and made the seemingly daunting task of pricing a complex project a mere distant memory.

About Civtec

Established in 2014, Civtec is an infrastructure construction company specialising in the end-to-end delivery of telecommunications, civil, and utilities. In reaction to increasing customer demand, they have grown through recent years to expand their repertoire into directional drilling and trenching, installation of fibre, water, power and gas, streetlight & EV charger installation, minor earthworks, and commercial & residential reinstatement. With depots spreading vastly across both the North and South Islands, Civtec employs a team of over 330 people who are dedicated to helping New Zealand grow.

What challenges were Civtec facing?

Civtec produces over 320 tenders and quotes each year, ranging from complex million-dollar tenders through to smaller, quick half-day civil jobs, and the company’s reliance on spreadsheets with complex formulas was getting progressively less manageable. The spreadsheets would often crash as more and more data was added, and the sheer volume of calculations and formulas running in the background simply stoked the fire.

These delays began to significantly impact their response times, meaning that it would take easily 2-3 times longer than necessary to populate even a smaller sized proposal. It got even worse when trying to collaborate with others on their file sharing platform, with the file often taking several minutes to recalculate a new data set.

Furthermore, this plethora of formulas and the laborious nature of data entry meant that their spreadsheets were highly susceptible to human error.

Ross Inglis, the National Operations Manager at Civtec, stated that “it would only take an erroneous keystroke to unknowingly cause miscalculations and distort our final pricing submissions”.

“Our spreadsheet method was unsustainable, we had outgrown it”, Inglis continued. “We needed a solution that was quick, purpose built and dependable”.

What catalysed the decision to switch to Benchmark Estimating?

After hearing about Benchmark Estimating from a client, Civtec decided to reach out to find out whether the software could deliver the solution that they needed.

The team at Benchmark Estimating presented the software, demonstrating how to produce estimates, quotes, project management reports, marketing graphs, manage variations and progress claims, and how to easily import and export to external scheduling and accounting solutions.

They went into detail about implementation, from the initial planning and configuration, through to building resource libraries, training, and go live implementation and support.

Instantly, the team at Civtec saw that Benchmark Estimating's cost module was a flexible, easy-to-use solution with a range of powerful features designed for the civil industry.

They also liked the idea of being able to use Benchmark Estimating for pricing major projects through to smaller day-to-day quotes. And the fact that it was cloud-based added to the pool of benefits, as it meant that the team could work from anywhere, at any time, on the same project

The post implementation experience

Civtec implemented Benchmark Estimating at the start of New Zealand’s first nationwide Covid lockdown in March 2020. User accounts, computers, and data libraries were set up and ready to go, and the Benchmark Estimating team conducted online training sessions to cover the fundamentals.

They use Benchmark to price their civil work; watermain installation projects, fibre installation projects, power and gas installation projects.

Many of the tenders and projects they priced were for similar and repetitive across different sections of the quote, e.g. install 180mm watermain via directional drilling. By setting up standard items in the item library, Civtec were able to react quickly in real-time to last minute changes in pricing on both their ends, as well as the clients.

Four key benefits

  1. The robust nature of the software allows analysis, reviews and adjustments of various components to be conducted quickly and reliably.
  2. The ability to import client schedules and material quotes into Benchmark Estimating ensures accuracy of data and saves time.
  3. The ease of collaboration with the cloud based solution means that the team can work together on quotes no matter where they are.
  4. The item library safeguards consistency across multifaceted projects, additionally making it easy to revisit previous pricings and make comparisons.

How are Civtec now?

Civtec now use Benchmark Estimating to quickly pull together big and small quotes, and aim to continue building smarter Routines (“Routine” is Benchmark Estimating's feature for Parametric Model) to make repetitive quotes quicker and more automated.

Additionally, they are in the process of fine tuning their usage of project costing information to add value to cost management in their financial systems.

For Inglis, Benchmark Estimating “provided a way for us to streamline and simplify our cost estimating processes and gave us consistency and accuracy to our quoting”. He continued, saying “we now know that if we were going to price a job, we could get it done within tight turnarounds and without the frustrations”.

If you’re experiencing the same pain points as Civtec, or you’d like to know more about how Benchmark Estimating could elevate your organisation’s processes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

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