• Challenge

    As a busy general contractor, Echo Pacific Construction demands a flexible, adaptable estimating software solution to enable it to successfully bid and win new projects.

    Solution

    Echo Pacific Construction relies on Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage Estimating, along with companion products, to meet its dynamic requirements.

    Results

    Powerful functionality, industry databases, and integration tools speed the estimating cycle. Costs associated with estimating have been reduced by 50 percent. Overall estimating efficiency is up by 75 percent.

    A perennial award winner with Associated General Contractors and Associated Builders and Contractors, Echo Pacific Construction was named Contractor of the Year in 2007 and has been an Excellence in Construction recipient for three of the past five years. A factor in the success of Echo Pacific Construction is its lean operation that can react quickly to accommodate changes in the marketplace. Supporting the company in its success is Sage Estimating (formerly Sage Timberline Estimating).

    A smart investment

    The company has used Sage Estimating, in conjunction with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly Sage Timberline Office), as its estimating solution for several years. “Software is one of the larger investments a company can make,” says Chris Rowe, president of Echo Pacific Construction. “So we did a lot of research about what we wanted from a system and which systems could meet our needs. Sage Estimating fits the bill for us.”

    Flexible and adaptable

    “We create our estimates in Sage Estimating and then send the estimates to our accounting staff who bring them into Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate to create the job cost structure for the project,” explains Brian Fay, senior estimator. The tight integration between the two applications drives efficiency throughout the organization and improves communication and collaboration.

    Over the years the company’s business model has evolved, and Echo Pacific Construction often serves the role of general contractor, performing preconstruction and construction management functions for its projects. As a function of this shift, accurate estimating has become even more important. “We are able to give our clients very accurate project funding requirements,” says Rowe. “Not only can we show them an initial budget, but we can project expenses by month. This gives our firm a competitive edge because we are delivering more value to our clients.”

    Many of the company’s projects involve modernization of existing structures. “This type of job doesn’t follow a straight line. They typically involve demolition and ultimately marrying the new structure in with the old,” explains Rowe. “They are very difficult projects to track without a flexible software solution such as Sage Estimating.”

    “There are projects we have won that we might not have won without Sage Estimating,” Rowe continues. “Some project bids have a short timeline, sometimes just days before the bid is due. Without efficient software tools, we may not have been able to deliver the bid on time. We recently won a $26 million project with an estimate that was completed in just a week and a half.”

    Integration with tools of the trade

    The integration with industry-standard solutions like AutoCAD Revit®, Innovaya Visual Estimating®, and On Center Software On Screen Takeoff® greatly expand the usability and functionality of Sage Estimating, helping Echo Pacific Construction increase productivity and minimize overhead costs.

    For most of the larger projects Echo Pacific Construction bids on, it receives Revit drawings from the project architect. Building Information Modeling (BIM) software such as Revit allows estimators to construct a project in virtual reality. “We start with the Revit model and pull it through visual estimating software to drive the project estimate,” explains David Freedman, BIM director for Echo Pacific Construction. “We are able to use the Sage Estimating databases to bring the labor and material costs into the model, and then ultimately into the Sage Estimating application, so we are actually completing two steps at once.”

    Sage Estimating also integrates with On Screen Takeoff. “As I build my projects, I can perform my takeoffs and move between the two applications with the touch of a button,” says Dan Smith, estimator. “The biggest advantage of the technology is the speed with which we can complete accurate estimates.”

    Cut the cost of estimating

    Sage Estimating provides companies such as Echo Pacific Construction with the ability to be flexible and adapt to ever changing market conditions. “The growth that we are seeing now and the growth that we believe is coming would simply not be possible for us without tools like Sage Estimating,” concludes Rowe. “By using Sage Estimating, we have cut the costs involved in generating a complex estimate by 50 percent and increased efficiency of the estimating process by at least 75 percent. We can produce estimates in four or five hours now, when before they would have taken us four or five days.”

    Company: Echo Pacific Construction, Inc. is a midsized construction company with annual revenues averaging $100 million. The company specializes in public works projects across the state of California.

    Industry: Commercial construction

    Location: Escondido, California

    Solutions:

    • Sage Estimating
    • Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate