Thursday, October 22, 2020

Interaction- Lalu Varghese, Dir & CEO, LALS Software Services, RIB CCS

 

 

Our software has been developed by contractors, for contractors to provide specialist software solutions to the construction industry

 

 

 

 

A growing number of users in India and across the world have profited from using two leading software products Candy and BuildSmart, as an integrated cost management solution. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, LALU VARGHESE, DIRECTOR & CEO, LALS SOFTWARE SERVICES, RIB CCS authorized and exclusive distributor for India gives an overview on the CPM Software industry, role played by his company’s software solutions in controlling cost and time overruns in projects.

 

 

 

 

 

Briefly give us an overview of the CONSTRUCTION & PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE industry, the latest technology trends and the business drivers?

 

LSS is the authorized and exclusive distributor of RIB CCS’s complete construction and engineering management software in India, where Candy and BuildSmart seamlessly integrate, provides an interactive link between our estimating & project control and our enterprise accounting and operational costing tools. It shares critical information in real time. And the results?

 

  • Improved cost and schedule performance and certainty
  • Increased productivity
  • Growth of financial returns with lower volatility
  • Proactive management of project risk

 

This helps you like no other system can, but how?

 

  • One source of the truth enabling you to manage the complete construction process & lifecycle
  • Candy Estimating integrates with BuildSmart Procurement for precise quantity and rate information to achieve accurate purchasing - the first step in effective cost control.
  • The integrated solution organises cost information simultaneously by task/activity and by cost type. This allows one-to-one comparison of cost information across estimating, project management and accounting - even if it is organised in different ways.
  • As a web-based construction management software, BuildSmart lets your team enter information where it is produced. This allows for real-time comparison of actual to allowable costs, giving you time to take swift, effective corrective action.
  • BuildSmart captures actual costs relative to the estimated figures, improving the accuracy of future estimates and securing more profitable work.

 

 

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your business and what are your strategies to overcome these sluggish market conditions and expand market share.

 

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has had to shift the way it does business to address the needs of a workforce confined at home.

 

While construction sites remain empty, your business doesn’t stop and there is a plethora of administrative and management activity that needs to carry on to ensure the continuity of your business. So, what do you need to accomplish business continuity?

 

From communication issues to sharing accurate project information and monitoring the state of a workforces’ well-being; the challenges of creating a cohesive work-from-home environment can seem overwhelming.

 

With so many variables to consider, here are several ways a company can guarantee both the productivity and happiness of its employees by implementing readily available solutions designed for individuals working from home.

 

 

Communicate clearly

 

The simple truth is if employees can’t communicate effectively and timely, a company’s output will suffer. Fortunately, with the right technology platforms in place, every employee will be able to maintain the same level of communication they would experience in the office.

 

A myriad of solutions are available to help achieve this reality; from real-time communications (Slack) and timekeeping (Clockify) to video conferencing (Skype, Zoom) and unified communication and collaboration platforms (Microsoft Teams). Researching these options and implementing them in a timeous manner is the first step to helping your workforce stay productive while working from home.

 

 

Invest in solid IT support

 

Having chosen a suitable communication solution, maintaining the infrastructure that supports is of paramount importance. Ensuring your employees have a secure and robust data network will be your IT provider’s primary function; maintaining the ‘bricks and mortar’ (if you will) that form the backbone of your work-from-home VPN network.

 

 

Stay connected and caring

 

Co-workers who aren’t accustomed to working from home require support structures that address the concerns and needs associated with their new work-from-home lifestyle. Be it support via email, instant messaging or conference calling, managers and executives need to be more hands-on and concerned with the well-being of their employees. In lock-down, the question, “How are you doing?” is as important as meeting a deadline.

 

 

Work from the same page

 

Cloud-based software is one of the greatest tools to ensure your teams are all working from the same information pool. The real-time nature of these solutions ensures that your employees, regardless of their locations or time zones, can always share information, negating a loss in accuracy and productivity.

 

 

Downtime? Up-skill

 

With reduced workloads, there’s never been a better time for companies to up-skill their employees. Just search online and you’ll find a multitude of courses and webinars that cover a variety of subjects. Existing service providers will be looking to support you in these challenging times with online training and consulting at competitive prices. Using their downtime wisely, your employees can learn new skill sets or expand their existing knowledge base.

 

 

Your home office

 

Where and how an employee works will have a huge impact on the quality of their work. Here are some points to remember. They should:

Work as ergonomically as possible, in a location with natural light and fresh air that is free from distractions.

  • Take a break. The trap of working from home is feeling the need to always be available. In an office, workers are in motion — talking to each other, having lunch and so on. Mimicking this routine is crucial to avoiding fatigue when working from home. For this reason, employees should step away from their keyboards every few hours and move around for at least 10–15 minutes before working again.
  • Create a dedicated workspace equipped with the right tools to suit their needs. This will allow for greater productivity while creating separation from the job when taking a break or shutting down for the day. Employees should ensure that where they work is not where they relax, eat or sleep. Being able to “leave” work is a must, so ensure your employees have a specific time when they knock off.

 

 

Everyone is on the same team

 

This may sound obvious, but it is important to remember that each employee in a company will adjust to the lock-down at their own pace. Exercising patience and trust will allow for a cohesive work environment while reducing stress. Ultimately, with the right infrastructure in place, working from home will only change the chair you sit in rather than your workflow.

 

 

Tell us about the solutions and services offered by your firm in the Construction and Project Management space? Briefly talk about your main software solution, its applicability to various areas of construction, infrastructure and real estate, and its advantage to users?

 

Regardless of the job, the best-laid plans are only as good as the measurements used to make them. This is where creating an accurate Quantity Take-off (QTO) comes into play. As an integral part of the cost estimation process, QTO enables estimators to simplify a large project by splitting it up into smaller, more manageable sections in greater detail.

 

Choosing an estimation software solution with the right features is invaluable to the process. Beginning with data collected from design blueprints and notes, an accurate QTO becomes a living document constantly updated to reflect the changing situation on a project and the client’s needs. Thanks to estimation software, estimators can create up-to-the-minute measurements of the materials and labour required to complete a construction project. This allows for better risk management, increased productivity and the creation of attractive tenders.

 

To help you decide on the best solution, here are five features crucial to creating better QTOs:

 

Auditable links

 

Information sharing is central to ensuring everyone on a project is working from the same data pool. With a fully auditable link from Candy and Candy QTO to your Bill of Quantity (BOQ), users can transfer measured quantities from the QTO to create or update a Candy BOQ for pricing or progress claims.

 

Take Off Templates

 

The most efficient way to maintain accurate measurements on a job is to make use of templates to standardise and streamline your processes. This is especially useful for quantities that require routine updating. Fully customisable to include variables, formulae, and BOQ items like those used in the Take-off Sheet, templates can be created to track all these items in real-time.

 

Quantity tracking

 

Quantities can be separated into the various stages of the contract by splitting their measured amounts into Bill, Final, Claimed and Actual Quantities. By comparing these amounts at the end of the project lifecycle, you will have a greater understanding of the difference between projected versus actual costing and can better plan for future tenders, increasing the likelihood of winning them.

 

Document support

 

Time spent waiting for documents to open is time wasted. The estimating software you use must allow for speedy access to drawings and blueprints with minimal memory usage regardless of the user’s computer hardware. This, in addition to having a user-friendly interface, allows the QTO’s PDF Viewer to facilitate the taking of accurate measurements.

 

Comparison tool

 

  • Seeing is believing, which is why having an image comparison tool is so important. By allowing two drawings to be overlaid for easy comparison, changes can be identified immediately and are easier to track.
  • While plans will change across a project’s lifecycle, your ability to track information in real-time is only as good as your software solution and its features. As an estimator, having the best tools available improves your ability to generate the most accurate Quantity Take-off, and in doing so, the best possible estimation for your tender application.

 

 

 

What are the USP’s of your products Vis-à-vis competition

 

  • Specialised software solutions for the construction & engineering industries - developed by contractors, for contractors. That’s been our mission at RIB CCS for over 35 years and we have built an international reputation for excellence in doing just that.
  • In 2007, a merger between RIB CCS and BuildSmart married the strengths of the Candy Estimating and Project Control software with those of the BuildSmart Cost and Enterprise Management software, to create a one-of-a-kind, market-leading integrated project lifecycle control solution… from first estimate to final account.
  • RIB CCS is a proud RIB company and together with the global pioneer in construction innovation, we strive to work together to bring new technologies to enhance productivity in the built environment, digitizing and transforming the industry as a whole.

 

 

 

Are you launching any new products and their advantages?

 

New Product: C5 https://ccsc5.com/

C5 is the next generation in cloud-based estimating software for the construction industry

 

 

Advantages:

 

C5 takes your construction project tendering to new heights

Combining best of breed technology and industry-leading expertise, C5 is the next generation in cloud-based estimating software designed to help you efficiently compile accurate estimates —anywhere, anytime!

Using innovative cloud technology, C5 features cutting-edge tools that take construction project tendering to the next level.

 

 

Complete your estimates anywhere, anytime

With your project data in the cloud, you can access, compile and optimise your estimates anywhere and at any time.

Innovative web-based features, functions and speed

Made possible by combining the latest advancements in cloud technology, an ingenious development team and the unparalleled vision and experience of CCS.

 

Get started in seconds

Simply get online, register an account and get going by making use of the interactive Help Centre and pre-loaded sample projects.

 

User-friendly, intuitive, simple user interface

Get the job done simply, easily and quickly.

 

No desktop installations or costly upgrades

Because it’s online, there’s nothing to install and updates are free and instantly available.

 

Securely access your data

Advanced, industry recognised security keeps your data protected and automatically backed-up.

 

 

Which are the important projects with which your software has been associated with and name your major clients? Tell us of the role played by your software in bringing time cost and time overruns in projects with examples from some projects?

 

  • With near continuous sunshine and warm temperatures throughout the year, there are few better places than the Middle East for water parks.
  • Yas Waterworld was destined to be a key attraction at the multibillion dollar Yas Island development, Abu Dhabi’s premier entertainment destination. With standout attractions such as Ferrari World, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Links Golf Course and du Arena already open, there was a real desire not only to create a world-leading waterpark, but to complete the project on time and on budget whilst enhancing the existing attractions at Yas Island.
  • The brief behind the Dh900 million project was to create the world’s leading waterpark, with multiple rides, slides and attractions, as well as a host of brand-new rides unique to Yas Waterworld. Additionally, the overall theme of Yas Waterworld would pay tribute to Emirati culture and heritage, with traditional Arabic architecture incorporated throughout the park.
  • Our client, ALEC and ALEMCO, utilised Candy & BuildSmart, the specialist construction computer software, which provided a real-time overview of the construction and engineering process. They proved to be essential tools during the project, becoming particularly important when managing estimation and later procurement (integrating costings, as well as project and enterprise accounting, helping to keep the project on time and on budget.)

 

 

Future outlook for the industry and from a company perspective

 

The future outlook for the industry is good as more and more companies are embracing new way of working compared to the traditional ways.

 

Cloud computing will have huge influence in construction henceforth.