CertainTeed Unveils New Job Costing and Bidding Software

CertainTeed is introducing InstaBid, a proprietary web-based software system available on both desktop and mobile devices to help roofing contractors take the guesswork out of ordering materials, meeting installation specifications and generating sales proposals.

According to the company, InstaBid helps roofing companies produce Good, Better, Best roofing proposals quickly with accurate job costing, material lists and job-specific installer notes, thereby saving time, improving operational efficiency and helping ensure solid margins.

“There’s nothing worse than preparing a bid for a homeowner and then realizing something was left out,” said Jay Butch, director of contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing. “That cuts right to the heart of a contractor’s bottom line and into the relationship a homeowner has with the contractor. InstaBid helps the contractor’s accuracy.”

After completing an assessment and taking measurements on a home, CertainTeed products (including the underlayment, starter strip, shingles and hip/ridge cap) are pre-loaded into an InstaBid proposal, along with contractor-assigned costs for material, labor and insurance. This saves contractors valuable time in the process of costing jobs, creating proposals and ordering materials.

Once the bid has been entered, contractors can adjust as needed and be assured that nothing is overlooked when preparing a comprehensive bid for a homeowner. InstaBid’s software adjusts job proposal pricing based on the materials to create Good, Better and Best options.

“The homeowner wins with a professional and comprehensive approach to their re-roofing job, while the contractor wins with a tool that covers the ordering, installation and sales components, helping ensure professionalism and profitability,” Butch said.

According to the company, InstaBid pre-loads location-specific products into the proposal and smartly includes all of the other components needed for a complete roof. InstaBid then adds the intelligence of CertainTeed’s Shingle Applicator’s Manual (SAM), a complete guide to shingle installation details, to help ensure installers have the most comprehensive product instructions available.

The system generates Installer Notes in English and Spanish for each specific roof that can be then printed or emailed to crews, helping to eliminate misunderstandings and mistakes. InstaBid also easily calculates the proper net free ventilation area required for the roof.

“From meeting with homeowners, creating and calculating bids, ordering materials, supervising installation crews, to just running a business, contractors have their hands full,” said James Pastore, founder and CEO of InstaBid. “InstaBid is a very powerful program behind the scenes in order to insure an easy and intuitive user experience.”

To learn more, contractors can visit www.instabidsoftware.com and try a 30-day complimentary trial.

For more information, visit www.certainteed.com.

Quality Assurance

As all of us in the roofing industry are keenly aware, roofing work is fraught with exposure. If the installation quality is poor at any time, there is real risk that the entire structure and its contents can be damaged or destroyed. Depending on the size of the loss, the result could be absolutely crippling for any roofing contractor to absorb. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for quality; what works for one company may not work for another. I do feel strongly, though, that the emphasis on quality has to permeate your entire organization, top to bottom.

For our office, McHenry, Ill.-based Metalmaster Roofmaster, the process begins as early as the pre-award, bidding and estimating phase of the project. Our seasoned estimators carry years of industry experience and are always looking to identify, from the project plans and specifications, issues with the specified products or system, the effectiveness of which often depends on the season in which the roof is being installed. What frequently happens is that we end up recommending a change to the specified system type or installation method to better accommodate project or weather conditions, which will consequently result in a better installation in the end.

This review process does not end there. Post-award, the project moves to our submittal department, which serves as yet another set of eyes to review the plans and specifications for effectiveness of the specified roof system and installation. Our submittal technicians fulfill an office quality-control function to ensure the system products and installation are, in fact, best suited for that particular project. As part of the department’s review, the submittal department works closely with our valued manufacturing partners to elicit feedback and confirmation on the final submittal package. If changes to the plans and specifications are warranted, they are addressed timely and prior to roofing installation—during the submittal process.

The end result is that, by the time the project moves to our project management department for the actual installation, the groundwork for a quality installation has been laid because the products, manufacturers and installation methods have been carefully reviewed multiple times to ensure maximum effectiveness and applicability to the project. Unfortunately all system and
product changes have already been made and approved. All that is left is for our trained field crew to install.

Just prior to the actual field installation, our project managers and superintendents carefully review the plans, specifications and approved shop drawings. The site is reviewed to identify site issues that could potentially affect the quality of the installation. The project documents are furnished to the project foreman, who reviews and discusses the most effective means and methods with the superintendent and project manager. Throughout the course of the installation, open communication among the project manager, superintendent, foreman and field crew is encouraged to proactively discuss and address issues and concerns. At times, a third-party consultant is retained to perform an objective inspection of the roofing installation and to offer suggestions.

Once the installation is complete, we utilize our service department personnel to visit the site and perform any touch-up and detail work prior to the final manufacturer’s inspection. The manufacturer’s representative is accompanied during his inspection by one of our field staff, so that any and all concerns can be addressed and corrected on the spot and manufacturer
approval can be furnished and warranties issued in a timely manner. Owner and architect punchlists are dealt with similarly and, at that point, the owner and general contractor have assurances as to the quality of the roof installation.

It goes without saying, quality of installation is and always will be absolutely critical to the success of Metalmaster Roofmaster. Being able to point to a long history of quality installations has directly impacted our ability to earn new and repeat business, maintain and increase company profitability, build our reputation in the industry, gain manufacturer certification and recognition, reduce insurance premiums, achieve adequate bonding capacity and rates, and a litany of other items. Although we invest a substantial amount of time and resources into the process to ensure the quality of installations, the investment is small relative to the peace of mind and other tangible benefits achieved by maintaining a consistent record of quality roof installations.

Manage Contacts and Invite Bids with Cloud-based Program

BuildingBlok's Invitation to Bid

BuildingBlok’s Invitation to Bid is cloud-based.

BuildingBlok, the cloud-based platform that helps small to mid-size general contractors better manage the entire life cycle of construction projects, announces the launch of new bidding feature, Invitation to Bid (ITB). With ITB, general contractors can easily manage contacts and send invitations to bid to subcontractors. BuildingBlok organizes bid info, helps the GC track every email sent to subcontractors and allows subs to quickly get bid info, download documents and submit RFIs and Bids. This cutting edge technology is entirely web based and is free to use.

Subcontractor bidding is an area where there is an obvious need for improvement. It’s currently a time-intensive and manual process, and requires a large degree of tracking. The system is designed to streamline the entire process, making it easier for contractors to find the right subcontractors for their project.

Specifically, with Invitation to Bid, general contractors can:

    ▪ Manage all documents quickly and easily.
    ▪ Manage all your contacts in one system
    ▪ Connect and collaborate with subcontractors .
    ▪ Track all communications and documents
    ▪ Award contracts and assemble teams of sub-contractors.

As part of Invitation to Bid, BuildingBlok is also launching the free BuildingBlok Network, where subcontractors can list themselves and their qualifications and general contractors can find subcontractors and add them to their contacts. The Network currently includes thousands of construction professionals.

On Center Software Increases Speed and Function with Latest Releases

On Center Software's Quick Bid

On Center Software’s Quick Bid

On Center Software has announced the latest release of its portfolio: On-Screen Takeoff, Quick Bid and Digital Production Control.

Customers with active licenses on maintenance will benefit from the following new features:

  • MyOnCenter Customer Portal Access
  • Enhanced Secure Licensing Method via MyOnCenter
  • Windows 8.0 Compatibility
  • MAC Compatible Using Virtualization Software
  • Support for ESXi

Added product functionalities and fixes include:

  • Expanded Annotation Options
  • Added Flexibility within the On-Screen Takeoff Legend
  • Added Tabs on Markups Detail and Materials Tab
  • Swap Materials in Quick Bid

The latest release offers new features and functionalities that improve efficiency, usability, flexibility, productivity and profitability.