Construction Tech News
Construction is the world’s oldest industry but spends the least amount of money on innovation. When we realized people outside the construction industry did not typically associate construction with technology like virtual reality, apps, and robotics – we started The ConTechCrew. Each week, we bring our listeners the latest in ConTech news and interview the minds behind the technological innovations changing the way we build. So, Strap In, Enjoy the Ride, and Geek out! It is ConTechCrew Time!
JAMES: All right. All right. All right. Another Friday, another week gone by. All kinds of things happening. Schools getting restarted, school is getting started and then shut down in North Carolina. Schools getting started and not shutting down in Georgia. This is Georgians man, they are tough! Rob, how is it going over there in Georgia?
ROB: It is going well. My daughter did an academic camp the other week and it was amazing to see how that school is doing. So, she is up in a school in North Georgia where the kids, the teachers, the staff everybody is wearing masks, and they are all being nice to each other. And it is not crazy and no issues. She is going to get started back next week, but it has been very interesting to look across the country of how that is occurring. And man, I will tell you one of the things, the complaint about having to wear a mask, if I could stump for just a minute, really? Those of us that came out of construction, really? Two little pieces of cloth are bad?
ROB: Nooo, nooo! Common people. This is for the good of the country. Do the right thing for everybody. Be nice!
JAMES: Yeah. Just be nice. I tell you; I am an allergy sufferer. And so, the mask thing has this huge, unexpected benefit that I do not sneeze nearly as much.
ROB: Cause it is filtering all those weird yellow, green things floating around.
JAMES: I know, man. It is awesome. I have enjoyed it. My kids are back in school, in person, wearing a mask all day, they wear a mask the whole day. And they have little mask breaks outside where they are away from the other kids, but so far so good. They are happy to be out of the house, to be honest with you. They are just tried to be in the house.
ROB: Everybody is happy to be out of the house.
JAMES: Yeah, they are happy to be out of the house, so it has been good. So, Rob, of course, Rob McKinney, new logo, same guy, now with e-Sub. Congrats on the move over there. Going to hang out with all our friends, including Mr. Jeff sample over there at e-Sub. So, hashtag power to the trades.
JAMES: I am glad to see that on your moniker there. And also, our guest today, Scott Arias with The ACE Group. Scott, how you doing?
SCOTT: Doing well. It is Friday and it is almost done. The week.
JAMES: I know. It feels like a sprint every week and then a very short weekend, but absolutely. Where are you joining us from today Scott?
SCOTT: Lexington, Kentucky.
JAMES: Ah, Kentucky.
SCOTT: Right next to the capital of all allergies in the United States. Louisville.
JAMES: Nice yeah. All that beautiful green grass and rolling hills and horse farms and hay everywhere. I of course I have been too been to Lexington, Kentucky many times, Louisville, and the rest. It is a beautiful state. Were you born and raised there?
SCOTT: No, I just ended up here after I retired from the service.
JAMES: Nice. Yeah. It is kind of the way it is. You ask someone from the service where they are from, they have to think about it for a minute and try to remember. It is interesting. Well, we are going to come back to you in just a second.
Before we do, I want to remind you to never miss an episode, by having every episode sent straight to your email inbox when you text CONTECH to 66866! It is not just the audio, you’re getting The ConTechCrew’s weekly email with links to the episode’s show notes and the articles we discuss on today’s show. Again, text CONTECH to 66866. Also want to remind you, at the end of the month, we have got another all crew episode. We are going to get together and all hangout and we take your questions and your comments and your suggestions for topics. And we talk about them and talk about what we think is interesting over the last month. So, remember, that is coming up pretty soon. So, text your questions to me at (979) 473-9040 and we will be happy to talk about it in our all crew episode, or if it is relevant to one of our weeklies. So, check that out, and again, join us! That all crew episode, we do a live webinar in zoom so you can actually join in and ask questions live and participate in the actual filming of the episodes. It is like a live virtual studio audience. We had quite a few participants last month. It was a lot of fun.
ROB: I think it is next Friday, right?
JAMES: Yeah. It is coming up. We are going to have it next Friday. So, I am really fired up. It is going to be the 28th, Friday, the 28th. And that is at a 9:00 AM. Well, actually it 9:30 AM Central. We will of course send a notice out. It is going to be a lot of fun. So, look, let us remind you of the cause of the show. According to the CDC, construction occupations have the highest rate of suicide, as well as the highest number of suicides across all occupational groups. To combat these statistics, contractors, unions, associations, industry service providers, and project owners must work together to stand up for suicide prevention. The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) is raising awareness about the risk of suicide within the construction industry and providing suicide prevention resources and tools to create a zero-suicide industry. Visit preventconstructionsuicide.com for more information.
Before we get started with our interview, I spoke with David Francis CTO of ICT Tracker about how they are using augmented reality for real-time progress tracking. Pay attention to this one. This is a great one. David’s a brilliant man and he has really built a great solution at ICT Tracker. Check out a discussion with me. Part one, right here.
JAMES: And we are here today with our illustrious friend, David Francis, the CTO over at ICT Tracker. I am just curious, tell me the origins of ICT Tracker and what problem you all set out to solve.
DAVID: So, this started as just a conversation with my co-founding partner, Tim Duncan, and me. We were discussing technology and he wanted to do something with AR. He was just feeling, it was the future. We started talking about it some more and we said, what if we could use it to verify installation and assign installation statuses? So, the fact that you could look up, verify, it is there from an augmented reality view, but now we can change the status of it. And that’s really what kind of kicked this whole thing off two years ago.
JAMES: So, what are the advantages of using AR to track percent complete in production?
DAVID: The advantage we have over the other solutions you see out there is the fact that we are already starting with the data. We can also allow the user; they allow the verification elements in the model. So, they actually see what is in place and verify the installation at that point. And you have the user input. So, if I have conduit, I can have someone identify yes, the wire has been pulled into conduit. Plus, we are the only AR app that also allows the user to do what we call free flight modes. So, you can actually do a flyover in a 3D.
JAMES: Yeah, so it really turns into a mobile model viewer at that point.
DAVID: Exactly. So, we kind of give you the best of both worlds.
JAMES: And we are back again with our very special guest Scott Arias from The ACE group. Scott, again, thanks for joining us from beautiful Lexington, Kentucky. We are glad to have you on today. We love talking about construction and construction tech, but I like to start talking about the people behind it. And you are one of those people. And you have been a career-long builder. You have really invested first building things in the military with one of the world’s finest fighting and building forces, the Navy Seabees, and then going into the remainder of your career. I would love for you to tell me, where were you born and raised? What would you dream of doing as a kid? And then what led you into the building trades and construction?
SCOTT: Well, I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You guys ever been there?
JAMES: Yep. I have.
SCOTT: I can tell you that it is not the nicest place to grow up. I grew up about 40 miles outside of Albuquerque. Santa Fe’s beautiful. But the Navy was kind of a way for me to get out because it was pretty impoverished. The average income there is way below the poverty standard. So, my brother joined the Navy and I figured I might as well too. So, I got to my senior year and life circumstances got the best of me and I dropped out of high school and joined the Navy.
JAMES: Nice. I mean, of course, going from Albuquerque, you are going to see a lot more water in the Navy and you are going to see it in Albuquerque. I will tell you that.
SCOTT: Well, the funny thing is that when I went to Bootcamp, the Bootcamp I went to was Great Lakes. So, it was 77 degrees in New Mexico. And then I flew there, and it was about 20 degrees.
JAMES: My dad did his specialist school in the Great Lakes. He did Bootcamp out in San Diego though. So, he had a much hit a much nicer experience in Bootcamp than you did.
SCOTT: Yeah, that is no joke there, so. But I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I did construction growing up. More residential-type construction. So, it was always a passion of mine. I tell people all the time if you do not watch TV shows like This Old House or Homes on Homes or some of these other ones, and that does not interest you, you are probably in the wrong industry. And so, growing up, that is really what I just desired. So, when they gave me the chance to be part of the Seabees, which most people do not know what the Seabees are, so that kind of led me there and a long way for New Mexico.
JAMES: Yeah, absolutely. And tell me about the experience of building things in the Seabees, because are not just building, you are fighting, right? So, you really do two things. Walk me through the kind of projects you built there and what you learned.
SCOTT: Well, I did multiple different deployments overseas, and some of the more interesting, I actually did a tour of duty at Camp David, which was pretty interesting, that led me down the path I am at now because of my security clearance. I was able to transition that when I retire from the service to work on embassies. So, did a lot of different things. Pre 911, a lot of infrastructures. Post 911, a lot of force protection. I went all over the place, from Guam, Naples, Sigonella, Sicily. A lot of interesting projects. More industrial types of projects.
JAMES: And you ended up actually over in Iraq and Afghanistan, correct?
SCOTT: Yeah, I did one tour in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan.
JAMES: What were you doing there?
SCOTT: I was the Force Safety Operations Chief for the Middle Eastern Theater. So, the funny thing is America we come in and we blast the crap out of everything, right? And, after we tear everything up, we come back, and we pay to fix it all.
SCOTT: So, I am part of fixing it. So, that was my job. And the funny story is, is that one of my projects was fixing the ABOT – Al Basrah Oil Terminals, and there are two terminals 80 miles off the coast of Iraq. And a lot of people do not know, but the Persian Gulf is a very shallow body of water. So, they have to pump oil by 80 miles off the coast to load it on tankers. During the very beginning of this war, Al-Qaeda attempted to blow one of the oil platforms up and we stopped them, and it killed five sailors. The next day I was out there with a Marine Core security force, and we put military people on board and, and the reason I tell you that is, they had a helicopter pad and a helicopter pad had a 20-foot hole in it. And I am like, well, what happened here? And they said, oh, during the first Gulf War, we put a hole in the platform. They just never fixed it. So, we had to come back and fix the hole in the platform. So, Government dollars at use.
JAMES: Yeah right. But Americans obviously were not the first ones who would go in and repair all the damage they did after conquering somebody. We could trackback to some really great military builders, the Romans, who would actually do an incredible amount of infrastructure immediately following their conquest, as part of their ability to extend their force. It is fascinating. A lot of the ancient Roman road system is still used and functional and it has been 2000 years. So, there is a long tradition of really great military builders in the world and for good reason. It makes a big difference in your ability to fight and support your troops. So, I am excited about that. So, what did you do when you were done with your service in the Navy? What was your next step there?
SCOTT: Well, I actually, I retired, to make a very long story short, at about my eight-year mark, right after I made Chief Petty Officer, I was involved in a really bad motorcycle accident and I actually lost my lower left leg in the motorcycle accident. I spent the next year fighting the Navy to stay in, and obviously, if you are damaged goods, the service does not have any room for you. You got to have people out there who can fight. So, during those 11 months, I enlisted the help of different people. One of them being Carl Brashear, which you guys may or may not know. He is from the movie Man of Honor. It is the life story of from the story of Man of Honor, which has Cuba Gooding Jr. in there and De Niro.
And he was going to testify to the medical review board, saying Trent Lott was also my Senator in Mississippi, and he was going to testify on my behalf, for my board and eventually the Navy… The funny story is, the Navy called me one day and says, hey, I know you are a… A doctor called me from Pensacola, says, hey, I know you are trying to stay in the service, and I am here to review if there is a congressional inquiry, I am here to review your case. And he called me 30 minutes later and he said, congratulations, you are back on full active duty. And then I got a call about 20 minutes later that said, congratulations, you are going to Iraq. So be aware of what you wish for.
SCOTT: So, that’s kind of where, and so I had to medically retire, so that at eight years. I spent another three years in the Middle East and then I suffered some more damage to my leg, and I was medevacked back to the States and that’s when I retired. And then from there, I transitioned to civilian construction and I got an opportunity with a company that does classified work out of Chicago, on embassies, and sounded really interesting to me. And so, we located up there, and I did that for a few years and then that started my civilian career out.
JAMES: That is awesome. Yeah, but by the way, I just want to touch on the movie you mentioned. Man, of Honor. If you have not seen it from 20 years ago, really-really great movie with Robert De Niro and Cuba, Gooding Jr. about a Navy Master Diver, Master Chief Petty Officer, Billy Sunday. This guy is incredible, and it was really amazing to see what happened with his life and his career. In this particular case, he lost his leg and it had to be amputated. And he was the very-very first Navy enlisted, I think really, member of the Navy at all, whether it was an Officer or enlisted to return after an amputation. So, yeah, no Navy man had ever returned. That is right. So, and he was able to successfully lobby for his return and the movie is really quite beautiful also about him overcoming a lot of other obstacles in his career at the Navy. So, go check that Man of Honor, if you have not watched it, it was 20 years ago, but it is still really applicable. And we have got another man of honor with us right here. So, let us talk about construction. Let us talk about what you are doing now. Tell me about The ACE group and what you are doing.
SCOTT: We were up in Chicago and I was building embassies and it got kind of old. I remember I flew from Chicago to Afghanistan or not Afghanistan, excuse me, Kazakhstan for a two-hour meeting and that is like a 26-hour one-way trip and, decided I want to do something else. I got a call from Lexington Kentucky, and they said, hey, we want you to come work for our company. So, I came down to work for Mason & Hanger, for about three years. And then, I was teaching a little bit on the side of the university, and then I decided I was going to take the leap, so I left my executive position as director of construction to go be a college professor. And my office was literally a closet at the university. So, it was a humbling, humbling thing.
So, during those 10 years, I spent the next 10 years of my life teaching at Eastern Construction Management. And during that time, I started ACE Consulting. And I always tell people, 13 years ago I was sitting in my boxers on my bed, watching television, working on schedules. And then now you fast forward to today, ACE Consulting has turned to The ACE Group. We have five different companies, 82 employees, and we are on track to do about 11 million this year. We did about 10 million last year in professional services.
JAMES: Yeah, that is great. And it is hard. I have had to fight that road up the hundreds of thousands of revenues to millions of tens of millions. I mean, it is really, really hard to fight that road up the revenue chain and in particular, in a services company. If you had to summarize it into what the group does, you specialize in government commercial construction, certainly with ACE Consulting. I mean, what are y’all doing every day with all these people?
SCOTT: ACE Consulting, probably about 80% of all of our work gores towards ACE Consulting and ACE Consulting does, so, you know, I was trying to think, when I went on to be a professor and the reason I told you that story was, professors don’t make a whole lot. So, I went from making about three times what I was making at the university. So, you took my salary at Mason & Hanger, divide by three, and that is what I was making. And my wife says you are absolutely crazy. Why would you take a job like that? I said, trust me, I will make up the difference. So, my driving factor was making sure I pay my bills, you know? So, I figured what is different about me than anybody else? And I started thinking about it and I was like, well, I understand government construction. So, we started working on plans, pre-construction plans, like safety plans, quality control plans. Then we got into scheduling. Cause I taught scheduling at the university.
Then I got a call from Alaska one time and said, hey, can you come up to Alaska and be a Quality Control Manager? And I am like, well, I do not do that anymore, but it is an interesting story and I do not mean to name drop here, but you guys have seen the series Gold Rush, and Parker Schnabel’s father was actually the guy who called me, Roger Schnabel, about coming up there to provide quality control services cause they were building a bridge in Alaska. So, I just took one of my former students that have had some experience and send him up there, and then one thing led to another and now we have people spread all across the United States, providing safety, quality control, and site superintendent services. That is about 70% of our business. The other 30% is training and preconstruction, all the administrative part of it.
JAMES: Funny story about Gold Rush. Rob and I actually interviewed Dave Turin, Digger Dave, from Golden Rush on this podcast.
SCOTT: Oh really?
JAMES: Maybe three years ago.
SCOTT: You saw one of Dave’s guy died yesterday?
JAMES: Oh geez. I did not see that. Yeah, he has a new show. Dave Turin’s Lost Mine. You are talking about that show?
SCOTT: Yeah. Remember this guy that is in the gold room, the older guy that is in the gold room? Well anyhow, he actually died on-site during, the filming. So, he had a heart attack.
JAMES: No, I did not see that. That is hard to hear, but Turin and of course, Gold Rush is a great show. Rob, I know you have got some questions here.
ROB: Absolutely. First Scott, thank you so much for your service in the country. I really appreciate that. And what you did for everybody. What I am curious to ask you about, so, in my former career, I was working at a construction company. We did a fair share of government work, and I was always a little frustrated about the inability at the company that I was at to use technology. So, I am curious, what are your thoughts with what you are doing now to assist contractors figured how to work with the government contracts? Is there a place now you think of 2020, to use more technology to improve things that you are talking about, like the procurement process for bidding, getting those schedules lined up, all the stuff we see in commercial, industrial construction? What is going on there on the government side, you think?
SCOTT: Well, I think especially technology-wise, Bill Gates has it right when he is talking about the next big step forward and it is already getting there, but the next big step for is integration. Now especially fed construction has a lot of different things going on right now. We have scheduling, and Primavera that intersects with 3D BIM models. But there is not 100% integration. And for me, I can tell you, I, unfortunately, have had to spend and, hopefully, this will work out, but I spent about 45 grand this past year, developing software that automates all the preconstruction plans, plants. So, you can take an average person, send them in front of a computer and they go through a wizard, that asks them a whole bunch of questions about the project. And it creates an accident prevention plan or a quality control plan. Number one, I use it internally for my guys to use, so we have consistency, but also, it’s just, to me it sounded kind of antiquated that, hey, we’re going to open up a word document and we’re going to go… Is that how far we are in construction? But I will give the government a little bit of credit here. They are at the forefront when it comes to things like drone technology and, just because they have the money. I have a friend who has a drone that does surveying and really, it seems like now they are trying to spec in some more of these technical items.
ROB: That is very true. It is fascinating to think, why can we use drones and such amazing technology in certain parts of the government? And then why last year was it such incredible news that Tennessee DOT decided to standardize PlanGrid for drawing management. Why is there such that disparity across the government in utilizing technology?
SCOTT: I think it boils down to nobody is truly in charge.
JAMES: Hold on, hold on! We got to get that box you know! Just in general, right?
SCOTT: That is it. That is what I mean in general.
JAMES: No one really owns the decisions, right?
SCOTT: That is it. And that is where I was going with it, I was thinking more on the construction side. I mean if you have like the headquarters of the Army Corps of Engineers, right? And then you have the headquarters in NAFTA. Well, they have some influence, but not a lot of influence on all the regional entities. And because of that, I mean, I have worked with every district in basically every federal entity there is. And I can tell you consistency between one region to the other is really lacking, and I understand it. They do not want to micromanage the individual regions, but you know, if you’re going to try to standardize grid coordinates for geo, for geogrid coordinates, you probably should come out with a standard spec or something like that. And I was not alluded to the election, by the way. I was not saying anything about that.
JAMES: No, we are talking about government contracting right now. We are not talking about the election. We are talking about government. This is a challenge I experienced, even in my time in municipal government as a city councilman, is that people just do not want to take ownership because of the risk of being blamed for failure largely. And so when we looked at construction projects in the city… And mind you, we would let out hundreds of millions of dollars a year in capital projects as a city. I mean, and that is replicated across tons of cities across the country. And then of course, in every government agency, they let out tons of construction contracts. And a lot of the staff at those organizations just do not want to take ownership of the project or the process in general, because they recognize that there is a failure, then they’re afraid it could be their head on the chopping block. And so, you end up with nobody owning. It is really; it is scary. Because you do not end up with really good results a lot of the time, right?
SCOTT: And you hit the nail on the head there really. It is about, and we teach it is part of, contract law in construction, it is part of what we teach, is that if you dictate anything, you own it, so people are afraid to dictate anything, and that is extremely prevalent in the government sector, extremely prevalent. So, it is always, I have to go talk to somebody else to make a decision.
JAMES: And of course, it is blame defer shift responsibility to somebody else. All right. Let us talk about tech some more. Tell me about your favorite. And you said you are building your own tech, which is really encouraging to hear, this managing projects. Tell me about your top two or three favorite technologies that you have seen over the years. Cause you have been building for a long time. You built in the Navy and you built in the private sector. And you are still, neck-deep in building. Over the years what do you think have been the most transformative technologies you have gotten to interact with over your career?
SCOTT: And I think I am going to throw that most people would probably say something different, but because of what I do. I think personally, scheduling has been from more schedule, when I joined the industry, scheduling just went to, I use a system in the service called Micro Tracks. Which was like an extremely watered-down version of Microsoft Project. I mean, extremely watered down. And it laid out a basic Gantt chart, but that was about it. And I went from there and we learned how to do everything by hand, then we got the software, and then after we got the software you transitioned to today; I have a cloud-based Oracle product that has the capability of loading thousands of activities, managing hundreds of resources. And I mean, the scheduling world has really, in my opinion, has changed construction in a lot of ways, especially litigation. It used to be like, hey, we never referred to the schedule related to litigation cause no one really kept it. But nowadays it is kind of an expectation. And the people we work with actually use them. We work with a billion-dollar company here in town and they do a lot of manufacturing. And when you are trying to build a car and push it out the end, you better surely know when you are going to do that. Cause there is a lot of costs involved there.
JAMES: But since you are so neck-deep in scheduling, let us talk about Oracle for a second. Cause they purchased Primavera, they purchased Textura. And a lot of people still use P6 right. They are using some pretty old versions of Primavera out there. Has Oracle been good for Primavera? Have you seen, Oracle continuing to march this platform forward?
SCOTT: Well, like anything I think there is a little bit of both. I was actually around, and I remember I am old enough to remember when Oracle bought Primavera. I think it was a huge step forward for Primavera in one aspect, and a step back for Primavera, the software in another aspect. Here is one aspect. They were able to push the versions ahead. Like we are working on P6.18 I think, is what we are, and we started at P3, so we have come a long way and they have added a lot of features in there. And I will give that to Oracle. Also reporting abilities. They have really done a great job at reporting abilities, things like the claim Digger tool within Primavera. That is the good part. The bad part is if you ever call the Oracle, it is tough to talk to somebody. Because everything is automated. So, if you have a problem… Last weekend, we pay 30 some thousand dollars for 15 licenses. And last weekend, none of my folks could use it because the cloud was down. And you could not call anybody. Oracle is supposed to be this 24/7 – 365 entity. Well no, we can get anybody on the phone to fix it until Monday morning.
SCOTT: So yeah, that’s tough. Certainly larger companies, institutes, and pretty large company style customer support initiatives that can be really challenging. And it can certainly generate a lot of frustration. I know that, having run a construction cloud product for a dozen years. If you are going to deliver through it through a web browser, over the internet, you got to be up. And if you are not up, you got to be answering your phones. That it is real challenging. Let us talk about 5D scheduling where you are really looking at tools like Synchro and you are bringing models in to tie the model to the schedule and then visualize it. Have you used those technologies and if so, do you think they are the future of scheduling? Getting away from two dimensional Gantt charts and really getting more into three-dimensional, four-dimensional work with the model?
SCOTT: I was first introduced to it… The University of Kentucky built a hospital, a pretty big hospital. Is about a billion-dollar facility, downtown Lexington, years ago. And I became really good buddies with the project executive from Turner. And that kind of introduced me to the P6 integration to the 3D models. And my thoughts on the whole thing are just like it is with drawings. Sometimes some projects are good enough 2D, and not everything needs the planning and the effort it takes to do a 3D model. It is funny. X and Y are fairly easy to get, but that Z, that third coordinates is always a tough one. And it is a tough one to get right. But it would be helpful on large jobs. A good example is the one in, I think it is Saudi Arabia. Anyhow, it is somewhere where there is a racetrack where they did 5D scheduling and they actually looked at crane placement. And that crane placement, they want to see if it was going to interfere a building or activities, and they can strategically placed the crane, so they did not have to move it during and throughout construction. So, that was extremely helpful, but I am not seeing the value necessarily to have a 3D drawing for less. Unless it gets easier to do, to build a small office building like my office, or a gas station. I am not sure that there’s really that value there. Now I know there is a lot of people that disagree with me there, but I am looking at it from a cost perspective.
JAMES: Yeah, absolutely. Rob?
ROB: Well, let us think back on just a more of a basic description or maybe contrast and the styles of work. So, construction is an amazing industry, but it can be a little bit tough. And it is interesting to see the differences from the commercial side to the industrial, to the government. And specifically, I am curious, what are your thoughts on when you are looking at the government type contracts, the level of quality and safety from my prior experience was such a higher level, mainly because there was always the inspector there, but also there are those regulations put in place. What are your thoughts about those differences really? Specifically, quality and safety from the government type work to the industrial, to the commercial.
SCOTT: I am going to say something that is probably going to tick some people off, but I will say it anyhow. So, not trying to be controversial, but I believe government work is the most difficult work to do. And the reason I say that is because it does not necessarily change how you push dirt or how you swing a hammer, but it surely changes the way you manage the contract administration piece of it. Here is a great example. You cannot start an activity in construction in the federal government sector until all submittals are approved. Well, in the commercial world, it’s kind of like submittals are a cursory kind of thing, you know. And that right there, that three-phase inspection process is huge and probably the difference that separates the government from the other entities. There is a reason that government buildings cost more. So, they cost more because of all the administrative pieces and parts of it. So, and I saw that back in 2008 when I saw people going bankrupt because they were jumping from residential into government because residential took a dove.
And so, I saw a bid, I have bid on a certain project. I estimated it was 1.2 million, I betted at 1.3 million, and the winning bid was 675,000. Now, how do you get to 675,000? The fact is that if somebody did not know what they are doing, because the next number up was like 1.25. So, you could see the number was right around where we were, but because they didn’t recognize the administrative piece of it, you know, and then I actually, I had a conversation with the Contracting Officer about that. And her response was, well we have a bond. So, if they go bankrupt, we still get a build. But I mean, in my opinion, that is not the greatest model to have, but it is true. They have a bond; it is going to get built one way or the other. It may just take longer by taking the low bid.
ROB: Oh man! Wow!
JAMES: Take longer.
ROB: You know what makes me really wonder too? If you were talking about, if there are more stringent quality and safety programs in place, and you are saying it is more difficult to build because of just nature, I’d really be curious now, how much defect and warranty work did you see then on these projects? If we are building at a higher level, if the inspectors are there, the standards are higher, I got to think then the defects, the warranty claims, were they lower or were they about the same in commercial construction?
SCOTT: Well, part of our work comes from private entities. And I can tell you like one of them one, I was surprised about this. This billion-dollar company I am talking about, they do a warranty assessment every year. Where are they spending the money warranty wise, cause that is coming from the net profit of the project, right? So, they want to figure out where their money’s going, and they found out you want to guess what it was? What was the number one defect?
ROB: Windows or doors?
SCOTT: And along that same thought process was moisture penetration into the enclosure, right into an envelope. Like roofs and things like that. And I can tell you that the effort and the inspection time that the federal government and the commissioning that takes place, in my experience, there are a lot fewer defects, because of the diligence that goes. Not always, obviously, but it is tough to mess something up when you have a three-phase construction process where you talk about it before you do it, you go through hundreds of pages of paperwork, you go out and do it, and then they review it, to make sure it is right. And then they inspect it every day and at the very, very end. So, I think inherent in the process of your you are going to have a better product and that is what I have seen.
ROB: You got to love it cause at the end of the day, you think what is an easy, analogy to explain. Well, in commercial construction, you can hang Tyvec upside down or backward and somebody might walk away. I do not think on a government control project, you are going to hang that Tyvec the wrong way with the tape and the staples not properly installed, correct?
SCOTT: Yeah. They are going to want to make sure there are no wrinkles. That is one of the reasons I like federal government work or any public money work, is because they actually do it right. They do it through a, it does not matter necessarily just what it looks like at the end, it matters how we get there. And that is what I love is the quality workmanship that will go into doing things, is just a step above and you can see that. Now, not always, once again, but that is my experience.
ROB: Very interesting differences. Very interesting.
SCOTT: And you can see and use, you mentioned about safety and I know that your background, you said you were involved with safety. I mean, on a residential project, we do not do a fault protection plan. Their fault protection plan is, do not fall the roof. That is the guidance that they get. And in the federal world, you have got to go through and type up a 50-page document, how you are going to do it. You got to train people, you got to show the government, you know what you are doing related to that. So, it is an entire process. And I wish that we’re able to be quantifiable a little better, than what it is, but. it does seem like fewer incidents do occur on public money projects.
JAMES: All right. So, let us wrap our discussion up and talk about the future. What technology or tools do you think are shaping the future of construction for your company and your projects?
SCOTT: Once again, I would go back to the whole integration. Integration between everything that we are doing. It would be great to have a software system or, a scheduling system that you cannot just manage one project but manage a portfolio of projects. I think integration is really going to be our next step forward. We have a lot of good pieces and parts in construction. It is just, I know you mentioned this before at the very beginning. And I listened to some of your other podcasts. I mean the fact is, is we lag manufacturing always. You know, manufacturing comes in with lean and 10 years later, we decided, hey, some of those concepts sound really good. Let us use them in construction. So, really integration I think, is going to be key to all the different… Cause there are some great, I mean from drone technology, drone surveying, Topo surveying to the scheduling software to estimating, to three dimensional BIM models. And then, we talk about augmented reality. I see that being a huge thing. Let me look at what Elon Musk is doing with augmented reality. And I think you are going to see that. Well, you already see it, but I think you will see it a lot bigger in the future. Cause a company that I know he uses augmented reality; they use it to sell it to clients. They do not use it, to actually build.
JAMES: Yeah. The points on integration are well taken. And certainly, that is one of the biggest pain points that we hear of all the time, is getting all your different software systems to talk to each other. It is difficult. I mean, it is a big challenge and certainly, there is a lot of people who have worked a long time on fixing that problem. Well, look, that is great. Where can people find out more information about you and your companies?
SCOTT: We are going through the transition to move ours too, our websites moving over, but currently it is, http://www.ace-consulting.net and we have a full list of everything that we do. Because we do stuff even, but everything is construction centered, but we do a lot of different things.
JAMES: Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, thanks for being on. Stay on for the news, please. We are going to chat about what is going on. We would love your input on it. Before we do that, a quick reminder that this is JBKnowledge podcast network. And do not forget, if you are in insurance or risk management and you want to geek out with us. I have the InsureTech Geek podcast that airs every Thursday. Feel free to listen to that. But right before we are getting into the news, remember we are going to finish our second half of the conversation that I had with David Francis, CTO of ICT tracker. Listen to the second part with David.
JAMES: And I am back with David Francis CTO over at ICT Tracker. Is this really easy to use in the field?
DAVID: Because I come from construction, it had to be easy to use. It had to be easy to implement. We use iPads. So, we kept it simple at that. We have a very friendly user interface. It is easy for you guys to collect field data. I mean, it is just really doing a virtual highlighter. That is really all they are doing. And so, we have eliminated the dirty paper. We have streamlined the whole front of the installation tracking process. That was piece one to make it simple, to collect data so that people start doing it again, and now let us take that data and really make it work.
JAMES: What data is available through your reports and how are construction companies putting that data to work for them?
DAVID: So, we take our data from the model and we pull it out and we pull our database and we tie it back to model. So, we are tracking status on every single element in your model. With that option, you can generate what we call a CSV report. You export a CSV report. And we worked with the teams to build a Power BI report, so we have got standard power BI reports set up. And everyone has got their own little quirks on how they want it, so, we start with that. We work with them from that. We can also do visual status models. So, we can take that round trip back into Navis works. If you are a Revit user, we collect element ID, so you can bring it back into Revit for that. And then the other big piece we are working at by the end of this year is, we are trying to streamline that process, even more, is we are going to a cloud-based reporting system. So, we are limiting this whole CSV export, and getting you a BI that’s actually cloud-based. So, you will be able to look at it anywhere, anytime, anyhow.
JAMES: Oh, so fully integrated cloud-based BI.
DAVID: Exactly. We think that is really the future and just simplifies the whole process. You can still get the CSV reports if there are other things you want to do or your export/import, but just the whole mantra is real-time. We have a couple of customers that say they asked for reports and within 15 minutes they know what is going on at their job.
DAVID: It used to take that long just to take it off on paper.
JAMES: That is awesome. David, how can someone find out more information about ICT Tracker?
DAVID: Our page is ICT.Tech. And from there you can request a demo and we will get you set up and show you what we can do with your data and your information.
JAMES: That is awesome. Well, thank you so much. It was great to have this conversation. I hope people go check it out at ICT.Tech.
And we are back with our weekly news stories, Rob McKinney busy week. What is going on?
ROB: It is always busy. Picked up one from you from the Twitter feed. We were talking a little bit about safety before, and this is one that I find a little funny fascinating. So, Crane’s amazing pieces of equipment, but to me always super scary because well, the wind is just one of those things you cannot control. And I used to always be so nervous when you would see them spinning around and around and thinking is, is that too fast or is it too slow? I mean, major respect to our crane operators. How they can sit up there is fascinating, but even the ground ones. So, this article is talking about some technology to help out. And there’s a couple of pieces of mentioned in here specifically.
So, the first one, when I was talking about that wind, is one product Windcrane, which is helping those supplies in looking at how it is working on the wind itself. Those wind loads, because, well, we have storms pop up. And James, as you know, where we live across from the Southeast, storms can come in really quick and sudden. How do you safely control and lock things down? When I was younger, I did not understand. I was calling on the radio, telling the crane operator to lock down his trolley. So, he could not do certain things. You do not understand this piece of equipment. Well, the technology, what if it could help out more? So, there is one piece in the article that you can check out in the notes and that is the Windcrane crane piece about monitoring and they even have another version.
But the second one, James, I am trying to wrap my head around this one. There is a product called BlockAlert. Now, this is working more on visual and audible alerts because if you’ve been on a job before with a crane working overhead, either a tower crane, an overhead crane, fill in the blank, the procedures, generally the crane operators honking on the horn and people are supposed to stop what they’re doing, look up and get out of the way from the load flying overhead. Now Scott, let us be honest. How many times do you see people getting out of the way of loads from cranes being flown around on job sites? Do workers really stop, look, and move?
SCOTT: No, cause it happens so frequently, so that is why we were hardhats, right.
ROB: Oh, yeah, those are protected from a two-ton chiller coming down. I will tell you, how long is this going to hold it? So, this is an interesting thing to look at what it could do. Now, James, this might start tying into some IoT and some sensors though. What if the crane is actually set up and you can know where the workers are? I do not know if they could track and route the path, but anything that we could do to maybe minimize the flight path of where materials are being lifted and moved around a job site, that could be a good idea, right?
JAMES: Absolutely. I am from South Louisiana; we had some major crane issues in the past down there. We have had crane issues all over the place. There were obviously major crane events in Seattle. We have covered a lot of these incidents on the show and this is certainly a process problem. But it is also a technology opportunity. There is an opportunity with technology to solve some pretty serious process issues that exist, in crane operations. So, I am excited about anything that helps improve that.
ROB: Absolutely. Well, take a look at the show notes and you can check out the article. If you are operating our own cranes, you might want to take a look. All right. The second one that I came across for this week is from our friend, Matt, over at StructionSite. And it is an interesting article he put up about why documentation matters more than ever during COVID. Now, James, you and I have been talking about this for years on stage about, one of the first things I was ever taught in safety was if you did not document it, you did not do it. Well, the problem was when I was documenting it back in 2001 till about oh 2012, 2013, when it was on paper. Where is that paper when you need that piece of paper. So, it is an interesting article talking about now with this COVID filter put on things, it is talking about the owners and what owners are asking about with data on your projects. Specifically, let us just call it out. Concerning delays, we have had major delays imposed on our industry from the outside. And how are you going to document that.
But as you dive through some of the things that Matt is pointing out, it is talking about the value of technology for things that we have brought up so many times. How can you collaborate a little bit better? We have talked about those scheduling issues. When you are working a big scheduling project. How does everybody see it? But it is again, diving down and thinking about how can you document better? And I will talk to both sides, right? If you are at the general contracting side or the trade side, what are you doing to document what is going on for you specifically, because there is going to change. There are going to be impacts. I mean, James, are we hearing anything that they are going to change the AIA doc or the AGC consensus docs? Is there a new COVID get out of jail clause for delays popping up?
JAMES: Yeah, certainly I cover the insurance and construction industry pretty heavily. And as you know, those two are really tightly intertwined in this, because people are filing business interruption claims with their insurance carriers and are being denied. Even though some carriers who mistakenly did not carve out pandemics as an excluded clause in business interruption.
JAMES: So, their heads are kind of on the chopping block. This is going to be winding its way through court for years. There is no magical get out of jail free card for the stuff that has happened behind us, but you have certainly seen recrafting of contractual language, since the beginning of this pandemic. Both from insurance carriers and from contractors and from owners. They have all beefed up and lawyered up and gotten much more specific about dealing with these. It was interesting Rob; I have signed a lot of contracts over 19 and a half years of being in business. And there is always a clause in there about force majeure and acts of God and all these things that happen that are outside of your control, but everybody kind of glosses over them. Until now, they just glossed over them because it is so rarely, you are talking about acts of God and then big events. And certainly, they are not being ignored now.
ROB: Nope. Well, it is an interesting article, so read it. And at the core of what I think Matt is trying to explain, is use that technology to document your company, your processes, your work, what is going on. Because if you do not have good sound records, you are going to get left in a bad spot. So please. Use this amazing technology we are always talking about and celebrating and protect your companies.
Now, the last one, James I have picked out because I think you are really going to like this one. I am a little fascinated by this. Google Has a Plan to Disrupt the College Degree Now, I went to college and if you have ever heard me speak about my pedigree, I have a degree in religion and philosophy, and I have been in construction and tech now, which on paper, I am completely unqualified. I will be the first to always tell you that. And I have wondered about going back to school. Like what degree would I get? How do you stop? I have a job. I have a wife. I have a daughter. How do I go back to school for four years? This Google play, this is fascinating. What if you could take a six-month program, and by the way Google is talking about, if I am understanding what I am reading here, this is not in lieu of a college degree, but maybe more, current acceptable training path?
JAMES: Yeah. Interestingly, we have Scott here for this conversation, because I want his feedback on this one. Scott, we call Rob the choir boy from hell. Just FYI. We got three, on this show right now, we have got three Southern church boys, you know. So just understand, you have that going on here and you have got Rob McKinney, The Choirboy from Hell. That we said, that would be as wrestler name by the way. It would be Choirboy from Hell.
SCOTT: What would be his walkout song then?
ROB: It is probably going to be ACDC. So, do you hear the gong?
JAMES: He worked that out already. We have had a lot of discussions about this. We actually, we had one of our favorite wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page was on our show. And, so we have had some fascinating characters, and we have been trying to recruit some more wrestlers just cause they are really, really fun show guests. But college, if it was not on the block already because of the discussions around the cost of college versus the benefit, if it was not already on the chopping block, Corona Virus definitively put it on the chopping block, because they prove they can go online. They prove they will accept it. And they want to charge the same amount of money as they do for the in-person experience, which is just total ridiculousness.
My girls who were in public school last year, they tried to do an online curriculum for the last two months of the year, they failed miserably at it. I put them on Khan Academy, and they excelled at Khan Academy and it really kept them engaged until the school year ended. And Khan Academy is free. And so, I think if colleges were not on notice yet, they are officially on notice now. This is just yet another example of a tech company toying in this space. I have got to think there is a bigger disruption coming. And Scott, I mean, what are your thoughts here? You have a varied educational background, you have an undergrad, a master, a Ph.D. You went to different schools; you did some of it while you are in the Navy and wrapping things up. You really had an interesting educational background. What are your thoughts here?
SCOTT: Well, until you can get employers to think that any certification and just use construction managers for instance. If you’re a PE, a PE is just a recognized thing across any state or anything, but as a construction manager, there’s not one certification. I mean, look at my name. I have five. And none of them, everyone says that they are the ones for construction, but there really is not one for construction. There is 10 for construction, or actually a lot more than that. So, if you could get the industry to say, hey, we accept that, then I think it is going to move forward. The traditional model has done a hell of a good job of making sure that they protect their own because they sell it to counselors. Kids think it, they think, hey, I have to go to school, there is no other path, and they give loans and they give money out like it is free because essentially it is free, you know? So, it is interesting if you could get people to buy-in from an employer’s perspective, and the other part of it is, the big difference I have seen between private money and education and public money and education, it really boils down to the accreditation that they have. There is an organization called CHIA and CHIA accredit accrediting bodies, which sounds hilarious. I got to figure out how do you sell that?
JAMES: Well, your accrediting bodies must be accredited, but who accredits the accreditors of accrediting bodies?
SCOTT: And so, if you could get it, but there’s such a huge pushback from the academic world related to private organizations, they think they are less than, you see how they are treated within accrediting bodies. Some of them are actually barred from getting accredited because there are for profit. But it is an interesting thing. On the other side of it, you also got to think most kids want to go to college and today in person for one reason, and that is because they want the college experience. So, I taught for 10 years and 10 years, I can tell you that having the college experience was as important to most kids than the degree they got, which is pretty crazy, but that seems like a really expensive four years.
JAMES: Yeah. It is an expensive four years. It is an expensive party for some, and that is why you got to take it seriously. I taught for the last five years at Texas A & M Construction Science and I had great students, great experience, I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed my students and they have gone on to have fantastic careers. And there is a real value delivered from A & M, which is public education. Affordable public education that delivers a high paying job when you graduate. So, it certainly is pretty contingent on degree program, but if the licensing boards will not accept degree programs from online schools, if the accreditation bodies won’t accredit them, then the game is over. So, they have guardians at the gates to protect the existing way of the system working. And you bring it out really well. There are accrediting bodies and their accreditors to the accrediting bodies and there a pretty large infrastructure set up to protect academia, from disruption. It is a fascinating Rob. Thanks for bringing that up.
And with that, let us move on to further news. Sage Intacct Launches Construction Solution, so, if you have not been following Sage, this is the owner of what you used to call Timberline. What many of you who call me, still say is Timberline, right? That is Timberline Accounting. It was a dominant force in construction accounting. It has become a little less dominant. In recent years, you have seen their market share continue to slip, to providers like Viewpoint, who acquired Dexter and Chaney and then was acquired by Tremble. And then you have other players in the space that have made major headway. You have Penta, and you have COINS and you just keep going down the list. Jonas, we had Jonas Construction Software on the show. CMIC has made major inroads since launching up there in Canada. They are a dominant force in construction accounting. There is a lot of construction accounting solutions and Sage, who really had the head perch has really seen a great deal of market share erosion. And we have been tracking that market share erosion through our report. They spent a lot of money, a lot of money acquiring Intacct, after spending many years, trying to bring their Sage estimating platform into sequel, and they finally were able to do it.
And they still have a lot of their platform on these really old database systems, and On-Prem had a really clunky interface. Intacct was a very modern solution that was on slate to go in IPO. And Sage snapped it up before they could file their IPO. And what they have done, is they have been spending a good bit of time rather than trying to retrofit Timberline, they have been spending a lot of time taking Intacct and making it work for construction. And so that of course, is trying to bring the functionality from what was Sage Timberline, that is Sage 300 CRE because there was a CEO of Sage who said, hey, let us go to the European style system of numbers instead of names. They stopped using Timberline, which, they are just being totally honest. I thought that was exactly not the best move because people really identified with Timberline, but it is now called Sage 300 CRE. And they have taken that functionality and tried to bake it into Intacct. So, Intacct was already a native cloud solution, but they allow for Intacct imports from multiple entities, not just divisions. And that is really important for construction companies, multiple dimensional reporting, project estimates.
And of course, the big one. WIP schedules, which is, you really cannot do construction accounting without WIP schedules. You see people try and use QuickBooks all the time for construction accounting. They end up having a tough time because of WIP that is calculated in outside Excel sheets. I was on the phone with a builder yesterday, talking about that exact problem. So, go check this out, check out Sage Intacct, give it an honest go and then call me and tell me if it is good or not. I would be curious to hear your input. Certainly, I hear my input from my customers, but I would love to hear your input on the rollout of Intacct with Sage. So, this is a few months ago, by the way, that they did this, but we have not reported on it. And so, I just want you to talk about this move cause we get a lot of phone calls about construction ERP.
So onward and upward. Also, in the news today, Concrete Gets a New Recipe. And this is actually out of the New York Times. You rarely see something this specific to construction reported, in a big publication, like the New York Times. Of course, the Romans, and we have talked about the Romans before in the show and Scott, I am sure you have had to deal with your fair share of concrete in your day. The Romans would use volcanic ash and lime to make concrete. There is a lot of different ways to make concrete, but one of the prime ways is using Portland cement. It turns out because of the heat that has to be used to create that, there are a lot of carbon emissions from creating cement and then mixing concrete. And so, what has been going on is a lot of innovation around the process of manufacturing concrete. And the injection of carbon dioxide into that concrete in a liquid form. So, it is really interesting to see, what is going on when you read through this and you read through what is going on over at US Concrete, which is a concrete manufacturer headquartered in Texas.
But they have a subsidiary where their concrete innovation lab is out in San Jose, California. Low emissions concrete now makes up 70% of the mirror material that US Concrete produces. That is up from 20%, in the early 2000s. So, they have made major headway in trying to reduce carbon emissions on concrete production. And they have this national lab over in San Jose where they are actually, really messing with the recipe for concrete, right? And this recipe has continued to evolve over the years, and you are seeing a lot of innovation. We have covered a lot of this. One of the challenges is that one of the things that were used as a substitute was fly ash. But now that they are shuttering coal-burning power plants, you cannot find fly ash. So the fly ash prices have gone up, which is kind of an unintended consequence. And so there are experiments with recycled post-consumer glass as well, that can be crushed into a powder known as ground glass pozzolan. There is in a test with injecting liquid carbon dioxide into the concrete, that is what CarbonCure is doing. And there have installed it at 225 plants around the US. It reduces net carbon by 5% to 7%. Still a pretty material number, considering how much concrete is made.
So, there are a lot of different approaches being taken. I encourage you to go read the article and go check out what is going on in the concrete space from technology. We have reported on a lot of technologies that inject sensors into the concrete, where you put the sensors, and you can measure, cure temperatures and cure times directly inside the concrete. But this is about the raw mix itself and the technology that is being used. Scott, I imagine you put your fair share of concrete on the ground. What are your thoughts on this?
SCOTT: Well, I always say, wait and see, because it sounds great. And I have seen this stuff about, I just saw yesterday about like a smog-eating asphalt. That was an article I read on ENR, you know, so, but the fact is, until it has some time to sit in the elements and be beat on, I am always a little hesitant because I do not know how much exposure you guys have had the fly ash, but I have had tons, and I can tell you that it is not always the best additive to have in your concrete. So, I am just kind of a wait and see how things… It is great that we are doing these things, but it is a wait and sees for me.
JAMES: Yeah. Understood. Rob?
ROB: Well, it is definitely something you would not like in your nasal cavities or your lungs or your clothes either. I mean, that is a messy, messy product. When they are getting it off those power plants, putting it in there, it kinds of makes me wonder too about you are talking about different additives. Do you remember when the Super P was such in a rage about the quick turn concrete on bridges that you could drive on it within an hour? There is going to be a learning curve. I can tell you. Cause the first couple of times we tried the Super P, and they were literally putting those bags of polymers and everything in it on-site at the bridge. Let us just say there’s a couple of barrels that had to get jackhammered out while we were trying to figure out how to bake that new cake. So yeah, mixing it and then seeing how it performs will be very interesting. Of how that reacts after water gets on it, oil. It will be interesting and innovative, but yeah, I will be curious to see what the results are.
JAMES: Sure. And in the last article today, I just like talking about what Skanska is doing. They are a pretty, pretty cutting-edge construction company. They are piloting two programs, one of which we have talked about one which we have not. They are piloting the use of an OpenSpace and SolidSpac3. And they are really being tailored. They are trialing these out at $188 million CHA Hollywood medical center. The firm’s building a five-story acute care facility. So, they are using OpenSpace, for hardhat mounted cameras that 360 photos… We have talked about OpenSpace a few times. And it stitches it together into one unified, giant 360 bubble of the construction site with quite a bit of success. OpenSpace has done some really amazing things. We reported on a new feature release from OpenSpace last week. Skanska is also piloting SolidSpac3, which uses the LIDAR remote sensing technology to compare the current state of plans with BIM models. With the actual model itself. And it identifies anything that is out of position by up to three-quarters of an inch.
And so, SolidSpac3, which we have not covered on this show, reminds me of a ClearEdge, where you have that basically comparing reality laser scans to the model. By the way, it is spelled funny, it is solid Solid-Spac-and-the-number-three. So, they are pulling an Elon Musk spelling where he did the model, you know, S-3-X-Y for his model numbers. SolidSpac3, go check these two out. They are also using on this project, an electronic tagging system, that notifies them when workers are less than six feet apart. And so, they are really piloting, and we see this a lot with more proactive firms where they will pick a project to be their pilot project for the different new technologies. Pretty neat because they are tagging workers. They can make sure they are keeping their spacing. They are using LIDAR to do your real-time construction verification and quality control, and they are using 360 photos and cameras for real-time job site documentation. This is going to be an extremely well-documented project. Is it not Rob?
ROB: Absolutely. Yeah. I would love to hear thoughts from some of our fellow tech geeks on this SolidSpac3 specifically. David Epps, if you are listening or Mr. Francis, they know more about this than anybody I have talked to. It would be very interesting how well that scanning can get to that precise installed parameter. That is very interesting.
ROB: I would love to hear what they have to say.
JAMES: So, it is a brave new world and certainly exciting. And Scott, you like talking about schedules. There are certainly a lot of this technology when you are doing verification, that will compare to the four-dimensional schedule for that particular day to tell you if you are on track or not. And I know that that would probably be of interest to you, would it not?
SCOTT: It would, but obviously we got to get to a point where we can cost load schedules before we even get down that road. If we can get people the cost load schedules, not just making sure everything is in the correct place, but I see this is like a really good owners tool because they don’t have to pay for anything that is not to conform to the contract. So, I just wanted to take a step back here a second. That’s a great technology, but if I was going to invest my money in something, I probably would invest my money in more modular construction and worry less about the field because I don’t know, it seems like the US government spent a lot of money trying to put everything in modules, to build things nowadays, cause it is easier to bigger building a factory than it is on-site.
JAMES: Yeah, certainly. Yeah, you almost have to do a little bit of both, right? You cannot just completely ignore the old way of building, and certainly, this type of verification technology and documentation is very useful for the install part of modular. So, there is a bit of a two-edged sword, but you are right. You kind of had two points there just now. Do not forget about the basic blocking and tackling of cost loading. And secondly, do not forget about the bigger shift which is moving to modular. You know, it is certainly good to invest in fixing an old process, but sometimes it is good to just gut the process entirely. Which is I think your point. So, thank you for that.
It has been a fun conversation today and one that I think has touched on some good points for a lot of people that are listening to us that are in the building space. Rob McKinney as always, thank you for joining us.
ROB: Appreciate being here. If anybody wants to talk about new stuff, I am always here. Find me let us talk.
JAMES: Yeah. What is your new e-Sub email address?
ROB: That would be Rob.McKinney@esub.com or if you look on social media @ConAppGuru, I am not hard to find. Let’s talk tech. Let us do it.
JAMES: It is easy to find him and again with us from beautiful Lexington, Kentucky, Mr. Scott. Arias, thank you for joining us today.
SCOTT: Hey, thank you guys for having me, and if you guys ever need anything in the future, let me know. I will be more than happy to try to help, although you probably have some great professors at Texas A & M.
JAMES: We have got a few of them. There are some good folks over there in Aggieland. And of course, they are teaching. School started in person and they are busy teaching a new crop of construction managers this year.
SCOTT: They have the Harvard of Construction Management. I will give that to them, but Texas A & M is the 800-pound gorilla construction management in education.
JAMES: Yeah. They are certainly the largest in the country and they have done a good job. So, it is good. We would love to have you come over and visit and come see the campus.
Thank you for joining us today and thank you for tuning in to geek out episode 232 – our interview with Scott Arias from The Ace Group. Please join us next week for Episode 233, our Monthly Talk to The Crew: Live! To read ALL of our news stories and to learn more about apps, workflows, and hardware please subscribe to our newsletter at jbknowledge.com or text “CONTECH” to 66866 Thanks to Jim Greenlee, our Podcast Producer, Kara Dalton-Arro, our Creative Producer, Ad Coordinator, Tish Thelen & our transcriptionist, Adéle Waldeck. To listen to this show, go to the show website at thecontechcrew.com This is The ConTechCrew signing out, until next time…
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