The construction industry in South Africa has typically been slow with the adoption of digital initiatives, with only few players realising the benefits and competitive advantage that a digital construction platform provides. With a desire to introduce efficiencies and getting accurate information from their sites, Bartlett Construction embarked upon a digital transformation journey with the implementation of Procore in 2020.
Bartlett Construction is a family-owned construction company that has been operating for more than five decades since its establishment in 1964 and whose clients include the likes of Growthpoint, Virgin Active and Lanseria Airport. Like many other established contractors, Bartlett was however set in their traditional ways of working and found the transition to working from home, during Covid-19 lockdown, a real challenge.
Keegan Bartlett, a Civil Engineer by training, joined the business 8 years ago as a Contracts Manager. He quickly realised that there must be more efficient ways of doing things and started evaluating various software solutions that would provide the base for “digital transformation” and a move away from Bartlett’s legacy processes that were predominantly paper-based.
During the 2020 lockdown period, he used his time to evaluate how Procore could assist Bartlett in their journey towards “digitalisation”. The benefits and ROI that Procore could bring to Bartlett was so obvious that it only took him 3 weeks to formulate and sell the business case to management. Bartlett started with the roll-out of Procore in October 2020 and are now using it actively across all their projects.
Reflecting on Bartlett’s adoption of the Procore platform, Keegan says: “Getting the buy-in from our site foremen and office personnel was tough initially, but the online training session, combined with Procore’s help features, including 24/7 chat service, made the roll-out very easy.”
“Our Safety Officer, as well as some of the younger site agents, immediately embraced the solution”, adds Keegan. “The older generation at Bartlett also started to quickly appreciate the benefits, especially when working on remote jobs, further away from the office.”
According to Keegan, the reason for implementing Procore was not to stop visiting their sites in person, but about staying up to date. When Keegan could not get around to visiting a specific site in the past, he would request regular updates on progress, site instructions, RFI’s, site diaries etc. Because Procore “connects the site to the office”, all this information is now readily available and accessible on the platform, from a PC or mobile device.
When Keegan started evaluating software options, Bartlett’s main objective was to track tasks on site and they initially looked at how products from Microsoft and Autodesk could handle this requirement. With Procore, he realized that its task functionality was exactly what they needed. He also realized that Procore’s document management, site instruction and RFI functionality was a perfect fit for Bartlett. “We now have consistency in the way information is presented from different sites.”
Procore has solved many problems that Bartlett did not even realise they had. The drawing tool that keeps track of drawing revisions and cross-references them is the aspect of Procore now most often used by the Bartlett teams. Bartlett have started to scale down on printing hard copies of drawings as users started to reference these from their phones and tablets.
One of Bartlett’s older foremen, who Keegan describes as a “hardcopy person” has now started to measure to scale directly from Procore as opposed to measuring from paper printouts.
”The more people realize how powerful the platform is, the more they will use it. Procore, albeit a really powerful platform, is really simple and straight-forward to use – if someone can use WhatsApp on their phone, they should be able to start using Procore straight away.Keegan BartlettContracts Manager - Bartlett Construction