Software saviours

Software systems specifically designed for the needs of the building industry are a sure-fire way to ensure your business runs at optimal efficiency.

Software for the residential building industry has become an essential tool for your toolkit, helping you to streamline product output and improve efficiencies – both onsite and in the office. Designed to save you the most amount of time possible, a wide variety of programs have been developed to guide you through all aspects of a build from start to finish. These software systems can help you with just about everything, from planning and estimation to contracts or financial reporting, ensuring your building business increases its productivity and profitability.

However, choosing the right software program for the individual needs of your business can be a tricky task; there are a number on the market offering diverse functionality. Before spending the time and investment in implementing a brand new system, ask yourself what it is you actually require. To help you get started, HOUSING takes a look at some tried-and-tested systems helping builders and contractors achieve better business management.

The full package

Every building business needs a reliable building, estimation and management system, and BEAMS has been providing this to industry for almost three decades.

Established in 1994, BEAMS has enabled a greater understanding of what is required for the entire building process.

The system covers web leads in CRM, estimating with CADIMage, scheduling and accounts, as well as the addition of mobile functionality – a service the company says is not available through any other software system currently on the market.

According to owner, Peter Fonte, BEAMS is backed by an experienced and dedicated team who are constantly looking for ways to improve the package, which is in perpetual development as the market changes and users’ needs evolve. BEAMS, he says, offers the unparalleled knowledge and understanding of a builder-come-company director with years of practical, hands-on experience.

‘BEAMS software was developed by a builder who understands the wants and needs of users within the construction industry,’ says Peter.

‘BEAMS customer support is suited to both the east- and west-coast, with long support hours offered.’

Peter says BEAMS is currently the only software provider that integrates the functions of at least nine separate applications that are generally required to manage and operate a successful business. This includes word processing, document storage, estimating, scheduling, CAD Image Take-off, email monitoring, accounting, CRM, as well as Beams Mobile, to name a few.

‘Users are able to prepare quotes quickly and respond to their clients in a timely fashion,’ Peter adds. ‘We offer the ability to maintain accurate cost control which results in better profits.

‘BEAMS keeps up with legislation changes, including GST, TPar, Super Stream – and the newest one being Single Touch Payroll – and also provides full financial reporting, such as BAS and PAYG.’

Professional using laptop
Photo courtesy Keystone Construction Software

With you onsite

If you’re looking for a new software program to automate your construction workflow, OnSite Companion will give you a new level of operational efficiency for your business.

The innovative software solution by Companion Systems offers builders a platform to bridge the divide between project planning and delivery.

From workflow management and task scheduling to streamlined document handling, OnSite Companion is a complete end-to-end solution. It will also give you comprehensive insight into the progress and history of each job, saving you valuable time and money on overheads, site management, administration and project lag.

According to Peter Holt, operations manager at Mimosa Homes, OnSite Companion has improved the business’ operational productivity by at least 30 per cent, giving the company a complete breakdown on every aspect of each job at all stages of the process.

‘Not only are we able to manage tasks and workflow, but we also avoid expensive overruns, and deliver our projects more effectively. We can better manage the output and productivity of our staff,’ Peter says.

‘I highly recommend using OnSite Companion in your business to improve your bottom line.’

Offering full transparency across each project, OnSite Companion keeps both office and onsite staff up-to-date with all project-related details in real-time. It also ensures all parties are accountable for delivering on their required tasks.

One of the system’s biggest advantages is it manages your operational workflow, from presale and pre-construction through to construction, maintenance and warranty, as well as a soon-to-be-released cloud module for workplace health and safety. The effortless communication channel also integrates seamlessly with DataBuild.

Accurate and reliable, OnSite Companion plays an integral role in automating project activities, helping you to increase capacity, while significantly reducing costs.

Quality quotes

If you’re looking for a smarter way to produce quotes and variations or are finding your quoting and variation process is tiresomely laborious, you may just find the solution in Client Manager by Keystone Construction Software. This powerful platform has been streamlining the quote and variation process in the construction industry for more than 18 years, and as an added bonus, uses Databuild’s strengths to provide accurate, fast and professional estimates.

According to Peter Holt from Mimosa Homes, the system has also made a significant impact on his business: ‘Automating the quoting, revision and variation process, Client Manager gives us a detailed snapshot of costings and margins for each project, improving our productivity significantly,’ he says.

Seamlessly integrating with Databuild, Client Manager interfaces with Databuild’s cost centre structure and pricelist, giving you unparalleled system transparency. A considerable improvement to the traditional method of documenting records, this technology exchanges up-to-date information, maximising efficiency while minimising errors and costs.

Client Manager uses the Databuild Client List, and incorporates modules for Quotations, Revisions, Pre-Contract Variations, Post-Contract Variations, along with Product and Colour Selections. Giving you the opportunity to produce a build-up for each client request, which is populated from the current Databuild Pricelist, all accepted line items can be used to update the Databuild Bill of Quantities. Simultaneously, all unaccepted line items are retained in the system for future reference.

From enquiry through to build, Client Manager offers a simplified quoting and variation solution for your business.

Contractor Management

If you find managing contract compliance a headache then look no further than HIA TRADEPASS. Servicing builders and contractors in the residential building industry with a mutually beneficial software solution, the online portal assists with the collection of contractor business details, helping to streamline business obligations.

The contractor management system gives builders access to a database of contractors verified by HIA, ensuring key business requirements are complete and up-to-date. The online portal serves as a place to securely store and access compliance documentation, such as licence information and insurance certificates. Information and documentation collected through HIA TRADEPASS can be accessed by registered HIA TRADEPASS member builders.

As a contractor, you must register first. Contact the HIA TRADEPASS team and they will provide you with access to an online questionnaire. From there, simply upload key documentation to ensure compliance obligations are met. If something is missing or not to standard, HIA will provide guidance and referrals as needed.

The system also provides contractors with reminders of upcoming expiring documents, helping to keep everything current. This conveniently allows you to refer builders to the HIA TRADEPASS portal rather than re-submitting information for each new job.

With cloud-based storage, the system is accessible to all members 24/7, across multiple devices. HIA TRADEPASS saves companies time and hassle, providing them with HIA-verified contractors and accompanying documentation. For builders, it will give you the confidence that you’re working with legitimate contractors; and on the flip side, for contractors it will assist you with staying current, and at the same time, will reduce your paperwork load for every project you’re employed on.


HIA TRADEPASS takes the hassle out of collecting and verifying contractor business information and registrations.

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Portal for paperwork

You may have in mind what software systems your business may now require, but a workable, watertight contract is also essential to the success of any building business. As a HIA member it’s easier than ever to produce highly professional, expertly-written contracts for your clients.

HIA’s plain-English contracts, written by legal specialists, are designed to save you time and money. This online system allows you to pre-populate professional, personalised contracts for new homes, renovations, small building works contracts, and general housing specifications, and save them as ready-to-go templates. All your contracts are saved in one place for 24/7 access.

Members can now also access the subscription-based HIA Contracts Online tool that lets you personalise your contracts with your logo and business details.

With this online tool you can:

  • preview your contracts before you buy
  • print or email directly to clients and customers
  • select from a wide range of professional templates
  • access expert contract information by HIA specialists.

HIA Contracts Online is an affordable, user-friendly tool that enables HIA members to enhance administrative operations by integrating it with your existing business systems. This means you save time by eliminating data entry double-ups for your customers’ names and details. 

HIA Contracts Online also provides a legal safety-net you can rely on: any time legislation changes HIA will automatically amend contracts, ensuring you’re always up-to-date and properly protected.

As an additional feature to HIA Contracts Online, HIA has developed an application programming interface (API) that allows your business systems to seamlessly integrate with it, further improving the way you produce your building contracts.

To find out more on how to get integrated, contact Kelly Tot, HIA General Manager – IT Services on k.tot@hia.com.au or call 02 6245 1300.

This article was compiled with contributions from HIA TRADEPASS, BEAMS, Companion Systems and Keystone Software

Worker using software onsite

Contracts Online is an affordable, user-friendly tool that saves you time.


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