Featuring Laura Fontenot of MAPP Construction

A construction prequalification case study investigating how a leading commercial general contractor is using cloud software to manage subcontractor qualifications instead of paper and PDFs.

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Tell us about yourself.

I have worked for MAPP for 9 years. Most of those years I managed the staff in our Preconstruction Department, but recently I have become the Executive Assistant to our owners, Mike Polito and Mark LaHaye and our CFO, Grif McKowen. I enjoy spending time with my husband and three children, friends, cheering on our LSU Tigers, traveling and shopping.

 

Tell us about your company.

MAPP Construction, LLC, was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with offices in Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas and Houston. We are a licensed general contractor in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Colorado and Nebraska. MAPP provides preconstruction and construction services for commercial construction projects including retail, office, mission critical, industrial, warehouse and distribution, hospitality, healthcare, banking and interiors.

 

How long has your company been using SmartBid with the Prequal Pro add-on module?

MAPP has been using SmartBid since 2006 – we were the first SmartBid client. We have been using the Prequal Pro module since 2012.

 

How did you handle prequalification of subcontractors before SmartBid and why did you make the switch?

Prequal forms were mailed, faxed or emailed to subcontractors to complete. We switched, because this module gave us a central location to keep the forms, the ability to update the subcontractors info, and to keep track of when it needed to be renewed.

 

Which employee roles use SmartBid’s Prequal Pro module within your company and how?

Right now I am the person responsible for all prequals for all of our offices. I send out the request, receive the form back from the sub, review and determine if the sub meets criteria for the project.

 

What features of Prequal Pro have been most beneficial to your company?

I like that I can track all communication regarding the qualification form, when it was sent, when the sub initiates it, when RFI’s were sent, when the sub submits completed form. I also like the feature of having a qualification form linked to a specific project.

 

How would your subcontractors describe your prequalification process?

In general, subcontractors do not like completing the qualification form and answering the questions we want answered, however they do like the convenience of receiving the link via email, completing and submitting online.

 

Describe the most recent project in which SmartBid was essential for prequalification of subcontractors.

One Shell Square Offices, New Orleans, LA. Shell Oil had specific requirements that all of our subcontractors had to meet prior to being selected for this project. With SmartBid’s Prequalification Pro we were able to create a qualification form specific for this project. I was able to add notes to the invited list of subs and update their progress on getting the prequalification form completed along with the additional financial forms, safety forms, and insurance forms that were required. Each week I ran a report for the project team to update them on the status of prequalifications.

 

What other technology did you or are you using for this project? How does SmartBid fit into the mix?

We use Viewpoint, Onscreen Takeoff, Timberline, Revit, P7, and BIM. SmartBid keeps all of our preconstruction correspondence, documents, etc. organized and easy for everyone to access and review.

 

Over the next few years, in what ways do you hope to see construction technology evolve, particularly at your company?

We do try to keep up with technology here, using tablets in the field with apps that allow everyone to do their job more efficiently, drones on jobsites to keep client up to date on project progress, Google Glass, BIM, etc. I feel we will continue with that trend and stay up to date on the latest and greatest technology. On a bigger scale, the consumer market has driven a lot of the technology decisions that businesses have made over the past few years. I see that trend continuing forward for at least the next five years. I would like to see the way that we consume the data that we already have follow that trend. Apps for smartphones take large, diverse pieces of information from the internet and carve them into small consumable chunks. The smaller the sub-section, the “easier” it is for the consumer to use it. The really successful enterprise apps will provide a method to fold-in and see big data as small pieces of meaningful information.

 

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As a founding member of the Construction Open Standards Alliance, JBKnowledge (makers of SmartBidNet) works with 20+ other construction software providers on developing data exchange standards for the integration of independent software solutions.

By using a software built on COSA standards, you're able to:
- Incorportate all your favorite software into one high-performing, multi-function construction software
- Eliminate errors and omissions associated with faulty integrations.
- Eliminate manual and spreadsheet data transfers between software.

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All SmartBidNet users can utilize the integrated ConsensusDocs 721 form for subcontractor prequalification. Users can further customize those forms with the Prequal Pro add-on module.

SmartBidNet users are able to use ConsensusDocs to:
- Request standard subcontractor prequalification information at the click of a button.
- Keep subcontractors' qualifications up-to-date with easy-to-manage ConsensusDocs forms.
- Keep sensitive information private with ConsensusDocs 721 digital forms.

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The Virtual Planroom Network (VPRN) partnership allows users of SmartBidNet to view, select and bid on thousands of public project opportunities from VPRN – impacting market coverage and ultimately revenue.

The VPRN is a collaboration of builders' exchanges that have been delivering construction data, news and information of opportunities at various stages of the construction process for over a century.

With this partnership, SmartBidNet users can benefit by:
- Publishing public bid projects from SmartBidnet to the VPRN Online Planroom.
- Pulling projects and documents from the VPRN Online Planroom into SmartBidNet for private prequalification and bid management.
- Accessing industry news easily within VPRN that our commercial building clients depend on daily.

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Dun & Bradstreet is collaborating with SmartBidNet to improve the quality of data integrated from the SmartInsight contractor network. D&B solutions assist in data cleansing and verification by running SmartInsight subcontractor data through the world’s leading source of commercial data, analytics and insight on businesses. D&B’s global commercial database contains more than 240 million accurate business records.

Through our integration with Dun & Bradstreet, SmartBidNet users are able to take advantage of verified commercial company data integrated from SmartInsight by referencing a D-U-N-S number for each subcontractor. This integration also gives general contractors confidence in the validity of subcontractor data listed within the SmartInsight network.

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ShareFile, our recommended cloud storage service, integrates into SmartBidNet for a seamless connection between both systems - allowing users to keep their project documents up to date within both platforms.

By integrating a ShareFile account into SmartBidNet, general contractors are able to:
- Upload bid project files and documents from ShareFile directly into SmartBidNet and vice versa
- Quickly add and remove project documents with real-time synchronization
- Always keep your plans within reach for any shared subcontractor in SmartBidNet or ShareFile

 

Our partnership with Plans4Less allows SmartBidNet users to get the most affordable pricing for same day printing and shipping for plans from the SmartBidNet online plan room.

With the option of using the integrated Plans4Less feature, SmartBidNet users are able to:
- Give subcontractors access to the reprographic services offered by Plans4Less as they view plans in the SmartBidNet Online Planroom.
- Take advantage of fixed pricing with no minimum orders required.
- Print & ship daily direct to your office or construction job site nationally via UPS.

 

With the STACK Estimating (formerly Cloud Takeoff) integration into SmartBidNet, all SmartBidNet users can easily open plan files and quickly perform basic quantity takeoffs from your SmartBidNet plan room.

By becoming a STACK Estimating customer, SmartBidNet users can:
- Experience real-time, collaborative estimating takeoff with your project team and subcontractors.
- Use detailed reporting to calculate the cost and quantity of materials to pull back into SmartBidNet.
- Take advantage of STACK’s pre-built catalogs to help you quickly calculate costs for specific trades based on your own rates and historical experience.

 

SmartInsight is an online construction network that helps general contractors find, verify and connect with subcontractors and suppliers. The full SmartInsight database of contractors is integrated with SmartBidNet for general contractors to tap into when sending project communications.

By using the SmartInsight construction network, general contractors in SmartBidNet can:
- Access a quality, up-to-date database of subcontractors for additional bid coverage.
- Locate qualified subcontractors that match your project requirements.
- Access a platform focused on streamlined prequalification with subcontractor scoring available from industry leading risk analysts.

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Cloud Storage Integrations


In addition to our preferred cloud integration with ShareFile, our users’ SmartBidNet online plan room can also integrate with these cloud storage solutions:

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ShareFile

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Box

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Google Drive

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OneDrive

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Egnyte

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SharePoint

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OneDrive
for Business

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CMIS

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Alfresco

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AWS S3



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