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.
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.