ConCntric's procurement module is now integrated with BuildingConnected ®

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How ConCntric Came To Be
Steve Dell’Orto • 06 Mar 2023

How ConCntric Came To Be

Q&A with Steve Dell’Orto, ConCntric’s Founder and CEO

Preconstruction software has proven to offer tremendous value as the industry shifts towards a more efficient form of communication. ConCntric’s platform is the first holistic solution for preconstruction. 

Steve Dell’Orto is a 26-year construction industry veteran who has lived and breathed the world of delivering projects with a focus on preconstruction. We asked him about how ConCntric came to be and the importance of using a 360-degree platform solution on your next project. 

You have worked in the construction industry for 26 years on many large scale projects, how did you come up with the idea for ConCntric and what motivated you to start your company?

Earlier in my career, I was the point person in touch with clients and I was supported by an estimating preconstruction team. I have always been systems-oriented and I saw a consistent pattern in the void of data and ways to present project information to my clients. There was a lack of a system-based process to properly plan a project in preconstruction. I noticed how taxing it was for the preconstruction professionals to try to create something special beyond reporting on the estimate document. 

There is enough standardization in how preconstruction is done, but there was no visibility when it came to being able to change the outcome. I had numerous clients express frustration that the industry isn’t more advanced when it comes to the most critical stage of a project’s development. I began speaking to other professionals and they told me that they would rate their efficiency levels anywhere from 35-70%, essentially meaning that they were having to work 1.75 times harder to get the job done than they should.

My goal was to create a more sophisticated platform. I wanted to present projects in a way that my clients would understand, trust and appreciate, and I didn’t have the tools to present it the way I thought it should be done. In order to give power and meaning to the data I was presenting, I knew I had to solve this issue at the project level and develop a platform that could be built upon. I needed to create a system where you could continuously plug in project data from one project to the next and start to see trends, predict outcomes and measure success. Realizing that this market was untapped and that no one was actively working to solve this problem is what ultimately led me to make the leap from being a General Contractor to starting up a preconstruction technology software company.

I understand that preconstruction can be very complicated as there are many moving parts. What are some challenges you faced when creating this platform and how did you overcome those challenges?

Preconstruction is often viewed as the estimating phase of a construction project. As much as estimating is a crucial part of preconstruction, there is a wide spectrum of workflows related to not only estimating, but developing a plan to build and logistically support the project. This includes assisting the design process for constructability and quality, assessing and mitigating risks, procurement strategies for contracting the trade work, permitting, etc.

Understanding that preconstruction needed to be solved holistically was absolutely essential. The mission is to elevate and modernize preconstruction for the industry. I wanted to make sure that we fully understood the entire spectrum of preconstruction because of the depth of ecosystems in workflows and interrelationships among those workflows. As a team, we needed to make sure that we were providing the best possible solution to customers and amplifying the value of their data. 

One challenge we are noticing among our customers is their availability of time. When your current preconstruction process is working, it is difficult to take the time to learn a new way of doing things. It is the classic cycle where you would be less busy if the busy work were eliminated, but you are too busy with the busy work to stop and make long-term positive changes. The good fortune for us is that the industry has widely used standards at the information level. At ConCntric, we use those standards to structure our platform process, helping our clients experience the impact of ConCntric instantly. We recognize that there are challenges to anything that is new and requires change, therefore we strive to emphasize the value and importance of structuring your data in a platform for current and future projects.

You’ve mentioned before that the preconstruction community is vastly underserved. How does ConCntric elevate preconstruction and why is this platform so important?

The preconstruction community is underserved in both the number of people making it a career path as well as from a technology standpoint.

Preconstruction as a profession within construction has been underserved and underappreciated. If we think in terms of a community, all of the individuals that are working in the front-end of our business, are a much smaller subset of the individuals compared to the group that are focused on managing the construction phase elements—operations professionals. 

The labor imbalance at the management level stems from the fact that less than 1 in every 10 new entrants to the construction management profession are choosing preconstruction as a career path. The majority of students choose to focus on construction. Perhaps on the surface, preconstruction seems less glamorous—it’s the workload that is essential to every single construction project but it’s not very tangible. Unlike the construction process, you cannot see a physical building rising in front of you over the course of the preconstruction phase. It’s a document-heavy process instead. 

Preconstruction professionals set the table, and the fact that this very critical stage is so underappreciated and underrepresented is something that I’ve always felt needed to be corrected. ConCntric was made to champion preconstruction professionals. Not to mention, having a more modern and sophisticated approach to the front-end of the business is essential to attracting, recruiting and retaining the talent for doing preconstruction work.

When it comes to technology development in preconstruction, preconstruction professionals currently have no choice but to use Excel and a few random point solutions to stitch together a project. ConCntric is the first holistic preconstruction platform that solves several issues. It incorporates:

  • Automated workflows and more effective database management
  • Harnessed data to be accessed and utilized in ways that are not currently available
  • An engaging, clean and simple interface in keeping with today’s expectations
  • Transparency and convenient access to project information
  • A higher degree of accuracy over time, leading to a much greater certainty of outcome

We have changed and elevated the workflows in preconstruction to make them more effective and more automated. Now our customers can go to their clients and show them ConCntric’s engaging interface, instilling confidence in the project. By being able to leverage and harvest your data as well as past lessons learned, over time that data empowers your team to become more efficient for future projects. 

This is your first experience building a tech startup. What insights have you gained or discovered along the way? Have you learned anything new about preconstruction in the process?

Although this is the first preconstruction software company that I’ve started, I’ve had the fortune of scaling and achieving great growth in the construction side of the industry. As the former Executive Officer of one of the largest privately-owned, domestic general contractors in the U.S. with revenues averaging $5-6 billion annually, I have learned a lot of valuable lessons and have been pleasantly surprised that building software is very similar to constructing buildings and structures. Previously, I was assembling a group of people that had different specialties to accomplish a specific mission and it was up to me to set and define the vision, general timetable, and the parameters around which this building needed to come to life, and the same holds true with software. 

At ConCntric, I think we have an inherent advantage in that, as a team, we have the experience and know-how to build and scale a business and world class software with a deep understanding of the domain in which we operate: real estate development and construction. I’ve been very fortunate to surround myself with amazing people that know how to build world-class software and who have experience in all of the other aspects of building a successful preconstruction software company.

It has been fun to learn new ways to solve problems and utilize different tools and approaches from other industries beyond construction who are more advanced in their use of technology. At ConCntric, we are constantly learning and drawing from these innovation leaders so that we provide the most advanced platform to our users. Our goal at ConCntric is not to come in and disrupt the process of preconstruction—as it is not broken—rather our goal is to enhance the preconstruction process with technology.

You’ve mentioned that you would like to see ConCntric in the mobile app space. What is ConCntric’s plan for the future? What else can we expect?

We have big plans for the future of ConCntric. We have already noticed that our customers are using the ConCntric platform live in their interviews to show their clients their advanced planning and the real transparent and professional way they now do preconstruction. They are using our platform to say “let us show you what we’ve already done for your project” while walking them through scenarios of their ideas. 

At ConCntric, we recognize that most of the major work our customers do is on a desktop. However, the ability to convey information readily makes the mobile app a natural extension. Once you have established digitized versions of the best practices, that data can be used to help the project executive present the status of the project on a phone over lunch or the owner can access and review their portfolio of projects on a tablet while on a plane.

There are many more mobile applications we have identified that can facilitate numerous ways that processes can be transacted. Ultimately, we are focused on making less work for our customers, so anything that saves someone a single minute or click of effort is what we are focused on. As we expand and tie together the different ecosystems of workflows, more doors will open up for what we can build. Having ConCntric available on your mobile phone is just one small piece of our overall plan.

To experience ConCntric’s real-time preconstruction software in action, you can book a demo here.

Once You Try ConCntric®, Preconstruction Will Never Be The Same. Find Out Why.
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