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Built by Builders: Featuring Josh Levy of Document Crunch
Steve Dell’Orto • 17 Aug 2023

Built by Builders: Featuring Josh Levy of Document Crunch

Tune in to this Built by Builders episode with Josh Levy, Co-Founder and CEO of Document Crunch. In this interview, Josh and Steve discuss the importance of knowing the industry and creating solutions to help fellow construction professionals. Throughout his career, Josh has worked for top-ranking construction firms and led departments with annual revenues of $1 billion. Josh and the Document Crunch team are on a mission to empower everyone in the industry to understand what’s in their contracts.

The Built by Builders interview series by ConCntric features conversations with entrepreneurs who have construction backgrounds and have started technology companies to address the pains they have experienced in their construction careers. ConCntric’s Founder & CEO, Steve Dell’Orto, chats with guests about the importance of technology in the construction industry and discusses the various solutions being developed.

Watch the full Built by Builders video featuring our Founder and CEO, Steve Dell’Orto and Founder and CEO of Document Crunch, Josh Levy, here:

Steve Dell’Orto: Welcome to Built by Builders. This is our video series, which is highlighting construction professionals who have started tech companies to provide solutions for the construction industry. It’s very unique to have solutions created by folks who have lived the pains firsthand and go on to solve the problems that they’ve been enduring. We think this is the kind of leadership that is needed to truly advance our industry. Welcome, Josh. It’s great to have you on our series. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to start Document Crunch.

Josh Levy: Absolutely, Steve, I mean just like you said, I think that my background in the industry is really what led me here. I’m a Construction Management major. I did a bunch of internships for large Contractors when I was at the University of Florida. I ended up not wanting to go into project management but I did really enjoy the industry and the overall business of the industry and so I went to law school. I ended up working for a really large law firm representing big General Contractors. I started out in litigation but then handled a lot of the day-to-day issues on projects. That led me to actually going in house with an ENR Top 50 Contractor and rising up through the ranks there. When I joined, the southeastern footprint of this Contractor was 500 million in revenue and by the time I left we were over a billion dollars in revenue. All of those experiences really led me to understand how big of a pain point our industry has when it comes to construction contracts. Ultimately, that is what led me to founding Document Crunch. 

Steve Dell’Orto: It’s a fantastic solution taking what is otherwise complicated and specific and turning it into something far more operational for the very people doing the work.

Josh Levy: Since we’re talking about project communication and making legalese easier for folks, how does ConCntric take wasteful processes and transform them into data-driven actions or easier decision making? 

Steve Dell’Orto: A lot like you, having just spent 26 years in the industry and having thousands of meetings with three principal stakeholder groups—the Owner, the Design team, the Builder—I was continuously watching each of them do their own thing and analyzing how communication could break down very quickly. For instance, when the Builder is trying to describe an update in the build and trying to communicate complex variables within the estimate, oftentimes I would see them struggling to write that into something that’s consumable for the other folks at the table. That’s just one instance in preconstruction where ConCntric can help. We come in and improve collaboration and communication. By doing so, people have a greater understanding and a higher degree of transparency, which drives a great deal of trust and simultaneously removes a lot of the barriers involved. We strive to raise that transparency and trust level and at the same time unite all of the processes, the data, and the people to make the entirety of the preconstruction experience run a lot smoother. In your experience, Josh, do you find that teams are willing to learn more about their contracts or are they hesitant? It seems like you’re really making that a lot more approachable and usable.

Josh Levy: It’s very similar to what you were just describing, and it seems like our two solutions are really cut from the same cloth. It’s taking something that may be enigmatic or hard to understand and making it easy. In this case if you polled Project Managers and said, “Do you want to learn more about your contracts?” I bet you most of them would say “no”. However, when they understand that this can be understood and leveraged for better outcomes at the project level—to make projects more profitable, to be on top of your game—there’s a huge willingness to dive in. And going back to what our selling point is, it’s very similar to yours: Let’s take something that you may perceive to be unapproachable, hard to understand or beyond what you’re comfortable digging into, and let’s make it super easy. Let’s make your day job easier and facilitate collaboration so you can stay on top of it and be able to work with counterparties on the job. Minor claims or issues at the project level don’t spin out of control because you’re educated and you understand how to navigate day-to-day issues that arise. So to answer your question directly, I don’t know how excited people are about their contracts but I am definitely seeing that people are excited to be empowered to do more and to run better projects. And if we can be a small part of that, that’s what we’re all about at Document Crunch. If we can make communication easier for project teams, I’m all for it. That’s our mission at Document Crunch, we want to empower everyone. What about you? Since you’ve started ConCntric, have you noticed that communication between teams has evolved or become more collaborative?

Steve Dell’Orto: Absolutely, in several different ways. One example is in creating the ability to exchange information and ideas and have people work within a common environment, drawing from a single source of truth. This advancement is showing immediate signs of improved communication. I think a lot of Contractors are having a hard time differentiating themselves when they are competing for a project and are presently batting a thousand with the customer. We’ve elevated their game when it comes to communicating their way of doing preconstruction by allowing them to incorporate ConCntric in their pitches and bringing it into interviews to showcase how they will communicate with their customers. They are able to demonstrate how decisions can be made instantaneously and dynamically as well as scenario-modeled, really opening the doors in many different dimensions, allowing the Owner, Architect, and Builder to have far more constructive conversations. It’s the old adage of lines, not dots. A lot of what’s currently being presented are snapshots in time, and not everyone has knowledge of what a project was like before or what the trend is. Using ConCntric, we can take all of that data over time and constantly be putting the entire story out there, updating continuously. Now your team can understand where they are and where they’re going by virtue of trends, etc. improving intercommunication and making it very easy to get your work done as a group. Or better yet, when you have teams of teams doing multiple projects within a given company, ConCntric gives you the ability to exchange information and really draw upon common ideas that were otherwise locked up in Excel spreadsheets with a particular team. At the end of the day, communication is a massive part of what we’re trying to build and improve by virtue of a platform approach to preconstruction.

Josh Levy: I think your perspective is so interesting given your upbringing in the industry. This is a communication business and I think oftentimes people forget that. I think companies that enhance communication rather than further silo folks are going to be the winners in our space. 

Steve Dell’Orto: What kind of ripple effect do you think this enhanced communication has on the industry with the introduction of technology? I’m sure you’re seeing more than just that linear relationship of the contract versus the project team and the benefits to the owner and all of the other stakeholders. 

Josh Levy: We have a shared story here. The ripple effect is, you want to arm everybody with information to make good decisions, to have a clear and transparent path forward as issues arise, and to understand data trends. One of the hallmarks of a great project wasn’t just that it was on time, on budget or safe but rather acknowledging whether or not you would want to work with this team again and enhancing that experience. The goal is to smooth out all those interactions at the project level enabling more collaboration, more transparency, better relationships, less risk, and a more delightful construction process. We know that we have that in us as an industry—to be more profitable and more empowering at the same time.

Follow ConCntric on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, to stay up to date on when the next interview will go live. To demo ConCntric’s platform, click here.

Follow Document Crunch on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to learn all about how to empower your team to understand what’s in your contracts. To demo Document Crunch, click here.

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