NOVUS Building Services: Managing hundreds of projects with construction scheduling software

How this commercial contractor manages 100s of projects all at once with tech.

Their success story: Streamlined commercial construction project management

NOVUS Building Services is a testament to the fact Buildertrend is made for more than just homebuilders and remodelers.

As a commercial contractor highly focused on the fabrication and installation of countertops in apartment complexes, this team thought their specialized business needed specialized tech. Then, they found Buildertrend.

By leveraging our digital features, NOVUS made the No. 1 construction software platform work for them. Now just a single person oversees 100 projects at once. All it took was Buildertrend: One tool with limitless solutions.

Industry

Commercial contractor

Location

Sterling, Va. & West Palm Beach, Fla.

Established

2005

Winning solution

Scheduling

Their story: Innovation in installation

For NOVUS Building Services, quality and quantity go hand in hand. One shouldn’t have to come before the other.

Just a little over a decade old, the company has established itself as the leading provider of countertops for multi-family residentials across the East Coast. With a second office that opened 2017 in West Palm Beach – twelve years after the first launched in Sterling, Virginia – their impact expands to sunny Florida, too.

Countertops are a NOVUS foundation. However, that’s just the beginning. They also specialize in full-scope renovations, including tiles, cabinets, flooring and kit installs for management companies, institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals. These are the type of clients where service can’t be scrimped on.

They’ve got a lot to do – and they’ve got to do it well. That’s where Buildertrend comes in.

White modern kitchen by Novus
Modern white kitchen by Novus

Their goal: To connect everyone across projects, states and roles

“We were in a real need because our project managers didn’t have visibility to what our own employees and subs were doing in the field,” said Steven Miranda, production and facilities manager. “The production department, including fabrication/installs, estimating, accounting and sales – we were all on an island.”

In 2017, they knew it was time to get off that island before the waves of inefficiency crashed in further. Information would go missing between jobs. Invoices were being sent too early, too late or not at all. Steven himself was taking hundreds of calls a day from the field.

That’s when Garrett Owens, an executive consultant to NOVUS, was hired to help find a construction tech solution. He knew it was time for a digital revolution – with Buildertrend as the catalyst for change.

“When we started, to be honest, I didn’t think this was going to work for us. I thought, ‘This is for homebuilders, right?’” Steven said. “The way I look at Buildertrend now … wow. You have no idea how much easier it’s made my life, having multiple project’s details accessible within a few clicks on my mouse or touchscreen.”

Commercial project by Novus
Commercial project by Novus

Their solution: Getting creative with construction tech tools to meet their unique needs

The wow factor for Buildertrend came to NOVUS after they learned many of the platform’s digital features can be used in more than one way. Not all construction teams work the same – and neither should their tech. Through weekly trainings with their Buildertrend coach, NOVUS saw how to leverage the different functionalities of each feature to best manage their high volume of specialized projects.

Take the Schedule tool, for example. One of the most popular and first adapted Buildertrend features, the Schedule is viewed by homebuilders as a Gantt chart. Here, they can dig deep into individual projects at a micro level. However, NOVUS doesn’t focus on one job at a time.

Instead, they use the monthly view – a more macro approach to overseeing timelines – since they have hundreds of properties and remodeling projects running at the same time.

“Because we’re in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, etc., we want an overall picture. It’s about looking at our entire portfolio of clients,” Steven said. “The Schedule is open on my computer all day, every day; where I can see and conceptualize the matrix which is the intersection point between NOVUS’ production capability and capacity, client schedule requirements and supply chain deliverables.”

More jobs equal more crews in the field, as well as more subs. Buildertrend has brought calm to communication chaos. Before using this suite of software tools, Steven spent the last few hours of every day handwriting the schedule on paper and a white board and individually sending text messages and emails to each employee. Now he does it right in the Buildertrend app. Each job includes project notes so he doesn’t field basic questions from anyone about prior execution or installs.

“I was getting an average of 75 to 125 phone calls a day. I hardly get 25 now,” Steven said. “Any info our team needs, it’s there. Proposals, signed contracts, layouts – everything. I don’t have to work 16-hour days anymore to get everything done.”

Kitchen by Novus
Kitchen project completed by Novus

There is an active real-time component to the tool. All those crew members and subs are adding info, too. Right in the field on the app, they store countertop measurements, communicate with clients via Messages, upload countless project pictures and immediately connect with the office to get questions answered quickly.

“We have real-time visibility into the field – we never had that before,” Steven said.

Holistically, Buildertrend has made an impact on the company. Every employee in every department uses it to get their jobs done, easier and faster. That includes accounting.

Recently, NOVUS has begun to utilize the Purchase Order tool. As a major countertop installer, they’re ordering more material than most builders. Pennies were falling through the cracks. Now there is the advantage of double-checking if quote prices matched actual charges. Buildertrend keeps track of it all – even with so many projects moving so fast.

Within the Purchase Order feature, NOVUS can approve or void orders, link costs back to QuickBooks and see if they are any discrepancies in charges. It’s now kept all in one place instead of scattered over countless emails.

“Everyone at NOVUS has their overlapping part in Buildertrend. It doesn’t matter if you’re the new guy or you’re the owner,” Steven said.

Their success: One project owner for 100 commercial clients

“When I started at NOVUS, we were working 20 to 30 projects with three people managing them. Now we’ve gotten to the point where I myself am able to deal with 100 properties just because I have Buildertrend,” Steven said.

While Buildertrend isn’t the first choice for many commercial contractors, NOVUS’ turbo-charged efficiency makes the case that it’s the right choice.

For a fraction of the price of bigger-name software systems, Buildertrend slashed the time it once took this high-volume team to manage its projects.

“I want to show that Buildertrend can be used in different industries. It’s not just for homebuilders,” Steven said. “You can work in the multifamily renovation world as a fabricator or within a general contractor capacity and still be successful. We wouldn’t have grown this much as a company without Buildertrend.”

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