Cashflow has never been more critical for construction firms and Salute Construction, a trusted industry player with over 20 years experience, understands the importance of safeguarding it. We spoke with Site Manager, Cameron Holmes, currently using CONQA’s Quality Assurance (QA) software on New Zealand’s International Convention Centre project.
Salute Construction provides exterior and interior carpentry works on major commercial projects with the likes of Fletcher, Macrennie, NZ Strong, Naylor Love, and Summerset. One of CONQA’s first clients, they saw the value of a comprehensive, digital QA system early on. “CONQA was a very easy system to use right from the start, even though we were a bit old school and it took us some time to really get going with it” says Cameron. It’s now part of their operating rhythm, and has a material impact on their ability to get paid- ‘‘It’s saved us thousands of dollars on many occasions.”
Like many trades operating on a large fast-paced construction site, it’s not uncommon for Salute’s work to be accidentally damaged by others, or to get called out for incorrect measurements as plans change. “It becomes quite costly for us if they start opening the walls in hundreds of apartments,” explains Cameron.
By documenting and photographing all the key stages of the install in CONQA, when issues occur Salute are able to readily prove that everything was done in accordance to plan and handed over in perfect condition. It allows them to handle these interactions efficiently and professionally, and avoid wasting time and money on disputes or rework. This digital audit trail is valuable to all project stakeholders, “our clients like it, our QA covers us and them in the long run.”
This extends to day works, which can be challenging for subcontractors to manage. Cameron shares “we can get anywhere from 3-10 variations daily, in my last project I got up to 100.” Despite their prevalence, variations can represent a significant cost to subcontractors. The associated admin was previously a large burden on the team required to print, bring to site, get signed, scanned and circulated all the relevant paperwork. Even with all the paperwork, they risk not getting paid. Collaborating with Quantity Surveyors (QS) is essential for securing timely payments.
“There is pressure on builders to manage costs, especially at the end of a job. Their QS is an extremely busy person and doesn’t always have the context of everything that’s happening on site, so if they don’t have the information they need to process a claim it can get knocked back.”
To streamline this process, Salute Construction now captures all their variations in CONQA’s easy-to-use checklists, “which has sped up things like you wouldn’t believe,” says Cameron. The checklists contain all the timekeeping, team members and materials information required, which can be submitted at the end of the month alongside their claims. “I can trust the team won’t miss anything even if I’m not on site. We’ll add the reference number along with the description and photos. Photos say everything, they don’t lie. It just makes it much easier for the QS to relate in their system and approve the claim so we can get paid. They are typically able to process it quite quickly.”
As Salute has shown, by embracing technology and robust documentation practices, construction companies can proactively safeguard their cash flow, mitigate risks, and ensure successful project outcomes.