David Empsall is a man with a sense of humour. His LinkedIn entry begins: “Try to reduce abortive work and identify the rainbow chases as early as possible. Next week how to nail a jelly to the ceiling.”
Now in his twentieth year with Caddick Construction Ltd, David is their Chief Estimator and runs a busy department pricing a wide variety of high quality new build and refurbishment projects. Founded in 1979 and based in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, the company has expertise across all property sectors and provides in house design and technical services. They are design and build specialists and pride themselves on a supply chain which delivers on budget and on time.
David joined the construction industry in 1983 when a lecturer at the building college he was attending told him of a small builder who was looking for a QS and estimator. After two years he joined a national contractor and then, 11 years later, he joined Caddick. He has been using the ConQuest Estimating Software System since it’s origins as an MS-DOS product over 25 years ago, and has seen it evolve from that into the sophisticated Windows software that it is now.
“My first job as a trainee estimator, long before Caddick,” said David, “was sending out enquiries to subcontractors and suppliers by post, using documents produced by an ammonia photocopier.
‘’The documents were hung up to dry from hooks attached to lines draped across the canteen while, underneath, people ate their packed lunches and tried to avoid the chemicals dripping onto the tables. I sometimes couldn’t remember my journey home because I was high on the fumes. Quite a leap to the way we do it today.
‘’Health and Safety has moved on and we now do the enquiries by computer. When we first saw the ConQuest Cloud based enquiry system it set light bulbs off with our Purchasing Department. It’s the tracking of the enquiries and the simple nature of it which they like. Every tender which we produce has to be completed in a very short timescale, which ConQuest helps us with. Enquiries used to take two or three days, now they take two or three hours.
“In that time, we can get two or three hundred enquiries out, and they cost nothing compared to the old postage system which we used to use. We don’t have to worry whether they’ve been delivered either. Technology is producing tender documentation in less time because Project Managers are under pressure to send out documentation immediately, without having the time to complete it. We recently priced a project in Doncaster and there were 30 addenda during the tender period because it hadn’t been completely thought through before the tender documentation was sent out to contractors.”
Does software made it easier to deal with that sort of thing?
David’s reply was: “We couldn’t do it without ConQuest.”
Picture: Crosspoint 33, Knottingly—The design & construction of a new £35.7 million, 1.37 million sq ft distribution centre for TJ Maxx. Single storey warehouse and processing unit together with a three storey office accommodation.