software in construction

The Role of Software in Construction

Written by SmartBuild CEO & Owner – Keith Dietzen

I started my company, Keymark, in 1975, at the age of 24.  I previously worked at a truss plant where I learned how to write software to figure cut lists for wood trusses.  At that time, some truss manufacturers were, literally, snapping chalk strings on concrete floors, taking measurements and angles to cut pieces properly!

I was so excited about how software could eliminate this tedious task—one intelligent human being at a teletype terminal describes a truss and gets a cut list in a couple of minutes—that I dropped out of my Ph.D. program in economics at the University of Chicago and started Keymark.

My company (and several others) developed powerful software for the next several decades that engineered, priced, and generated production information. The role of these software systems was to automate the tedious function of figuring out how to build truss systems in as little time as possible.  These systems worked exceedingly well but were relegated to the “back office” and never used in front of customers.

I wondered,

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could write a program that let someone design a building—with a customer, right up front—then did the powerful design on the back end?  You could turn information around immediately and eliminate all the in-between steps!”

It never happened in the general market, but it is available in one place…

Seven years ago, my company was asked to look at the post frame industry.  People weren’t snapping chalk strings, but they were using spreadsheet programs and mental grunt work, taking three-plus hours to do a takeoff and weeks to turn around a bid.

We saw the potential to write a program for this market niche that figured all the requirements on the back end while letting our customers design a building with their clients on the front end!

SmartBuild for Post Frame (and Garages & Sheds, and All Metal Buildings) fulfills the mission of a fully-integrated system, figuring all the building requirements on the back end while helping sell the building to the client on the front end.

Ultimately, the role of software in construction is to do all of the above.

If you are in the building industry and haven’t explored this technology, take a look and tell me if you think I’m right about the role of SmartBuild software and why it will boost your business.