Improving Cost Management with Autodesk Build for SQUARE Engineering

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SQUARE Engineering firm was founded in 1992. The core of SQUARE's success is offering technically sound and cost-effective solutions that guarantee the most rewarding results. Viewed as best-in-class in the construction industry, SQUARE are committed to professional excellence that meets and exceeds clients' expectations with a delivery promise centred around delivering flawless results. 

As a main contractor working in a fragmented industry, SQUARE faces significant challenges when it comes to quality and cost management. With dispersed teams managing multiple projects and working from several locations, SQUARE needed to reduce the time spent producing quality reports and managing payment schedules. 

Standardising for better quality and cost control

SQUARE turned to Autodesk Build, an Autodesk Construction Cloud product, as a user-friendly software solution to help them manage quality control and project cost throughout the building process. 

"We had no centralised tool to manage quality control like non-conformance reports on our projects," reflects Amr Mohamed Ali, Planning Department Manager for SQUARE. "This means our management team struggled to gauge the health of our projects and evaluate the performance of our subcontractors." 

SQUARE knew a construction management solution could help the team improve their working methods and connect site and office teams better. Working in partnership with Kemet Corporation, they set out to implement Autodesk Build, an Autodesk Construction Cloud solution, to improve their construction management processes to improve quality and cost control. 

Partnering for success

Kemet Corporation specialises in supplying architectural, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering software to organisations looking to modernise. With experience implementing software, they were able to help SQUARE customise Autodesk's solutions to meet their specific needs. 

The team selected a pilot project to test the new ways of working, identify any modifications and fix any issues before attempting to roll out the process at scale. SQUARE developed various milestones, deadlines, regular checkpoints, and documentation to ensure the project's success.

A step-by-step approach to cost control

Using the cost management module was the first step in the Autodesk Build implementation. With the solution's customisable capabilities, SQUARE could customise cost codes to ensure accurate budget management and have greater control over project costs to reduce risk, streamline processes and better manage projects. 

Step two for the team was to prepare a budget and to identify and account for all costs associated with the project. This budget was then used to monitor and control any additional cost changes which may arise due to subcontractor or owner change orders.

SQUARE created company profiles for all their extended project team users during the setup phase. After all subcontractors and suppliers were identified, the team made the contracts which were accompanied by the schedule of values for each company based on the work that had been assigned and initiated through the approval workflow. 

SQUARE found that using their existing processes they were expending an exorbitant amount of time attempting to manage the invoices and contracts, but using the simplified workflows in cost management tasks which once took hours now took minutes.

One Step Further: Integrating with SAP to streamline business processes

After the successful implementation, SQUARE decided to use Autodesk Build to manage all projects. But soon, the team wanted to take things one step further. 

Integrating accounting software with construction management tools has always been a challenge in construction. However, with Autodesk Build, Square Engineering firm can now seamlessly integrate with their accounting system, SAP, to ensure data flows between project management and accounting.

Having implemented Autodesk Build and SAP separately, the team developed a framework for integrating the two to streamline processes and eliminate redundant data entry. 

The objective was to manage all invoices from subcontractors and suppliers efficiently. Using the cost feature in Autodesk Build, SQUARE can now create contracts, purchase orders, and requisitions while including all relevant technical details in the documentation.

As they adhere to uniform standards in cost coding, they have begun to identify the critical information needed to complete the subcontractors' payment process, improving the overall financial management of the project. 

Now, the subcontractor's invoices are managed more efficiently. The future plan is to automate the entire integration process, currently done manually by extracting data from Autodesk Build and importing it into SAP.

Accuracy and transparency combined

Integration has enabled SQUARE to centralise its data sources and ensure data integrity. The assurance of accurate information facilitates better decision-making. This integration allows for rapid reconciliations between accounting and project management, providing the project team with timely and precise information to make informed decisions. 

Not only do SQUARE’s team have the insights they need to make better-informed decisions on their projects, but all financial and project information is also now consolidated in one place. For team members, knowing where to go for the information they need has transformed their everyday work. “Previously, it would have taken me 3 hours to gather all this information together to link cost spend and project schedules,” says Eng. Amr. “But now Autodesk Build tells me everything I need to know in seconds.” 

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Cecilie Wasberg

Cecilie Wasberg, Account Executive, Middle East & Africa, Autodesk Construction Cloud