Universal Design Solutions

Challenge

Verve Electric used three spreadsheets, each an independent silo of information, to manage clients, estimates, and invoices alongside a basic online calendar to share project information when away from the office. Finding a client, their associated projects and files, and then communicating detailed information from office to jobsite was difficult, time-consuming, and limited.

Solution

The unified database provided by ConstructionSuite enables Verve Electric to quickly search across their projects. They can now easily find estimates and invoices for any given client, improving their processing speed and streamlining their workflow for both new jobs and numerous repeat customers. Integration with ConstructionOnline’s powerful Mobile App made it possible for Nathan to easily view the same centralized data set in the field, making it possible to open a project’s estimate and files away from the office.

Less Software, More Success

President of Universal Design Solutions, Vince Pessalano, is a Florida General Contractor with 11+ years under his belt. Universal Design Solutions does everything from Design-Build projects and Commercial Build-outs, to Project Management and Residential Construction.

Universal Design Solutions specialize in commercial design-build projects that vary from Specialty Grocery Stores to one-of-a-kind office building designs. "When a client gives us a concept, it's my job to design it, build it, and take it all the way through completion - It's my favorite part," said Vince. They recently completed a design-build project that was a one-of-a-kind Corporate Air Hangar with an attached 6,000 SF office building. It doesn't get any more unique that that and Vince is proud to say "there's nothing else like it!"

UDS has also found a niche in environmental modifications for handicap access, which entails going into a home and making it handicap accessible. These projects can range from small ramp additions to bathroom remodels and track lifts. UDS' niche market is unique and they've grown to be the leading provider of these services in the Jacksonville area.

Vince explains, "We got started in this market because people came to us needing this work done, and there was an empty spot in the market. Since we knew we could fill this void, we started working for Medicaid and became a Durable Medical Equipment Provider, selling ramps via prescriptions, etc. With this connection, we can buy the products, and then do the construction and installation of it as well."

Balancing their projects between handicap modifications and design-build projects is the perfect fit for Vince, as he truly enjoys the commercial design-build process to the very core, but also likes the rewarding nature of making someone's home or building accessible again.


The Shrinking Software Process - Downsizing from 5 to 1... and a half

To follow the process from design to completion, Universal Design Solutions needed help. "At one point, we were using four or five different products, including something I had personally written in house. We would have to use all of that just to get one thing done," said Vince. 4 or 5 products no more - now, UDS uses ConstructionSuite.

Using a combination of Outlook, CAPS, QS1, QuickBooks, and an in-house built system for estimating, Universal Design Solutions was putting in a lot of work to get the same result they get with ConstructionSuite. "We're now working on 1.5 programs," said Vince.

Verve-Electric-Fam

Vince began the search for a comprehensive software system. "We wanted to get something that was fluid, something that would remove the need for multiple data entry points," explain Vince, "We wanted something consistent, that flowed throughout the entire process. ConstructionSuite does that for us."

"We keep everything in UDA ConstructionSuite and it runs so much cleaner and smoother now that we're just integrating the two programs," said Vince. "Before, we would have to put 100% of our estimates into QuickBooks, but now, the only things that go into QuickBooks are the active jobs."

"For us, we do 20 jobs, but may create 75-100 estimates per year," he explains, "That would bog down the system, but with the way ConstructionSuite handles the integration, it's clean, it syncs, and the information is 100% accurate."

The search wasn't easy though. "We went through a lot of product trials, including Timberline which is just too much program - too much of what we don't need. In the end, we all agreed upon UDA ConstructionSuite," said Vince, "ConstructionSuite works."


ConstructionSuite Helps Control Costs

Vince runs Universal Design Solutions with 3 licenses of ConstructionSuite Catalyst. Not only is Vince able to do all of his estimating, scheduling & calendars, contracts & document management, contact & lead management, and QuickBooks Integration in ConstructionSuite, but with the Catalyst version, he can take advantage of additional RS Means Commercial Costbooks, Advanced RFI Tracking, CAD Integration, Application for Payment & Cash Flow Reporting, and more.

One of the features Vince finds both convenient & consistent is the contact and calendar management. Vince explains, "With both the calendar and the contacts, we are able to sync backwards to Outlook, whereas before, Outlook controlled it. ConstructionSuite has become the primary hub for the entire system, and the best part is that it's consistent!"

When asked what ConstructionSuite has done to improve their business, Vince said, "ConstructionSuite has made us more productive, and provided consistency throughout the office. We have actually seen stability in our margins with using UDA ConstructionSuite because we are able to control our costs."

Estimating, combined with the QuickBooks integration help UDS bid accurately and track their progress. "ConstructionSuite helps us cost the project properly because we don't leave anything out," said Vince, "and being able to compare our estimated costs versus our actual costs helps us know committed costs. We can really see the difference between the two."


Ample Room to Expand with ConstructionSuite

Universal Design Solutions invested in ConstructionSuite during the midst of a struggling economy, and that critical nature is exactly why they got serious about finding a comprehensive program. "For us, we're bidding twice as much, to get half as little," said Vince, "We have to be very resourceful and careful on which projects you bid because that time you spend bidding could be spent on another project that you may get." Quick and timely estimating is crucial in this economy, and the speed with which UDS creates estimates helps them get bids out the door quicker.

Another way ConstructionSuite has helped UDS stay lean and strong in this economy is with Resource Management. "In estimating, we know, for sure, that every nut and bolt needed, and every person who is going to touch the project is included in the estimate, thanks to the resource allocation features," said Vince.

This helps even further because "1 - we know we're getting a good number out on the street, and 2 - if we need to sharpen a pencil, we know exactly who to give it to instead of just a random on the back end, giving it up on the profit," said Vince. "If you can do resource management well, sometimes the margins will increase and the price will still go down. We can do that with the resource management tools in ConstructionSuite."

With a little over a year since they invested in ConstructionSuite, Vince is certain that he made the right decision for his business. "Honestly, ConstructionSuite has been 100% everything we needed," said Vince. "A lot of times software works during the learning curve, but you outgrow it because the features aren't there for when you're growing and it maxes out before you even reached your full capabilities," explains Vince, "With ConstructionSuite, we've found we can still push it, and it's flexible. We know that it will continue to fit what we need and still leave us room to grow."


Project Photos

Exceptional Work. Superior Results.

Professionalism and quality are both incredibly important for TriVista USA to do exceptional work with superior results. Michael explains, "Communication is 90% non-verbal, and if you show up with a level of service that starts at a high level, and that level remains consistent as you dive into the job - if the specs look good and contract is well-presented - if everything looks good and is tight and neat - then everything, including your company, looks professional because it is. Obviously, it begins and ends with you doing what you say you're going to do, but ConstructionSuite helps people do that and get stuff to clients on time, stay on budget, and that's the beginning and end to me."

sauri4_300x300A few of TriVista USA's current jobs get Michael really excited, especially one extremely unique home in the D.C. area. "We're working on some very cool things right now - specifically this amazing home that is set into the side of an extremely steep hill. So steep in fact, that a parking deck had to be built to give the family parking access from the street. From this parking deck, there is an architecturally beautiful bridge they walk across to get into the house but the space beneath the bridge and parking area has gone completely unused so far," said Michael. He continued, "TriVista is recreating this area to make a gorgeous flagstone patio and the family will finally start enjoying this amazing space."

Excitement, passion, and love for what you do is extremely important, especially when you have the hectic schedule that Michael Sauri has. His passion truly shines every day when he has the chance to develop creative solutions. He says "I love the design part of what I get to do - the first few meetings are always the best. I meet with my clients and they've got something in their home that just isn't working for them. I have the privilege to come in and transform that space, usually with a solution they never thought possible."

Another thing that keeps Michael excited and challenged is the fact that everything TriVista works on is custom made. "It's easy to just do something you did in a previous project because you know it works, but we don't do that. Everything we do is custom made and by making yourself come about something with a brand new approach each time, it ensures that your end results will be even better," said Michael. The end results are extremely important to Michael, as he explains "in my industry, I am constantly building things that outlive me - every single day. I am very aware of that in everything I'm doing, because in ten years, I may not be here, but my work still is, and honestly, I don't want that to suck."

It may be that mindset that contributes to TriVista USA's exceptional work which continues to earn notice. Michael was just recently selected to be the Green Building Technology and Strategies on-camera spokesperson for the online component of Remodeling Magazine, Remodeling TV. He is featured on Remodeling TV to discuss the ins and outs of Green Building. TriVista USA was also recently selected to be featured on BobVila.com for their recent work on a home in Washington, D.C.

While these adventures just add to Michael's busy schedule, he's extremely excited to be a part of it. He said, "What I hope comes from these opportunities with Remodeling TV and Bob Vila is that I'm going to help other business owners who are in similar situations by giving them insight into what's been working for us. Hopefully those who see my ideas will reach out to me, either by giving me constructive criticism or just telling me their different opinions. That alone will help TriVista USA and myself grow and improve because really, bouncing ideas off of each other is going to make us better and also the industry as a whole."

Media attention isn't the only attention that TriVista USA has been receiving. The solid results they've produced have resulted in the 2009 Arlington County's Green Home Choice Award as well as multiple National Association of the Remodeling Industry's Contractor of the Year (COTY) Awards. TriVista USA was recognized in 2008 with COTY Awards for their work on a commercial interior at the Robert Shields Interiors office space, and for an entire house renovation for a home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Additionally, they were awarded COTY Awards in 2007 for their commercial interior work in the Washington D.C. restaurant, D'Acqua, and for their residential exterior renovation of a home in McLean, Virginia.

Location Website Industry Years in Business
Jacksonville, FL USA universaldesignsolutions.com General Contractor, Specializing in Design/Build & Environmental Modifications for Handicap Accessibility 20

 

emma-headshot-1

Produced by
uda-horizontal-white-01

UDA Technologies is one of the fastest growing providers of construction project management software in the United States, Canada, Central & South America, Australia, and 75 countries worldwide with double digit, industry leading revenue growth. Designed for growing construction firms, UDA construction software manages over 70 billion dollars of construction annually.

View All Case Studies


TALK WITH AN EXPERT