Yet another software company is offering an integrated system that promises to help builders manage construction more efficiently. The company is iConnect of Reston, Va., and over the past three years, it has worked closely with Comstock Homebuilding Cos., also of Reston, in developing software called Builders CoPilot.
The CoPilot software, which sits on outsourced servers managed by iConnect, starts with a land management application and takes builders through customer care/warranty, but it does not include accounting. The software works with most standard accounting packages, though, including Microsoft Solomon, Oracle Financials, and Constructive Computing's Evolution Accounting, the program that Comstock uses.
Greg Benson, Comstock's COO, says the builder is working with iConnect because Comstock determined that none of the builder software available offers a single system that integrates all of the applications home builders require.
Benson says CoPilot includes applications for all major home building functions, and each of the company's departments is granted access rights for the tasks it is responsible for.
Here's how it works: The land acquisition manager puts the lots into tables. Once the land is approved, the building department adds the lot addresses. The sales managers decide which lots are available to sell, and the production department runs the estimates, which are then available to the salespeople so that they can make up selection sheets. Purchasing then releases the work orders, which are posted on an extranet, and then the supers use the handheld scheduling application during the construction phase. Warranty service technicians also run a customer service application on a handheld. For the end of the process, CoPilot has business intelligence software that allows builders to customize reports.