Let’s be frank: the warranty phase of construction is a financial black hole that
If you read our blog “Construction doesn’t end at closeout,” you’ll know the team at Buildr understands the grueling nature of the warranty phase of construction and empathizes with general contractors and owners alike embarking on the harrowing year-long (at minimum) voyage. While working with our clients to make closeout less of a headache, a common refrain was always, “Great! ...but is there anything you can do about warranties?” After months of dedicated research, troubleshooting, and surveys, Buildr’s platform will now include streamlined warranty management. This, in effect, evolves our lens from the pinhole of closeout to the much wider aperture of post-construction. Read on to learn about four new features of our warranty management within the Buildr platform that will make the dreaded stretch following closeout not-so-dreaded.
Reporting warranty issues couldn’t be simpler
A familiar scene: A circled completion date on a fuzzy kitten calendar rapidly approaches. The GC collects documents, including warranty information, and organizes them into binders for the owner. The completion date passes. Whoops! Handover occurs eventually. It’s fine. Then, BOOM—the warranty clock starts. For at least the next year, the GC is on the bumper-to-bumper coverage hook for the completed project with the owner. Of course, neither party desires issues to pop up, but inevitability has other plans.
With Buildr’s warranty management system, it couldn’t be easier for the owner to bring a problem to the GC’s attention. They simply report the issue, give relevant details, and attach a photograph if applicable. That’s it. The owner receives immediate email correspondence with a link where the life of the issue will be tracked. No following up, no making notes, no need to call or email anybody.
Pending warranty issues can be fielded and dealt with in a timely and organized manner
On the general contractor’s end, fielding warranty issues can be just as tedious a process as reporting. Lots of waiting, lots of second-guessing. This type of call and response game only gets more complex the more projects with potential warranty issues the GC is attached to, and how many warranty issues are pending at once. The best GC’s at handling warranties are on their Excel spreadsheet A-game (still not ideal), while the worst rely on their memory (at best: fragile, human).
With the warranty management tab on Buildr’s platform, the GC can see every warranty issue that has been submitted, along with priorities that they themselves set. There’s no losing track of what issues need tending to, which subcontractor is assigned to which trade, or which issue takes priority over the other. The GC might as well delete Excel (but then, you know, restore it from the trash bin. It’s that initial deletion statement that matters most). There’s also an option to reject pending issues in cases of misuse, accidents, or preventative measures that weren’t taken by the owner.
Everything in the same place means seamless collaboration
Most general contractors would agree that the most bothersome aspect of a manual warranty phase is the sheer bulk of it all. It’s the spreadsheets on spreadsheets, the folder organization for various projects, following up, setting calendar reminders for future follow ups, delineating which warranty issues take priority over others. It’s truly a game of spinning plates. With Buildr, all of that bulk is coalesced into one tab. No spreadsheets, no note-taking, no keeping track of which folder has what information, no setting reminders for yourself—everything is already done for you. And imagine that, it’s all in one place.
With everything in the same place, sharing issues with relevant parties, i.e., subtractors specific to the issue, is easier than ever. Collaboration between general contractors, owners, and subcontractors dictates timely issue response time, which is why Buildr made collaboration a priority within Warranty Management.
Powerful reporting across all projects
Another reason why Buildr’s warranty management tool makes life better is that it clarifies and amalgamates information across all projects, creating a clear project overview. This information better informs which subcontractors the general contractor should recruit on projects moving forward based on past competency. The warranty issue tab provides an account level report that shows a full list of subcontractors that the GC has worked with in the past along with a live-populating issue count. If Timberley & Sons Plumbing has had 17 more warranty issues than any other subcontractor, it might be time for the GC to recruit a different plumber and their sons on the next project.
It’s also important to note that the general contractor can very simply track which types of issues arise most frequently, allowing them to deal with them more efficiently in the future. Eventually, more types of data will be collected which will better inform location selection, response time, and reliability of specific equipment.
As we inch closer to Groundbreak 2019, keep an eye out for future updates to Buildr’s warranty management. On the horizon, we have mobile accessibility and more fields for information to better serve, anticipate, and add greater value. Stay tuned!