- GradeBeam.com Press Release (March 16, 2010)
While the construction industry as a whole has taken a huge dive in the current economic climate, its leading online communications network, GradeBeam.com, is seeing a major upturn in its user base and transaction flow.
- 2009-Constructech Hot 50
GradeBeam.com Named Hot Again
- 2008-Construction Executive Names GradeBeam One Of 2008's Hottest Products!
GradeBeam is once more praised for its role in the construction community.
Construction Executive Magazine has named honored GradeBeam as one of 2008's hottest products because, despite recent declines in the building market, GradeBeam continues to grow as more construction professionals look for affordable ways to reduce the cost of building.
Read the whole article by clicking HERE and select the "Hot Products" link.
- 2008-Constructech Reveals Hottest Company Winners
Constructech Magazine Announces The Winners Of 2008's Hottest Companies Survey
Carol Stream, Ill. – June 20, 2008 – Constructech magazine today announced the commercial winners of the sixth annual Hottest Companies awards. These winners will be featured in the July issue of Constructech, followed by the announcement of the residential winners in the August issue.
Constructech’s Hottest Companies awards are open to technology, building automation, or automated home technology vendors. Participating companies are judged by the Constructech editorial staff based on a range of criteria, including the description of the company’s product and/or service, significant accomplishments in the past year, the growth record for the past three years, noteworthy customer wins, and new products impacting the marketplace.
Contractors in the commercial construction marketplace continue to focus on the benefits of implementing systems for project management, workflow management, and estimating, among others.
This continually forces technology vendors to adapt to the current trend and provide the necessary solution. The 16 companies named “hot” this year have certainly met the criteria.
“Constructech has named 16 companies to its annual Hottest Companies list this year,” said Mike Carrozzo, editor of Constructech. “Each of the 2008 winners have really stepped up and met the market demand head-on with innovative, leading edge solutions.”
Winners of the 2008 Hottest Companies — Commercial:
Accubid Systems, Concord, Ont.
Austin Lane Technologies Inc., Denton, Texas
CMiC, Toronto, Ont.
ConEst Software Systems, Manchester, N.H.
Construction Imaging, Rocky Mount, N.C.
eSub Inc., San Diego, Calif.
GradeBeam, Chicago, Ill.
HeadsUp Technologies LLC, Overland Park, Kan.
Meridian Systems, Folsom, Calif.
On Center Software Inc., The Woodlands, Texas
Paperless Environments LLC, Baton Rouge, La.
Penta Technologies, Brookfield, Wis.
Skire Inc., Menlo Park, Calif.
Vela Systems, Boston, Mass.
WennSoft, New Berlin, Wis.
WinEstimator Inc., Kent, Wash.
To learn more about how your company may be included as a Hottest Company in 2009, please contact Michelle Mayer at +1 630.933.0844 ext. 246.
- 2007-August Texas Contractor "GradeBeam"
GradeBeam is improving business for construction firms in Texas...
A group of construction project managers designed GradeBeam's Internet-based system (www.gradebeam.com) to automate faxing, e-mailing, document distribution, and database management into a single system designed as a conduit for efficient communication. When GradeBeam is unable to deliver e-mail or fax messages to intended recipients, they are contacted by GradeBeam via phone, ensuring that greater than 98 percent of targets receive the information within 24 hours.
General contractors can use the GradeBeam site to manage project communications and invitation responses. GradeBeam also allows them to track subcontractor qualifications and response history. In addition to secure two-way-communications-based project invitation tools, GradeBeam's services allow general contractors to search for subcontractors and suppliers, manage company qualifications, post project information online, distribute project documents through local printing firms, and issue project change information. Subcontractors are able to promote themselves on the GradeBeam website, giving them a better opportunity to grow their businesses and reach all of the general contractors who use GradeBeam.
Because of Chicago-based GradeBeam LLC's success in helping contractors realize time and cost savings, the number of companies in GradeBeam's database has increased from 10,000 in the company's first year to more than 200,000 today. This past January, the website reached a milestone of 4 million invitations to bid.
In March, GradeBeam announced that its communications systems and tools had been chosen to coordinate all outreach with subcontractors and suppliers in relation to the World Trade Center (WTC) Transportation Hub Project in Lower Manhattan, New York. The WTC Transportation Hub Project, estimated at more than $1 billion, will feature roughly 200,000 square feet of retail, open space and train platform serving about a quarter of a million people a day.
- 2007-July Constructech
GradeBeam Is Voted By Constructech Magazine As One Of The Hottest Companies Of 2007!
Constructech provides a powerful case-study of GradeBeam's ability to save contractors time and money. This year Duke construction standardized their project communication model with GradeBeam. Tom Degan, the preconstruction director of Duke's Chicago office, is interviewed by Constructech and offers his assessment of GradeBeam's value.
For anyone interested in learning how to improve and streamline their project notification process, this article is a must read. Please allow a little time for the full PDF to download (6MB).
- 2007-May Building Design+Construction "Which Online Project Management Tool?"
Article featuring the power of GradeBeam...
Another noteworthy communication system, GradeBeam from Chicago-based GradeBeam LLC, provides many of the same features as Construction Communicator. GradeBeam replaces phone-, fax-, and mail-based project notification processes with an Internet-based system. It includes a nice feature that calls intended recipients when e-mail or fax messages are not properly delivered, thus ensuring that 98% of targets receive the project information within 24 hours.
General contractors can also use the GradeBeam site to manage project communications and track subcontractor qualifications and response history.
In March, the company announced that is was selected to coordinate all outreach with subcontractors and suppliers in relation to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub Project in Lower Manhattan. Estimated at more than $1 billion, the project will feature 200,000 sf of retail, open space, and train platforms serving a quarter of a million people a day using the city's heavy rail lines, subways, ferries, and airport transportation.
©2007 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.
- 2007-April Hard Hat News "Online Communication Systems Execute Multiple Tasks Efficiently"
An informative article about online communication written by GradeBeam's CEO...
Contractors now have the opportunity to replace their internal phone, fax and mail based project notification process with faster, simpler, more accountable and profit driven Internet based systems that can help them cut new project communication time up to 90 percent.
Online communication systems organize critical information and execute multiple tasks efficiently and incredibly cost-effectively, allowing personnel previously assigned to such tasks to engage in work that delivers more value to the business. At the same time, these systems foster greater success by helping companies focus more time on critical project details and chasing more new opportunities than ever before. These services instantly deliver e-mail or fax messages and some even contact intended recipients via phone when messages fail, thus ensuring that more targets receive project information without unnecessary time lost. General contractors can easily use these tools to manage invitation responses, assess trade coverage, track qualifications and bidding history.
Paul Wilson of St. Louis-based S.M. Wilson & Co. recently mentioned that turning to online communications for his invitation-to-bid process helped his company achieve their highest revenue year ever, and that it continues to help drive his company's accelerated growth. Paul said that S.M. Wilson has been able to successfully enter more markets, access more subcontractors, and establish many more new successful business relationships than they would have by manually managing their project notification process. But online communications services offer much more than project-invitation tools.
General contractors can also post project information and blueprints online, search for new subcontractors and suppliers, distribute project documents through local printing firms and issue project change information. Hundreds of thousands of subcontractors and suppliers are connected to these systems to find out about - and respond to - opportunities quickly and efficiently. They can control and update their company's contact information in the same database that is used by general contractors. Subcontractors are therefore able to promote themselves through these systems, giving them a better opportunity to reach new clients and grow their businesses.
George Patterson, the director of operations at Bennett & Brosseau Roofing, Inc., said that his company has received new bid opportunities and developed productive new contractor relationships using online communications services. Most importantly, he said the firm's return on investment has been at least ten-fold in terms of new revenue. Many of these new opportunities and increased revenue generation are a direct result of the time saved by using online communications.
© 2007 Hard Hat News
- 2007-March Constructech "Collaboration For WTC Project"
GradeBeam is selected as the network for coordinating communication for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub project...
The WTC (World Trade Center) Transportation Hub Project, estimated at more than $1 billion, will feature approximately 200,000-sq.ft. of retail, open space, and train platform serving about a quarter of a million people a day connecting to New York City subways, ferries, airport transportation, and more. A project of this caliber needs excellent communications.
GradeBeam LLC, www.gradebeam.com, Chicago, Ill, announced it was selected to provide its communications systems and tools to coordinate all outreach with subcontractors and suppliers in relation to the WTC Transportation Hub Project.
“Our services allow the general contractors of this project to reduce the expense of collaboratively communicating complicated project information, while maintaining secure control over their own individual proprietary systems,” says Bryan Jurewicz, GradeBeam’s president and CEO.
GradeBeam says its services allow general contractors to search for subcontractors and suppliers, manage company qualifications, post project information online, send messages via fax and email, distribute project documents through local printing firms, and issue project change information. Subcontractors and suppliers may use GradeBeam to access opportunities related to the WTC Transportation Hub project, as well as to control and update their company’s contact information in one central database.
© 2007 Specialty Publishing Co.
- 2007-January Constructech "Four Million Bids For GradeBeam"
Article on GradeBeam reaching the 4 Million project opportunities benchmark...
Four million invitations to bid can be quite an intimidating number. For GradeBeam, www.gradebeam.com, Chicago, Ill., which provides a range of online bidding services to contractors, 4 million invitations to bid is its latest milestone.
The use of online bid management tools has proven to be quite successful in the market. Both general contractors and subcontractors have found great value in using such tools, as it reduces costs and complexities during preconstruction activities.
In use by more than 200,000 contractors across the country, the GradeBeam tool allows general contractors to post project information and blueprints online, search for subcontractors and suppliers, distribute project documents through local printing firms, and issue project change information. Subcontractors and suppliers use GradeBeam to search for projects, as well as to control and update their company’s contact information in one central database.
“Before GradeBeam, many construction professionals found it difficult to quickly and easily communicate complicated project information, or find qualified contractors and suppliers to add to their active list when developing new projects,” says Bryan Jurewicz, GradeBeam’s president/CEO. “We literally save companies tens of thousands of dollars per year, and some of the larger companies see even greater savings.”
© 2007 Specialty Publishing Co.
- 2006-September Constructech "Bidding Proficiency"
Article about fast online bid communication featuring GradeBeam and a quote from Mortenson...
Similar to any burgeoning area of technology, there are currently multiple online bidding options from which contractors can choose. They share many common features and have varying levels of membership fees.
At the core of these offerings is the ability for general contractors to post project information, send invitations to bid, and search for subcontractors online, while allowing subcontractors to review project data and respond to bids via email. More comprehensive tools allow general contractors to prequalify subcontractors and suppliers, and offer onscreen takeoff and bid history reports.
GradeBeam, www.gradebeam.com, Chicago, Ill., says contractors using its online bid management application report a 90% reduction in bid coordination time. This is accomplished through replacing typical invitation to bid processes—mail-fax-phone—with an automated alternative.
Bryan Jurewicz, chief information officer with the company, says more contractors find it easy to embrace such a tool because they do not need to deal with common challenges of adopting technology. Rather, if someone is familiar with using the Internet they can use an online bidding service.
“General contractors can communicate with subcontractors regardless of their technology capabilities,” says Jurewicz. “It makes communicating more efficient at all levels and allows contractors to continue leveraging relationships they have had with partners for years.”
Corey Bell, senior estimator with construction management and general contracting firm M.A. Mortenson Co., www.mortenson.com, Minneapolis, Minn., says the company uses GradeBeam for all subcontractor outreach initiatives, including invitation to bid and establishing a contractor database.
“Almost all of our work ranges $20 million (and up) in project value, which means we can easily be contacting about 200-300 subcontractors, (often by phone),” says Bell. “GradeBeam acts as a super highway where I can go in and with the click of a few buttons I can send (bid) information to those subcontractors via fax or email or an internal inbox. In turn it gives them the paperwork needed to send back to me or, if they are members, they can fill out the information online.
“It also links to (local reprographic firms) and sends them an order for those drawings,” Bell continues. “This is much easier than the old way, where I had to make calls, decide which companies to send drawings to, order ‘x’ amount of copies from the printer, and have them shipped to the office, where I would place a transmittal on each order and send them out.”
Bell says using GradeBeam in place of the method described above has eliminated roughly one week’s worth of work.
© 2006 Specialty Publishing Co.
- 2006-June Constructech "Online Connection"
Online communication time savings article featuring GradeBeam with testimonial from Pepper Construction...
The bidding process doesn’t need to be complicated. Pushing aside standard procedures Web-based technology is making the invitation to bid process easier for all parties involved.
Using handwritten procedures, Linda Farber, HR (human resources) coordinator with general contracting firm Pepper Construction Group, www.pepperconstruction.com, Chicago, Ill., says the process of preparing a bid for 1,000-1,200 subcontractors on a $30 million project would typical encompass two months.
This is prior to using online construction communication system Grade Beam, www.gradebeam.com, Chicago, Ill. Used during the invitation to bid process for subcontractors and vendors, Grade Beam has streamlined this process significantly for Pepper Construction.
“We send out the invitation to bid, in which subcontractors/vendors respond to the bid,” says Farber. “An email is automatically generated and sent to our local printer who then sends out the bid package.” From there, contractors can upload plans and specs via a link to the project.
Technology from Grade Beam enables general contractors to enter project information online and broadcast private notices via fax and email in the matter of minutes to prospective partners. It also manages the bid list, as is the case with Pepper Construction, which takes yet another cumbersome process out of the hands of contractors.
“It just saves a tremendous amount of time and in the five years that we have been using the technology it has given us very little problems,” adds Farber.
© 2006 Specialty Publishing Co.
- 2003-February Chicago Sun Times "Thriving B2B Exchange GradeBeam Bucks Trend"
Article about GradeBeam's unique marketing strategy, previewing today's nationwide success...
The Internet highway is littered with failed business-to-business exchanges-those online forums where widget manufacturers could review price quotes of widget-making raw materials.
B2B exchanges were touted for every conceivable industry- manufacturing, food processing, used cars and office equipment. Once the darling of investors, most B2B exchanges discovered that users were reluctant to change from their familiar offline buying habits, and did not want to pay transaction fees to the exchange even though the site itself was free.
One of the few that has survived and prospered is GradeBeam, a Chicago-based exchange for the construction industry. Connecting contractors with subcontractors and service providers (such as printers who provide blueprints), the site is an anomaly, founded at the height of the Internet frenzy in 2000 and launched in April 2001.
"When we started, we charged $100 a year," said Stan Pepper, chairman of Chicago-based Pepper Construction and one of the five founding contractors. It was a tough sell when most other exchanges were free, but GradeBeam eventually won out by refusing to charge transaction fees. The site currently charges users $350 a year; over 50 contractors actively use the site and that number is expanding rapidly.
"We realized that the community was not going to embrace a transaction-fee model," said Mark Rigby, COO at GradeBeam. "With major investors like Walsh Contractors, Pepper Construction, W.E. O'Neil, Graycor and Bulley & Andrews using the site, and through feedback from the community, we developed a simple system with a large value proposition," he added.
"GradeBeam cut bid coordination time by 90 percent," said Bryan Jurewicz, vice president at the company.
Pepper added that it used to take two to five days to get a bid from subcontractors, and now the builder can order blueprints in less than 30 minutes and get their bids in fast and securely by using the online site (faxes are used for those who are not online).
GradeBeam proved its value proposition in the Chicago market, and now it is expanding to other Midwestern cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati. The expansion is funded by revenues, and the company expects to be profitable by the end of this year.
"We don't have any VCs making us go national right away and [grow too fast]," Pepper said. "We can handle the expansion through natural growth."
© 2003 The Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
- 2001 October Crains 5 Big Construction Firms Take Bidding Online
Article featuring GradeBeam's early work...
When out-of-town Internet firms early this year offered to help five of the region's largest construction companies join their online bidding systems, the builders declined and then formed an Internet venture of their own.
"They knew the Internet could make their business more efficient, but at the same time, they thought they could do it better themselves," says Mark Rigby, chief operating officer at Chicago-based GradeBeam LLC, the cooperative formed earlier this year. "Why would they turn over their business interests to a firm that's not even tied to the area, when no one knows the community better than themselves?"
The companies — Walsh Construction Co., GrayCor, Pepper Construction Co., Bulley & Andrews and W. E. O'Neil Construction Co. — were looking for a way to streamline the bidding process for projects.
"In the past, it could take weeks to send out letters and make phone calls," Mr. Rigby says. "Our system allows general contractors to instantaneously launch invitations-to-bid to subcontractors, and can cut the process down to days."
GradeBeam is catching on in an industry slow to embrace change. Since the Web site was launched earlier this year, 1,000 subcontractors have signed up as members and the site is reporting as many as 14,000 hits per month. The company hopes to increase its membership to 5,000 within the next year.
"When we heard most of the big general contractors where getting on board, we signed up," says Matt Mraz, financial manager at Bensenville-based scaffolding contractor Prime Scaffold Inc. "We generate our business from the general contractors and we wanted to be on the same page."
Subcontractors pay GradeBeam membership fees ranging from $100 to $300 per year, depending on the number of services they use. GradeBeam also sells advertising on the site, and collects a fee from blueprint suppliers that furnish blueprints for work contracted out through the site.
©2001 by Crain Communications Inc.