At the top of the pyramid, you'll find a stack of drawings from the architect who designed the building. The architect then makes eight to 10 copies of the project for general contractors to place a bid on the work. The general contractors then might make 40 to 50 copies for the subcontractors so they can bid on how much they believe their specialized work will cost.
That's a lot of paper.
"An average project may have anywhere from 50 to 90 documents," says Holly Mandak, account executive for constructionbidding.com. "That doesn't include the (technical specification) books, which are 500 to 1000 pages."
Constructionbidding.com is an Internet-based construction document distribution service. All drawings, blueprints, specifications, additions for a construction project are scanned into a server and converted to a digital .tif document.
Construction managers, general contractors and subcontractors can view all the documents online saving time and money on document reproduction and shipping, Mandak says.
The site is in its third year, including development. Robert Fortney, president of Fortney & Weygandt Inc., developed constructionbidding.com to eliminate the paperwork and inefficiencies in the construction bidding process.
Mandak says there are 23,000 registered users and the site records 60,000 to 80,000 hits a week.
"We've developed a nice niche," Mandak says. "We offer a lot more information than some of the smaller sites, but we don't overwhelm the users with technology like the large project management sites."
Projects both public and private can be posted on the site. The private projects, open only to select contractors, would require a password to view documents.
"It really saves the owner ultimate costs in document reproduction," Mandak says. "Anything that an architect or construction manager would do is reimbursable back to the owner."
Projects are posted for 60 days on the site with an option to extend. After projects are sold, there is an archive of the documents on a CD-ROM. Retention life of a CD is an average of 120 years, which is almost twice as long as paper copies, Mandak says.
There's no fee or memberships for bidders, but the company requesting bids does pay a fee to post project on the site.
How to reach: constructionbidding.com, (440) 716-4088 or www.constructionbidding.com.