Founded by Leonard Stace in Essex more than 60 years ago, Stace is an independent construction and property consultancy. The partnership works across every sector of the built environment and is recognised as a Top 20 UK property and construction consultancy and one of the largest UK SMEs, all achieved through organic growth.
With offices around the country and more than 200 employees – around 70 in cost planning and QS – Stace is a multi-disciplinary business delivering a range of services including surveying, project management, cost management and health and safety.
The consultancy places great emphasis on the importance of customer satisfaction, with around 85% of services being delivered through client retention.
Here, Stuart Syddell, Senior Partner - Cost Management, explains how the Causeway CATO cost management suite is helping Stace to maintain these high levels of customer satisfaction – and ensure that the business is on the right path to secure future growth.
Customer Name: Stace
Industry: Construction and property consultancy
Reduction in time taken on measurements
Increased productivity and greater accuracy
Transitioning to a more data-driven environment
Recent years have seen the construction industry move slowly but surely away from many traditional ways of working to a digital world of BIM Models and CAD drawings. Recognising the changing nature of the industry and the opportunities that exist alongside the challenges, Stace decided to accelerate its transition to a cost management platform capable of supporting this new way of working.
Some initial steps had already been taken but a variety of programmes were being used based on individual preference. It was clear that the business needed a solution that would enable its teams to move forward and better serve its clients from a single platform.
“We saw a lot of BIM Models and CAD drawings being produced and thought we need a way to measure off these drawings,” said Stuart Syddell.
Stuart added that “we wanted to be at the forefront of driving that within the cost management business, to respond to the needs of the industry and be able to provide clients with a cutting-edge service. Other drivers were to increase efficiency, for instance gaining accurate measurements faster.”
An integrated suite of cost planning, estimating and measurement tools
For Stace, the solution took the form of Causeway’s CATO cost management software, a fully integrating suite with modules including Cost Planning, an intuitive tool with a familiar spreadsheet style interface; QuickEst, enabling the team to surface and analyse previous projects and deliver early-stage high level feasibility estimates and perform benchmarking exercises in order to deliver accurate affordability reports to their clients. All with the ultimate aim of maintaining a strong reputation to ensure repeat business; and CAD/BIM Measure, automating the measurement process to increase accuracy and save time.
“Benchmarking is important to us and our clients,” says Stuart. “They always want to know at a very early stage – when we’re setting parameters for the building – what are the key cost drivers for construction projects. By using the data, we have in the QuickEst system, we can draw on real world examples from the unique integration that Causeway CATO has with the BCIS online as well as our previous projects and demonstrate to clients what those key drivers are. That can be factored back into the client’s briefs and project strategies.”
While the ability to take measurements from multiple file types including 3D models provided by the CAD/BIM Measure tool was a key factor behind the decision to choose Causeway CATO, Stuart also added: “Being able to work off of those sorts of models puts us in a really good position in terms of winning work.”
There was also clear recognition that the integrated suite of tools within Causeway CATO would give Stace continuity throughout the various stages of the project lifecycle.
Transitioning to a new way of working can be a major step for any organisation so the level of support provided by Causeway has been extremely important, as Stuart explains: “I think the partnership has worked really well. We get a lot of support from Causeway’s technical department. We’ve held collaborative training sessions and rolled out our learnings across the business.”
Increased productivity, greater accuracy and time savings of 30 to 40%
For Stace, the decision to commit wholeheartedly to Causeway CATO has delivered a number of benefits including increased productivity, greater accuracy and a significant reduction in the time taken on measurements, a saving estimated by their own team to be in the region of 30 to 40%.
Stuart also highlights the value in terms of the service they are now able to provide to their clients.
“Being early adopters of the technology sets us in a good position going forward to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technological development. There are lots of businesses out there that can’t provide that detail in a way that is accessible to clients, so the competitive edge is through the added value we give through using this software.”
One final and unanticipated outcome of having invested in Causeway CATO was having the technology infrastructure to support efficient home working during the Covid-19 pandemic. Teams were productive and maintained continuity with clients, and the business was able to adapt to more flexible working practices.