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How UAG uses TradeTapp to mitigate risk upfront and streamline the preconstruction process

Urban Atelier Group is a New York City-based construction management company that offers comprehensive services from preconstruction through post-construction.

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One of the primary factors behind Urban Atelier Group’s (UAG) success is their intense focus on collaboration. UAG chose TradeTapp and BuildingConnected to remove silos between procurement and risk management teams and improve the budget, schedule, and safety level of every project. The integration between TradeTapp and BC Pro helps them streamline the qualification process, manage a subcontractor default insurance (SDI) program, and increase transparency between internal teams — removing bottlenecks from a critical part of the preconstruction process.

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"There is tremendous value in aligning TradeTapp and BuildingConnected. One obstacle we continually face is when our bid list and risk management information are living in different databases. Being able to merge the two helps us consistently make more educated decisions and provides real data to further our communication with clients and operational teams."

- TC Neuhs, Purchasing Manager

Moving qualification away from a paper-based process

Before TradeTapp, UAG used a paper-based qualification system. It was hard to track and allowed for significant errors or omissions on the subcontractor side. UAG often couldn’t complete qualifications because they were receiving incomplete forms or inadequate data.

“Previously, subcontractors would complete a PDF or paper-based questionnaire, which included safety, financial, and legal information. This subcontractor information lived in individual paper-based files, which created inefficiencies in being able to evaluate and update subcontractor data. It also slowed down the procurement process and led to further inefficiencies,” said TC Neuhs, Purchasing Manager at UAG.

To keep up with the fast-paced environment of construction, UAG knew it needed to adopt new technologies. “Humans can only do so much, and we can only have so much brain power. It comes to a point where you’re hindered by that human element. We have to be able to communicate very quickly, and the best way to do that is with new, innovative software. Technology that improves communication gives us that leading edge,” says Neuhs.

The integration between BuildingConnected and TradeTapp helped UAG improve communication and identify forms and questions that were holding up subcontractors during the qualification process. Instead of waiting until the time of contract to begin qualification, they’re now able to complete the process during bid package creation — allowing the team to be much more proactive in creating risk mitigation plans for subcontractors.

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"TradeTapp is a dynamic qualification process that benchmarks subcontractors against a marketplace that's constantly shifting and enables peers to be able to get a better snapshot in time for each subcontractor."

- TC Neuhs, Purchasing Manager

Mitigating risk to avoid defaults and insurance claims

Contractor risk is at an all-time high, and millions of dollars of losses are at stake. The success of any project hinges on a contractors ability to mitigate risk.

“If we’re not thinking, planning, and looking to mitigate risk before we start construction, then we are faced with all sorts of risk when the project is under construction. Anything and everything we can do in the preconstruction phase to mitigate risk makes the process of actually building projects for our clients more successful and seamless,” says Andrew D’Amico, President at UAG.

With TradeTapp, UAG can analyze subcontractor profiles during the bidding process – such as a subcontractors’ financial position – and make risk mitigation decisions that can be incorporated into the bid leveling and preconstruction process. This is especially important when considering the impact on their SDI program.

“Dealing with insurance claims or having a subcontractor default mid-project can be detrimental to a job and the client. Understanding the risks during the preconstruction phase allows us to tell our client why it may not be the best idea to go with the lowest bid for a job, and better communicate how we want to move forward with the subcontractor selection process,” says George Rodrigues, Cost Manager at UAG.

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"Our relationship with subcontractors and clients is paramount to our ability to build jobs, but you can’t let it cloud your decision-making. TradeTapp allows us to quantitatively analyze subcontractor information and create a discussion around how that subcontractor might align with a particular scope of work or bid package."

- TC Neuhs, Purchasing Manager

Fostering trust through increased transparency

When assessing risk, UAG needs transparency to understand the subcontractors they’re getting into business with so they can make strategic decisions and award jobs. “Transparency is important in creating successful projects, especially when projects are $200 million. We’re always going to have challenges in the construction management business, but when we are transparent and talk about challenges, we’re able to react, find solutions, and move on with the project,” says D’Amico.

Increasing transparency is also important for long-term relationships and building trust with clients and subcontractors. “Transparency fosters long-term relationships with our clients and subcontractors because it starts with mutual respect. If you complete a project and end up gaining trust with both your client and the subcontractor, you inevitably want to do business together again. We need our subcontractors to build for us, and we need to be successful for our clients to get repeat business. It is all tied together,” says D’Amico.

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"It’s eye-opening when you have a discussion with a subcontractor, and they understand how much work they’re taking on. TradeTapp provides a level of transparency that subcontractors also appreciate and it brings synergy to the entire process."

- Andrew D’Amico, President

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