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Mobile App Winning Condo Closeouts

Mobile App Winning Condo Closeouts

All hail! Less than 100 days ago in Silicon Valley, Bridgit cofounders Lauren Lake (left) and Mallorie Brodie bested 450 international competitors to win Google's Entrepreneurs Demo Day - Women's Edition.

All hail! Less than 100 days ago in Silicon Valley, Bridgit cofounders Lauren Lake (left) and Mallorie Brodie bested 450 international competitors to win Google's Entrepreneurs Demo Day - Women's Edition.

by JOHN GREGERSON | March 18, 2016

Closeouts on large residential projects can be chaotic, with subcontractors scrambling to coordinate and execute the work required to meet turnover dates. Deficiencies and omissions may go overlooked and, once identified, require tedious, time-consuming paperwork to wend its way to contractors before triggering action.

But times – and technologies – are changing. More rank-and-file tradesmen are now equipped with tablets and Smartphones, providing them access to apps that promote swifter and less hectic responses to deficiencies identified during the punch list phase, says Lauren Lake, co-founder of Kitchener, Ontario-based Bridgit, maker of Closeout, a mobile app-based deficiency management tool.

“Even in just the last year, we've seen far greater numbers of tradesmen using mobile technologies on site,” Lake told attendees earlier this week at the latest BW Workshop: “Bridgit – A Better Condo Delivery Process for 2016”.

The trend puts the growing Canadian startup and its acclaimed app at the right place at the right time. Bridgit also gained considerable momentum in December, when it wowed Silicon Valley by taking the top prize at Google's Entrepreneurs Demo Day -Women's Edition. Its Closeout app bested 450 companies, including 10 other finalists selected to present their new ideas to judges.

Even in just the last year, we’ve seen far greater numbers of tradesmen using mobile technologies on site
— Lauern Lake, Bridgit co-founder

The secret to Bridgit's success? Simplicity.

“We wanted to develop an app that users could implement within five minutes of downloading it,” said Lake, who elaborated that Closeout emerged after she and colleagues interviewed 500 industry stakeholders over a period of six months, asking what Bridgit could do to help them save time. “What came up over and over was punchlist management, which they said could be time consuming, costly and create delays,” Lake said.

Bird: Condos and more.

Bird: Condos and more.

Allanah Bird, customer experience manager with Bridgit, also was on hand to demonstrate just how easily Closeout can be implemented to identify and rectify deficiencies prior to turnover. As designed, the cloud-based app allows users to create and assign deficient punchlist items by entering descriptions and photos of problems, identifying their locations, relaying that data to the general contractor via a mobile device and establishing due dates for remedial measures. Contractors, in turn, forward to the relevant subcontractor, specifying corrections.

Closeout additionally allows users to update back-end master punch list items in real time, as well as filter and print lists as required, eliminating problems with continually altered spreadsheets. The software also can track deficiencies by trade across a developer's multiple projects, allowing team members to identify those whose craftsmanship may be substandard. “It adds transparency to the process and, as a result, increases efficiency,” Lake noted.

Not just for condos

Bridgit primarily markets Closeout to multi-unit developers and owners, though Bird noted the software also is suitable for commercial ventures such as hotels, in addition hospitals and other facilities with high degrees for repeatability from floor to floor and space to space. To date, some 60% of Bridgit's customers are in the multi-unit residential market, but that was not necessarily a the product's target audience. That is just how the market has evolved so far. But the app can just as easily be used on any other type of project, Bird added.

“One of the reasons we've focused on large housing projects is they tend to have larger teams with more contractors,” Lake said.

Some project teams implement Closeout prior to the punch list phase, once interior fit outs are initiated. The reasoning there being that the earlier problems are identified, the better.

For a recent white paper on Bridgit's condo delivery experience in Canada, click here.

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