The most common issue faced by housing developers is failure to communicate. Breakdown in communication results in errors, which become setbacks, which leads to a loss of revenue. Industry reliance on outmoded, impractical software, siloed systems and handwritten notes to manage projects is largely to blame.
Shingler Homes, a Shropshire based new home building company, had been looking to remedy this situation with a digital solution for years, yet had been unable to find suitable software at a competitive price. Generic packages aimed at large scale holistic construction firms proved both impractical for the specific needs of their business, and too expensive to viably return on the investment.
Presented with these limitations, Shingler Homes challenged Shoothill to develop a full digital transformation for their house building business. They wanted a paperless solution which would overcome the existing obstacles in their business, whilst also serving as an industry specific project management hub.
Managing Director at Shingler Homes Ltd
It was important to us that we study and understand the customer’s business to provide a comprehensive solution. With a fundamental grasp of how the house building business works we would be able to cover all bases with the system, providing sufficient tools to support every aspect of their projects. Our planning team identified key challenges in the business, and we aimed our solution at overcoming them.
As a result, we were able to deliver Housebuilder Pro, a web application hosted on the cloud using Azure. This entirely paperless project management software offered support from construction and sales, through to the conclusion of the warranty period. The system boasted a variety of features including administrative tools for customisable choices, an inspection tracker to manage snags, and a full customer resource manager (CRM) with unique smart forms for efficient customer interaction.
The platform was expertly coded in C# using the latest .NET Core for responsive and effective performance. The easily navigable UI, created by our experienced design team, and built with Typescript, React, and MobX, facilitated fluid adoption by the company’s team members, making the transition from their previous operational structure natural and comfortable. By transforming their existing processes using digital solutions we provided a familiar workflow, optimised for increased ease, efficiency and efficacy.
Housebuilder Pro allows the user to create multiple developments, and then establish properties within these developments for an intuitive organisational structure. Staying in up to date and in control of all projects is made simple, properties easily sorted, and an overview available for feedback. Each property added to a development is given a customisable house type.
The business’s entire product range can be migrated to the system, with images and pricing incorporated. This range can be added to or edited at any time by an admin user. Users with access to the admin tools may also create areas, assembling the relevant product options, and then design house type templates using modular tools to assemble the correct areas.
The integrated CRM allows the business to manage all their sales leads through a customer database, managed using SQL servers. All contact details and communications are recorded to the system with the sales stage, account activity, negotiations and transactions clearly indicated and a notes section for further communication of information. Accessible user-wide, this feature empowers the business to seamlessly deliver quality customer service. Turning leads into reservations is made simple, leads easily assigned to properties and unique smart forms guiding the process for flawless legal completion.
With projects organised, and buyers matched to reserved properties, each customer’s choices can be selected through the property profile. With product options provided by the preconfigured and assigned house type, automatic pricing, and changes updating dynamically, managing customer choices becomes effortless. These choices can then be viewed by any authorised user, eliminating any difficulty communicating property specs.
Properties are tracked through their inspection stages, monitoring all snags. The development team can report snags through the system, allowing users to monitor and prioritise their progress, properties with snags present prompting the user. Problem resolution is swift and effective throughout construction and handover. The snags are also tracked past the sale, on through the ten-year NHBC warranty period for which the company are still responsible for the property. Dates and information are recalled by the system helping the company stay on top of customer service.
The entire application is cloud based, hosted using Microsoft’s Azure platform. As Microsoft Silver Partners we have a wealth of experience on Azure and have developed a portfolio of tools, functions, and routines hosted on the service, allowing us to directly apply that experience to our projects for rapid progress. As well as providing a means for ongoing support from us, cloud hosting allows the system to connect our customer’s team in the office and on site. Any and all documentation can be saved to the application, for paperless records, and secure and accessible data.
Housebuilder Pro proved an excellent digital solution to the issues caused by the industry’s low digital standard, reengineering the new homes business with new methodologies and tools. Given the revolutionary nature of the application, it was released as a product in partnership with Shingler Homes for other forward-thinking housebuilders to use for their own digital transformation.
The streamlined processes and paperless solutions achieved much improved efficiency which saves time and money. HBP’s features simplify and refine many previously waste riddled tasks and operations. Handling customer choices through the system ensures happy homeowners at the handover stage, with minimal room for human error. The inspection tracker keeps employees across the team informed on construction progress and allows for efficient snagging. The customer database and smart forms take any guesswork or difficulty out of managing sales leads company-wide and securing conversion. HBP makes the entire new home business quick and comfortable for both builder and consumer.
A key component in the success of this software was powering it with cloud computing. This allowed the system to connect the entire project team to data and information vital to their tasks. Where previously much of communication happened through inadequate disparate software platforms and paper notes, systems prone to loss of data, misinterpretation and delays, HBP enable swift communication between team members and data integrity.
By creating a digital transformation for the housebuilding industry, HBP broke new ground, supplying an unprecedented service. Driven by industry knowledge of the requirements of such a solution, and built by an expert development team, the system provides residential developers support in a way no other software solution can. This sleek and innovative final product remedies bottlenecks, removes repetitive, mundane, and tedious tasks, and empowers employees to fulfil their roles to the best of their ability without setbacks.
Shingler Homes were very pleased to finally adopt the digital transformation they had been looking for. An innovative business, they had long been searching for a suitable system which could drive their business forward, overcome costly obstacles and lead them to being digitally native. Working with Shoothill they now have Housebuilder Pro, a state-of-the-art solution designed perfectly around their industry specific needs.
Managing director of Shingler Homes, Jeremy Shingler reflected “They really took time learning how our business works to ensure the system they were building would actually work for us and give us room for expansion and further development.”
With Shingler Homes now managing their projects entirely through the application, the power of this digital transformation was clear to both parties – rendering previous challenges insignificant with efficient workflow and easy communication. As a partnership the platform is now available for other residential developers to buy to revolutionise their business and build more homes. We look forward to seeing HBP digitally transform the new homes industry.