Building Connected vs. Downtobid - A Side-By-Side Comparison

Written by Bridget Cooper

DateApr 9, 2024
Reading time9 min read
2 softwares

Whether creating construction cost estimates, recruiting subcontractors, or managing construction documents, having reliable preconstruction software makes your work easier. Building Connected and Downtobid are two of the notable software in the construction industry. From creating bid invites and finding qualified subcontractors, these platforms are what general contractors need. But how do they fare against each other? 

Our Building Connected vs. Downtobid guide aims to answer this question. We will look at each platform separately and what makes it unique to serve its purpose. 

Let’s begin with our very own - Downtobid. 

Note: Speed up your preconstruction planning and bid invites with Downtobid. Our software breaks down project plans using AI, automates personalized bid invitations to the right contractors, ensures full project scope coverage, and tracks responses on an easy-to-use dashboard. Our tool can increase subcontractor participation and bid coverage. Start your free trial now.

Downtobid - Best for Preconstruction

Downtobid is a construction bid management software used by estimation teams, general contractors, commercial contractors, and subs to streamline the preconstruction phase. We have designed our system to address immediate preconstruction pain points, like identifying scope gaps, comprehensive scope coverage, and recruiting qualified local subs. 

We modeled our software on data collected after interviewing over 100 GCs to understand their struggle with using other bid management platforms. We have addressed issues like construction document management, generic bid invites, and a messy Planroom for subcontractors. 

Let’s dive deep into Downtobid to see why we deserve the top spot.

Key Features

Our platform addresses the preconstruction pain points and provides cutting-edge technology. Here are the key features why we stand out from the crowd.

AI Copilot

The construction industry is experiencing a technological evolution, and we’re right in the middle of the revolution. Our AI Copilot doesn’t provide basic services like other AIs in the construction industry. It handles all the administrative tasks, like reviewing the bid documents for accuracy and completeness. Think of it as your personal assistant that accelerates the bidding process. 

The AI reviews lengthy bid documents within minutes instead of days or even weeks. Scope detection requires a large team working long hours, which can add to the preconstruction costs. Our AI automatically detects the scopes within minutes, saving the construction team money and time. 

Our AI also helps build the construction team by recommending subcontractors. It does so by matching the bid packages to qualified local subs. The self-cleaning AI-powered subcontractor database keeps the subs’ information recent and updated. 

Personalized Bid Invites in Minutes

Generic bid invites that sound like job interviews don’t cut it anymore in the construction industry. Subs are more inclined to respond to bids that address them and their specialty. Subcontractors receive hundreds of generic bid invitations that lack crucial details like project information. They’re also preoccupied with other projects and barely have time to read all generic emails. 

Instead, our system uses personalized bid invite templates to address the subs directly. For instance, we include their names, occupations, scope summaries, project due dates, and why we believe they’re the right fit for the project. Doing so has several benefits. 

First, it allows the subs to understand the project requirements by reading the email and without going through the construction documents. It also grabs their attention and triggers engagement and bid participation. It also allows you to connect with interested and qualified subs. 

Did we mention that our system can help you create bid documents in minutes? All you need to do is upload your construction plans, and our system will handle the rest. It scans the plans to detect scopes and create personalized bid invitations. Our personalized bid invitation templates include tailored scope summaries and qualifications that made us choose them.

General contractors have reported a 30% response rate from the right subcontractors after using our personalized bid invitation templates. 

Subcontractor-Focused Planroom

Subcontractors use the information and documents in the Planroom to identify work opportunities and understand the project better. We have simplified our Planroom to make this information accessible and shareable with the construction team. Providing the latest plans to the construction team reduces error and boosts collaboration. Our planroom consists of four different folders:

  • Plans 
  • Specs
  • Photos
  • Misc

The simplified approach ensures the subs can access, review, and share construction documents quickly. Doing so helps the team keep up with the construction schedule and beat the due dates. Our Planroom also helps subs identify plans that are relevant to their trade reviewing hundreds of pages. 

Subcontractors can access the Planroom without creating an account. 

Straightforward Subcontractor Selection

The success of a construction project relies heavily on the experienced team working together. Our platform helps contractors connect with suitable and experienced subs. We do this by matching qualified subs to the specs. Besides sending personalized bid invitations, our centralized communication system helps to keep the conversation going. 

We leverage a multi-verification system and AI to find subcontractors for our database so the contacts are all updated.

The targeted subcontractor approach eliminates the need for mass mailing prospects hoping to land a subcontractor. It saves you the time of reviewing each subcontractor to find the right fit. 

You can also onboard your list of preferred subs or use our list of pre-vetted commercial subcontractors

Centralized Communication

We believe that communication is the key to a collaborative and successful project. Our centralized communication helps the construction teams share real-time information and updates, eliminating confusion, conflicts, and potential project delays. 

For instance, our threaded messaging approach allows the sub to look for specific messages without combing through different emails. 

Stakeholders can also receive and reply to messages directly from our platform without opening their email apps. Think of it as an all-in-one preconstruction communication platform. 

We noticed enhanced team efficiency by placing every preconstruction tool on one platform. This way, the stakeholders don’t need to use multiple tools for their project, which often leads to confusion. 

How to Use Downtobid

We’ve made our platform very easy to use, even for complete beginners. Let’s take you through the step-by-step process of how our preconstruction software works. 

Click here to get started.

First, you must upload your project plans into our platform. The files must be in PDF format and not exceeding 1GB. Make sure you enter a working email where you’ll be notified of the progress.

*Create Project.png

Once you upload the plans, our AI scans them immediately to detect potential scopes. The process takes roughly between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the project size and complexity. Our software uses AI for comprehensive bid coverage. 

*Project Information.png

You will receive an email notification once our system completes the scope detection and bid package creation. 

*Scan For Scope.png

You must sign in to your dashboard to access the new bid packages in the Planroom.

*Planroom.png

Every bid package contains simplified scope sheets with the following details:

  • A summarized description of the bid package.
  • Plan sections with detected scopes.
  • A list of recommended and qualified local subs matching each detected scope. 

Our system creates an automated bidding schedule to ensure you reach the right subs at the right time. Doing so ensures the intended subs see and opens the ITBs on time. The personalized proposal invitations contain details like scope summaries to ensure subs understand the project requirements and the required skills. 

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Our system also has timely-spaced follow-ups targeting subs who are yet to respond to the ITBs. The system properly spaces them and adjusts the timeline as the deadline approaches. 

You can label subs based on their responses to track how interested they are with our filters feature.

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Pricing Plans

We have two plans – free and paid membership plans. The free plan is suitable for smaller and simpler projects. The paid plans are of two categories. The first paid option costs $50 per user and has a bid coordinator. It’s suitable for medium projects. However, if you have a huge construction team, you can opt for our annual paid plan, priced at $499/year, with a 50% discount for your first year and supports unlimited projects. 

building connected

Building Connected - All-in-One Construction Solution

Building Connected has been around for years and is famous for its web-based, user-friendly interface. General contractors use real-time analytics to understand project costs, track progress, find trade partners, and make informed decisions. 

GCs monitor the project from preconstruction phases to completion. Contractors can also manage the bid leveling process and send personalized and branded ITBs to reliable partners. 

Key Features

Here are a few features that make Building Connected one of the best.

Cloud Storage Integration

Building Connected is compatible with Auto Desk, allowing you to save your project files and data online. This feature is perfect for those who prefer saving their project documents and data on Auto Desk. It also serves as a backup in case you lose your construction data on Building Connected. 

Branded Bid Invites

Nothing makes a contractor stand out than sending unique ITBs. The brands help subs recognize the invites and respond accordingly. This strategy works well when the parties have positive historical relationships. 

Branded bid packages include company logos, names, and specific colors. This customization option has impressed many platform users. 

A Substantive Subcontractor Network

Building Connected has invested heavily in its subcontractor network, which has 1 million members. The approach provides GCs easy access to a network of qualified and available subs to take on projects. 

Pros

  • ProCore integration
  • Unlimited Users and file sharing
  • Unlimited project bid packages
  • Smart search

Cons

  • Outdated subs contact details
  • No mobile app
  • Messy planroom
  • Generic bid packages

Pricing Plans

Building Connected offers free and paid plans. The free plans have limited features, like limited bid management. The paid plan is priced per user and has many capabilities, like sending multiple bids. Unfortunately, Building Connected does not offer information about the pricing plan, and you must contact them to get this information. 

Final Thoughts

Downtobid is remarkable preconstruction software that streamlines the bidding process. It leverages AI for complete scope coverage and helps to create detailed bid packages in minutes. GCs can also use it to find qualified subcontractors and build a construction team. It's the perfect bid management software around. Building Connected is another alternative but doesn’t provide personalized ITBs or an AI-powered bid package generator. 

Written by Bridget CooperUpdated on May 20, 2024

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