BCA’s electronic plan room: 15 years saving time and money for members

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Barrie was the first construction association in Ontario to launch an online electronic plan room (EPR) for members back in 2004, saving valuable time and money for the past 15 years– important assets in the construction world.

“The EPR can be accessed anytime and from any place,” said Alicia Blow, BCA’s plan room co-ordinator.

“The breakdown of projects allows users a faster glance and view of their pertinent information and the EPR provides the ability for users to ‘follow’ projects. When a user is interested in a specific job, they can ‘follow’ that tender.”

When the “follow” a project, members receive immediate updates by email when there are any changes. If an addendum is posted or additional information is uploaded, for example, everyone following the project in the EPR will receive and email and have instant access to new information.

“The EPR is also OCR, meaning users can search all posted tenders for specific words,” Blow said. “That means, if you are looking for a tender for roofing, you can simply search roofing and tenders with roofing in their title will be pulled up.”

Through the system, members can set up their unique profile and add key word searches.  At the end of each day, they receive email notifications of any new and updated projects matching the identified criteria.

Simply put, its an online tendering system with all tenders held by the BCA holds posted online to the Plan Room using Bestbidz, so members can access them at anytime and anywhere.

Information is posted by division and all drawings are named for ease of use and access with addendums posted as soon as they are received, so members have them at their fingertips.

Here’s how it works.

When a tender is received, it is taken apart by division and named accordingly. This same process is done with drawings. This allows, for example, a plumber to just look at Division 22 Plumbing and the plumbing drawings.

Once the tender is ready for posting  and uploading, all pertinent information is saved to a project information page that allows users a quick view of the title, location, closing time and location, a brief description of the project, contact, site meeting information and any addendums for each project.

Once a project is closed, tracking so that low bids, awards and cancellations are also posted to the EPR.

“If you are a supplier or sub you can see if the company you bid to is low or has been awarded a project to plan your time,” Blow explained. “It also gives other bidders access to the pricing of jobs to see if they were close or not.”

The electronic plan room is for members only – a perk of belonging to the BCA. Each member has a unique login (their email) and password so that they can access the EPR form any online device. The unique login also gives BCA the ability to have a tracking log to track who accessed each project and what information they were viewing.