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Best programming software for NEC Contract

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Andrew McCormick
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I work for UK contractor carrying out construction projects between £500k and £5m. I’ve done loads of web research to find out the best programming software to use. Most of our contracts are carried out under the NEC form of contract. We need to be able to show critical path, float, time risk allowances etc, but most importantly we want to use a simple system. We currently use MS Project. Does anyone have recommendations for other programming software

Replies

Rafael Davila
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Andrew,

You shall be free to make your own choice.

Mine is Spider Project. I believe you have been recommended the two best choices there are, and yes I am ruling out everything else. Mastering Asta PP, Spider, MSP or P6 will always take some time no matter the claim of the software vendor of how easy it is. In my case it proved to be time well spent, now doing even the most simple things on the other packages is difficult when at a time it was easy.

1) Asta PP and Spider Project are good alternatives for the Construction Industry.

2) Both have personnel you can reach whenever there is a question. Before selecting Spider I tried Asta and their response was unbelievably well above average, same with Spider Project, top notch service.

3) Both are scalable. If you only have stand alone jobs running at the same time each with 30,000 activities even their entry level option you will be able to handle all with ease, not sure about MSP even when in paper they claim otherwise. If latter you grow to become as big as a Government Agency still they offer solutions that can stand side by side to other expensive and cumbersome software. Both offer true scalable solutions, where learning curve is short and all versions are compatible with no loss in training or investment.

4) Both offer a free viewer.

Still believe Spider have the edge; How about modeling of shifts? How about modeling for different resource productivity? How about resource loading using partial assignments, the way crews are assigned in the construction industry? Is very common to assign a crew to work at the same time on several activities. A simple concept, clean and powerful, the way a whole industry works but missing in most software packages. The software shall adapt to the way the industry works, not otherwise.

Finally I would compare resource leveling algorithms side by side. This can be a good match as I understand it is the British who made Operations Research a formal science.

In your evaluation be guided by your true needs, not by what the vendor say you need.

http://www.spiderproject.com/images/img/pdf/spider_project_advantages.pdf

Best regards,
Rafael

BRAVE G
User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 75

Hi Mike 

 

When you mean power project is nec compliant. How do you mean.... I've not used power projects before if you shed a light that would be great....

 

 

 

cheers..

Hi Mike,
thank you for remembering Spider Project.
Critical path, float, time risk allowances are simple features and I am sure that PP will do it well. And you are right - why not to use British?
I would recommend Spider Project if there is a need for resource and cost optimization, cash flow management, trend analysis, using norms for estimations and other advanced feautures.
I’ll be glad if you will be curious enough to download Spider Demo and to discuss with me those different approaches that are used in Spider. It may be fun for both of us. I hope that some day you will find time for this.
Best Regards,
Vladimir

P.S. How to start a new trade package on the first available Monday? No one comes in on Wednesday PM to start a new trade.
This is easy.
What about How to start a new activity in the morning of the next day if it will not be finished before the end of the previous day? No one starts concreting at the end of the day expecting to finish it tomorrow.
Andrew McCormick
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thanks Mike - I’ll be in touch (just as soon as I’ve submitted 3 bids in 4 days!). If you want to send me any info you can do so at mail@andrewmccormick.co.uk
Mike Testro
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Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 4395
Hi Andrew

If you can operate MS project then PowerProject is like a breath of fresh air.

Setting up a Bottom Up sequence is just intuitive.

Send me an email at planning.services@xlninternet.co.uk and I will send back a demo file that shows how an 8 story insitu concterte flat slab structure can be put together in about 20 minutes.

This is one way of showing how I use the software.

There are many other aspects that I adopt that not even PowerProject trainers have considered - How to start a new trade package on the first available Monday? No one comes in on Wednesday PM to start a new trade.

Best regards

Mike Testro
Andrew McCormick
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Thanks Mike - really appreciate your feedback - i’m sure we used to use PP - maybe we changed because our I.T. Manager / QS was a Microsoft devotee! How easy do you think PP is to learn for your average I.T. averse contracts manager? Is there a gap in the market for a simple, ideally open source product that is NEC tailored i.e. down to the terminology etc etc. It seems to me that smaller contractors will be put off by the cost of a) buying the suite of NEC contracts b) buying MSP and c) getting trained to use it properly. PS what do you do?
Mike Testro
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Joined: 14 Dec 2005
Posts: 4395
Hi Andrew

Don’t just take my word for it.

Go to the PEO website and see what software most UK contractors use.

PowerProject from Asta development.

MS Project is light and cumbersome in comparison.

P3 is out of date and not supported anymore.

P6 is over developed and too complex for normal use for construction planning - also it is very expensive.

PowerProject has all the functions you may need - including a built in monte carlo function.

No I am not a sales rep - I have used the software for over 20 years and it just gets better at every evolution.

Look at the number of threads you get for P6 problems against those of PowerProject on PP.

Vladimir will come in now with a pitch for Spider - he may well be right - but why not buy British.

And the clincher - Powerproject is the only NEC compliant sofware that has a fully functional BUFFER task.

Best regards

Mike Testro