As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if it is broke, it needs fixing, and the burden falls on a general contractor to chase down all kinds of subcontractors to keep a stalled project moving forward.
“Picture this,” says Laura Brodie, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Bridgit. “Crews waiting around on-site not able to begin work, just because the plumber didn’t know they were supposed to return to fix an issue. Take the cost of wasted labour and then add on equipment rentals, delay penalties, etc. Even one day of reduced downtime can result in a massive cost savings for the general contractor.”
Before Bridgit, general contractors still needed to tally up deficiencies and get them fixed by the appropriate subcontractor. The process, however, was decidedly low-tech.
“We’ve seen it all… Post-it notes, giant paper photo printouts pinned to a wall, scribbles on the side of a Timbit box!” says Brodie. From there, the hastily recorded and donut-dusted notes would be plugged into an Excel spreadsheet, and the general contractor would then laboriously email marching orders to whoever was responsible for the fix.
With Bridgit, contractors have a portable iOS or Android app that they can take on-site, snapping pics of broken pipes, cracked drywall, and thoroughly Godzilla’d building foundations. A smudge of the finger sends these pictures and notes directly to the subcontractors responsible (Acts of Godzilla notwithstanding), allowing general contractors to quickly and easily keep tabs on what’s broke, who’s fixing it, and when it’s gonna get fixed—no Timbit boxes required. (Or, as is the case on so many construction sites, Timbit boxes optional.) The result is faster fixing and less downtime.
Bridgit’s website doesn’t have typical chirpy “explainer” video set to a bouncy ukulele track like most startups. Because the construction industry is slow to adopt the latest and greatest handheld tech, the team’s approach is more of a personally attentive, hand-holding technique that eases prospective customers into the app on a trial project basis.
The Bridgit app is the result of six months of on-site research, during which the company founders showed some moxie. “How did we get on-site to conduct this research? We just walked on uninvited and as soon as the teams heard we were trying to solve the problem of deficiency management, they had nothing but time.”
If you’re concerned that the number of votes Bridgit has received is deficient, fix it! Head to the 2013 Canadian Startup Awards page to cast your vote for Bridgit and the other fantastic finalists.