Custom Builder, Custom-Built Technology

October 21, 2013

Who says homebuilders aren’t innovative when it comes to using technology? Certainly not E.M. Rose, www.emrose.net, Branford, Conn., which you can consider a leader when it comes to using technology for residential. This custom builder doesn’t just implement technology; it directs technology for the good of its business.

The company took home a Constructech Vision Award in 2012 for its visionary approach to custom-developed software using IBM Lotus Notes as its platform. The program, called “Project Framework,” includes contract management in administration, document management, details of a specific project, information regarding materials owned and rented, risk management, and insurance.

Rose says this helps raise its knowledge limitations by bringing past experience to future projects, allowing it to benefit from every piece of work. This is key in the high-end custom residential market where in order to be competitive a builder must demonstrate the ability to think creatively, become problem solvers, and above all else, make architects’ visions come to life.
 
This is where technology rises to the challenge, helping it handle common tasks, like contracts, samples, communication, and managing documents, in a more streamlined manner. This means more time is spent on actual construction. But perhaps most essential is the technology allows E.M. Rose to gain more face time with its clients. In the business of building, it can be that unique client time that separates the great builders from those that no longer stay in business.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact company owner Eric Rose himself served as the software architect and teamed with a certified Lotus software developer for project Framework. Using IBM’s Domino Designer, which includes the IBM XPages toolset for creating a Web 2.0 experience across different platforms, Rose can develop Project Framework's Internet and mobile capabilities.

And for Rose, the customization is never complete. He continues to enhance the application in order to match the changing needs of his project and clients. For example, the use of IBM NotesTraveler enables users to access project documentation on smartphones, with additional pieces of the software being mobilized using XPages.

A separate Web portal is currently being written for vendor billing using XPage. Rose is looking to upgrade to the new version of IBM Notes and Domino, version 9.0 Social Edition, which goes in line with his belief the platform is the best option for his company. He believes the platform makes it possible for a small organization to spend a “reasonable amount of money” to develop and control software that leverages technology as it should be leveraged.

In the end it goes to show just how tech-savvy homebuilders have become these days. But then again, for builders like Eric Rose, the tech-savvy nature has been there all along. Perhaps the rest of the market is simply catching up to his tech-first nature for building homes.