Catching up with Buildingpoint ANZ

The Australian collaboration market has been hotting up in recent years, and BuildingPoint is stoking the fires still further.

It’s been a busy couple of years in the Australasian construction software market; for example:

  • 4Projects identifed a reseller in August 2012, then new owner Viewpoint brought the direct sales in-house
  • ProjectCentre was acquired by RIB in October 2012
  • Newforma began to target the ANZ market in December 2013
  • Asite, Conject and McLaren Software are all marketing in the region, and
  • currently, we’ve been watching the dominant SaaS player’s Aconex’s on-off-on-again IPO (see my most recent post), due to take place in Melbourne on 9 December

Against this backdrop of activity, Trimble’s Buildingpoint business has also been expanding and consolidating its capabilities in the region.

Building collaboration

I’ve been watching Trimble add to its collaboration software strengths for some years. It bought Meridian Systems in 2006, and acquired Google’s SketchUp in 2012, both consolidated into its Trimble Buildings design-build-operate (DBO) offering. And, more recently, in September 2014, it acquired Gehry Technologies’ GTeam platform, subsequently relaunched as Trimble Connect (October 2014).

buildingPoint logoLast week, I talked to Mark Forest, MD of BuildingPoint Australia, and Mark Sawyer, general manager of the Trimble Buildings portfolio in the region. Both were very bullish about the company’s prospects in the market, being part way through a BuildingPoint customer roadshow (see also Matt Rumbelow’s ThinkBIM blog). They identified three drivers to their Australasian strategy:

  • delivery of a lifecycle solution portfolio – meeting the needs of everyone from owners down to individual trades
  • the constructable model – linking design to site layout (Trimble announced a partnership with Bentley in November)
  • open collaboration – linking Trimble Connect to the rest of the DBO platform

BuildingPoint’s strong domain knowledge (half of the company’s team are qualified industry professionals) has been enhanced by the purchase of three ANZ resellers and the addition of the Gehry Technologies professional services team, they said, enabling them to deliver a full package of hardware, software, data (eg: 3D objects, GIS) and professional services.

This extensive reach has been enhanced still further by Trimble’s most recent acquisition (11 November 2014) of UK-based MEP software specialist Amtech Group, whose solutions include pricing (LUCKINSlive), estimating (Enterprise Estimating), specification (NES), electrical design (PROdesign), and 3D asset management (ArtrA). While not all of these are used in Australia, ArtrA is being used on the Royal Adelaide Hospital, I was told (this led on to a discussion about BIM – “Australia is maybe two years behind the UK, and mainly used on the design side, but with some adoption among structural steel and MEP contractors”).

My view

While BuildingPoint certainly has an extensive portfolio of construction-related software and services, in the field of collaboration at least it faces some stiff competition from the established local providers and recent arrivals, all of whom have well-known SaaS platforms – but is familiarity enough against BuildingPoint’s breadth of capabilities? Also strength in design and construction information management may need to be matched by some additional capabilities with respect to longer-term operation and maintenance information requirements, particularly as customers begin to deploy BIM more frequently on new projects, but Trimble is already working on this – its August 2014 acquisition of enterprise asset management software provider Manhattan Atrium was a significant step along this road.


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