In a surprising shift for a traditional tool manufacturer, Stanley X, the innovation division of Stanley Black & Decker, has acquired Buildup, a project management platform used by general contractors and trade workers for punchlists, inspections and other tasks. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.
The acquisition is the first for the tool maker’s new tech-focused unit. “We’re digitizing things on the construction site,” says Justin Saeheng, head of construction technology at Stanley X. “This acquisition allows us to better align to our current customers and provide more than another hammer, tape measure or drill.”
Founded in 2015, Buildup offers a field-focused project management app, which coordinates and tracks the thousands of small tasks to be done on a jobsite. It allows for quick communication between stakeholders and field personnel, and also has photo documentation and annotation functions. The app also features automatic English-Spanish translation, with other languages planned for future updates.
“We’re trying to save time out in the field—make sure the field and the office are on the same page,” explains Stephen Haskin, CEO of Buildup and the new general manager of Buildup at Stanley X. He says that while Buildup has an API link to Procore, many of its customers are coming from spreadsheet-based methods of tracking work-to-complete tasks and inspection punchlists. “There are people who swing hammers who also are having to go fill out reports and spreadsheets; it’s not a good use of their time.”
Buildup has seen use among general contractors that are looking for ways to get their field personnel the task lists they need on large, complex projects. Hensel Phelps, general contractor for the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 project at San Francisco International Airport, has been using Buildup to coordinate the thousands of work-to-complete tasks that need to be performed by building trades as the project nears completion.
“On a lot of projects you get to the end and you have this endless list of things to do,” explains Andrew Cameron, Hensel Phelps project manager and team member on Terminal 1. On complex projects, a spreadsheet can be hard to navigate for trade workers just coming on the job who don’t know the site layout. “We had our engineers go to the site, take the issues and create records in Buildup, then tag it to the model or drawing,” says Cameron. “They can then assign it to a specific person, so the electrician or painter knows exactly what they need to do.”
Cameron says Buildup has had a high adoption rate among field personnel at Terminal 1, which he attributes to the smartphone-based interface and the ability for field workers to document their work and get quick responses to their requests for information. “[As the GC] we are there to guide this project, but it can be so difficult to get the right information to the right people,” says Cameron. “With this app we were truly able to crowdsource what needed to be done. Rather than go to the next item on a spreadsheet, I can open this app to see what needs to be done in this area where I am standing.”
Haskin says Buildup has no immediate plans to change its pricing model. According to Saeheng, Stanley X plans to further expand into the construction technology space. “This is a new area for us, stepping into the construction software space. But it’s just heating up—there’s a lot of under-digitized opportunities in construction.”