agcXML Allows Contractor's Softare to Communicate, Boosting Efficiency

By Gary C. Leaf Director of Information Technology Lease Crutcher Lewis and member of the AGC of Americas EIS Committee

AGC is a great help to contractors in many ways. The staff and volunteer committees at the local state and national levels work diligently to solve the many issues that confront construction companies. Today I would like to talk about an effort at the national level that is needs member support and action.

Many of you have probably encountered projects whose owners wants their project run using a particular project management system. If your company uses a different software product you face double entry work and a greater potential for human error in your project data. Then there is the challenge of interfacing your back office accounting system with your PM system. While youre at it dont forget about linking design data in your CAD program with your PM system. Talk about a headache!?

How can AGC help? For the past 15 years the Electronic Information Systems (EIS) Committee has brought together a group of like-minded individuals who are looking for ways to improve communication and efficiency in the contracting world. One strategic initiative of this group has been to establish a way that allows differing construction software programs to talk to each other. Over 2 years ago at the recommendation of the EIS committee the AGC national board funded a project to create the agcXML standard for construction. This projects goal was to create a common language allowing contractors software from different vendors to communicate. Similar standards initiatives have boosted efficiency and productivity in other industries such as healthcare and the legal community.

Project Management software is designed to improve the efficiency and accuracy of project record keeping. Each software package supports common documents and records including owner/contractor agreements schedules of values requests for information (RFIs) requests for proposals (RFPs) architect/engineer supplemental instructions change orders change directives submittals applications for payment and addenda to name a few. The agcXML initiative has resulted in a set of standards (XML schemas) for the transactional business documents that are now commonly exchanged through paper documents.

Now AGC needs your help. The final draft of agcXML Data Specifications and Schemas has been posted and reviewed. Now it is up to the software industry to implement it. Please contact your Project Management software vendors and let them know that you want to see agcXML adopted. We will all benefit when this tool is integrated into our existing and future software tools.

You can learn more about the agcXML initiative at any or all of the following:

• agcXML session at AGC Annual Convention: Friday March 6 10:30 AM.
• Website www.agcXML.org