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Case Study

Haydon Building

Haydon Building Corp discovers their drawings solution. And much more.

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About Haydon Building

Haydon Building Corp has been in business for 28 years at this writing, originally as a commercial general contractor, then later adding a heavy civil/self-perform construction division and landscape construction division. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, and licensed in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, California, and Nevada, what began as a three-person operation (founder Gary Haydon, an estimator, and an accountant) has matured into a heavy hitter in the southwest market with their unique structure and diverse service offerings. From commercial, healthcare, civic, and military buildings, to highways, roadways, and infrastructure, the Haydon portfolio speaks to both community and full-on construction finesse.

The Challenge

Haydon Building Corp was scaling—and had been for a while. With licenses in six states and a project portfolio whose theme was “large-scale, incredibly varied, and all over the Southwest,” Haydon’s projects were drowning in paper. While the company had moved to partially digitize their documents and plans, it was simply a security gesture—a move to back up paper originals with digital safety copies on Haydon’s office server. The documentation and plans were still not hosted in a cloudbased environment that would allow them to be broadcast to smart devices in the field. Actionable, evolving project data in the field remained unavailable.

"In choosing Procore, we started by looking for just a drawings solution. Thankfully, in the course of that process, we realized we needed something more all-encompassing. If we hadn’t looked at the bigger picture—at the whole company’s needs—we would’ve made a wrong decision. We would’ve found ourselves in six different software environments."

Corey Elias
Haydon Building Corp

The Solution

Haydon was searching for a solution to the field/office disconnect—a way to make the project office’s rich data environment available to the workers in the field. When a couple of new hires brought a competitive solution onto the Haydon site, it seemed a fair solution. At first. Ultimately, their user-count licensing and narrow-scope drawings mission gave Haydon pause. Haydon Application Specialist Corey Elias puts it this way. “Procore is a full-service solution that allowed us to bring everything under one umbrella to become a centralized repository for all of our project needs.”

Before Procore

Bulky paper plans needed to be paged through manually to find the relevant drawings.

Superintendent trudged from field to jobsite trailer to settle discussion of inclusions and exclusions on a subcontract agreement.

The competitive product’s momentary ascendance as Haydon’s mobile solution meant buying licenses for every single user.

After Procore

Procore’s OCR dynamically links digital drawing pages for instant reference, saving hours per project.

Superintendent settles discussion in the field by pulling up subcontract agreement on mobile device.

Procore’s unlimited seat license model means one fee covers all users, resulting in adoption and seamless collaboration.

Arial view of a park at night

Haydon Building Corp—Demure Desert Bloom Proliferates Across Great Southwest

Like many a thriving institution of eyebrow-raising achievement, Phoenix-based Haydon Building Corp started out as a smallish operation, launched by a guy who didn’t know any better than to dream big. Did we say “Smallish”?

When Gary Haydon began his adventure, the payroll was him and two other people working out of a broom closet. Not a literal broom closet, but… you know. Today Haydon Building Corp’s project portfolio is brimming with a diverse array of construction projects and the adoration of many clients—from City of Scottsdale bridge improvements to Northern Arizona University’s beauteous 123,000 sq ft swimming and tennis complex, and from the Denaro Plaza Medical Office Building to Summit Community Church. Gary Haydon’s company has blossomed—over 30 years of community-embracing growth—to make of his post-college startup one of the Southwest’s premier general contractors. 

Haydon Building Corp’s lastingly beautiful structures aren’t the only story. The bricks, steel, glass, and mortar of Haydon’s daily bread are complemented by a flesh-and-blood mission whose success metric is measured not in ROI, but in what big Bill Shakespeare called “the quality of mercy.” Haydon’s active engagement with a host of nonprofits has quietly sealed the company’s reputation as a business that reflexively pays forward. Just ask the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Feed My Starving Children, to name just a few recipients of Haydon’s quiet pitching in. “To build” is an irregular verb that can be applied just as surely to a life as to a cantilevered bridge. As Haydon continues to demonstrate.

Arial view of a baseball diamond

Field? Office? Yes.

From 3 employees to 500, Haydon’s growth over thirty years has been robust (to tactfully understate it). Why? How? Haydon’s IT Director, Eddie Garcia: “You know, we like to say we do everything from back-of-napkin to completion. We provide the resources, tech, and expertise you’d expect of a 1$ billion company, but deliver with the scrupulous and personalized service of a small contractor.” Haydon’s portfolio and reputation support this braggadocio.


But growth famously comes at a price. The terms “catastrophic success” and “scaling” contain volumes. Growing a business is a deliberative process, where one must ensure that the elements responsible for company success aren’t decoupled, set adrift and cut off from each other as the corporate footprint swells. When a company gets big, communications suffer first, threatening project collaboration on the ground. In the case of Haydon Building Corp, the bigger they got, the more cumbersome and time-intensive their paper-based project processes, and the wider the gulf between office and field. One small but shining example: imagine a superintendent and specialty tradesperson politely disagreeing in the field about a contractual detail. Haydon Applications Specialist Corey Elias: “The superintendent would typically have to go back to the jobsite trailer and pull up a subcontract to see its inclusions and exclusions.” Multiply this by several times per working day, and then factor in Haydon’s ~70 yearly projects—you’re talking about a time-ismoney annual cash hemorrhage.


So Haydon began looking around for a digital solution that would give the field the realtime project data that up til that point had been the exclusive province of the office. What was needed? A cloud-based construction management system, one that allowed individual project workers in the field to access a secure Haydon databank dedicated to housing the details of each Haydon project.

One Actionable Drawing Set, Visible to All

Initially, though, the show-stopper was drawings; specifically field access to dynamic, real-time, actionable drawings. A system that could synchronously send crystal-clear, dynamically linked digital project drawings to hand-held devices all over the project—from field to office—would effectively mean all project players would have possession of the same set of drawings. This is the fabled “single source of truth” long dreamed of by sleepdeprived, mistake-averse GCs everywhere. When there is only one actionable drawing set visible to all, the nagging inner voice that says “I hope we’re working off the same drawings” goes away, as does the act of lugging a heavy tube full of rolled-up paper all over the jobsite. “One actionable drawing set, visible to all” even has the cadence of a pledge—the kind one recites with a hand over the heart.

construction crane

Collaboration, Document Management, and Notifications: Not as Dull as They Sound

When a competitive solution appeared on the jobsite, there was fleeting enthusiasm as Haydon enjoyed its first taste of wireless drawings in the field. The celebration was shortlived. The software’s seat license model wanted payment from each and every user—a flurry of invoices to cover site workers merely looking at the plans—and was not otherwise the complete fit Haydon was seeking. If Haydon wanted to fully pivot to cloud-based construction technology and the margin-easing efficiencies being taken up by the digitally woke industry, they would have to buy an assortment of solutions to cover all their project bases, right?

Nope.

Haydon knew of Procore, having been mandated to use the cloud-based platform by several project owners they‘d worked with. Now Haydon began to look at Procore more strategically and found that Procore fit like a glove across three critical Haydon areas – collaboration, document management, and notifications. Corey Elias spells it out.

“The collaboration aspect is very much based on licensing. We were much more confident in being able to bring the entire project team—”

“—internally and externally—” interjects IT Director Eddie Garcia.

“—internally and externally,” Corey concurs with a nod and a smile, “—into Procore.” What was it about Procore’s licensing that helped seal the deal? “With Procore’s unlimited license, we didn’t have to pass along any of that cost. We’d been through that with another solution—there’d been a direct cost to the subcontractors. In that case, we’d had a lot more pushback than we’ve had from them coming online with Procore.”

What about Procore’s document management win?

“From a document management perspective, that comes back to the RFIs and submittals, and even the documents tool. Procore just manages so much more of the project, allowing us to bring everything under one umbrella—a centralized repository for all our project needs.”

“As for notifications,” Corey says, then pauses. “Procore’s notifications are so much broader in the project scope. Procore had more of the notifications that take the busywork off the desk of the project coordinator, or the project engineer.” Corey pauses again. “Procore’s customizable notifications reduce the need for manual reminders. ‘Okay, when this happens, you have to do these six steps.’ That sort of thing. Now we only have to do three steps. The system does the other three. So it reduces that administrative time and reduces the risk of those little management details being forgotten.”

Exterior of a modern office building

ROI? Roger.

The most (some grudging hardhats would say “only”) compelling feature of a cloud-based construction management system is its ability to close previously undetected productivity gaps—saving precious time and cash while injecting elbow room into the crushing margins that press in on a project from every angle. Haydon’s adoption of Procore is pointing up savings just six months in. Corey Elias explains, for instance, how Procore leverages an innovation called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to automatically link the drawings.

“Procore definitely reduces time in administration,” she says. “The automatic OCR linking in the documents—they expect that is going to reduce the engineers’ time by a minimum of four hours.” Corey is here describing the difference between the project engineer’s having to manually hyperlink all the digital drawings—versus Procore’s automated hyperlinking of the plans for you at upload—plans which you can then carry around the jobsite on a smart device the size of a ham sandwich—or cell phone—by the way.

Procore’s OCR scans the paper drawings during digital upload and dynamically links the digitized drawing pages by “seeing” how they’re contextually related. This is the O in OCR (the aforementioned Optical Character Recognition), and an example of the new-fangled “machine learning.” Yes, the robot army has arrived and wants to help you sort through your paperwork.

During the Procore demo, Corey had overheard one of Haydon’s project engineers saying “...you know, it used to take me four hours to do this [manual hyperlinking of digital drawing pages]. Now it does it by itself!” Corey looks at me. “So four hours times 70 projects a year?” Hmm. 280 saved project hours, but who’s counting? Corey continues.

“And with submittals, we used to have to do a lot of manual distribution and reminders of overdue submittals. Procore takes care of all of that administration now. Again, a couple hours a week saved there, minimum.” 280 hours here, 104 hours there. That comes to 16 fewer project days a year, anecdotally—known more commonly as About Two Weeks. Corey returns to the construction project grail that began Haydon’s search for their digital destiny; drawings.

“It is so much easier to distribute plan updates—so much easier to just upload the plans in the first place and get a usable set of plans out to the field.” Corey pauses, then offers a take on her recent experience with construction management software. “If you have a small group going after a series of needs over here, and another small group with their own separate needs over there—Procore could probably fill both needs.” She feels the timing and result of Haydon’s comparative taste test were fortuitous.

You Say Tomato

“We started by looking at just a drawings solution,” Corey says. “Thankfully, in the course of that process, we realized we needed something more all-encompassing. If we hadn’t looked at the bigger picture—at the whole company’s needs—we would’ve made a wrong decision. We would’ve found ourselves in six different software environments.”

The digital construction project focus is one thing—interpersonal mojo on the jobsite is something else again. Haydon seems to have it dialed in, and (frankly) they’ve had it dialed in for awhile. Procore’s single source of project cohesion suits the tight-knit Haydon Building Corp. You say “collaboration.” they say...something warmer.

“Yeah, it definitely creates a team atmosphere,” Corey affirms. “We’re all in this together, you know?” When her compatriot Eddie starts nodding, Corey looks at him and grins like a sib. Haydon is clearly this connective human spark writ large. Well done, Gary. Corey turns to me, still smiling. “We have such a disparate, diverse workforce. But from the landscaper pulling weeds, to the executive level—we are all a team. One of the things that hit me the most when I joined Haydon was something the operations developer said to me. ‘We don’t want this to be your next job. We want this to be your last job.’” Haydon IT Director Eddie Garcia nods more vigorously, then goes straight to the chewy center—a summation that could be happily reframed as “digital schmigital.”

“Everyone at Haydon shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission,” he says matter-of-factly. “That creates this family at Haydon. We’re all here for each other.”