“The joy of working with software like Synergy is that you’ve gone out into the AEC industry and asked what we need. You’ve incorporated that into Synergy. So, we’re getting information that we now see we need, but we might not have realised.”

Liam Massey | Associate Director, HBL Associates

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Liam Massey — HBL Associates

More time for growth and agility

Cloud project and business management software has helped HBL Associates become more effective and efficient. This efficiency gives the business more time to be responsive to growth, and the team more time to work on what they’re passionate about — engineering.

Role/s in the business

“I started as a trainee technician and worked my way up to associate director.

“HBL Associates has been going for nearly 30 years, expanding organically over that time to employ twenty-two staff in three offices.”

Less error

“Previously, practice and project management was handled on spreadsheets in various locations. There was a large possibility of error and a lot of time went into keeping these spreadsheets up to date. With the input there was always the possibility that certain stages on a staged construction process, might be missed on invoices, for example.”

Bigger picture

“And the problem wasn’t just because it was all manual inputting. It was Excel spreadsheets that we’d created, and they were created years ago and added to, and added to, when we needed more bits. The spreadsheet system was kicking out information that was helpful, but it wasn’t the full picture that the business needed — we’d never really taken a step back and considered if we needed additional information to be able to keep the business growing.

“The joy of working with software like Synergy is that you’ve gone out into the AEC industry and asked what we need. You’ve incorporated that into Synergy. So, we’re getting information that we now see we need, but we might not have realised. It’s certainly a massive value added in being able to look at the business as a whole and see the areas that are most profitable.”

More engineering

HBL Associates is a consultancy with a passion for engineering at its heart. Asked what he loves most about his work, Liam Massey says it’s the satisfaction of seeing your innovative solutions being constructed.

“When you get a tricky engineering scenario, you sit down and think about how it has to be constructed and then at the end of the project you take a step back and look at your creation.”

However, time spent focusing on the minutia of project tracking, versioning of documents, or the management of timesheets, is time not spent engineering. It’s time unavailable to staff for development.

Why we need Synergy

“We recognised that software like Synergy would give a certain amount of time back.

“You can track business and projects a lot more easily with Synergy. Even though we’ve got very different sizes of contracts, we can now keep a track of them all in a single, central location.”

Core Synergy features used by Liam

Time saved as a result

“If you look at the amount of time saved with Synergy, I’d say it’s probably ten percent, overall, per engineer. If you just add up the number of hours that you stage a project… I mean, every single engineer’s finding Synergy a lot easier to work with.”

If eleven of HBL’s employees out of twenty-two are engineers, and we average their billable time to be 40 hours per week — some will work more, and some less — then the sums turn out the frightening equations below.

11 (engineers) x 40 (hours per week) = 440 engineering hours per week → 10% of 440 is 44 (hours per week saved)… That’s a staff cost to the business of more than 1 engineer. Full time. Working on administration.

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