TradeTapp is a cloud-based, SaaS analytics tool that aims to give construction contractors a data-driven solution for qualifying, and then tracking the performance of, their subs. And, just recently, AECOM’s Tishman Construction subsidiary operation has announced that it will become the third firm to pilot the solution since it launched in February (joining Urban Atelier Group and CMA). Ultimately, TradeTapp will confidentially aggregate certain data from contractors in order to help them compare subs against a regional network of peers, helping contractors make better, more informed decisions about their subs before signing them up.
“The ability to effectively qualify subcontractors perhaps suffers the most from [the construction industry’s] lack of data leveraging,” TradeTapp co-founder Justin Levine wrote on Medium back in April. “It makes little sense that most GCs qualify their subs in a vacuum, when the vast majority of the risks associated with subcontractor selection are things like the status of projects currently underway and commitments made over the next 12–24 months. Subcontractor risk is distinctly unique in that it’s shared across multiple parties. TradeTapp is the first pre-qualification platform built to leverage data from all its users and deliver analytics with proper context when making Subcontractor award decisions.”
Hosted by AWS, TradeTapp’s approach pulls subcontractor data into an interactive, web-based collection module. Its proprietary algorithms will analyze metrics that include backlog position, work history, average project size, and how the sub has fared with staying on time and on budget. Contractors then manage their invitations to subs and track their progress on each job. In light of those metrics, TradeTapp can also analyze project-specific subcontract awards to highlight potential risks and help contractors implement risk mitigation controls before any subcontracts are signed. The platform’s algorithms will also be dynamic, changing to reflect current market conditions.
As Construction Dive also points out in an article about TradeTapp’s partnership with Tishman, one approach that GCs can, and do, frequently take (from a subcontractor risk management perspective) is simply to use the same subs over and over again. But for giant firms like Tishman that are managing a host of projects in a broad range of locations that can’t work for every trade.
If TradeTapp is successful in aggregating lots of data, it could be an extremely useful solution for contractors everywhere. It might also mine lots of insights that could be used in other contexts, too. We’ll be keeping an eye on it, and other similar “top-down” data aggregation solutions for the construction industry, and follow up here at AEC Labs accordingly.