A chat with Gabe Savely, Star Building Systems

Gabe Savely, Director of Components at Star Buildings talks about AppliCad Roof Wizard software

At AppliCad Software, we are keen to learn about our customers’ experience dealing with AppliCad and our very specialized tools for roofing and cladding take-off.   There are a lot of people in this industry that we can learn from and our ‘Chat Time’ series of articles is designed to help us learn from some of these industry experts.  It is during these interactions that we understand how we can serve our clients better, now and in the future.   We hope that it will help you understand what others are doing, so that you can also learn for your business.

The AppliCad Roof Wizard software is an advanced roofing and cladding estimating system that is integrated with a full function 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) modelling system and takes advantage of the powerful 3D capabilities.  The Roof Wizard software provides estimators with a complete suite of tools for roofing design, estimating, waste optimisation and presentation.  The basic principle of Roof Wizard is based upon a simple overview of the design process using the information you get with a request for quotation whether an Architect’s PDF, a hand drawn sketch or an aerial image – Roof Wizard works the way you do.

While no previous computer aided design (CAD) experience is considered necessary to use the Roof Wizard software, a certain level of understanding of roofing and building is expected. Roof Wizard takes the chore out of roof design and estimating.  The estimator gains immediate benefits in producing accurate roof geometry and has the tools to check that the model is correct so that precise quotations for a wide range of roof designs and material systems may be output automatically.  A complete set of detailed forms is produced so that everyone involved in the process has a record of the proposed transaction for both labor and materials.

We put some quite specific questions to Mr Savely about his implementation of our Roof Wizard software and these are his responses.

Q – What sort of business do you operate, and what are the services you provide?

  • GS – Our company sells Steel Building Systems and Steel Components.  We provide pricing software, engineering calculations, full erection drawings and ultimately a fully manufactured product.

Q – What estimating programs/processes were you using before you implemented AppliCad?

  • GS – Prior to implementing AppliCad, we have some external pricing tools for our customers (Builder Pricing Software).  The focus was to estimate a project cost and allow a customer to order the project.  There are limitations to rectangular structures only, no hip or valley conditions for example.  And then not a true cut list, just more of a square foot or lineal foot pricing tool.  We do create AutoCAD drawings out of this software, 3D Model, Cross-Sections, 2D Layouts, etc as well.  If a buyer request for a building or component product was outside the scope of what our software could handle, we would refer them to our internal Estimating Group.  They hand price scenarios that are not software supported otherwise.

Q – What were the key issues you were experiencing that made the benefits of using AppliCad more attractive?

  • GS – Software limitations, as discussed some in the previous question.  Getting a bill of material in 30 minutes, in lieu of hand keying in 3 days.  We really got interested in the product when looking to implement a retrofit department.  New building structures are right up our alley, but replacing materials on older buildings has always been a struggle.  Also, for partial material replacement.  And then our software was limited to probably only about 40% of our full product offering, wherein implementing 95%+ product offering into AppliCad is feasible and much easier to accomplish.

Q – How many quotes were you doing before the implementation of AppliCad, and after?  

  • GS – Full building quotes have not changed much so far, and we’ve been on AppliCad for about 9 months.  Full building quotes run about 8000 quotes a year at around $1,000,000,000 annually.  However for Retro-fit (reroof) projects, the impact has been amazing.  We’ve gone from quoting 2-3 a month to around 4 per week.  Our yearly quote log on retrofits will potentially hit about $25,000,000 just in this first year.

Q – Has the job win rate increased?   Why?

  • GS – Yes, absolutely the job win rate has increased.  The fact that we can turn orders around in hours versus days is the key factor.  Time is money, and the quicker we can provide quality products using quality software enhances that potential to continue to increase the job win rate.  We are probably in our infancy stages of 4-5% right now, but our goal is to grow that to 15% hopefully within the next year.   And offering a larger range of fully automated and supported products, from pricing, to bill of materials, only enhances our ability to quote projects and ultimately win them.

Q- How efficient was the implementation of AppliCad and has it effectively solved the previous issues you were having?

  • GS- Implementing new software is never as easy as it seems.  However, AppliCad and their sales, support and development resources were there to help walk us through the process.  Whether it was product implementation, licensing, training, whatever, they were available to assist us in our needs.   Being in the United States and AppliCad being based in Australia, I was a little worried about the support part of things, but I was wrong, they were and continue to be extremely responsive to our needs.

Q – How did AppliCad solve the previous issues?

  • GS – Direct contact with the correct people helped us avoid translating requests inaccurately.  Hands on instruction and user training was professional, informative, and let you with that itch to want to learn more and use the product as much as possible.

Q- How does AppliCad provide real time/cost savings in the quoting process?

  • GS- Easy input, wide product availability, and fast turn bill of materials is key to selling these days.  If you can provide something in hours that takes your competitors days, often times you can get a premium for your product.

Q – In what areas specifically are these seen? eg. Increased accuracy?

  • GS – Accuracy, speed, ease of use, completeness, cost savings, and much more….  For what the AppliCad Roof Wizard product offers, I haven’t seen anything with close to its capabilities.

Q – In terms of usability, streamlining the process and output (or any other area), where is there room for improvement in AppliCad?

  • GS – Honestly, as a user running the program for only 9 months now, I need another year or so to come up with something that AppliCad is missing.  I’m not shy to ask for improvements and from what I understand, AppliCad is not shy about making improvements.  I just haven’t hit a road block yet that is not easy to figure out how to clear out of the way.


About Gabe Savely first joined Star Building Systems in 1999 as a programmer/analyst after receiving his degree in Computer Science & Management.  In 2001, Gabe was promoted to Manager of SBS (Star Buildings Software) and was instrumental in the continual development of SBS as the industry leading software it is today.

In 2004, Gabe accepted the challenge of the Corporate IT Director position supporting software development for all of the RCC & NCI buildings divisions. Gabe became Director of Product Management-Customer Solutions in 2008 as part of the IT Technical Services group. In 2011, Gabe re-joined Star Building Systems as the Director of Customer Service and in 2014 accepted the position of Director of Components.

While not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Rebecca, and their two daughters, Sarah and Shelby. There isn’t a sport his daughters have played that Gabe hasn’t been involved in as a Coach.