We had the pleasure of speaking with Israël Cassano who has worked for 20 years at Sotrelco, an established, VCA** certified, player in the construction sector in Belgium.
Hi Israël, Could You Introduce Us to Sotrelco?
“Sotrelco started as an electrical company. Over time, we have expanded our field of work and we now focus on three main departments. Besides electricity, we have developed an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) department, and for three years now, we’ve been running a construction department that focuses on structural and building renovations.”
“Founded in in 1977, Sotrelco has grown steadily to a team of nearly 150 employees and workers today. Quite an evolution!”
Among the notable projects currently in progress, the renovation of the 550-room former Sheraton Hotel in Brussels is worth mentioning. Sotrelco works on a wide variety of projects, such as hospitals, soccer stadiums, schools and social houses.”
Diversity in work is what Israël is the most thrilled about:
“The great thing is that our projects are all so different, and that's interesting. Every project is very different from the previous one.”
"We’ve come a long way: now I can just take a photo, localize on the blueprint, and share it with all stakeholders at once. The time savings are enormous! A fellow architect was even surprised by the quality and structure of our site reports, asking how we compile them."
Israël Cassano, IT Manager and Safety Inspector, Sotrelco
What are Your Responsibilities at Sotrelco?
“I joined Sotrelco as a draftsman twenty years ago. Over time, my background in electronics and computer science allowed me to take over the responsibilities of IT manager within the company. I gradually took on more and more important tasks, and for the past year, I have also been safety manager.”
Where Does Sotrelco Stand in Terms of Digital Transformation?
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“Sotrelco has successfully applied the digitization options that emerged over the last decade.”
“Our infrastructure is now very sophisticated. We have several enterprise resourcing planning (ERP) solutions. A general ERP software, which is the heart of our business, streamlining all activities from order entry to logistics and finance. We’ve tailored it to fully match our operating processes. We also use ON!Track by Hilti, a reliable software for the management of our machine fleet. Since we have expanded our renovation projects, we also started to use Traxxeo to manage our site resources.”
“Sotrelco has made everything virtually accessible via a VPN to allow for optimal collaboration between the central services and data, and the project managers on the road.”
When asked how he sees the future of the company and his position, Israel is optimistic:
“The evolution of Sotrelco has already been incredible! And we're not going to stop there. Today, the teams are highly qualified, which encourages us to take more risks and accept more complex projects, such as that of the Sheraton (+- €45M at the end of the works just for the SOTRELCO part). From now on, students can now train in the field, via work-study. In particular, we trained two young people from A to Z, who are now Sotrelco workers on my team – an extremely positive experience. Continuing education is very important to me, and motivation is a driving force for everything.
What about Deltek + ArchiSnapper?
Israël’s first encounter with ArchiSnapper goes back to 2018 at a tradeshow for construction companies in Belgium.
“It had been a discussion topic for weeks at work. When it concerns software for site inspections and field reports, nothing really seemed to fit our requirements. We were even joking about the fact that perhaps, we should launch some software ourselves. What struck me most when I met the ArchiSnapper team and saw a demo was that the tool was so simple, yet powerful. And I was not an easy guy to convince; we had already tested a lot of similar software and they were all either too expensive, incomplete, or inefficient.”
“ArchiSnapper won me over in no time. It’s such an intuitive tool. A 10-minute demo + a 5-minute video; that's how long it took me to understand how it works. It was very important for me to find a tool that is user friendly and easy to adopt because as an IT specialist, it is my job to train the rest of the team.”
"Just think about it – I used to spend up to 4 hours working on a single site report. Thanks to ArchiSnapper, that time is now reduced to… 10 minutes!"
Israël Cassano, IT Manager and Safety Inspector, Sotrelco
“Whether it’s managing photo logs, site management, or inspection reports, ArchiSnapper allows me to keep everything in one place. And that's a great thing, as I am very organized. It’s crucial for me to have all my information in one place. Imagine being on-site and having to communicate something to a subcontractor. No matter how organized you are, it's easy to forget something important on your list when all the information is spread across different places, and you must use your mental energy to switch between tools and systems to find the data you need. I used to waste a lot of time and energy having to remember where which piece of information was stored, what communication channel was used, and so on.”
“We’ve come a long way: now I can just take a photo, localize on the blueprint, and share it with all stakeholders at once. The time savings are enormous! A fellow architect was even surprised by the quality and structure of our site reports, asking how we compile them.”
“The checklist functionality has become an indispensable tool to me: I'm a safety inspector and advisor. It's my job to review a lot of things on-site. I can't afford to forget anything, and a checklist on my tablet helps me with that. Thanks to ArchiSnapper, my checklist-based inspection report is ready by the time I leave the construction site and I can share it directly from the app with everyone involved.”
“Just think about it - I used to spend up to 4 hours working on a single site report. Thanks to ArchiSnapper, that time is now reduced to... 10 minutes!”
And Israël has convinced the rest of the company as well: “Whether it's for managing and sharing pending items with subcontractors, or just for site inspections reports, ArchiSnapper has been adopted by everyone.”
“Starting from a previous report to create a new one, collaboration with subcontractors, and locating items on a floor plan are particularly interesting features. Moreover, the collaboration with the ArchiSnapper team has been very pleasant. They have been very keen to listen to our questions, and our relationship has been friendly and informal. I am so impressed by the tool that I gave a demo of the product during a training session at a get together with safety specialists from different constructions companies.”
Any Final Advice for Those Who are Still Struggling with Site Inspections, Site Management, or Punch Lists?
“Just go for it! To try ArchiSnapper is to love it. It’s really a simple, intuitive tool with such a range of practical features.”
Thank you, Israël, for your contagious enthusiasm! All the best to the Sotrelco team for the continuation of its exciting projects.
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