29 May
2015

Kirsten Campbell

By

Raise The Roof

The construction industry can be rather daunting for most people because it’s difficult to find a good, trustworthy contractor since a friend of a friend of a friend always has a horror story about getting ripped off that makes you run screaming from the whole idea.  These stories are so prevalent that there’s even a reality TV show appropriately called To Catch a Contractor about people getting ripped off for their home renovations, then being forced to hunt the contractor down in order to get the work fixed.  I even Googled ‘home renovation TV shows’ and there was a list of about 25 reality programs that focus on home repair and renovation, so it seems the fix-your-home market is booming.  But given the risk of the construction industry, what could a contractor or homeowner do to mitigate the possibility of things going south?

What's scarier, Adam Carolla or bad home renovations?

What’s scarier, Adam Carolla or bad home renovations?

 

The Levy Watt website is the solution for contractors and homeowners because it offers accountability and transparency for both parties. The website is a clever blend of a project management tool like Trello, and a secure third party bank like Paypal, but it’s tailored to meet the specific needs of the construction industry.  The entirely web based application allows both parties to communicate, manage and resolve issues as well as request, approve, and make payments as required.  Clients aren’t just handing large cheques over to contractors and contractors get payment as agreed upon steps are completed.  There is a channel for dispute resolution so if either party is unsatisfied there is a fair outlet to resolve issues.  All information is recorded on the website and both parties have access at all times to promote complete transparency.

Contractor Recommendations

Contractor Recommendations

The 14 Oranges Solution

14 Oranges decided to divide the project into three parts: a brochure website, a webapp, and an administration portal.  The Levy Watt website is used as a marketing and selling tool in order to promote their image and service.  The Webapp is the second part of the solution because it’s the tool used by the contractors and clients for project management.  The admin portal is the last part of the solution because it’s the backend that’s used, by Levy Watt staff, to manage projects, users, payment and much more.

Contractors and Homeowners Unite

The Levy Watt website allows clients to request specific contractors or ask for recommendations for a contractor.  Additionally, contractors can create projects and assign clients so it works for both parties.
Once the project is created it is still in draft mode. Contractors can add milestones and files so they can communicate with clients by private messages. When a project is ready for approval, the contractor sends an approval request to the client, who can approve or decline the request. Once the client approves the project, the funds get deposited to the project.

Levy Watt will then approve the funds and notify the contractor, who will initiate the first milestone.
Once the project is in progress, the client can request a change order (another milestone or a change to any of the existing milestones) and the contractor will create them. Any change order must be approved by both parties and will allow them to upload new files and send private messages.

Once a milestone is completed, the contractor will send a completion request to the client, who can easily approve or decline with just a message.  The client can approve the completion, or open a dispute.

Disputes are the tool Levy Watt provides for both parties to reach an easy solution to any possible problems that may arise during the course of a project. Both parties must agree to the resolution in order to close the dispute.

If both parties are subsequently unable to reach a solution, Levy Watt will suggest one and if they both still don’t agree, the dispute goes into external legal remediation which will usually lead to arbitration and the project will be placed on hold.

Levy Watt Infographic

The Levy Watt System

A Solid Foundation

Scoping and planning for the Levy Watt project was intense because of the intricate relationships between each section and how they worked together.  After mapping out the wireframes and determining the flow of interactions, 14 Oranges decided to use a custom WP theme which was designed by Zboya Design, that allows Levy Watt to update and control their website content. Providing a superior customer experience on any device was a crucial requirement for Levy Watt, so the entire website is responsive and mobile friendly, thanks to Twitter Bootstrap.
For the webapp, 14 Oranges used bsAdmin which is a bootstrap theme for admin tools and it helped make the contractor and client interface responsive. Since most Levy Watt users will be using phones or tablets, the webapp tools had to be responsive. They are able to upload files and validations with the respective bootstrap uploader and validator. In summary, jQuery, php and a MySQL database are the engine for the Levy Watt portal and webapp.

The Road to Success Is Under Construction with Levy Watt

Taking the risk out of home renovation and restoring peace of mind to homeowners was the goal behind the entire Levy Watt concept.  Having your living space exactly the way you want is every homeowner’s dream but that can be held back for fear of dealing with contractors.  With the Levy Watt webapp, both contractor and homeowner have transparency, clear communication and payment assurance to ensure a smooth transaction process.  Now it’s time to get renovating!

To learn more about how 14 Oranges can assist with making your ideas a reality by creating a web solution or a mobile app, contact sales@14oranges.com