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GETTING STARTED GUIDE
GETTING STARTED GUIDE
Revision 3 – November 2019
In ensuring Constructor is as streamlined as possible, certain terms have been defined and are uniformly used throughout the program. Each term will be explored in detail in this getting started guide, and other more advanced guides. Below is a quick Summary to help get familiar with them.
TIP: The terms listed here are written with a capital letter and in Bold throughout this guide, so you can refer back to this glossary if you are unsure of what the term means.
Constructor is a fully integrated Sales, Estimating, Accounting, Payroll and Document Management software package for the construction industry. Constructor Management Software was developed by builders to work for builders the way builders work. The program flows logically from step to step following the building process. As a builder, you will find it intuitive to use because it works the way you do.
Primarily it is used by builders in the residential home market who agree with our philosophy that:
“Major business efficiencies can only be found by implementing a software system that integrates all aspects of a business into a single cohesive database application.”
The Constructor Management Software completely streamlines the entire business work flow for builders, providing Estimating tools that allow accurate estimates to be built, quickly, using your own predefined Formulas and Components – to build your Bill of Quantities (BOQ).
This guide will take you through first logging into Constructor, setting up Users, Companies, Naming Conventions, Suppliers/Trades, Clients and Email settings.
Every time Constructor is opened, the login screen will appear. A User will enter their own individual login details.
The User dropdown allows you to select a User to login as (1). A User can have their access to parts of the software limited as required or to match their Role. The Password Field (2) is attached to the selected User and the password can be set for each User. Please choose the Administrator User, which does not require a password at installation and gives full access to Constructor.
NB: Please note, this Password must be changed as part of the initial setup, as it is undesirable to keep it blank.
The Company dropdown (3) allows you to select which Company profile to use for this session of Constructor.
The Log on to dropdown (4) gives you a list of servers Constructor can connect to. If you are working on the machine that also runs the server then you will see something like (LOCAL)\SERVERNAME as in the example image below. If no servers are in the dropdown list, you can use the Find Servers (5) button to open up a list of available servers that are located on your local network.
In the example to the left, three servers have been found. Each server listing follows the format Server name/SQL Server name. Usually the server you want is named CONSTRUCTOR, but not always. If you are unsure, it is recommended you talk to your IT provider.
When you are sure, select the server you want to access and click Login:
The Login button will take the details you have provided and login to the server. Cancel lets you quit if you do not want to proceed from this point. Options allow you to hide and show the Company and Log on to dropdowns for future logins. This is useful if you were setting up a User’s workstation and you wanted them to login every time to the same server and the same Company. Once you click Login all these options will be set by default, except the User’s password which will need to be entered on each login. When you are ready, click Login.
Once logged in, you will see the Main Menu along the top. If you click on any of these options there will be a menu underneath it (dependent upon permissions). Each menu lists Screens and other sub-menus, grouped together for ease of use.
Directly underneath the menu, it is possible to set up your own personalized Workspace.
This section explains how to set up a new Constructor User within your organization. You can isolate Users to certain parts of Constructor with the use of Roles. You must have Administrator permissions to access User Administration.
**Each user should have their own name, role/s and password. User information is stored against all transactions, so it is important that each person only ever log on as themselves and that they have access to only those sections they need.**
The following example will show the setting up of new Estimator. If the User you are creating is not the Estimator, adjust the Role accordingly.
To create a new User, go to Tools, Security, User Administration:
Click the New button (1). Create a Username and tick Login is Active (2). If the User is an Administrator, tickt the System Administrator box. (In this example the User is not an Administrator.)
Move to the Person tab (1). To enter the new User’s name, click the field with the boxes in it (2) to expand out the Name fields. As you start to enter the User’s name, if the system can find something similar, Possible Matches (3) will pop up. If it transpires that you already have this User’s name set up, then choose it from the Possible Match, otherwise, fill in the Name boxes manually.
Click the Add (4) button to make the entry fields visible for Phone, Email and Address. Fill these in as appropriate.
Move to the Company tab (1). Click Add Access to Another Company (2) and choose the Company/s that this User will have access to (3). You can choose more than one Company at a time by holding down the Cntrl key and highlighting each Company.
Once the Company/s have been set, highlight the main Company and click Default Company (1). The Company will turn bold and will be the one that defaults onto the login screen for the User.
Roles enable/disable certain parts of Constructor for security purposes. Setting up what a Role is permitted to do can be done within Constructor, but your database will already have setup all of the Roles you need. It is recommended that you learn more about Roles before you begin adjusting them.
Go to the Roles tab (1) and click New (2). As the User is an Estimator, choose that option and all the permissions associated with Estimator will be applied to the User. Only give each User their appropriate Role.
The Secuirty Groups and Access tabs do not need to be filled in, as the Role takes care of both these things.
For your User to be able to send Emails from Constructor, move to the Email tab (1) and set up the Email defaults. The Default Sender is the default for your Company and is often a group account, such as email@example.com. The information entered in Server Information (2) should be provided to you by your IT provider. Click the Test button (3) and a test email will be sent, assuming the settings entered are correct.
Save the new User.
When a new User is first created, the will have no password (blank).
Each User, no matter how small their Role, will have access to the Change Password Section. They should immediately set a password on first login.
If a User forgets their Password, the Administrator can reset it for them. Open the User and click the Change Password button (1). Set a password and let them know what it is.
To set up a Signature for emails sent by the User from Constructor, click the Signatures box (1). Click New (2) and a new email Signature line will be created. Tick the boxes at (3) to let the system know if the Signature is to be applied to new emails and/or reply email. If you have different Signatures for different Companies, choose the Company which this one is relevant to (4) and copy in the Signature (5). Repeat for all different Signatures as appropriate.
When the new User first logs in (with no password), they will see a new User notification in the bottom left hand corner of the screen:
There will be no Workspaces set up. A Workspace acts as a toolbox for the features of Constructor that will be used most. The Default Workspace contains the most common features, but you can also customize Workspaces to contain exactly the features you want to use regularly and multiple Workspaces can be configured if the User performs many different duties within your Company.
For the User to set up their own Workspaces, go to Tools, Customise Workspaces:
Click Add (1) and give the Workspace a name (2) and save (Ok):
Click Add Task to Selected workspace (1). The Select a Task box will pop up. Expand the menu options until you find the shortcut you are looking for and highlight it (2). Click Use (3). Carry on highlighting and using the menu items until you are satisfied with the results. Click Close (4):
The Preview box (1) will show the chosen items and once the screen is Saved (2) the Workspace will appear. Close the Customise Workspaces screen:
To attach the Workspace to the preferred location, click and hold the title bar at the top (1) and start to drag it. Four little positioning boxes will appear (2). Move to the required section of the screen onto the arrow and let go the mouse:
The Workspace will snap into position:
The User will come across a number of different Icons when using Constructor. Here is a brief outline of each.
The Close button will close the current Screen you are working on. If the current Screen has not been saved, closing it will prompt you to save your work.
The Close All Screens button works the same as the Close button, but will close all Screens throughout Constructor. This is useful if you want to work on something with a “clean slate”. The Close All Screens button can also be found under the window context menu (Window, Close All).
The Save button will save the current Screen as an Entry. Similarly, Save & Close will both save and close the Screen. Save & New is a convenience feature for entering many Entries one after the other, allowing you to save and close the current Screen and move onto a new Entry Screen of the same type.
The New Button opens a new Entry Screen for the item you wish to create. You must save this Entry for the data to be stored.
The Open Button opens the selected Entry for viewing and editing.
The Delete button deletes the selected Entry permanently. As such it is always a good idea to ensure you have selected the correct Entry before deleting it.
The Clear button clears a Field of its value. The Remove button will remove the currently selected Entry.
The Print Button generates a document version of the Screen you are viewing for printing. Some Screens will allow you to refine information into a number of useful Reports through the Print button. The dropdown arrow attached to this button allows you to quickly access common Reports.
The Refresh Button, sometimes referred to in an Estimate as Revert, repopulates the data that the current Screen is using. This is useful when you are working across multiple Screens involving the same or similar data and make changes on one that you want to have carry across to another.
The Browse button is found in the Grid next to items that can be browsed for. They are most easily found by looking for the columns labeled ‘…’ along the Grid.
The Lookup button allows the Field it is connected to be populated by browsing another list of Entries of another type.
The Select All button selects all Entries in the Grid. Adversely, the Deselect All button will then deselect all Entries in the Grid. The Select All button becomes the Deselect All button when clicked, and vice versa. The Use button takes the selected Entry and uses that information in the previous Screen.
The Properties button shows who created the selected Entry, and who last modified it. This can help following up on actions performed in Constructor. You can also quickly access properties, and other actions, by right clicking the selected Entry and choosing from the Main Menu.
Create internal only note allows you to store information about the Entry that does not have a specific Field for that data. This is useful for reminders about the Entry and is viewable by your Company’s Users only.
The Send a notification button lets you send communications to other Users in Constructor about the Entry you have selected.
The Notification Bar displays messages relating to the current Screen. The details of the notifications can be revealed by clicking the Notification Bar, and to hide them click again. Some notifications will need to be resolved before saving and closing certain Screens.
Each Screen has the standard Minimize, Maximize/Restore and Close functions. The Minimize, Restore, Close options (after maximizing) can be found in the top right hand corner of the Constructor window (below Constructor’s own Minimize, Restore, and Close).
To set up an existing Company, go to System, Company and open the Company (by either double clicking on the highlighted line or using the Open button.
The Company Details tab (1) is for setting up the most common details about your Company. Please enter your Company name and the name your Company is trading as, if it is different (2).
Then add the information relating to licensing and taxation for your business (3). Tax File Number, ACN and ABN must all be in the correct format and will be marked with an error ( ) icon if incorrect. If you do not have this information handy then just leave the Fields blank, and you can add them in later.
The next Screen, Contact Details (1), allows you to enter your main correspondence details. These are for the Company itself. Employees can have their contact details entered at a later point. To make the entry fields active on this screen, please click the Add button (2).
Note: When adding an address into Constructor it can be handy to use the Postcodes menu (3). Next to the Suburb field you will notice the Lookup ( ) button, which opens the Postcodes menu. The list of suburbs and postcodes contained in this menu are imported from data provided by Australia Post. This can be useful in filling in unknown information; for example, say we only know the name and state of the suburb then we can use the Postcode menu to find the postcode.
System Defaults (1) allow you to set up some fields so that they are automatically populated wherever they appear in Constructor. These are (2):
- Price Zone
- Unit of Measure
- Construction Type
Keep these blank if you don’t want them to default in when transactions are created. This screen also contains File Settings (3) and the facility to put in a cheque printer (4), in the unlikely event that you are using one.
This tab contains some Options (1) for the appearance of your Purchase Order (2), Accounts Receivable Reports (3) Payment Options (4) and Accounts Payable Reports (5).
Company Images (1) are used when generating correspondence. The Images Settings (2) tab is where you can set the Maximum Size of your images. Highlight the image you are setting the size for (3) and enter the size as required (4). You should really only need to amend this if there is a problem with your Images printing too large on your documents.
On the Logo tab (1), the Lookup ( ) button beside each input field (2) you can open the Image Viewer window, shown below. From within the Image Viewer window you can expand the headers (3) to reveal images listed under each. You can use the Add from File option (4) to open a file explorer to browse for the image you want.
Another useful tool is the Edit option (1), which opens up the Image Editor window. Here you can manipulate the image in several ways to ensure it is correctly oriented and cropped within Constructor. When you are happy with the image, Save and then Close (or Save & Close) to return to the Image Viewer and choose the Use button (2) to use the selected image.
The Text tab (1) gives you the opportunity to amend some elements of your standard documents. At the time of writing, the documents themselves are not available for amendment. Highlight the document you wish to amend (2) – the text on and it will appear in the right-hand window. Amend the text as required.
The G/L Defaults tab (1) is an important screen for the Accounting side of Constructor. Please make sure you have set all the posting defaults that are appropriate to your Company (2).
To set one that is missing or incorrect, double click in the account line (3) and the Chart of Accounts codes will pop up. Choose the appropriate code.
If you have a problem with transactions that appear to be posting incorrectly, this is the first place to check.
If you are using Constructor for Payroll, the Payroll tab (1) will show you the current pay period dates (2) along with Payslip Options (3) and Tax Calculations (4). This tab is simply your Company Payroll setting defaults. The Payroll Administration section contains more information about your Payroll/s.
The Slideshow tab (1) shows the default settings for the Slideshow that is available in the Sales section of Constructor. If you want to use Slideshows, then this is where you set up the fonts and whether prices are shown on the Slideshow.
The Numbering tab (1) will show the current numbering for each section in Constructor. In a new database, they should be blank as no transactions have yet occurred. If you have an existing set of numbers and you want Constructor to carry on from the last number used, enter that number in the Last Sequence # field.
The Email tab (1) allows you to enter Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) details to allow Constructor to send emails to Clients and Suppliers/Trades. It is recommended you talk with your IT provider to setup your email, however we have added a section at the end of this guide detailing some guidelines on how you can set it up.
Default Sender should be set as a group account, such as accounts@ or info@:
On the Grid Display tab (1), it is possible to change some of your field settings. Be careful here though – don’t change your colours so that the foreground and background are the same, or you won’t be able to read the field labels!
The Files tab (1) is used specifically for adding in any file/s that need to go out with your purchase order. For example, some companies send trading terms or delivery documents out with purchase orders. If you have such a requirement, click New (2) and attach the file (3):
The ConText editor is a word processor inbuilt into Constructor. It is useful for storing any documents related to your company as a whole. Anywhere you see the Context Editor shortcut in Constructor will allow you to open this word processor:
For example, you could store a copy your Registered Practitioner Details. Click on the yellow folder with the green Cross on the right (1) to create a new folder (2). Then click the New (3) button to create your new Document. Don’t forget to Save (4) when you are finished.
As with any word processor, documents can be created, edited and stored in the ConText Editor.
There is a pre-loaded Chart of Accounts available for you to use. However, this Chart of Accounts does not have to be used. You can change it if required. Please see the Accounting guide for further information. Banks are set up in the Chart of Accounts. Go to Accounting, General Ledger, Chart of Accounts:
In the Chart of Accounts (1), expand Assets, Current Assets (2) and open 1.1002 – Bank Account (rename with your details) (3):
Open the record, rename the bank (1) and fill in the details. It is possible to enter the reference numbers of your last receipts and payments (if you so wish) in the Payments (Last Numbers) section.
If you have a bank statement to upload, so that an opening statement balance will display against the bank, please go to Accounting, Bsanking, Bank Accounts:
Highlight the bank and click Reconcile:
This will bring up the Reconciliation screen. Enter the basic information from your last statement, i.e Statement Number, Statement Date and Closing Balance (which will become the new opening balance) (1). Click Continue Later to save (2).
It is strongly recommended that you establish a Naming Convention for the ID and Description fields when creating new Projects, BOQ’s, Components, Formulas, Clients and Supplier/Trades. This will make finding your information quicker and easier.
One way to Filter any Grid of information is by using the ID column. This column only contains unique values, and so if you Filter a Grid by an ID it will return the exact Entry you are looking for. The first example is an extract from Components Summary (from the Components pre-loaded into your system):
Constructor can create a default ID for each Entry. However, for ease of use, using an “In house” ID Naming Convention can be advantageous. You can configure this numbering system in System, Automatic Numbering Customisation.
To see any Automatic Numbering Customisations that are already set up in the database, choose a Numbering Entity (1). The Delimiter field (2) is the symbol being used to separate out the Numbering Elements, in this example, it is a dash (-). Available Numbering Elements (3) lists out the items that are available to use in your new ID and Numbering Elements Used (5) are the items that have been chosen (move items from one screen to another using the arrows in the middle (4)). If you want to re-order the Numbering Elements Used, use the up and down arrows (5):
Names and Descriptions should also have a Naming Convention. An effective Naming Convention will make it much easier and quicker to choose AND prevent duplications. It is recommended that you come up with a Naming Convention for each section of Constructor where you regularly need to search. Here are some examples:
- Clients – Surname, First name/s, Town. This will allow you to search by location if you cannot remember the Clients name.
- Projects – Come up with a combination of abbreviations that are always entered in the same sequence. For example; Surname, initials of the Project Manager or Sales Person, Building Design Number. Whatever will help to make searching easier.
- Formula – You are likely to have many similar Formula, so think very carefully about how you want to distinguish them from each other via the Description field. This example is for bathroom module formulas:
- Components – Putting the dimensions in the Description may be something you want to consider. For example, you are likely to have many ovens in your Component List. If your Component descriptions look like this:
You won’t have a clue which is the one you want until you open each of them in turn. If however, your Component list looks like this:
You can find your Component with ease.
The following explains how to create a new Supplier/Trade. This can be done from the shortcut, the Main menu:
Or from within any Supplier/Trade Search box. To begin, click the New button (1). In the top half of the screen, please populate the Supplier’s Company Name Details and Address (2). On the left, create all the associated Contacts for this Supplier/Trade. Click Add Person (3). The pop-up box for adding in Contact information will appear. You will need to click the Add (4) button to make the entry fields within this box visible. You can enter the Name, Job Title, Practitioner number and contact details.
The bottom half of the screen is divided into several tabs. The first tab (1) is for entering any Additional Contact people associated with this Supplier/Trade. As above, you will need to click the Add (2) button to activate the data entry fields:
The second tab is called Trading Information (1) and is where you record Trading Information for the Supplier/Trade. Also enter the bank details (2), as you will be making payments to them and most likely by EFT:
The third tab is for Preferred Supplier Groups (1). There will be one pre-populated in your database. You can either use the default or set up new ones. An example for grouping Suppliers is by District.
The fourth tab is for the Supplier/Trade Settings (1). These settings are defaults and can be changed at the time of creating your Transactions. Even the Supplier Type (2) can be changed Supplier or Contractor (2). This will be important for the system calculated TPR (Taxable Payments Report), which is for Contractors only.
- Activity (3) from the pre-populated list (if you are using these for Reporting purposes – if not, then leave it blank),
- Trading terms (4) are important for the system to determine the Due Date of Invoices.
- Accounting Defaults (5). The GST code will be automatically populated on Invoices, if you choose a default here, as will Payment Method.
- Default Accounting Transaction Line Types are for Purchase Orders and Invoices. When creating either an Order or an Invoice, the system will default this Type for each new line (6).
The fifth tab is for any Notes (1) you want to appear on Supplier documents (Purchase Orders and Payments) that are specific to this Supplier and not general for all Suppliers. Click into any section to activate it. You can also add in any documents to save to the ConText Repository (2) if you wish:
The sixth tab is to record the Supplier’s Insurance details. Choose from the drop down, then click Add (2). This will populate the screen with the required fields for that Insurance Type:
If the Suppliers Public Liability Insurance expires, a red line will appear against the Supplier whenever if it is used, so that you are aware and can contact them for the new information:
The final tab is for linking in any alternate Contact details (1). For example, the Supplier may prefer their Purchase Orders and payments be sent to a different Contact rather than the main one. Click the New icon (2) and either link to a contact person already set up against this Supplier (on the Additional Contact Information Tab) or Add in a New Email Address (3):
The following explains how to create a new Client. This can be done from either the shortcut, the Main menu:
Or from within any Client Search box. To begin, click the New button (1). In the top half of the screen, please populate the Main Contact details, including Phone, email and Address. You will need to click the Add (2) button to make the entry fields visible. You can enter the Name (Display As), ID (remember your Naming Convention) and any Legal Salutation.
The bottom half of the screen is divided into several tabs. The first tab is for entering any Additional Contact Information (1) associated with this Client. As above, you will need to click the Add (2) button to activate the data entry fields:
The second tab is for Categories (1). There will be some pre-populated in your database. You can either use the defaults, change them completely or not use them at all. They are currently for information only and not linked to any Reports. To assign a Category, highlight the Category on the right (2) and move with the arrows (3):
The third tab is called Trading Information (1) and is where you record Trading Terms, Ageing parameters and Company details (2), if the Client is a company:
The fourth tab is for any Notes (1) you want to appear on Client documents (Claims, Receipts or Statements) that are specific to this Client and not general for all Clients. Click into any section to activate it. You can also add in any documents to save to the ConText Repository (2) if you wish:
The final tab is for linking in any Alternate Correspondence Details (1). For example, if the Client is a company, they may have their Claims and/or Receipts sent to a different Contact rather than the main one. Click the New (2) icon and either link to a contact person already set up against this client (on the Additional Contact Information Tab) or Add in a New Email Address (3):
The email settings in Constructor are stored in two areas. The Company settings and the User Administration page. When sending an email, if there are no email settings entered into the User Administration Email tab, Constructor will use the settings in the Company Email tab. If you will only be sending from one email always, enter the details described in the next few steps into your Company Email settings only. If you will have multiple Users who wish to send emails from their own personal emails then enter the details into their User Administration page.
The email configuration options are the same whether for a company, branch, or user.
|Default Sender||This is the email address you will send from, for eg if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org enter that into the field.|
|SMTP Server||SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This is the server where you mail comes and goes from. If you use a popular email like gmail or outlook then your SMTP server can usually be found by googling. However, further down the page there is a list of some popular SMTP server names and their corresponding Port numbers you can try first. If unsure contact your email provider.|
|Use SSL||This option is selectable based on if your SMTP Server uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) connection. This is always preferable on an email server as it prevents 3rd parties from reading emails that are sent back and forth.|
|SMTP Port||Like the SMTP Server name, this can also be retrieved through wherever the SMTP Server details are as well. If unsure contact your email provider.|
|Server Requires Authentication||Tick this to activate the below fields to enter your login details for your email.|
|Username||This is your email login username, commonly the same as the default sender.|
|Password||This is for your email login password. If unsure of what your password is contact your email provider.|
Below are SMTP details for some of the more common SMTP servers. Further information may be available from your IT / Email Provider.
|Service||SMTP Server||SMTP Port||Use SSL (on/off)|
|Google / Gmail||smtp.gmail.com||587||On|
|Tesltra / Bigpond||smtp.tesltra.com||465||On|