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Integrating BCIS Rebuild cost data using an API

Published: 12/01/2022

 

“We found that the integration was saving
3 minutes per case, on average.”

 

Introduction

e.surv Chartered Surveyors is the largest residential surveying firm in the UK. They have, in the past, used BCIS Rebuild cost data through an online calculator, but they required a better solution to provide their surveyors with the data they needed. This solution was an application programming interface (API). An API is a way that applications in different businesses or locations can interact with and obtain data from one another.

Working with BCIS, e.surv saved each of their 600 surveyors an average of three minutes per case.

This case study details the transformation that made this organisation more efficient by integrating BCIS Rebuild cost data with e.surv’s dedicated software system.

 

Background

e.surv Chartered Surveyors is the largest residential surveying firm in the UK with over 600 RICS-registered surveyors. e.surv provides Mortgage Valuations and property risk expertise to mortgage lender clients, along with HomeBuyer Reports, Building Surveys and Condition Reports to the home-buying public.

As required by RICS, e.surv includes a reinstatement cost in HomeBuyer Reports and in Mortgage Valuation Reports (where stipulated by the lender) so that levels of insurance can be agreed for the subject properties. These reinstatement calculations are based on BCIS data.

 

Challenges

Prior to the integration of BCIS Rebuild cost data, e.surv was using an online calculator which was available on the BCIS website. To create a more streamlined workflow, e.surv wanted surveyors to access the BCIS calculator within their Survey Valuation application – rather than having to access an external website.

They were also following a manual process for using the BCIS tables in BCIS Rebuild cost data to provide a reinstatement cost. A simpler, more consistent method was required for accessing the tables with the online calculator, and a more consistent format was needed for record purposes and inclusion within the electronic case file.

Finally, e.surv surveyors produce scale floorplans during the valuation/survey process but, prior to the integration of BCIS Rebuild cost data, the figures generated had to be manually entered into the calculator on the BCIS website. By integrating the BCIS Rebuild cost data product into e.surv’s Survey Valuation app, the floor area automatically generated by the floor plan now automatically populates the BCIS calculator, saving the surveyors time. The floor plan application is enabled to provide GEA or GIA depending upon the property type.

 

Implementation

e.surv worked closely with the RICS and CoreLogic (e.surv’s software partner) to produce an integrated solution. An API was built to access the BCIS reinstatement calculation process and integrate it into e.surv’s Survey Valuation app.

The seamless integration allowed the CoreLogic software to interrogate the BCIS data and information to ensure all data is transferred and the reinstatement calculation returned in the correct format.

 

Solution

The API integration for BCIS Rebuild cost data has significantly improved business efficiency at e.surv. The solution has automated the process of collecting reinstatement cost data, the user-friendliness of the integration has made the surveyor’s jobs quicker and easier, and it has enabled e.surv to provide accurate calculations to its lender clients.

It offers the benefits of looking at features such as postcode, floor area and property type, and automatically generating calculations based on the data entered by e.surv surveyors.

BCIS Rebuild cost data is now integrated to ensure the data used in the online calculator is always up to date, with the API tapping directly into the live data.

Perhaps most striking of all is the time saving benefit.

A key focus for e.surv is simplifying basic tasks to allow surveyors time to concentrate on complex issues.

Based on feedback from the surveyors who piloted the API integration, the solution saves an average of 3 minutes per case. Given the capacity expectations for surveyors, that produces at least a 2-hour time saving per week.

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