Charles OKell, UK Pro Build

Position: Director

Company: UK Pro Build

Type of Work: General Building

Location: Cheshire

Products Used:

  • EstimatorXpress
  • PlansXpress
  • Design & Estimate Kit
  • Health & Safety Xpert
  • ProjectXpert
  • ContractsXpert

Charles OKell heard about HBXL through the Trade UK website and ‘Professional Builder’ magazine. As a company, he’d been looking for a way to make his quotes a lot more accurate – as materials costs have been very much on the increase. He also wanted to improve his customer-face after investing in a new website, branded clothing and vehicles – they were looking to complete the package with professional quotes and contracts.

“Having reviewed the HBXL website in detail, I visited the HBXL office for a software demonstration and feedback session. I was very impressed.“I then ‘challenged HBXL’ and used their Estimating Service to estimate for a very complex job so we could see what HBXL software had to offer. The end result was both accurate and very in keeping with the image we are looking to present. “I worked with Matt to put together the package we needed – he organised a deposit and a balance payment that matched our incoming invoices.

“Matt was one of the best sales people I have ever encountered – he always rang when he said he would and never ‘pushed’ the product. My whole experience of the HBXL team, including the support I received from the tech guys and the Estimating Service estimators, was great – they are clearly used to dealing with builders and know how to fit communications around our busy working lives!”

Having invested in HBXL’s Premium Project Toolkit gives Charles access to some of the most powerful software available for the SME build sector. This includes EstimatorXpress, PlansXpress, Contracts Xpert, ProjectXpert and Health & Safety Xpert.

It allows Charles OKell and the team to provide architect quality drawings and plans, highly accurate estimates using ‘that day’s’ material prices, water tight contracts and guidance on all health and safety issues needed under UK law.

Taking on the full suite has now formed the catalyst as to how Charles does business.

“The software in the last few months has been guiding us, we can look at the bottom line and see that we would make on a £20,000 extension that we could make on a £30,000 renovation/refit and we can do more of them. So this is really where we’ve been looking.

“It’s really changed how we think about doing business, whether we wanted to be ‘busy idiots’; are we making the most effective use of our skills and our team? We aren’t a big team, there’s only six or seven of us – are we using that team appropriately to make money because at the end of the day that’s what we are there for. The software has given us the insight, knowledge and confidence to know that our prices are right. We are able to say now, that’s the price, no negotiation, if you don’t like it, we don’t want the business.

Charles added: “We felt it was better to get whole package at once and learn from the beginning rather than bolt on bit-by-bit. “With EstimatorXpress we know from the very beginning that we’ve priced the job right. To produce legally sound contracts shows you are not messing around and by presenting along with the quote a full health and safety file reassures the client.

“We then print off everything needed and present it to the client. This helps make us look as good as we really are!

“It also saves us thousands of pounds in quantity surveyor fees, so even after a couple of projects the software has paid for itself. “When we showed our accountant the software he was so impressed he left the meeting to call two other clients saying they need to take a look at it.”

One other area Charles is keen to stress are the new CDM 2015 regulations and in particular the rule regarding domestic client responsibilities. He added: “The CDM regs are a bit of a minefield especially with domestic clients now having the take on initially the responsibility of site health and safety. Most architects we know are not prepared to take on the CDM responsibilities in case it put up their professional indemnity risks.

“However with Health & Safety Xpert on board we are quite happy to take on those responsibilities of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. “In our quotes we put warnings about CDM 2015 but say we’re happy to take on the role. “Health & Safety Xpert is a real gem and we cannot recommend it highly enough. It gives us complete confidence, keeps us compliant and shows we know what we’re doing.”

If you want to find out more about EstimatorXpress or any other HBXL Building Software product please don’t hesitate to contact one our team on 0117 916 7898 or via We have lots of opportunities for you to get a chance to see the software in action including personal online demonstrations, free trials, webinars, events and much more…