Running a construction program is complex and requires careful management to avoid costly errors that can derail a project. Gone are the days of relying on paper and pen for construction management, as modern digital tools have emerged to help streamline the process.
Despite the availability of full-scale construction management software, some teams still rely on disjointed platforms such as email, Dropbox, and Excel spreadsheets to manage their projects. If this sounds like your team, it’s time to consider centralized construction management software to take your program to the next level.
With more than 20 years of experience in construction management software, it’s hard to imagine running a construction project any other way. By having all team members on the same page, you can minimize errors and avoid putting out fires, freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on more important aspects of the project.
A centralized construction management software will bring your team together, allowing for greater collaboration, real-time updates, and streamlined project management.
Centralized Document Management
How often do you find yourself sifting through emails to find an attachment? Maybe you’re using a file sharing platform like Box or a similar program. Even then you have to hop out of one program, pop into another, and dig to find what you’re looking for. You won’t need to worry about this with the right construction project management software.
Any good construction management software has document management built right in. No need to skip around or sift through endless emails or find the right Excel file. It’s all right there. Most construction programs have their own unique organizational structure. That’s why it’s important to consider construction software that can be custom tailored to the way your team runs projects. And that’s at a minimum.
To save you a bit more trouble (and a lot less Advil), the right construction management software will have activity logs and audit trails built in. You’ll be able to see exactly when a document was uploaded, what modifications were made (if any), and by whom. Plus, revision control allows you to revert to any previous version if changes have been scrubbed.
These construction project management platforms are specifically created to accommodate any number of scenarios. Let’s say your GC is confused about one of the drawings they’re working from. No big deal, except your architect is on the other side of the country. Construction document controls give you the ability to view markups in real time. The GC on-site just submits an RFI that is automatically routed to the architect. The architect can whip out their tablet from 10 states away and provide clarification. Your team on-site will see those markups immediately — all from one construction management platform.
Other important considerations are file-sharing with external users, data security, and BIM management. These are all things that should come standard with any leading construction project management software.
Full Transparency For Owners
There are two things that construction project owners hate: going to court and finger-pointing. Well, three if you consider losing money. The right construction software understands this and should have provisions built-in for this reason.
You want to make sure that the project management software you choose for your construction program has you covered. If a situation arises where it can easily be ‘he said, she said,’ your software should make it easy for you to access the truth in a few clicks. The best construction management software out there will log which user approved what, who made what change, and when.
As the owner, you need to be able to trust that your construction program data isn’t wide open to just anyone. The right IT solution for the construction industry gives you control over each user’s permissions. If your construction software provider is doing it right, they’ll walk you through step-by-step setting up role-based permissions.
And, of course, reporting and analytics are top-of-mind for owners, but that should be a ‘give-me’ in today’s day and age. Those insights are where the real impact comes in. We’ll talk more about that later.
Built-In Accountability For Your Teams
An amazing idea is one thing. Building the road map for success is another. And, having the right team in place is something else altogether. But if you’ve landed yourself in a position at the top of the construction totem pole, you understand that success comes down to one thing… Execution.
Yes, good construction project management software will give you all the scheduling tools necessary to plan a successful project. You can plan out every schedule for every single member of your construction team, but it still doesn’t guarantee that all the pieces are going to fall precisely when and where they need to. Accountability is the glue that binds a successful construction program. Your construction management software should be packing industrial-grade Gorilla Glue.
Find a construction software that not only pairs every task with a specific team member, but puts their outstanding to-do’s front and center. As soon as they log in, each team member should get a healthy reminder of what’s on their plate. Not just today, but tomorrow and what’s coming up.
Even then, it’s not enough. The type of accountability ‘glue’ we’re talking about pokes, prods, and doesn’t let them forget. It may seem a bit much, but if someone misses a task deadline, they need to hear about it. In good construction management software, these notifications are automatic. If someone isn’t doing their job, they’re going to hear about it. Come judgment time, all it takes is a few clicks to know who let their tasks fall through the cracks.
Seamless Construction Workflow
If your construction program only consists of one or two projects, using spreadsheets probably seems like a great idea. And it may work well for one or two projects. But if you’re reading this, the scope of your construction program is probably well beyond that. It’s not uncommon for our clients to be managing a construction program that includes hundreds of projects. As good as Excel is, it wasn’t built to scale something of that size.
When you’re operating at that capacity, look for a full-scale construction software designed to handle construction of that magnitude. Not only that, but you need it to be accessible, intuitive, and easy to use. Look for construction project software that understands the intricacies of running a large construction program. Especially when it comes to managing budgets of that magnitude.
The right construction software serves as the guard rails for your construction financials, from planning to handover. It should take you from the preliminary budget all the way through change management and deliver it straight to accounting.
Over-payment and double entry can be things of the past. Busted budgets shouldn’t ever be a concern. That’s why construction management software was created. When you have the right IT solution for your construction program, you’ll have safeguards every step of the way. It doesn’t matter if you have a couple dozen projects or a thousand, the result is the same. Accounting will thank you and so will your cash flows.
Deeper Insights Through Reporting
Iterative improvement is the name of the game. That’s why ‘big data’ is so important. For construction programs, the right construction management software is your big data solution. When you have your entire team running every project in a central platform, there’s no scurrying to get the analytics you need. It’s all built-in. And, it’s there in an instant (not hours or days!).
With good construction management software, you have the power to control the exact data you want to see in a few clicks. Most construction software companies only give you a standard set of reports out of the box. Make sure that the solution you choose makes it easy to build custom reports from scratch. Otherwise, you’ll end up shelling out additional costs for reports that should be readily available. Plus there will be extra development time.
When looking for the ideal solution, it’s important to find a team as dedicated to your success as you are. One that seeks to understand the heart of your program and what matters most to you. A team like this will be certain you have the right metrics on the dashboard of every key player.
If your construction team is working across multiple platforms, it’s like a game of telephone. One piece of information gradually morphs into something completely different. When you have direct access to all your data across your entire program, iterative improvement is inherent.
Seamless Project Bid Management
Had to save the best for last. It’s everyone’s favorite, project bidding. Aside from all the hassle good software can save your construction program, bidding might be the biggest pain. We’ve had clients cut hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars using a digital bidding process.
It may seem trivial, but think of all the time, paper (we love the earth), and well… TIME that a manual bidding process consumes. Something that is seemingly so simple can often be a painstaking bottleneck. This is yet another area where adopting construction project management software can shine.
The right construction software will have an entire portal dedicated to managing this process. It should be one central hub to handle your entire bidding process. Bidding has traditionally been cumbersome, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the right construction software, you’ll be able to create bid packages directly from the projects stored in the same software. Your vendors should be able to download all design specs, drawings, and any other necessary documents. Good construction software will also provide an online forum for any questions. It should also give you the ability to notify vendors when addenda are available.
Even bid leveling is a thing of the past in this digital age. Once your vendors have submitted their proposals, it only takes the click of a button for you to know who’s going to yield you the greatest margin.
Bidding doesn’t have to be complicated. It should be so simple. It is. You just need to know where to look.
The rabbit hole really does go down pretty far when you look at all the benefits of adopting the right construction project management software. This article only scratches the surface. At the end of the day, ensuring your team operates from one central platform will immediately transform your construction program. You’ll also see your team catch a rhythm like never before. Your entire program will begin to move through projects effortlessly and you’ll get the full transparency you need.