Running a construction program is chock-full with it’s fair share of complexities. The lion’s share of these complexities often result in costly errors that can derail any construction project. Imagine construction pre-internet… Lord help those that are still running projects on ‘paper and pen’. You’d be hard-pressed to find an all ‘paper and pen’ construction program these days.
Still, it’s surprising the number of teams that are managing projects across disjointed platforms. Fortunately, we live in the digital age where people smarter than you and I have created end-to-end programs to do the work for us. For those that are still using separate software (email, Dropbox, Excel, etc) to run your projects, this is for you.
One centralized management software can take your construction program to the next level. Knowing what we know now about construction management software (over 20yrs), it’s hard to see teams running projects any other way. Here are some of the biggest changes you can expect if you have your team all on the same page. After all, who really enjoys having to put out fires all the time? And if you can make a little extra money in the process, that’s a plus too. Let’s turn those complexities into an afterthought.
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.
Any good construction management software has document management built right in. No need to skip around or sift through endless emails. It’s all right there. Most construction programs have their own unique organizational system. That’s why it’s important to consider a program that can be custom tailored to the way your team runs their projects. And that’s at a minimum.
To save you a bit more trouble (and a lot less Advil), the right 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 software tools 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. Also, no big deal. Construction document management programs give you the ability to view markups in real-time. The GC on-site just submits an RFI that gets 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 software.
Other important considerations are file-sharing with external users, data security, and BIM management. These are all things that should come with a leading construction management platform.
Full Transparency For Owners
There are two things that construction project owner 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 IT solution you choose for your construction program has you covered. If a situation arises where it can easily be ‘he said she said’, your construction 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 trust that your construction program data isn’t wide open to just anyone. That’s why the right solution gives you control over each users’ permissions. If your software provider is doing it right, they’ll walk you through step-by-step in setting up what each user type will have access to. On top of that, an even better software provider would design their program to make it easy for your team to control. What good is the best construction program if it’s not easy to use?
Of course, reporting and analytics are at the 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. Having the right team in place is something else all together. 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, a good construction software program will give you all the scheduling tools necessary to plan a successful project. You can plan out every schedule for every single member on a perfect construction team. It still doesn’t guarantee that all the pieces are going to fall when precisely when they need to. Accountability is the glue that binds a successful construction program. Your management software should be packing industrial-grade Gorilla Glue.
Find a 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. What’s wonderful about good construction management software is that these notifications are automatic. Especially a mobile-friendly software. If someone isn’t doing their job, they’re going to hear about it. Come judgement time, all it takes is a few clicks to know who let their job fall through the cracks.
Seamless Construction Workflow
If your construction program only consists of one or two projects Excel seems like a great idea. And it very well may work for one or two projects, but if you’re reading this, the scope of your construction program is well beyond that. It’s not uncommon for our clients to be managing a program of hundreds of projects. As good as Excel is, it wasn’t built to scale something like that.
When you are operating at that capacity, look for a full-scale solution designed to handle construction of that magnitude. Not only that, but you need it to make sense. You need it to be accessible, intuitive, and easy to use. If you can find it, look for a software that understands the intricacies of construction. Especially when it comes to managing budget of that size.
The right construction software serves as the guard rails for your construction financials from start to finish. It should take you from preliminary budget all the way through change management and deliver it with a bow 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 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.
With good construction management software, you have the power to control exactly the stats you want to see in a few clicks. Most 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 cost for reports that should already be available. Not to mention the 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 evolves into something completely different. When you have direct access to all information across an 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 a good software can save your construction program, bidding might be the biggest pain. We’ve had clients cut hundred of hours and tens of thousands of dollars with 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 a construction management software can shine.
The right solution will have an entire portal dedicated to managing this process. It should be one central hub to handle your entire bidding process from anywhere. Bidding has traditionally been cumbersome, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the right 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. A good construction software will 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.
For 20 years, we’ve been pushing the envelope for construction management software. You’re not going to find a more intuitive and easy to use platform. From conception to closeout, we’ve got you covered.
Our Construction Project and Program Management software is thoughtfully crafted to solve the construction industry’s most pressing challenges from the owners perspective. For 20 years, we’ve kept a pulse on the construction industry and are constantly improving our management software to make sure your projects come in on time and under budget. We speak from experience.