Most of the folks that come to us looking for a construction management software are already familiar with the headaches that accompany a disjointed process. They know all too well the common pitfalls—lack of transparency, double entry, and (what feels like) endless delays… to name a few. Yes, these can easily be taken care of with a good construction software.
One of the biggest issues we come across, however, is the utter lack of consistency throughout a construction program. It’s like a tragic game of ‘telephone.’ But unlike the game we all played in grade school, this one has severe tangible implications. When a program lacks a consistent process from project to project, there’s much more at stake.
It’s true. A construction program can certainly get the job done with a patchwork of alternative software. We can tell you with a hefty amount of confidence that same program likely has a trajectory much like that of a deflated football. Maybe even worse.
The point is, when each unit in your team is operating out of different software, information has a way of changing. Think about that happening across each facet of one single project. Now, how many projects are you running? That misalignment of data will only magnify with more projects. Your construction program ends up being run on a distorted version of reality. No wonder projections don’t get hit.
A construction management software can standardize uniform processes across your entire program. Doing that will help you hit closer to the bullseye and help everyone’s head hit the pillow a little easier at night.
1. Roles and Approvals
From the start, you need to make sure the right people have access to the right information, and specifically, only the information they need… nothing more. Owner’s have enough on their plate. They don’t need to worry about a user getting into files they shouldn’t.
Some owners even believe that they have more control in a traditional model. “They’ll only have access to the files we email them. Nothing to worry about.” We all know how that goes. Files get lost or they didn’t ‘receive’ them. All this just leads to more delays and headaches.
All access rights for every user can be standardized within a construction management software. You can trust everyone will have access to the files they need. No more hassle in wondering who has what or if something has been sent off yet. More importantly, your sensitive data will be secure.
What’s even better is that you only need to configure ‘user types’ once. From there, it’s plug and play. If there’s a one-off user who needs custom access rights, it’s no problem. Even though all roles have been standardized, good construction management software is flexible enough to make exceptions.
2. Document Management
Same goes for your construction document control software. Traditionally, companies will try to make due with Box or some other file-sharing platform—even email. These platforms force you to jump out of your construction software and into that other platform. Access rights are primitive in those platforms. As is the structure.
Having your entire document portfolio stored within your construction software provides easier access. There’s no doubt. But within the construction project management software you’ll be able to configure a standard structure that translates from project to project. You’ll be able to organize files by phase, department, or however you like. This template will provide consistent structure for every project. Each project will be more fluid to navigate without additional discrepancies.
Those uniform user roles also allow you to have a standard procedure for document access. Your architect can only have access to design documents. Your contractors can only have access to construction documents and so forth. Owners will be able to rest assured a standard system is in place that they can rely on for their entire construction program.
This is another area where uniformity through construction program management software can have an enormous impact. The tricky part is, you need to find software that can be configured to your needs. You’d be surprised, but even some of the biggest names in construction software require you to contact support for these things.
Field reports and site visit templates are a baseline in a good construction management software. No searching and no questioning. Historical information will be stored in one location in a consistent format. That being said, there are bigger pains than construction field reports.
Take, punch lists for example. If your construction program management software was designed properly, you should have no issue creating standard action items on closeout. Even include unique items from project to project. This saves so much time and hassle having to recreate these for each new project and track down those documents. Construction management software allows you to have a predetermined standard practice. You can trust that every project will adhere to the same closing procedures, and project managers will easily be able to verify that those items are being taken care of.
Another great example is standardizing your process for entering submittals. All too often submittals get mislabeled or lost in translation without a good construction management software. If a contractor makes an error or logs the wrong spec section, you won’t know until it’s too late. Within the right enterprise construction management software, those spec codes will be uniform. There’s no confusion and if there’s an error you can catch it at the source. Plus, PM’s can quickly check on who still needs to upload certain submittals. Not only is it an additional layer of consistency, but accountability as well.
4. Project Bidding
Enterprise construction program management software can revolutionize your bidding process. If you’ve been involved in a manual bidding process for your program, you understand the frustrations. Maybe even have had a grey hair pop up because of it. While an all-digital bidding process is life-changing, the uniformity that comes with it creates just as big of an impact.
It’s no secret that every contractor has their own idiosyncrasies. Each typically has their own vernacular for common line items. They probably even structure their bids in varying formats. This is a non-issue within an enterprise construction program management software.
Your construction bid template will require each vendor to adhere to your standards. The same goes with line items. Whatever vernacular used in your program will be reflected in the bid template. You’ll be able to compare apples-to-apples for every project.
5. Self-Managing Approvals
Waiting on approvals is another very real frustration for construction programs—not just waiting for the approval itself, but knowing it’s being passed to the next person in line. Over the span of a program these delays can amount to weeks or even months. Especially when you consider the various approval paths necessary for different facets of a project.
Inside your enterprise construction management software you’ll be able to set standard templates for each approval process. Not only will this provide additional consistency for your projects, but it will be automated as well. As soon as you initiate the approval process, each member in line will get a notification. That same notification will go to the next person in line immediately after they give the green light.
Standard approval processes in the construction software will cut enormous time in delays. It also holds those decision makers accountable as approval statuses will be transparent in the system.
6. Cost Controls
Running project financials in Excel is messy. There’s probably a spreadsheet guru who is comfortable running them, but if that’s not you, you’ll have some detective work to do on those spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets will get passed from person to person. Changes will be made and you’ll end up playing a guessing game at the end of the year. This issue can be easily resolved by migrating to an enterprise construction program management platform.
When you’re using the right system, each project budget will be run on a standard template that works for your team, and it will translate the same in each project. Controls are also built into those templates so projects are less likely to go over budget. Plus, it’s so much easier for non-Excel wizards to interact with critical financial data.
Uniformity in scheduling across your program is a must. A lot of times each division of a project will have their own preferred construction scheduling software. That doesn’t do project managers or owners any good. You need to have a central location where all schedules are stored in a standard format to see what’s going on at a glance.
A good enterprise construction program management software gives each of your teams the ability to import their schedule from whatever software they prefer. This ensures full transparency on each schedule with a consistent structure.
Milestone schedules, construction schedules, design schedules, etc. They can all be uniformly structured for every project across your program, providing clarity and consistency—which are key to successful projects.
8. Change Management
Having one central location for all your construction program data has been proven to slash the amount of time it takes to respond to RFIs. Still, when they come through your team needs to have a standard process to handle them quickly and efficiently.
In your enterprise construction program management software, RFI and change order templates will be standardized. Each one that comes through will have the same format as the last. Consistency is crucial to project success. Even more so when there are cost implications due to delays.
The blame game begins when a project starts getting delayed or is creeping over budget. What was the percent of change orders compared to other projects? How did the average response time fare against your last project?
Standardization through construction program management software can provide meaningful data without needing a data scientist. Data is a powerful tool, it can shed light on specific reasons for change orders, reveal your average time for approvals, and more. Standardization of ALL your construction processes will naturally lead you there. No more guess work, you’ll have the answers at your fingertips with an enterprise construction program management software.