Construction business management can be extremely challenging since there are so many moving parts in each project. Weather, site conditions, material specification changes, owner preferences, and coordination between other on-site contractors are some of the obvious challenges. The complexity increases dramatically once you add other risk and accountability factors.
Contractors must mitigate construction risks and ensure accountability to be successful. When risks (like missed deadlines, lack of profit, safety, and environmental violations, and damaged reputations) are reduced, more time can be invested in strategic initiatives instead of putting out fires.
A complete construction business management software solution is an efficient way to handle the complexities of the entire project lifecycle. Work site software can help contractors minimize risks and hold all appropriate parties accountable. Increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs can be achieved by contractors through end-to-end control and seamless workflows.
Takeoffs and estimates are the first steps in any construction project. The more accurate the estimate, the better the profit. Taking an accurate estimate at the beginning of each job is essential because project managers will be held accountable for mistakes and over-budget projects.
A construction software solution can perform fast, accurate takeoffs and then convert the data into project management and accounting processes, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry or recalculations.
As a result of better estimates, subcontractors have more negotiation power. With confidence in their numbers, general contractors can challenge high bids from vendors and subcontractors and confirm low bids – reducing risks associated with bids that are too high or too low.
Estimators can also use assemblies available in software solutions to easily change materials for revised estimates of value-engineering projects. With these capabilities, estimators not only save time but can also reuse the same assemblies to prevent future errors and develop tighter bids.
The efficiency of a complete solution makes it easier to assemble bid details and produce proposals quickly. Sending out more proposals can lead to more work. Moreover, with more accurate proposals, you can win more jobs and increase your profit potential.
Work with ease and schedule equipment and labor
Scheduling labor, materials, and equipment for a job is also dependent on accurate estimates. Accurately estimating materials, for example, will result in less waste and fewer over- and under-orders as well as fewer re-supply delays. With a complete solution, the project manager can automatically create job budgets and billing schedules as well as automate purchasing processes based on estimate details. The electronic “job folder” provides all project-related data in one location, eliminating the risk of data not being passed from the estimator to the project manager.
Improved site management is also possible with a more accurate estimate. Project managers will have the necessary labor, materials, and equipment on-site, and materials will be delivered on time, resulting in less storage and handling on the site.
An increase in materials and equipment on the job site usually leads to more damaged and stolen goods. A construction company can mitigate this risk (often extremely costly) by scheduling just-in-time deliveries.
Contractors can also manage project documents, RFIs, transmittals, submittals, submittal packages, daily field reports, checklists, and project plans with an all-in-one solution that handles takeoff and estimating job costing, and project management.
With an online paper trail, contractors have access to all documents and related emails in one place, can set deadline reminders, have an audit trail to hold individuals accountable, and have documentation available if they face litigation in the future.
Management of hazardous materials on job sites can also be made easier by a software solution’s document management capabilities. Hazardous materials must be tracked, tested, and moved to appropriate handling areas. If you have to deal with government agencies, overzealous building inspectors, or even disgruntled neighbors, you must ensure proper procedures have been followed and that proper documentation is available to avoid a lawsuit.
Safety benefits are also derived from end-to-end software solutions. OSHA continues to become more strict about its requirements and to pursue legal actions against companies that do not comply. It is easy to overlook the need to complete required jobsite training and to maintain safe conditions on the job site. Noncompliance can be extremely costly if something goes wrong or OSHA performs an inspection.
Contractors can create assignable action item lists with due dates that track to their critical path schedule using workflow and audit trail capabilities in a complete solution. Contractors are then reminded throughout the process, preventing delays and avoiding potentially disastrous situations.