If you manage your construction projects with traditional methods like Excel and email, you likely experience frequent bottlenecks, miscommunication, overdue documentation, and cost overruns. These methods are inefficient, and inefficiency means less profits.
Tracking RFIs (requests for information), ASIs (architectural supplemental instruction), COs (change orders), submittals, punchlists, timesheets, and daily reports with Excel requires you to repeatedly update your logs and continually resend those updated files to the respective team members. Time is wasted when team members have to sort through emails, identify the most current version of a document, and constantly reenter data. Further, effective project collaboration is nearly impossible when emails and Excel logs get lost and it’s hard to hold team members accountable.
Why waste all that time and money? Here are four ways to reduce the time you spend creating and tracking construction documents:
1. Get all team members on the same platform. Using one system makes life simpler for everyone working on the project. First, streamline the way project members receive notifications when documents are assigned to them, updated, or completed. Second, use a system that replaces email, but looks and feels like it makes it easy and intuitive for project members to stay on top of their work. Last, use a system that tracks version control to diminish any confusion about which document is the most current version. Having all team members collaborating on one system makes communication faster and uniform.
2. Speed up communication by using a cloud-based system that updates all project information in real time. Cloud technology means that you never have to manually update your documents in Excel and wait for project users to receive those updated logs (via mail or email). Instead, all actions taken, and changes made, are recorded and synced to the cloud immediately. With project information updating in real time, you can expect people to communicate at a faster rate, which keeps your project on time.
3. Increase and improve accountability with a system that has an automated audit trail of all construction documents. When using email and Excel to manage your construction documents, it’s difficult to hold team members accountable and lawsuits become harder to avoid. What you need is a system that automatically generates a full audit trail for every document across all of your projects. You will avoid miscommunication and disputes when all users’ keystrokes are recorded, tracking when documents are sent, received, downloaded, uploaded, edited, or updated.
4. A mobile app allows you to do work from the field. With a mobile app, your field workers no longer have to split their time between the field and the office. It’s critical that workers can take photos and create RFIs, timesheets, daily reports, punchlist items, schedules, and tasks on-the-go. A mobile app will improve field-to-office communication and can help speed up project completion time.
It’s no longer necessary to inconvenience yourself by doing things the old way. Using an end-to-end construction management software (like BuildingBlok) will dramatically improve the way your business functions. You will cut the time spent on logs by 75 percent, keep your projects on time and on budget, and tackle more work with fewer labor costs.
BuildingBlok has been transformative for EDiS, a mid-size builder based out of Delaware. EDiS is a construction management company with 70+ employees that does $150 million of new construction per year in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. After the recession, EDiS started using BuildingBlok and dramatically improved its operations. EDiS experienced rapid comprehensive adoption, and today 95 percent of employees use BuildingBlok every day.
EDiS takes full advantage of the suite of tools BuildingBlok offers to improve its document and financial management and field-to-office communication. The company manages its RFIs, ASIs, and submittals with BuildingBlok, which has shortened document approval time by 75 percent and helps provide a paperless environment. Automated audit trails and version control drastically improved document management, reduced closeout conflicts, and increased accountability.
In terms of financial management, all EDiS project managers have all their subcontractors (over 2,000) use BuildingBlok to submit their monthly billing. Tracking contracts, invoices, payment applications, and change orders on one system means that changes are recorded and updated in real time making it easier to stay on budget. BuildingBlok’s features like the schedule, daily reports, timesheets, photos, and file manager have helped EDiS improve its daily operations. BuildingBlok’s mobile app gives EDiS field workers the ability to submit their work on-the-go. The field-to-office communication and collaboration was streamlined and accelerated, which has helped EDiS keep projects on time and under budget.
The data strongly suggests that adopting construction management software will improve your business. Make the change so you can use all of that valuable time and money to focus on important things, like making your company more profitable and innovative. ■
About The Author:
Justin Nolan is the CEO of BuildingBlok, a cloud-based construction management platform that enables contractors of any size to efficiently manage the entire lifecycle of their construction projects. The service allows you to securely store, organize, and share construction-related documents and reports with your entire team. For more, visit www.buildingblok.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2015
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