Construction management can be a chaotic field to work in, especially if you are the one doing the managing. Older analog methods of monitoring the many spinning plates involved in a construction project are fading from use as complexity on job sites rises. Web-based construction management software has recently taken the spotlight as a cure for many of the pain points involved in construction management.
According to a recent study, scheduling issues, lack of team alignment and inefficient work processes are leading problems on construction projects. Fortunately, cloud-based construction management software is here to help.
To better understand how web based construction management software can optimize your construction projects we are going to cover a few topics:
- Construction Management Software Definition
- Benefits of Web-Based Construction Management Software
- Web-based Construction Management Software’s Top Features
- How To Choose a Cloud Construction Management Package
- Top 5 Web-Based Construction Management Software Solutions
What Is Construction Management Software?
Imagine an astronaut piloting a spaceship. Construction management may not be quite as complicated, but there are still many variables to consider all happening at once. You don’t hear about astronauts climbing all over their ships to manually execute every process involved in space flight. In the same vein, you wouldn’t expect a construction manager to physically deal with every single aspect of a construction project.
Construction management software acts as a meeting point for the many processes inherent in a construction project. Much like sitting in the pilot seat, you have easy access to each important system of your operation and can manage them from an accessible dashboard.
By employing a cloud based construction management software solution, you can extend these benefits even further.
Major Benefits of Web-Based Construction Management Software
Construction projects go through changes as they progress through their life cycles. Allowing team members to collaborate on 2D or 3D models of projects allows changes to be made quickly and accurately.
If one team member notices a critical change that needs to be made, they can save a current iteration of the model, make their changes, annotate what they edited and receive feedback from the rest of the team before implementing it.
Not only that, with cloud construction management software, teams can communicate from anywhere in the world at any time.
Improved Data Visibility
Maintaining an efficient construction project calls for quick decision making. If a material needs to be swapped out or design needs to be changed, the project can’t afford to sit around and wait for long. With real-time data visibility, cloud construction management software allows construction managers to make educated choices.
Important metrics like machine health, safety regulations and job-site statuses are never more than a click or two away. This visibility can also help prevent costly errors from occurring. With a direct line into the many vital processes on a construction project, construction managers can identify problems before they happen.
Being able to quickly access data is a need that is constantly on the rise in industries across the world. Cloud-based construction management software allows project managers, stakeholders and contractors to access important project functions from smart hand-held devices anywhere.
Requiring a construction manager to work from a physical desk in a project that has multiple job sites is highly inefficient. This way, the construction manager can be on-site at one location while viewing data from any of the other project areas.
Affordable Pricing Structures
Cloud based construction management software often comes with a much more reasonable price tag than on-premise solutions. This SaaS method allows users to pay a monthly subscription fee, which can help teams with lower budgets acquire this type of solution.
While the entry fee is much lower, you should keep in mind how expensive the solution will get after a long period of time. It is possible to end up paying more for your web-based construction management software depending on how long you pay monthly.
Features of Web-Based Construction Management Software
Construction projects inherently come with a multitude of processes that need to be documented. Many operations still rely on analog pen-and-paper methods of document creation and storage, but these are quickly falling out of practice. Why risk losing physical documents when you can safely store a copy on the cloud and print it when needed?
Cloud-based construction management software allows you to generate reports, file procurement requests and create punch-lists all from one easily accessed location.
Data Back Up
Catastrophes happen, and on-premise solutions suffer the most when one occurs. With a web based construction management software solution, you can rest easy knowing your data is backed up on the cloud.
When that dreaded power outage occurs, your data is safe thanks to the iterative saving capabilities of the cloud. Even if your set-up is somehow completely destroyed, all of your critical documents and files are recoverable from your cloud solution.
Moving quickly during the bidding process can make or break a construction project. Whether you are choosing a contractor to go with or doing the bidding yourself, web-based construction management software makes it all the easier.
Quickly view incoming bids and compare them side-by-side to make informed choices on who will be working on your projects. If you’re the one putting in the bid, you can quickly generate accurate bidding documentation that includes all the pertinent information a project owner would need to make their selections.
Budget and Billing Automation
After a long day, balancing a budget can sound like an impossible task. Cloud construction management software can lessen the pain of budgeting and billing processes by automating many of the steps involved.
Keeping an organized record of project costs is crucial, don’t suffer from the disorganization of pen and paper. Keep your important documents in a centralized location that is always safe, the cloud.
Customer Relationship Management
At the end of a long project having a happy client is the goal. Cloud based construction management software comes with multiple avenues of strengthening client satisfaction.
With some cloud construction management software suites, you can create fully rendered models of completed projects (in some cases this can even be done in virtual reality). These type of presentations can be wonderful communication methods between you and the project owner. Nothing calms a client down like virtually walking through a representation of their project that is up to their specifications.
One major, (and often overlooked), feature of web based construction management software has over on-premise solutions is its ability to easily update itself.
On-premise solutions sometimes require shutting down the entire software suite to download important updates. These can crop up at unfortunate times and can set an entire project back.
Cloud-based construction management software keeps itself updated and tries its best to stay out of your hair while your project is moving forward.
How To Choose a Cloud Construction Management Solution
You’ll find that most cloud construction software packages offer a wide array of features, though you should never assume the feature you require is included.
Keep your individual requirements in mind when selecting your software solution. Asking yourself and web-based construction management software vendors some questions will help narrow down your list.
Getting answers to questions like these can help maximize your return on investment and help you get the most out of your cloud construction management software.
What Is Wrong With Your Current Solution?
If you already have a solution in place or are simply moving over to a web-based construction management software solution you probably have an idea of how your currently software package lets you down.
Talk to your team members and keep track of any points that they feel are lacking in your current solution. While the construction manager is the main beneficiary of the benefits brought to the table by cloud construction management software, your team has to deal with it as well.
Make sure everyone is happy with the choices you make; if efficiency is the goal, all team members should be comfortable with the incoming software solution.
What Is Your Budget?
An expensive price tag can be very tempting when you are looking to upgrade your construction management software. Most people see a big number and assume that the high price makes the solution in question the best choice. This could not be farther from the truth, however.
More expensive web-based construction management software solutions come with complex features meant to deal with large scale projects and teams. A small team that adopts a needlessly complex software package is inviting inefficiency.
When choosing a cloud construction management solution, make sure your requirements are met and that the software can scale with your operation as it grows. Most of the time this won’t lead to the most expensive choice on the market, but this isn’t a bad thing!
Does The Vendor Have A Support System?
Picking up a new solution or upgrading from an older software package always comes with a few growing pains. Your users will need to spend some time getting the hang of new functionalities and user interfaces, but what happens when a major problem occurs?
When speaking to your shortlist of vendors, make sure their web based construction management software packages come with a safety net. Some vendors offer learning materials that can speed up the initial integration process, but having staff on hand to answer questions about difficulties can save large amounts of time.
Now that you are armed with some helpful knowledge about the many benefits and features of cloud construction management software, let’s take a look at the top 5 performers.
Top 5 Web-Based Construction Management Software Solutions
Let’s get specific and dig into the top competitors in the web-based construction management software field. The goal of this article is to make your selection process easier, so our analyst team gathered their data and created this list of the top 5 software packages available.
Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management software platform is designed for use by anyone on construction teams and for companies of any size. BIM 360 is all about connecting, organizing and optimizing your projects with a single web based platform.
State-of-the-art safety modules help prevent incidents by capturing data from positive and negative safety observations. With the many collaboration boosting tools included in the platform your teams will have direct lines of communication to managers and each other. As we all know, communication keeps construction projects running smoothly and boosts efficiency on job sites.
Let’s take a look at some of BIM 360’s main benefits:
RFIs and Submittals: BIM 360’s RFI tools allow you to respond to RFI requests via the web and through mobile tools. You can also provide context to your 2D and 3D drawings or models by posting RFIs to either. The construction submittal tools provide a layer of accountability and can reduce the risk of errors with a single document library.
Quality Control: The included quality control module grants visibility into the many processes taking place on a given construction project. Access quality checklists via mobile devices and report any problems that come up in real time.
Create customizable quality checklist templates that can be accessed from a dashboard that tracks all submitted reports.
Construction Site Safety: Preventing on-site accidents is a must for any construction project. Digital site safety checklists and safety documents can all be accessed via mobile technology and help create a safer environment.
If any safety issues arise, BIM 360 provides functionality that can track the root causes of problems that happen. Conformance targets for safety can also be set for any subcontractors employed on your construction projects.
Constructability: BIM 360’s constructability module supports design reviews, version comparison and issue resolution. 2D and 3D designs can be shared across all teams on the project, and teams can collaboratively comment on documents and models with a markup tool.
Digital access to changes in core construction project documents like the scope of work, schedule and budget is readily available.
Construction Drawings and Document Management: BIM 360 employs a single, cloud based platform that can be leveraged for organization, distribution and file sharing.
Robust search capabilities, offline sync capabilities for mobile devices and photo sharing capabilities help round out this highly performing software suite.
If your projects are hectic, disorganized and don’t foster a communicative environment, a web-based construction management software suite can cure what ails you. Create a touchstone for your team members to gather around, share data through and communicate with.
How has implementing the cloud into your construction projects increased efficiency? Let us know with a comment below!