After being plagued by inefficiencies and complex managerial overheads for years, the construction industry is showing encouraging signs of tackling such challenges by adopting digital ways. It is expected that the market for digitization in the construction sector will be worth over $29 billion by 2027. One of the key areas in this sector where digital technology is bringing a paradigm shift is construction project management.
As construction companies look to bring more agility and seamless management for their operations, having a powerful construction project management software in their arsenal is showing great promise. But the challenge that leaders face is selecting the right solution to manage their complex construction projects.
To that end, let us explore the must-haves of a powerful construction project management software solution:
The first step to untangling the complex web of communications happening in a construction project is to ensure that there is a common standard established for everyone. A good project management software will offer a unified communication and collaboration capability wherein all project conversations can be captured in one place across a gamut of operational scenarios, devices, and people. It will provide a variety of tools that will help different personnel record their work data and insights, which can then be centralized and made available to others as needed.
For example, field supervisors or engineers will be empowered to capture work progress metrics like stage of construction, status of electrical or plumbing works, etc., in real time. Inventory managers can use this data to keep their stocks always in sync with expected demand. Site managers can record work hours and attendance of employees in the software and these insights can then be leveraged by finance or payroll teams to process wages. This will ensure that there is always transparent visibility into project status for decision-makers and ultimately help in planning cost-effective strategies to manage schedules.
Empower Compliance Management
The construction industry is one of the most regulated sectors as it offers one of the highest employments in any economy. As per the latest data from Statista, the construction sector employed almost 8 million people in early 2023.
Ensuring that workers are paid in accordance with wage rules at local or national levels is critical. For example, in the US, construction projects in the federal sector are bound to follow wage codes as reflected in the Davis-Bacon Act. Furthermore, employees associated with different unions are entitled to wage structures as outlined in union payroll agreements. So is the need to maintain the quality of construction by ensuring that every stage as well as employee benefits are monitored for completion and compliance and are vetted by experts with all supporting documentation.
A powerful construction project management software will ensure that all aspects of compliance can be managed through a single window, as it will have a centralized data collection and management feature with permissioned access to different teams. This can feed into addressing the many complex challenges of payroll compliance too.
Any compliance requirement can be mapped into work schedules to ensure that progress monitoring also includes compliance checks by authorized personnel and that details are duly recorded in the system.
Construction sites are often filled with a diverse range of equipment operated by different personnel simultaneously or at different stages of the construction process. For a truly integrated project management experience, it is critical to capture performance and monitor data of this equipment to ensure that no unplanned emergencies occur due to machine faults.
Actual equipment usage costs, lease or loan details of machines, maintenance costs, etc., are to be captured systematically if a construction project is to be audited transparently for its financial position. A construction project management software should be able to capture equipment data as much as possible and make it available for integrated cost and financial analysis from time to time.
Maintain Document Control
Construction projects involve handling and maintaining many official documents. These could be drawings in different categories like structural, interiors, plumbing, HVAC, site plans, change documents, signed ownership contracts, etc., or they could be permission decrees or certificates obtained from relevant authorities.
Besides, there would be documents for internal operations such as employee details, financial statements, quality control, and vendor management. Maintaining accurate versions of documents is a critical initiative that cannot be compromised at any time, as it may lead to huge penalties for compliance failure.
As such, the project management software leveraged by a construction firm needs to have powerful document-handling abilities that can strengthen compliance and prevent irregularities from occurring. It should help maintain a centralized repository wherein different versions of documents are archived and classified for better transparency and seamless compliance management.
Seamless Reporting Abilities
From employee performance to financial credentials and compliance mandates, construction project management software must be equipped with a solid reporting capability. Data from across business units and projects need to be mapped with budgets and other operational insights to help plan better forecasts. Decision-makers must be periodically provided with utilization charts of employees, project completion or progress status, cost, or expense info, etc., to determine the best course of future actions. Various reports pertaining to wage compliance must be available on demand to ensure that there is transparency and accountability for the construction business with the laws of the land. This would demand reporting abilities that are able to deep dive into insights across departments and produce standard compliant documents. These may involve wage-based reports for classifying staff payroll, project progress reports for client engagement, cost or expense reports to help manage project costs, etc.
The software selected must also be compatible with modern business intelligence and analytics solutions that help decision-makers realize more value from their operational data.
The Bottom Line
Now that you have a clear understanding of the functional characteristics, the final question is on the technology side. One of the major traits that a modern construction project management software needs to have is the flexibility to adapt to the unique needs of every project. It could mean flexibility in its design, compatibility with a wide range of devices like smartphones, and most importantly scalability to accommodate large volumes of insights for complex projects.
Since project management software will function as the brain of operations for a construction business, it is critical to ensure its availability from anywhere. From field supervisors to decision-makers in boardrooms, information from across projects and granular divisions within the company must be seamlessly available and exchanged. As the business expands and enters new frontiers even in international markets, the underlying project management software must be able to deliver on expectations every single time without being constrained by geographical licensing as experienced by legacy on-premises software.
As such, it is best to go with SaaS construction project management software that CEM offers, as it provides all these capabilities with global scale and with the added benefits of subscription-based pricing. Book a demo today to know more.