By Khalid Noor, 2022
Construction has many different phases from inception to completion of a project. These different phases have a variety of functions that must be completed and are core to the construction of a project. A lot of these functions or skills are usually what a construction or project manager will be across during the construction of a project.
These different phases in construction can now be implemented into softwares that make the completion of these phases or functions a lot easier. It is becoming common that these different phases are implemented into software for the purposes of making the job of the construction manager easier, which means several different phases and functions of a project can be brought together into one platform.
On the other hand, these phases can be implemented into their own individual softwares. As a result of this, a wide variety of softwares are available on the market, some of them with more limited capabilities and others with a larger scope in capability and as a result of this some softwares can be used by various members of a construction project and others are specifically limited to an individuals or handful of individuals such as a construction manager. The cost is another factor on who the software will be marketed to and how comprehensive its features are, with some being more comprehensive and requiring various members of a project to collaborate together on the use of the software.
A software employed by builders and construction managers in a construction project can have several phases of a construction project or needed functions that help in the construction management process such as workflows, calendars, schedules and estimation and financial tools along with the ability to update stakeholder’s through communication on this platform. These can also be their own softwares, such as estimation software that focuses specifically on estimation.
This article will detail some of these different aspects, certainly the more essential aspects of a good construction management software and how these aspects can be employed as tools to help streamline and create more efficient ways to collaborate and work on construction projects.
Estimates on the cost of a project are an important part of the pre construction phase of a project. There is a bidding process where contractors will submit a bid to the person they are hoping to win a project from or for a client seeking to have a project built. In the former instance, a larger company would be accepting a variety of bids from and eventually choosing a desired contractor.
The estimation itself is a summary of the costs expected to be incurred by the builder in the construction project. As an imperative component of a construction project, naturally there are estimation softwares available. An estimation software should be able to effectively estimate the costs of a project and streamline the process of creating accurate estimates that are based on labour, materials and other relevant cost factors. There should be line-by-line estimates and quantity estimates of the materials utilising pre-determined formulas and calculations.
Construction projects should be timely with construction companies aiming to complete project’s consistently in a timely fashion. Understandably however, there are a whole lot of things that can go amiss. Due to this, construction project’s require detailed and realistic project schedules to follow.
The schedules or workflows are represented by charts or bar charts such as the popular Gantt Chart which is used to display a schedule, the chart itself consisting of horizontal lines to highlight how much work has been completed or production completed within a set defined amount of time and it is contrasted with how much time was actually planned for those different periods or set amounts of time.
In a workflow, one action leads to another after completion. This goes on and on until the conclusion of the project. Each action is specified with who completes it and how it is to be completed which are detailed in the project schedule/workflow.
In the framework of a construction software, a scheduling software will aid a construction project through successful workflows that can also implement a form of standardisation through repetition of tasks and projects. This leaves a construction manager more time to work on other aspects of the project. A more advanced software would help a construction project become easier to complete by assigning people and variables appropriately and more efficiently each time. The software itself should at least provide online tools such as a gantt chart to provide visuals for the tasks.
Storemen letting you know that you have run out of some material rather than telling you before it runs out is a problem. During construction you are going to need to keep track of your inventory and how much materials you have on hand.
Being notified too late can be a drain on time and affect the project especially if it happens often. As a problem seen in construction, there are also inventory management softwares that help a construction manager keep track of inventory levels.
Another important aspect of a construction project is quality and safety. It is not as common however to see a quality and safety software for construction as it has the potential to be more advanced than an estimation software which is more common.
A quality and safety software for construction should assess, manage and mitigate risks on construction sites. It should constantly take action to be aware of possible litigation issues that can occur in construction that relates to procedures that need to be adhered to as well as proper documentation of permits.
It should aim to reduce errors in project design which will itself help to lead to less issues down the line, which is the mitigation aspect of the software. The software can have the capability to keep track of defects and ensure accountability as well as assigning responsibility to different people so issues are resolved and tracked.
Comprehensive visual reports should be produced with reporting tools to help give a construction manager insight into a project, looking at various factors such as what incidents are occurring and measuring the rate at which they occur. Possibly explaining the why’s of these incidents and allowing for better preparation for future projects.
All of these aspects in quality and safety alone are rare to encounter in a construction software, hence it can only be inferred that this will affect a given construction software’s cost. However, it is something that will help a construction project stay on course and not get derailed.
A cloud file management software is also a type of construction software. The construction industry is still quite heavily paper based and as such there is room for improvement when it comes to efficiency and time management. A cloud file management software can aid in alleviating this.
This software allows teams to share documents with each other readily and easily. They should be able to collaboratively work on those documents too. As aforementioned the construction industry is still paper based so as there are a lot of documents so it can quickly become tedious to have store all these documents and having them online can give one peace of mind.
Expanding on secure cloud storage for files and documents and the capacity to collaborate on them. The building software should also ideally allow for team members to collaboratively work together and communicate with each other efficiently. Depending on the number of users on the system an internal messaging feature should be incorporated for ease of communication. Real time communication is essentially for a team as if certain members are remotely viewing the project they can communicate for clarification on any updates.
There are also construction management softwares which have an amalgamation of all the above types of software. These softwares are suited for project/construction managers and will typically contain estimation and financial tools, scheduling tools, communication platforms and more advanced ones will also include quality and safety measures and reporting tools.
A good construction software makes use of good project management functionality, estimate and financial/accounting tool functionality, job management, scheduling and planning and support functionalities and more. WunderBuild is a construction management software that aims to provide all of these functionalities and more to bring out the best outcomes for a project.
It is currently offering a free trial, visit here to try WunderBuild for free.