Is your project management software up to the job?
Find out how new technology can rid your business of costly processes and barriers to collaboration in construction project management.
From deleting the wrong text message to suffering a mid-work power cut, everyone has suffered from data loss. Such incidents on the personal scale can be pretty annoying but for those involved in construction project management, the loss of large amounts of data can have disastrous consequences. Thankfully, the days when the loss or theft of a quantity surveyor’s laptop can threaten the profit margin on a major building scheme are starting to disappear.
Without an internet connection, computers were barely more use for construction project management than using the back of a fag packet. Spreadsheets are notorious for their unreliability - a mistake in one cell can be multiplied by automated processes. Dropping a device onto hard concrete can wipe out a week’s work in an instant.
In reality, true modernisation through technology is only just upon us. Software is reaching a stage that allows companies to create a central repository of data, updated and accessed in real time, completely secure and immune from the loss or breakdown of any one device. The benefits are manifold – and fundamentally altering business processes for the better.
Such developments are breaking down the historical divide between project management teams sat at base and their teams working on site. Previously, those sat in the office only got visibility of what was happening on the ground through monthly reports and spreadsheets – by which time it was often too late to correct problems. When comparing estimated costs with actual spending was so difficult, is it any wonder that many projects went over budget?
Previously, sub-contractors faced with a problem were often tempted to attempt to rectify the issue without even reporting it to the central team. When successful, this approach could save stress and reputations. It could just as often lead to the necessary work being kicked down the road, leaving a massive bill at the end of the project and wiping out any profit margins.
Mobile devices on site mean that such issues are no longer a headache within the construction management process. Software allows construction workers and managers to have access to the same data at the same time, giving one version of the truth of the project – enabling problems to be spotted and corrected much earlier.
Crucially, such technologies also allow much greater accountability to filter through the system. No longer can any party claim to have lost documents – all drawings, estimates and costs are available for all to see, in an undisputable central repository. If a mistake creeps in, then responsibility is immediately obvious - passing the buck is no longer an option.
Technology is improving all the time. Broadband links are almost ubiquitous now. The capability of communications and the power of data solutions are catching up fast. Most construction staff now have access to and skills with mobile devices that do away with the need to return to the office to write up notes. Project collaboration is an increasingly hot topic. Those who are not on board with the new reality are likely to get left behind.
Project management efficiency will directly determine the profit margin of your construction projects, and IT can help improve both. Find out how to achieve better construction management by downloading this handy checklist: Your systems checklist for better construction project management.