Construction Management software has revolutionized the way construction professionals have increased productivity, efficiency and made the firms these professionals work for more competitive. The types of responsibilities previously administered by a project manager, design engineer, and project architect are now performed by some of the most highly complex programs. It is estimated that the majority of all contractors use some type of construction software for estimating costs, accounting, project management, scheduling and computer-aided design. This has resulted in a multitude of such software available to the construction sector, yet this explosion of software options has made it difficult to find one that is comprehensive enough to fulfill all the needs of construction professionals. Here are the 10 most essential features the construction management software should include to provide a construction company with the most robust and complete functionality possible for commercial, residential and industrial construction contracting.
Top 10 Construction Management Software Features
The expenditures and costs of a construction project need to be closely monitored and such software for the task also needs to be able to integrate and exchange accounting data with other types of business accounting software. It also should be able to aid project managers who have to oversee anywhere from a small amount of projects a year to hundreds of projects simultaneously, depending on the size of the company. A construction accounting program also needs to be able to automate functions such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, work order entry, and payroll to name a few, with the flexibility to adjust based on the client and job.
2. Job Costing
Any construction management software also need to be able set standard rates for the different types of construction services your company provides and define the cost for each employee or contractor, production manager and supervisor. It should also be able to track time expenses, manage project timelines and produce actionable data to increase productivity, generate purchase orders, and create invoices.
3. Service Management
You also need construction management software that can manage and dispatch work orders, produce schedules, allocate assets and construction equipment meaningfully, manage contractors, book jobs, and effectively administer manpower. More advanced construction management software solutions offer dispatch with GPS technology, allowing dispatchers to send out jobs to the nearest technician, thus improving technician productivity.
4. Project Management
Often supervisors are unable to attend to every detail in a given construction project delivery lifecycle. Even a management team might have difficulty in planning resources, gather teams for collaboration, tracking project progress, managing and integrating new incoming client requests, re-scheduling timelines due to changing project deadlines, tracking any issues, as well as SLA management. Good project management software automates many of these tasks as well as others such as managing resources across multiple projects, developing and updating project schedules, and ensuring the project is profitable.
5. Job Scheduling
Also known as workload automation, this function of any good construction management software helps schedule tasks in the right order, allocating equipment or skilled workers over multiple projects, balance workload across multiple projects with the ability to quickly re-balance this workload in response to unforeseeable delays (weather, client input, job site challenges, etc.). It should also be able to layout a project timeline and allocate manpower and resources as a result, predict critical inter-dependencies of labor and equipment, create reminders for sub-contractors and other staff, and adjust this schedule as a project progresses to account for external factors.
Good construction management software also gives managers control over all project data, produce project analytics reports to enhance decision making, group and summarize data, and create various kinds of data reports from budgetary to architectural services costs. Project reporting software should produce real time, accurate data reports, schedule automatic delivery of reports to all vital personnel, allow exporting to other third-party software like Microsoft Excel, and help managers evaluate project statuses and identify areas that are at-risk, under-performing, or falling behind schedule. It also needs to produce this data in an easy to understand format that all team member can utilize.
7. Document Management
All information and data can produce more documents than the average construction company is able to handle. Included in good construction management software is the functionality of managing all pertinent documentation for a more paperless office. Instead of using more than one program to produce workflow data reports, you want software that can deliver all of these reports within a single interface. This can help to increase contractor productivity, improve project workflow processes, and aid in document security. The construction document management system should also be able to integrate with other types of business productivity software like Excel.
8. Inventory Management
The resources of a construction company are far greater and more complex than most other types of businesses, including equipment, transportation, building materials and technology. Good inventory management software functionality should be able to eliminate write-offs, perform quick inventory audits, find lost inventory faster, track assets on the job site, and assist managers in efficiently and effectively distributing equipment and resources based on this inventory data. Without it, you may take on too many projects for you to effectively complete or meet client expectations because of a lack of awareness of inventory and equipment limitations.
9. Equipment Management
This not only includes allocating all available equipment across various projects effectively and efficiently, but also recording which equipment is in need of maintenance and which is fully functional and ready to be used on the job site. Even better, good equipment management software as bundled with a comprehensive construction management program can also streamline maintenance processes and schedules, ensure consistent performance on the job site and increase overall efficiency by ensuring all equipment and construction assets can consistently meet your client’s needs. The ability for alerts when tasks requiring specific equipment is due is also a big plus.
10. Mobile Capabilities
Finally, businesses today need construction management software that can work across both desktop and mobile platforms. The ability for supervisors, sub-contractors and employees to access all cloud-based project data while at the actual job site cannot be underestimated. Web-based construction software is the preferred option, as the increased capabilities can further facilitate reviewing project specifications, equipment schedules, worker schedules, job progress, deadline changes, new client input and available resources. This can help project administrators make on-the-spot decisions faster and reduce the need for returning to the office to confer with all relevant departments. Accessing all the above listed features on a mobile platform can help complete projects faster.
Still undecided about which construction management software is the right one for your business? Click HERE to read our Top 10 Construction Software Solutions blog post and learn more about the best integrated and automated solutions available in 2016.