Construction management software helps construction managers and project teams manage, plan, organize, and track construction projects, from pre-construction and planning to project closeout. Common features of construction management software are project scheduling, budgeting, cost control, resource management, communication, and document management.
When looking for construction management software, it’s important to consider features that you particularly need for your projects. For instance, Bridgit is a construction management software that focuses on workforce planning and communication.
Likewise, if you need a software that has functionalities for keeping in touch with external stakeholders, you should look for a software with document-sharing capabilities. We take a deeper look into this subject below.
7 features to consider in a construction management software
Choosing the right construction management software can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The list below will help you identify seven features you want in a software.
1. Checklists and inspections
Even today, many contractors and project managers rely on paper inspection forms and clipboards to keep track of everything from employee attendance to incident reports. On the one hand, paper-based documentation creates a lot of clutter. On the other hand, it restricts collaboration and sharing since there are only so many copies you can make.
It’s time you jump on the modernity bandwagon and use construction management software with relevant checklists and inspections. Digital forms notify the right person of changes or instructions at the right time, enabling faster responses and saving time.
For example, you can use the software for incident reports related to safety and health procedures. The software will not only allow you to keep track of onsite incidents but also help you visualize this data through charts and analytics reports.
Construction managers can also use digital forms to support WHS policies, such as risk assessments, and to grant pre-approval for tasks before construction starts.
A project management software with all-in-one forecasting lets you create a strategic pipeline by identifying skill gaps in the team, tracking data to improve employee satisfaction, and visualizing supply/demand for efficient resource allocation.
The software should allow you to:
- Pursue and track projects – You should be able to add your project pipeline to the software and visualize the gap between project demands and onsite skills or expertise. Then, you can use this data to train your workforce, allocate resources, or add new employees.
- Scenario planning – The software needs to show you the overall impact of the project pursuits on the project and the people involved. With scenario planning, you can plan everything in advance and be prepared for any situation.
- Utilization reporting – More importantly, the software should also show you reports of resource utilization. How much money are you spending on labor costs? Do you have enough staff allocated to a project? The visuals generated by the software should answer these questions.
3. Accounting and cost management
McKinsey’s Construction Productivity Imperative report showed that 98% of construction contractors report their projects experiencing cost overruns and delays. On average, construction projects go 80% over budget, which is concerning, considering that these projects are already pretty costly.
Therefore, you must look for software with built-in cost management and accounting features. These include budgeting and forecasting, collaboration with external stakeholders, invoicing and estimating, etc.
The software should also let you track payroll and budget so that you can see if you’re going over the assigned budget.
4. Document management
The construction industry is highly regulated, especially if you work on large government projects. Many of these projects require you to be ISO 9001:2015 accredited, and part of this accreditation is proving that your workforce is competent.
If you have a large workforce, tracking the expiry date of licenses and certificates can be difficult. That’s where construction management software comes in with document management capabilities.
Look for software that offers a real-time competency matrix feature, which can be used to track the skills and qualifications of each team member. You should also be able to store all the documents related to compliance in one place, ensuring the safety of your workers.
5. Communication features
Be it phone calls, emails, or text messages, the construction management software you use should have communication features to ensure a constant flow of information between teams. Even better, opt for software that lets you communicate with clients, answer contractors’ questions, and keep everyone in the loop.
A construction management software isn’t the only tool you’ll need on a construction site. You’ll also use other tools like HR, CRM, and accounting software. The construction management software should allow integrations with these tools to create a unified platform where you can see everything from payroll and budget management to employee attendance and productivity.
If possible, find software that allows custom integration with its API. You can then use the API to develop custom features or even create a mobile app.
7. Project information modeling
Construction projects are highly complex, with hundreds of tasks, tens of laborers, and numerous stakeholders, who have to stay connected for long periods, often spanning over months.
With time, project drawings and data models pile up. Your construction management software should be able to draw information from this data repository at any given time in the project lifecycle to provide the insights you might need into the project’s progress.
A software with project information modeling will allow you to see a virtual model of the project, including relevant data, such as spatial relationships and geometry of the building components. You can include data, like materials, equipment, and dimensions, in these models to improve visualization and collaboration.
A quick search on your preferred search engine is all you need to see a list of top-rated construction management software. Create a list of highly-rated software with positive reviews on third-party sites like TrustPilot.
From there, you can narrow down options based on your desired features and budget. Once you find the right software for your needs, you’ll be better equipped to keep projects within time limits and budget.