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What is construction management software?
Construction management software (aka construction project management software) helps property builders, contractors, and subcontractors manage construction workflows. Construction management systems essentially function as project management solutions with additional features such as document management, budget and bid management, accounting, workflow automation, and resource management.
These solutions help construction site builders, engineers, and architects communicate job progress, monitor costs and expenses, schedule resources, and track project deadlines. Construction management software is also known as contractor software.
The benefits of construction management software
- Real-time visibility of project lifecycle: Construction management systems create a single window of visibility for all stakeholders, from field workers up through CEOs. Compared to manual methods, these systems make it easier to track project expenditures, address critical issues when they occur, and mitigate work delays due to unforeseen errors.
- Improved work allocation: Using construction management systems, managers can assign projects and tasks to workers with a few clicks. This lets everyone know their daily tasks in advance and eliminates the possibility of confusion. Managers are also notified when a plan goes wrong or a task is not completed by the set deadline.
Typical features of construction management software
- Bid management: Invite and accept bids from subcontractors and third-party stakeholders, analyze and compare bids to select the best option, send RFIs, and manage a centralized repository of all bidding details.
- Document management: Create, track, store, and manage all project and workforce-related documents so that all stakeholders can easily search documentation as needed.
- Project management: Create a step-by-step workflow for each project.
- Budget tracking/job costing: Allocate and record costs involved in completing each project, task, and sub-task, and compare them to budget estimates.
- Contract management: Maintain a centralized repository of all contracts and agreements between your company and your clients, vendors, suppliers, and third-party stakeholders. Also helps track contract-related milestones.
- Timesheet management: Track employees' actual working hours.
Considerations when purchasing construction management software
Construction management software is key for efficient and cost-effective project execution, facilitating overall construction firm management and simultaneous execution of multiple projects without workflow overlaps or unnecessary delays. That said, it's important to choose the right software for your business' unique needs, and there a few things you should consider when building your construction management software shortlist.
- Total cost of ownership: The cost of construction management systems depends on multiple factors. While some traditional vendors still offer on-premise deployment for a fixed one-time fee, most vendors now offer cloud-based solutions in a variety of pricing models. Few cloud-based construction management tools offer robust feature sets for unlimited users, instead of charging a fixed periodic fee for every project managed. Others charge based on user numbers but allow unlimited projects. Businesses should determine which pricing model meets their needs based on total user numbers and project frequency/cost.
- Training and support provided with the solution: Since construction management systems are used by everyone within a construction firm, from top management on down through field supervisors, it's essential for every employee to learn how to use the system. Before making a purchase, evaluate the training modules offered by various vendors and ask about their support offerings and terms.
Relevant construction management software trends
- AI-based software is augmenting construction management tools: Modern construction management systems are loaded with advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities. Construction firms are relying heavily on these systems , which not only collects data from multiple sources in real time but also provides valuable business insights. Built-in machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities help top-level managers understand issues in their process, look for better approaches, and improve tasks such as manpower logs, project billing, and job estimation.
- Wearables gadgets are the next big thing in construction management: Construction firms are rapidly adopting the use of smart wearables in their day-to-day operations. These wearables (e.g., smart glasses, jackets, and sensors attached to worker suits) help users collect data on worker productivity, efficiency, and safety. This data is shared with construction management software in real time to analyze working conditions and measure staff performance against various standards, which helps minimize downtime, check equipment availability, avoid risky workflows, ensure worker safety, and more.