Steps While Choosing a Construction Project Management Software

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SoftwareSuggest

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 20, 2021

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If you are working in the construction industry, you already know how difficult it is to manage a project. If we look closely at construction project management, we will quickly realize that the complexity of processes that are involved in bringing a particular construction project to life is immense. There are just way too many tasks and simultaneous processes to keep track of.

In fact, all the tasks that are carried out at the construction site have to be synced with the planned agenda. Besides, some adjustments might have to be made on the go and in the nick of time. Therefore, managing a single construction project is a task that requires an enormous amount of effort and focuses on everyone involved.

Looking for CRM Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best CRM Software solutions.

A perfect solution to all your construction related tasks is a construction project management software. A plethora of mobile parts, unwanted surprises and numerous minor factors popping at every stage of a project make it vital to have a construction project management (CPM) software on board.

Also, Read: Online Project Management Tool Can Improve Team Relationship

What is a Construction Project Management Software?

CPM is an all-inclusive solution that organizes tasks and monitors a project from the very beginning until the end. With the right software, one can stay on top of the construction game – meet the deadlines, stay on budget, manage contractors, employees, partners, suppliers, and vendors.

As a convention, construction project management software is of two types: on-premise and cloud-based.

  • On-premise construction project management software

bestows its user with full control. Usually, it is installed on servers and computers and an IT team is needed to manage the software. An on-premise solution is aided with a big upfront fee; however, the maintenance or ongoing cost is low.

  • Cloud-Based software

can be utilized anytime and anywhere with a device connected to the Internet. It offers the convenience of having your data accessible from anywhere. It is usually billed monthly, and the provider manages the necessary upgrades.  

Generally speaking, on-premises software is more suitable for larger firms, whereas cloud-based software will be a perfect fit for small construction companies.

But what exactly makes a construction project management a right fit for your business? That’s exactly what we are about to find out today.

Which Features to Look For When Choosing a Construction Project Management Tool?

Any construction project management software will have a multitude of features to cater to your specific needs. Let’s say, if you are a general contractor, you should look for software that assists in costing and accounting, document management, personnel tracking, and scheduling.

However, if you are a builder, your prime focus should be software with features such as estimating tools, blueprinting, RFIs, bidding capabilities, change orders, dispatching and equipment procuring.

The most common features of construction project management software include:

  • Project Scheduling
  • Blueprinting and Drawing including the ability to import files
  • Budgeting, estimating and forecasting
  • Bid proposals, bidding and bid management
  • Financial and accounting reports
  • Document management
  • Multimedia and photos
  • Resource management
  • Equipment procuring
  • Change orders
  • RFI production, monitoring, and submittals
  • Purchase orders
  • Personnel management
  • Database of contractors and suppliers

Now, what all these features are responsible for? Which ones do you need to pay attention to and which ones are vital for successful implementation of your next construction project?

Points to Keep in Mind While Choosing Construction Project Management Software

  • Construction Project Management Enables Collaboration

A good project management software should effectively facilitate seamless collaboration between participants in the project. It should allow the teams and participants to work together irrespective of the location – on-site or remote.

According to the study on the importance of collaboration in the construction industry from contractors’ perspectives, “collaboration is essential to the success of construction projects.”

  • Customization in CPM

No organization can change or should make changes to fit a new project management system. The top construction project management software should be customizable to suit the requirements of any organization.

A tailored approach to any company is what makes a great construction project management stand out. The flexible tactic is essential as business demands and working styles keep changing with time.

  • Easy to Use

A few tools come with a fair share of complications and demand days of rigorous training. The level of intuitiveness of a particular CPM should be an indicator of how good it is. Your team and every person involved in the construction process should not face any issues while using construction project management software.

As a matter of fact, the user experience is of utmost importance. However, the best software will provide more than a good interface. It will also illustrate easy usage in a way that it increases the work output and prevents possible delays.

  • Construction Project Management Security

It is good to have a functional software, yet, if it’s not secure, your data might be exposed to a huge risk.

When choosing a construction project management software, make sure to learn about its security features. Check whether a tool you are about to invest in has an encryption protocol for messaging and other safety basics that will protect you from a possible security breach.

  • Effective Construction Task Management

Every Gantt chart begins with a task list; therefore, you need a task management feature as well.

In fact, task management is one of the cores and most important functions of any construction project management software. Speaking differently, every CPM tool should have no faults when it comes to task management.

Talking about effective task management tool, your construction team should be able to significantly improve their productivity and easily spot and fix possible mistakes. The perfect tool should allow you to streamline all the small projects into one sound workflow, thus saving you tons of time and effort.

  • Dashboard for Reporting

While this feature might seem not that crucial to you at first, you might quickly discover that it is one of the most useful functions you will find in a CPM. Just think about it – an automated built-in dashboard that is customizable for every stakeholder and allows you to put together detailed reports in a short time? Sounds wonderful.

Moreover, you can be sure that all of your stakeholders are happy – nobody wants to look at messy manually written reports.

  • Timesheets

Another feature one must look into is timesheets –  it will undoubtedly help you in monitoring tasks. This feature facilitates the easy and stress-free progress tracking, as you will be able to validate task estimates and find out about possible delays in advance.

Timesheets are very important for a construction team to stay organized and get things done in time. In fact, according to this useful infographic, time tracking along with collaboration are vital, as these factors directly impact the outcome of the project.

  • Estimation in Construction Project Management

It is an important tool required by most construction companies. It enables firms to be able to complete all of their projects in time. Combined with the timesheets feature, estimation can guarantee the successful completion of the project.

You want to get your hands on a tool that aids in delivering bids at a higher price and provides a backup with integrated scheduling and benchmarking. A few are even capable of integrating with ERP (enterprise resource planning) software to yield near perfect estimates from the timeline and capabilities.

  • Cost Management and Accounting

Although all construction project management software options offer to benchmark and budgeting features, excellent project management needs forecasting and estimation features to provide you with a better project outlook. Once one is able to monitor and manage the minutest of details, the risk of shocks is greatly reduced. This holds greater importance when your company has in-house accounting.

Even though Excel spreadsheets are excellent for monitoring costs and payroll, accessing the data from these sources is not easy and neither is sharing up-to-date files with the leading decision makers. A lot of construction project management tools offer accounting abilities allowing the user to monitor payroll, budgets, invoicing and billing.

  • Field Management

As more and more job sites get added, project managers have more tasks at hand. They have to oversee field work at all the sites and make sure everything is working in sync.

Look for a solution that offers field management feature to assist in creating and communicating everyday plans, work in association with the crew members and have the results of the day’s work at the end of the shift.

A few sophisticated solutions can even assist in close contact by organizing inspection forms along with features for safety, equipment, and quality.

  • Data Analytics in Construction Project Management

Various construction project management solutions will aid you in streamlining the workflow, monitoring communication channels and managing each project. However, if you want to level up, get your hands on a tool that makes it easy to analyze your data and turn various processes successful.

A few tools have a reporting feature to provide you with an in-depth analysis of the utilization and productivity of the assets. Not just this, the user can track the resources and analyze the value earned by monitoring the processes on a schedule and cost basis.

These aid in enhancing productivity, ensure strategic insight and improve productivity. For instance, if you were to face a labor shortage (an issue with many construction projects), one could overcome it much faster with the best CPM software and take appropriate action quickly.

  • Material Management/ Tracking Equipment

In most cases, material management comes along with another tool – equipment tracking option. These two together let the user track and manage materials provided by the supplier including the quotes received and the price paid for it.

Thanks to equipment tracking, you can decide how different types of equipment should be used. Besides that, it will also reveal when the warranty is going to run out or if a repair is required.

  • Team Management

Team management is often overlaid with scheduling options. But, when one looks at a particular team management option, the top management tools have straightforward management of status, progress, activities and time tracking. This enables better coordination within the team and keeps the team informed of any possible project alterations.

In addition, some contractor software options offer GPS tracking of the team. This helps in learning about the location of the team members.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The CRM feature lets the contractors enter the contact information of their clients or procure it from other places.

According to Salesforce, “a CRM solution helps you focus on your organization’s relationships with individual people — including customers, service users, colleagues, or suppliers.”

In addition, this valuable feature assists you throughout the whole lifecycle of your clients.

Some of the CRM solutions present on the market let the contractors execute scheduling and send direct reminders automatically to the clients. There is other software that presents search as well as history options for the clients. This has the potential to greatly improve the monitoring progress and communication with the clients.

  • Job Costing

Job costing is an accounting tool that tracks the costs and revenues of every job. The top construction management software should have the ability to create standard rates for the various construction services provided by the company. Additionally, it should be able to clarify the cost for every employee, production manager, supervisor, and contractor.

A construction PM should be capable of managing timelines of the project, track time expenses and generate actionable data to enhance the productivity, create invoices and produce purchase orders.

  • Document Management

Even a simple construction project can produce documents that might be difficult to handle. A good construction management software is the one with the functional ability to manage all the permanent documentation.

You certainly wouldn’t want several programs to generate workflow data reports. A single software should be able to deliver all the reports in a single interface to avoid confusion.

Having a single software ensures a boost in workflow processes, contractor productivity, and document security. Not just this, the right one should integrate well with other kinds of business productivity software such as Excel.

  • Mobility in Construction Management

Modern day businesses require construction management software for builders and contractors that can operate across many platforms, specifically mobile and desktop. This empowers the employees, subcontractors and the contractors to access the data (specifically cloud-based) while remaining at the actual job site.

Often, a web-based construction software is picked as it offers more power to reviewing equipment schedules, project specifications, job progress, worker schedules, deadline changes, available resources, and the new client input.

All the above-mentioned factors can assist the administrators in taking an informed decision quickly while minimizing the requirement to contact the office for a consultation or to converse with the related departments.

Finally, here are the things you should consider before taking the final plunge.

Also, Read: Top 7 Project Management Blogs Every Manager Must Follow

Tips on Choosing the best Construction Project Management Software

  • Try Alternatives

The biggest mistake made by many is buying the first software they get their hands on. However, this is a flawed practice. When you are looking for new software, consider the time you would require to invest in learning how the new system works. Also, weigh in all the benefits of the software you are considering.

It is advised that you look into several options before making up your mind about purchasing one. Read reviews, try their demo versions and make an informed choice.

  • Get the Feedback

It may happen that project managers prefer a construction PM software that can be used almost as soon as it’s bought or one that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to understand.

However, it is vital to try out construction project management software before putting it to really work. After a trial period, gather the feedback from your team, as it is very valuable – they will interact with this tool directly. So, it is important to make sure that your team members are happy with the tool.

Also Read: Reasons to Adopt Best Project Management App in 2020

Consider the Benefits of Construction Project Management Software

1. Better Management

Any construction project management software aims to have a systematic approach to organization. The best construction project management software ensures that the project runs smoothly and without any interruptions.

It helps construction professionals to execute professional requests for submittals, transmittals, information and more. Additionally, the staff can share relevant data and project budgets, and these can be tracked at the same time.

2. Effective and Efficient Service Delivery

Construction management software is mostly integrated with construction accounting tools. The solution helps managers to finish the project on time at a satisfactory budget.

Good quality CPM software helps in simplifying every facet of a project. It serves as an intermediary between people working on the project. It aligns operations, instills efficiency and increases profitability.

3. Helps Business Grow

By contributing to the successful implementation of construction processes, construction management software aids in completing projects quickly. Alternatively, it assists in expanding the construction business by winning more contracts. Consequently, an improved number of jobs might increase a company’s market share and reach.

4. Better Quality

Construction management software encourages construction security. This improves the planning and subsequent management of the project. Simultaneously, it reduces delays in projects and advances communication, which is crucial in preventing mistakes.

5. Cost Control

With the help of the accounting capabilities of a construction management software, the participants can find essential documents including change orders, contracts, budget status and much more. This, in turn, reduces the cost of a project and averts errors that could otherwise escalate the cost of a project.

Summing up

Now, as you’ve learned about the top features every single construction project management software should have, you are ready to make a well-informed choice. Bear in mind that there is a myriad of CPM tools available on the market and making a choice might not be as easy as it might seem at first glance.

However, we hope that this article provided you with a good idea of the direction you need to look towards and eventually find the path that leads to the most suitable construction project management software for your business!

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