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Construction Software Buyers Guide
- What is Construction Management Software?
- What is the Importance of Construction Project Management Software?
- What are the Ideal Features of Construction Management Software?
- When Do You Need a Construction Management Software?
- What are Different Types of Construction Management Software?
- What are the Issues Faced While Using Construction Management Software?
- What are the Benefits of Online Construction Management Software?
- How to Manage a Construction Project?
- What Are the Different Trends in Construction Management Solutions?
- What is the Cost of Construction Programs?
- Why Purchase Construction Software from WareBuy?
What is Construction Software?
Construction software, also known as construction management software or construction project management software, enables users to effectively manage all aspects of their project, as well as their customers and resources. This software increases the operational efficiency of construction companies and businesses by automating many time-consuming manual processes. Nowadays, construction companies are using the software for automating tasks such as job scheduling, managing daily internal communications, QA/QC list creation, work allocation, and punch listing. Construction management solutions have helped minimize the gap between different business owners, stakeholders, and other roles such as project owner, onsite construction crew, and other stakeholders.
What Is the Importance of Construction Project Management Software?
Construction software helps construction businesses to manage their processes, optimize the use of resources, and manage customer relationships efficiently. This indirectly helps to increase the profit of your organization. Below are some reasons why you should opt for construction project management software:
- Helps to Comply Different Regulations: The construction sector is one of the many industries, which have to comply with several rules and regulations to operate. A company has to comply with different laws and regulations in order to build even the smallest of a project. These regulations demand enormous and regular documentation, which becomes difficult to handle. Failing to do so will lead to project shutdown or might also leave the firm vulnerable to lawsuits that can destroy it. This is where construction management software can be helpful. It helps keep all essential documents in order and also reminds of updates that may be needed at different intervals. Hence, you can show all the required documents to any inspector who comes for project inspection.
- Keeps Your Budget Within Limits: Budget is the first and the foremost thing to consider in the construction industry. Construction management software helps you to plan beforehand by mapping out exactly how many man-hours you need, what materials you must have on hand, what subcontractors you’ll need to pitch in, and so on. This helps to keep your budget within boundaries, thereby driving your profit.
- Allows Timely Project Delivery: An effective construction management software helps you to connect deliveries to specific dates and makes sure materials, labor, and equipment are all operating simultaneously to guarantee timely project delivery. In this way, you deliver the project without any delay, thereby cutting on the losses, which might have happened otherwise.
- Offers Easy Communication Between Teams: Construction management software helps you to easily communicate within the team. For instance, if you tell a worker to work on a particular section of the wall and you also ask the plumber to work on the same wall, it will lead either one of them to sit on their hands, thereby costing you precious time and money. With construction management software, you can simplify work allocation and establish communication between different teams.
What Are the Ideal Features of Construction Management Software?
There are different features that construction management software offers. In order to get the best from such application, here are some features that you must look in an ideal construction management software:
- Bid Management: Bid management is one of the most important features of construction management software. This feature helps contractors manage and update information about subcontractors and their bids. This, in return, helps to track and locate the status of subcontractor bids that are in the review stage, prequalification stage, or have been awarded. This feature also allows you to communicate with subcontractors, track compliance, and view their project documents.
- Job Costing: Any construction management software must be capable of setting standard rates for different kinds of services that an organization offers. It must also be able to define the cost for each contractor, supervisor, and production manager. Moreover, the software must also be capable of tracking time expenses, producing actionable data to increase productivity, managing project timelines, creating invoices, and generating purchase orders. The job costing feature exactly does the same and helps to track actual costs, estimate total project expenses, and create purchase orders, amongst others. It allows you to visualize and calculate the project budget using dashboards and estimating tools.
- Project Scheduling: This feature is all about planning and managing resources (materials, labor, and equipment) required to complete a project. Contractors use it to break down a project into particular tasks and estimate the time required to finish these tasks based on the resources available. This function also helps to schedule tasks in the correct order, allocating skilled workers or equipment over different projects. Moreover, it helps to balance workload across different projects with the ability to quickly re-balancing this workload in response to unpredictable delays (client input, weather, or job site challenges).
- Project Tracking: Project tracking ensures that projects are finished within budget and on time. This feature allows you to set task deadlines and milestones with the help of visual dashboards. You can track the progress of a specific project on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The main aim of this feature is to help different team members to stay on the same page. This feature shows you vital information such as completed/pending work, assigned tasks, changes to schedules, and document updates.
- Takeoff: This refers to the process of making the list of materials needed in a project and assigning the price of each material. A list is made and cost for all the material is summed up to create a bill that is used to generate bid estimates. In addition to this, takeoff also allows users to import blueprints or upload site drawings from different CAD tools.
- Construction Estimation: This feature helps in building the cost model of a project for performing site-based tasks. Construction estimation also extracts useful information from blueprints or takeoffs and helps create a list of materials needed for the project. Hence, this is one of the important features offered by the best construction management software.
Having all these features makes a program the best construction software one can have.
When Do You Need a Construction Management Software?
Construction management can be very tricky at times. Hence, it is very important to use an ideal software to manage difficult situations. You might need construction software if:
- You Exceed the Given Budget Limit: If the operational cost of any given project goes beyond budget, it is time to opt for a construction project management software. With raw material prices often fluctuating, it is essential not to exceed the project budget. Construction software comes integrated with cost tracking features that can monitor your budget. Also, it offers a real-time review of budgets. Hence, as a project manager, you can immediately make appropriate adjustments in costs by tracking the project expenses.
- Communication Among Team is Poor: Communication between different departments and within the team is the key to the smooth functioning of any organization. This is the same for any construction company, too. Hence, if your team delays any project due to lack of communication, then construction project management software is the ideal solution for you, offering you features that allow better collaboration among teams. With this software, different teams and users can access project files on-the-move, see assigned tasks, can track the progress of tasks assigned to interrelated departments, and overall reduce confusion. Since all the information is stored on a cloud system, users can access this information anytime and anywhere. Hence, teams that work remotely too can access information on their tablets and mobile devices. This helps in better communication among team members.
- Your Team Depends on Unfinished, Inaccurate, Or Outdated Documents: Construction project management software can help you if you face difficulties in project deliveries due to your dependency on inaccurate documents. This software has inbuilt templates for spreadsheets and invoices that can help reduce your paperwork load. It can cut the paperwork mess on your desk considerably. This software can make document management a mess-free case, leaving you with more amount of time to spend on the actual development of the project.
- Accounting Tasks Are Troublesome: Managing accounts is often a hectic task in the construction industry. And, it is essential to make payments and send out invoices on time. An ideal construction project management software will allow you to manage invoices, receipts, and payments, making your job easier than before. Payrolls too can be managed using this software, which allows you to keep track of the wage budget.
- A Poor Risk Management Strategy: Risks are greater in the construction industry due to market volatility and other factors and, hence risk management is important here. As a project manager, you might need a construction management program to identify potential issues and find ways to lessen it. You might need the software to collect input and plan actions to prevent the project from suffering from any major downturns.
There is No Accountability: One more issue that creates challenges in the construction industry is a lack of accountability. A project manager is responsible for determining the project goals and assigning them. He ensures that all tasks are allocated to the correct team or person. Hence, construction project management software is essential for a project manager to make sure that all parties are held accountable for their duties.
What Are Different Types of Construction Management Software?
Construction management software is divided based on four main factors:
Let us have a detailed look at each of these categories.
Based on deployment, construction management software can be divided into the following types:
- On-premise: This type of construction software is deployed on your system or server. Users normally pay a one-time price for this kind of software. The main advantage of using on-premise is that your data stays with you and is not accessible to any third party. Besides, you have full control of the software and you do not need to pay periodically for the license.
- Cloud-based: Unlike on-premise software, cloud-based software is installed on a vendor’s or manufacturer’s server. Hence, you will need Internet access to use this type of software. Usually, users pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to use this software. The main advantage of cloud-based software is that it is cost-effective and can cost you as low as $5 each month. Also, the vendor takes care of all the issues that can occur in the future. Hence, you do not need to worry about hiring a specialist to resolve any issues. Last, but not the least, the software can be used anytime, anywhere, and by anyone provided you have a stable Internet connection.
The construction management software can also be divided based on how you will use it. The software is divided into the following types:
- Personal or Single User: This type of software is designed for personal or single-use. The software is developed keeping in mind that it will be used by a single user. This kind of software is ideal for small projects, having a clear beginning-to-end structure.
- Collaborative: Collaborative software is designed for different users to simultaneously edit, read, or add data to the project. More essentially, the changes or additions are added to the overall system so the project is updated at once. Collaboration can be in different stages, where others can post notes, edit the project plan, and read the data simultaneously. This kind of solution is used for complex projects with various people working on different but related sub-projects. The software assists stakeholders and project managers to monitor and estimate both parallel and sequential activities taking place in different teams at different stages. Also, this kind of software is suitable for web-based infrastructure.
- Integrated: This type of software is used due to its ability to integrate with other aspects of business operations, such as CRM and other modules. Integrated construction management software is used for projects that overlap with business activities, such as customer relationship processes. It is useful if the company uses different software or modules for various activities, thereby making it easy to manage and run different processes smoothly.
Construction software has different features, but some are used more often than others. And based on these features, the software is segmented into the following:
- Scheduling: This type of software majorly focuses on scheduling feature and shows the information in graphical format. The scheduling software is best for activity-oriented projects or public events, such as product launchings, concerts, or major events.
- Issue Tracking: These solutions are designed for monitoring errors or glitches in the project. This type of software is most helpful for projects that have different technical specs and where a single change or glitch in the plan can lead to a domino effect of errors.
- Project Portfolio: This software has sophisticated features that allow a company to handle multiple projects at the same time. It comprises of an outstanding dashboard that offers the general idea of the project. It also provides different options to check the various details of different projects.
Based on modules, construction management software can be divided into the following types:
- Project Management: This module is used for planning, initiating, controlling, executing, and closing the work of a team to achieve particular objectives and meet particular success criteria at the specified time. The objective of this module is to develop an entire project which complies with the client's requirements.
- Employee Scheduling and Crew Management: This module is all about planning and managing employees and crew members along with different resources such as materials, labor, and equipment required to complete a project. This module helps to break down a project into particular tasks and estimate the time required to finish these tasks based on the resources available. Employee scheduling and crew management are used to schedule tasks in the correct order and allocate skilled workers over different projects.
- Drawing and Document Management: Projects in the construction industry consists of different blueprints, drawings, and contracts to identify project development. This module helps in maintaining and managing such essential drawings. Besides, the module also helps in easy sharing of relevant documents and importing and exporting of drafts, along with offering editing features for all the required paperwork. Building design and building information modeling (BIM) software and architectural rendering software are two important types of software in this category. They help users to make design plans easily.
- Accounting and Financial Management: A huge amount of cash flows in the construction industry. Hence, the module is used to maintain, manage, and organize this money. It is also used to send out invoices and make payments on time, as well as manage receipts. In short, all financial activities can be managed using this module.
Environmental Health and Safety Software: Construction job sites top the list of dangerous workplaces. There are risks arising from weather, injuries, and other factors. It becomes important for construction projects to resolve these risks without delaying the project. Thus, they are nowadays using environmental health and safety software that helps them track the risks and their remediation and track the progress of the project.
What Are the Issues Faced While Using Construction Management Software?
Even though construction software has turned out to be a necessary tool for every construction company, there are some issues that businesses face. Below is the list of possible issues that companies can face while using construction management software.
- Training: Even though most of the software and solutions are user-friendly, it becomes very difficult to use the software when it is installed for the first time or when a new module is added. Hence, to use the software or the module in question, the company has to invest in training the staff. This is one of the major concerns companies have nowadays for construction management software.
- Cost: The price of the software might be another concern for some companies. Small construction businesses may have limited or almost no access to advanced features offered by these software applications, owing to high prices involved. In spite of the advantages outweighing these prices, some solutions may appear very costly for small businesses.
- Updates: Despite the uncountable upgradeable and updatable construction management software, some programs can eventually become obsolete. This can only result in additional spending on new software and solutions. This can also cause a major change in the budget and lead to a huge loss for the company.
- Compatibility: Many solutions offered by the manufacturers are sometimes not compatible with the users’ systems. This leads to non-functioning of some features, or, worse case, the entire software. Hence, the businesses have to make a huge investment in order to make the software compatible with their system.
- Integration: A business always needs software that can integrate legacy applications (for instance, CRM, ERP, and so on). But many software may not support this feature and hence companies have to invest in buying separate software solutions for separate operations. This is one of the major issues faced by companies while using construction management software.
- User-friendliness: The UI of software plays a vital role in its adoption. Even though the software is easy to use and navigate, a bad UI might make it difficult for the users to use it. Hence, user-friendliness is another issue that occurs while using construction management software.
What Are the Benefits of Online Construction Management Software?
There are numerous benefits offered by online construction software. And here some to name a few:
- Easy Accessibility: Online construction software overtakes space, time, and geographical barriers while offering remote team members the chance to access the project anytime and anywhere. This leads to easy accessibility of the project, thereby saving time and money, as well as increasing productivity and profit.
- Cost-Effective: Similar to other industry software, construction management software also needs investment. Owing to different features and modules the software offers, the construction software is cost-effective in the long run. This is because it helps to minimize efforts and streamline business operations, as well as helps in performing different activities.
- Continuous Support: Online construction software lets users contact the manufacturer’s support team anytime they want. This is simple as compared to expecting a solution from an under-resourced and overworked in-house IT department.
- Easy Integration: A project manager has responsibilities such as choosing suitable building ground, source project leads, and consider architecture, design, and building rates. The best construction management software offers a secure database for all the data related to the project. A quick look at the integrated dashboard of construction management software will immediately identify areas where savings can be made and predict job profitability. Different features such as those from contractor estimating software and contractor accounting software can also be added for better output and usability.
Document Management: Construction firms handle and create huge amounts of documents, which must be stored safely. The old method of manually doing things consisted of storing printed documents and paperwork for a long time. Now, those days have long gone with the advent of online construction software. These software solutions offer a secure place for all documents essential for a project. Project managers who use such construction software store important data on a document management system, making it simpler for them to coordinate with clients & contractors and track progress.
How to Manage a Construction Project?
Every project has a standard life cycle irrespective of the domain or industry. Managing a construction project can be outlined in four basic phases:
- Initiation Phase: The objective and the feasibility of the project are determined during the initiation stage. This is an essential phase of the entire process since it can specify whether a project will be profitable or not. If required, a feasibility study is performed and as per the results, a suggested solution/plan is implemented. A project initiation document is created once everything is decided. This document offers the foundation for the construction plan and has a major role in project management.
- Planning Phase: The planning phase determines all the work to be performed. It is an activity that lasts till the end of the project. During this phase, the main priority is to plan costs, time, and resources for the project and accordingly the team develops a strategy that needs to be followed. This is also known as scope management. A work breakdown structure document, which is a checklist that divides all the required work into smaller more functional segments, is prepared in this phase. As soon as the schedule, budget, and work have been defined, the project is all set to begin. The next action of this process is risk management. At this point, the team must analyze all possible threats for the project and come up with foolproof solutions. Lastly, a communication plan is required as it will establish an efficient flow of information between the stakeholders of the project.
- Execution Phase: In this phase, the construction project management plan is implemented. As a protocol, this stage is categorized into two major processes: the execution, and the monitoring and controlling process. The project team ensures that all needed tasks are performed. Simultaneously, progress is tracked and changes are made as per the plan.
- Closing Phase: This last phase of the project signifies its official completion. The project manager studies what went well and looks for any possible failures. Lastly, the team creates a project report, tracks unfinished tasks, and calculates the final budget. The project report along with the analysis of the possible failures will serve as feedback for upcoming construction projects.
What Are the Different Trends in Construction Management Solutions?
New technology is continuously changing the construction industry by increasing profit margins and improving the ability to win projects. Trends and innovations are altering the roles of frontline workers and industry professionals. Here are some trends that are targeted towards enhancing convenience, automation, efficiency, and integration with existing solutions.
- Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented reality is the emerging technology making its way in the construction sector. Using this technology, users or businesses can plan and review their project in augmented reality, thereby having a look at how the project will look once completed. Though costly, the trend has started becoming common in the construction industry.
- Drones: Slip and fall injuries are common concerns for construction companies. However, risk and safety management has turned out to be one of the major trends that will shape construction software in the coming period. Companies are now using drones connected to the software for surveying construction sites. This allows site managers to check on every crew member, thereby elevating risk and safety management, and keeping the flow of activities intact.
- Analytics: Data is a major factor for any business to be successful in this digitalized world. Many businesses are continuously amassing it to make more informed choices about their processes. Most software comes with analytics feature, which allows project managers to decide on the allocation of labor and resources precisely. Hence, the analytical integration is one of the major trends that has been prevalent nowadays in the construction industry.
- Mobile Apps: Employees in the construction sector are using their smartphones to scrawl notes and take pictures. Now, construction management software makers are also getting onboard and launching mobile versions of the program to take photos, write markup, and perform many other functions. Most apps are built for on-site employment to capture data in real time, and then synchronized to update project plans once the smartphone is connected to the Internet.
- Wearable Gadgets: Businesses are rapidly employing smart wearables in their daily operations. These wearables are attached to worker suits and assist gather data on worker efficiency, productivity, and safety. Smart jackets, glasses, and sensors are some of the gadgets used nowadays. The data is further shared in real time with construction software to measure staff performance and analyze working conditions. This helps to check equipment availability, minimize downtime, ensure worker safety, avoid risky workflows, and more.
What Is the Cost of Construction Programs?
The cost of construction software differs based on different features. Hence, it is very tricky to precisely state the cost of construction software. On the other hand, this cost is divided based on pricing plans such as one time and monthly or yearly subscription. In addition to this, below are some other points that need to be considered:
- Some construction programs are priced according to the projects added. In such cases, companies pay for each project added, whereas the number of users who can access the project is unlimited. Payment for such programs is subscription-based (monthly or annually).
- Some construction software solutions are priced according to the number of users using them. Here, companies pay for each user added, while the number of projects that can be added in the program stays unlimited. Payment for these solutions is done monthly or annually.
- Lastly, few software manufacturers sell their products in a different way. They charge the companies for what they choose. Hence, manufacturers develop a product with a wide range of features and charge the firms only for those features which they want. Companies can select the features as per their needs. On the other hand, these types of programs are costly.
Apart from this, several manufacturers will provide discounts for buying a huge volume of projects or user licenses or annual contracts.
Why Purchase Construction Software from WareBuy?
WareBuy is the industry’s first dedicated marketplace for buying and selling packaged software solutions and services. Buying software from WareBuy will be easy since the platform offers different benefits such as:
- Secured payment
- Multiple options for software
- Price Transparency; hence, no additional or hidden costs are added to the cart.
- 24/7 customer support
- Saves time
- Worldwide delivery
- Competitive pricing
- Shop by category (such as industry or skillset)
- Buy products from renowned brands
We would love to hear from you. For any doubts, please contact us here.
FAQs - Construction Software
What is the difference between construction management and management contracting?
The primary difference between construction management and management contracting lies in the functioning.
A construction manager works independently and does not work with the trade contractors. He works with employees and is responsible for assembling the design team regardless of the contracts signed with other trade contractors by the employer.
On the other hand, a management contractor looks after the project on behalf of the customer. He will work together with the professional team of the employer to choose and appoint work contractors.
What is change management?
The groundwork and help needed when a team is going through an organizational change is known as change management. The term in a construction project might refer to managing change onsite or building, changes in the blueprint, or reassigning laborers.
What are the hidden costs while buying a construction solution?
Every packaged software comes with a fee structure that covers several services. The same goes true for an accounting software, too. The fees may include software license, hardware, data migration, installation/set up, maintenance/support, training, and so on. So, when buying an accounting software, you need to compare the fee and its coverage points. This will help you understand the hidden costs. The following factors will help you know what hidden costs to look out for and what expenses to expect as you compare vendor price quotes.
- Data migration
- Software license
What is construction accounting?
It is a type of project accounting which is altered for the construction business. It consists of different terms, which areused particularly in the construction sector only such as “progress billing” and “draw.” Construction accounting also needs vendor and invoice payments.
Can I get a single software for all of my requirements?
There are software products that pack all essential features. However, they may also pack some additional features, which you may not require. In such case, you need to check with the vendor, if they can customize it to suit your needs.
What is construction management at risk?
Construction management at risk is a delivery technique in which the manager guarantees the completion of the project within a specific period for a specific price. Taking all factors into consideration, this cost is decided upon before the start of the project. Any reasonable extra expense is taken into consideration later.
How popular is cloud-based construction software?
Cloud-based construction software solutions are gaining popularity with construction companies, particularly cloud construction management applications. In fact, as per a latest study, when firms are using separate systems, they are more expected to opt for cloud-based project management, bid management, and CRM systems than on-premises tools. Possible buyers looking to buy an integrated construction business software solution must consider a cloud-based application so as to offer contractors and project managers the ease of access they require to stay competitive in the industry.
What is the difference between project management and construction management?
In construction management, the construction manager looks after the construction part of the project. He ensures that the construction is proceeding as per the details and blueprint provided to him. He instructs and look after all the personnel and laborers working for the project.
On the other hand, a project manager works closely with the customer. He looks after all aspects of the project which includes designing, planning, budget creation, and site selection. He also manages all the supervisors in charge of different subdivisions and tasks.