What are the biggest pain points in your construction administration process?
Reporting? Fund Tracking? Audits? All three?
Whether you’re an engineering consultant for a nearby transportation department or a construction services manager for your local public works office, chances are you’ve encountered hiccups in one or all of those three areas.
For years, organizations have relied on outdated processes that are holding them back. How many times have you had to recheck a spreadsheet or manually shift through a stack of paper just to confirm a quantity report?
For agencies managing multiple projects with teams of inspectors out in the field, those wasted hours add up fast. An extra 4-8 hours a week can make a world of difference. To recapture time (and sanity), companies are starting to embrace e-Construction solutions that use a digital platform to manage complex projects.
To some, that may seem obvious. Maybe you’ve been using a SaaS-platform for years. But the reality is, the construction industry embraces technology at a slower rate than most. It’s only natural in an industry where decision-making is highly decentralized for certain pockets to lag behind.
Some states—like Iowa—are taking the bold step to mandate certain e-Construction solutions in order to take the necessary leap forward. But don’t wait for leaders and legislators to get their acts together. There are a number of comprehensive platforms for construction project administration that you can start implementing immediately. Almost all focus on eliminating inefficiencies in the following areas:
1. Daily Reporting – Inspectors Belong in the Field
We work with a Parkway Authority that’s responsible for overseeing 77-miles of parkway projects, with an office located 20 miles away from the nearest parkway exit. If an inspector has multiple projects to manage and they have to return to the office to input data—well, you begin to see the problem.
Fortunately, most e-Construction platforms make use of a tool we’re already familiar with—our cell phones. There’s nothing like reporting an issue in the field, syncing it back to the office, and having the supervisor call with a solution in a matter of minutes. Which, actually happened.
One of our users estimated that his inspectors have gone from spending 4 hours in the field and 4 hours in the office to 7 in the field and 1 in the office on a daily basis. Making the most of their time—and not having them drive all over the state—is a great way to keep field personnel happy and productive.
2. Managing Multiple Funding Sources – Math, Right?
Budget tracking for multiple sources can be a major headache involving innumerable spreadsheets, physical ledgers, and specific project items that require manual updating on each progress payment.
Many e-Construction platforms automate this process by tracking what funding source is paying for each item and automatically pushing that information to the daily report.
Though spreadsheets have that capability, they require complex macros and a knowledgeable staffer to manage the process. If that person leaves, the process leaves with them. Many SaaS products allow for individual fund tracking by item with comprehensive reporting to keep stakeholders apprised of the funding status, with a minimal learning curve to streamline the process through unforeseen staff changes or new hires.
3. Audits, Disputes, and Closeout – Three Birds, One App
Construction professionals spend dozens of hours a week looking for project data, handling disputes between project stakeholders, and assessing mistakes that require new work to be done. Accuracy and quick access to data are both paramount to resolving disputes, but when there are thousands of paper documents to sort through, the lengthy process can lead to tension rising on both sides of the dispute.
The solution is better record-keeping in a digital system that’s well-organized, searchable, and designed to handle specific situations like budgetary conflicts. Just ask one of our customers.
Since these systems keep comprehensive digital records and track daily activities, issues are easy to eliminate when contractors, consultants, and owners are bought in on using the service correctly.
Managers find that projects are “finaled” out quicker since there’s less back and forth with suppliers and contractors for common issues like lost certification statements. And since many platforms allow stakeholders to be granted “read-only” access, they can easily keep track of project progress.
We can’t promise that every construction administration platform will solve these issues, but we can promise that ours will. We’ve been providing solutions to the construction industry for over 40 years, which gives us unique insight into the ever-evolving challenges of those we serve. If you’re interested in learning more, visit infotechinc.com/appia.