What Is Construction Management Software?
With the singular goal of making construction business processes more straightforward and efficient, construction management software (CMS) is a project management system designed specifically for construction professionals.
Helping merge various construction management processes into one cohesive system, CMS helps companies manage budgeting, communication, job scheduling, project estimation, and more. One of the fundamental reasons over 57% of construction companies use construction management software is its ability to effectively coordinate management over different projects and teams that span multiple locations. Given the impact COVID-19 has had on the construction industry, the benefits of construction software can help give companies the upper hand amid the downturn.
With cost estimates and project tracking top-of-mind priorities for most construction companies, the ability to take manual processes—that take up valuable time and often result in human error—and automate them can prove invaluable to a company’s bottom line and overall efficiency. What’s more, having a centralized place for communication and management across an organization helps individual teams maintain their unique processes without hindering the construction company’s ability to run effectively.
Knowing what construction management software is and how it helps construction companies at a high level, what’re the specific benefits it can offer? More importantly, why should you use one for your construction management?
Why Use Construction Software?
Construction management software makes processes more fluid and improves project operations. There are numerous benefits to adopting CMS and they include enhanced collaboration, document management, project management, budgeting, convenience, organization, resource management, adaptation, and customization.
1. Real-Time Communication and Collaboration
Arguably one of the most critical functions of any construction manager is making sure everyone is communicating and collaborating effectively at any given job site. Managing projects as they grow and change is difficult, but for companies that have team members across town or even across the country, it gets even harder to keep everyone on the same page.
With a construction management software system in place, every team member has access to a centralized point of communication no matter where they’re working or what device they have on hand—helping ensure real-time communication and collaboration between clients, consultants, contractors, and project managers.
2. Document Management
Given the amount of important documentation construction companies manage, it’s no surprise that there’s significant pressure to store and handle that documentation securely. With the days of paperwork crammed in filing cabinets long gone, integrating document management into construction management software gives companies a safe place to store all their essential documents. For companies looking to gain a competitive edge, having a secure and easily accessible way to manage documentation is invaluable.
3. Project Management
Construction management software makes it easier for managers to adopt an efficient, systematic approach to project management. The best project managers can ensure each team member and the myriad of moving pieces fit into one cohesive puzzle. To this end, an easy-to-use CMS helps managers instantly share valuable information, track the project budget and create all the necessary components like requests for information, business letters, change requests, and more.
Overseeing the scope, schedule, and budget of projects is a top priority of any construction company, but budgeting often requires the most attention. An incorrect budget estimate can see a project overshoot its schedule or remain incomplete. That’s why when it comes to budgeting, carefully examining all project plans for risks, creating accurate estimates, and communicating objectives to stakeholders and clients is pivotal. Fortunately, one of the main benefits of construction management software is minimizing costs and maximizing profits through better budget management.
A CMS offers capabilities like automating material and labor costs, standardizing bid proposals, and storing and integrating previous project costs, bids, and win/loss ratios so you can more accurately improve your estimating processes. Moreover, construction management software gives you better visibility into potential risk factors like workloads, change requests, and other factors that can potentially affect your mid-project budget allocation.
It’s no secret that every construction manager does things a little differently when it comes to managing their respective projects, but giving them the ability to manage their processes as efficiently as possible can be a game-changer. Take all the manual processes a project manager has to do daily—calling/emailing contractors, reviewing project timelines, coordinating employee workload—these processes can take up a significant amount of time.
With construction management software in place, however, a project manager can seamlessly automate the majority of these to gain valuable time they can then focus elsewhere.
One of the most significant benefits of construction management software, albeit frequently overlooked, is the ability to rapidly and effectively organize processes across the construction company. From storing information and making it easily accessible to tracking expenses, contracts, and budgets, having a seamless organization system means team members across the company can access what they need, when they need it, without hassle.
7. Resource Management
Construction management software helps align all the resources and tools utilized in construction and coordinate their application across project timelines. By analyzing resource data, managers can better optimize the tools and resources to fit their initial project bids and estimates. On a more granular level, a CMS can also help contractors manage and organize the day-to-day allocation of tools and equipment, staff, and materials, tracking their use in real-time. Coupled with the ability to compare current and past project data, construction managers have a much more efficient and effective means to coordinate resources.
8. Easy Adaptation and Integration
One of the biggest pain points surrounding the adoption of any software solution is how fast it can be adapted and integrated into a company’s existing workflows and processes. The faster it can be integrated, the quicker it can be utilized to increase efficiency across an organization. Considering the complexity of the construction industry, construction management software is designed to make it as easy as possible for every user to adopt and integrate it into their processes.
At its core, construction management software is highly customizable. This is because there isn’t a “standard” template for the features included in a solution. Most construction companies rely on their unique processes, and software companies are usually keen to meet those needs by tailoring their software to the specific needs of their customers. With this in mind, the ability to tailor construction management software to your processes and requirements can lead to faster deployment and, ultimately, faster growth for your company.
What Types of Construction Management Software Are There?
To better understand how a CMS solution can help your organization, it’s best to think of construction management software as a parent category, containing several different specific solutions aimed at helping you solve particular pain points. They may be comprehensive solutions that offer a myriad of functionalities across specific sub-categories or one or two specific categories. There are various kinds of software available catered to your unique needs.
Analytics software provides historical and real-time insights construction managers can use to save time and stay updated on current projects. For example, a manager can use the historical data of past projects to more accurately estimate a new one or ensure an existing project is running as efficiently as possible.
Construction drawing tools allow companies to upload, edit quickly, and collaborate on construction drawing plans—making it easier for site owners, contractors, builders, and managers during the planning and implementation stages.
Enterprise Resource Planning Software
Construction enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions centralize the information systems across siloed points of a construction project. From invoicing and accounting to document management and communications, ERPs are designed to make it easy for different teams to stay connected no matter where they are.
Job Costing Software
Job costing software, also known as estimating software, helps manage building and construction project estimates and proposal processes. These solutions can often be tailored to specific niches like plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc., or provide a more holistic estimation for construction companies covering a more extensive scope of services.
Project Management Software
Project management solutions, as the name suggests, are designed to handle the day-to-day management of a construction project’s lifecycle. These tools manage aspects like workflows, punch lists, task assignments, team/resource allocation, etc., in order to better ensure a project aligns with the initial budget estimates and project timelines.
Risk and Safety Management Software
Designed to help construction managers better mitigate construction site risks, these tools give users data collection collected during on-site walkthroughs, production reports, etc., to ensure safety and adherence to specific compliance requirements.