The Critical Importance of Construction Project Tracking

February 21, 2024
9 min read

Without the right tools and processes, construction project management can be messy. This is usually inevitable when project managers rely on siloed Excel sheets and email to manage their projects or pick a technology that doesn’t suit their current procedures and processes.

Up to 36% of construction professionals admit that their technology failed due to selecting incompatible solutions. Given the complexity of construction projects, you must have the right technology to track and manage schedules, materials, budgets, documents, compliance, etc.

This is particularly true when it comes to construction project tracking. As a project manager, effective tracking offers complete visibility into every aspect of the project, from start to finish. You should be able to track resources, teams, tasks, and milestones from a single place.

Construction project tracking software makes it possible. Done well, it centralizes your processes, tracks progress, and supports end-to-end workflows for convenient monitoring and effective execution. Let's explore the importance of project tracking and how technology simplifies it.

Why is Project Tracking Crucial in Construction?

Construction projects have many moving parts that must be well coordinated and executed to achieve success. From initiation and planning to execution and closing, each phase is complex and demands careful tracking to ensure everything proceeds according to the plan.

This is why you must invest in project tracking, which allows you to monitor progress, identify deviations, and anticipate problems to improve performance and productivity. It also centralizes project information to ensure easy access to updates, documents, and requests.

When done right, project tracking allows you to:

  • Stick to the budget: Over 90% of construction project budgets experience cost overruns – the trouble with attempted construction project budgeting. In some cases, this can lead to project failure. Tracking lets you monitor spending and every expense to avoid overspend.
  • Stay on schedule: You can review your team's performance and assess the possibility of delays. If you foresee a delay, you can reduce the project’s scope, shift resources, or even negotiate new deadlines.
  • Optimize resource utilization: With tracking, you get a single pane of glass of the entire project. You can track completed, pending, and delayed tasks while monitoring the performance of every team and employee. This makes it easy to distribute tasks and shift teams as needed to ensure productivity.

Project tracking using sheets makes pinpointing problems, reallocating resources, and monitoring performance difficult. This can result in time and budget overruns, employee burnout, data overload, or even project failure.

For instance, up to 65% of construction firms report they experience delays due to supply challenges. This is a typical consequence of a lack of end-to-end visibility into your operations, making it impossible to anticipate potential hurdles and risks.

Also, 45% of construction professionals spend much time working on non-optimal activities. In most cases, this occurs due to failure to track, prioritize, and distribute tasks. The results include reduced productivity, poor performance, unexpected costs, and unachieved targets.

Digital transformation and construction

The construction industry is one of the least digitized sectors, with firms relying on paper-based and manual processes to manage projects. This has been due to challenges like harsh project environments, complex projects, decentralization, fragmentation, etc.

Even so, the industry is experiencing gradual and steady digitization, particularly in contract management, communication, collaboration, document management, etc. This is a much-needed catalyst to counterbalance challenges like poor tracking, supply chain issues, rising inflation, etc.

Note that digital transformation in the industry can improve productivity by up to 15% and reduce costs by about 6%. It offers the tools and platforms project managers can leverage to reduce errors, increase efficiency, enhance productivity, and ensure operational agility.

An excellent example of digitization is the use of construction project tracking apps to track, manage, and automate every aspect of your project. With such an app, you can:

  • Get real-time visibility: The app centralizes all your data and operations, offering complete visibility into your tasks, resources, and project progress.
  • Track budget and costs: It also supports expensive tracking and financial reviews, making it easy to drive budget control and stay within the budget.
  • Manage tasks and approvals: You can create task lists and checklists within the app to ensure efficient workflows and automate reviews and approvals.
  • Manage resources: The app also gives a clear view of your available resources, allowing you to shift resources based on project needs, requirements, skills, and availability.

A project-tracking app shifts your operations from analog to digital, streamlining processes, automating tasks, and eliminating paperwork. This enhances data collection, improves time tracking, and centralizes your data for global visibility.

The app can also be your sidekick -- you can have it on your mobile phone to access project data regardless of your location. You can share notes, give feedback, review approvals, and update task status to keep things moving when you’re not on site.

Additionally, these apps support integrations with other tools and solutions. For example, you can integrate the app with your favorite calendar to track and stay ahead of deadlines and events. Integrations also let you aggregate data from multiple sources for easy access.

Benefits of Using Construction Project Tracking Apps

Construction project tracking apps can offer multiple benefits in all areas of your operations. It merges different processes into one efficient system and gives a vivid view of everything for seamless coordination and monitoring. The benefits include:

Streamlined Operations

Traditional construction management methods and tools like spreadsheets lead to delays, errors, and bottlenecks. They also result in siloed systems and processes, hurting the productivity and performance of your teams.

Tracking apps eliminate manual, repetitive processes and centralize operations to deliver optimized, streamlined workflows. A construction project dashboard brings you a complete view of all tasks and processes with their statuses for improved efficiency across the project.

Better Accountability

The app also makes it easy to define roles and responsibilities and use permissions to control access, editing, and sharing. This way, you can quickly know who’s working on what or what they’re allowed to share or perform within the app.

With this capability, project managers can ensure subcontractors, suppliers, employees, and other professionals complete their tasks on time and within budget. You can issue reminders, send alerts, track progress, and prioritize tasks to ensure fast turnarounds.

Enhanced Data Accuracy

Manual and paper-based processes are marred with errors and inconsistencies during data entry and collection. This results in data inaccuracy, which leads to poor decision-making, incorrect forecasting, and wrong estimations.

Tracking apps automate the data collection and entry processes and allow you to use validation within form fields to ensure all information is formatted correctly. Also, only a select group of people can make edits or share data, improving data integrity and minimizing duplicate data.

Real-Time Collaboration

During construction, you have teams working in the office and on-site. Other parties, like consultants, compliance officers, and lawyers, work from different locations. A project-tracking app brings all teams and professionals together on one single platform.

With centralized operations, you can expect real-time communication and collaboration to get things moving quickly. For instance, you can get permits, reviews, and approvals for different installations faster. Also, teams can quickly get all the data they need for any task or phase.

Case Studies

Many construction firms are realizing the benefits of embracing digital solutions. According to Earnest & Young, up to 98% of engineering and construction firms believe that digital solutions are essential to the future and growth of their companies. Here are some success cases:

Boyett Construction

As a commercial general contractor, Boyett Construction needed help to track quality across its increasing number of projects. This was even made more daunting with their lack of standardization and paper-based processes, risking delays, fines, and even loss of customers.

The firm looked to Quickbase for a solution. They used Quickbase to build an app called “BMS,” which supports every process and task, from bidding to closeout. This enhanced the firm’s ability to handle more projects while ensuring quality, empowering staff, and reducing risk.

The app allowed the first to standardize processes, communications, tasks, and data collection. It features customizable dashboards for easy access to data and generates reports and notifications automatically, improving decision-making, productivity, and performance.

Consigli Construction

Consigli Construction is one of the largest employee-owned construction managers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The firm handles different projects that demand effective resource management, precise planning, and detailed reporting.

Initially, their processes involved using disconnected systems, manual operations, and thousands of spreadsheets to manage projects. This approach made it challenging for the firm to monitor and track compliance, projects, planning, safety, closeouts, and employees.

Upon adopting Quickbase, the company developed an app that became a single source of truth. The app improved the firm’s ability to ensure safety and comply with OSHA’s standards. Managers can also use it to track workers on-site and get complete visibility into every process.

Enhance Efficiency with Project Tracking App

Effective management of construction projects demands tracking every aspect of the project. This includes deciding how to track project milestones, tasks, performance, approvals, requests, permits, and more. This is vital for the manager to stay on top of every activity, minimize costs, avoid delays, and meet the client’s needs.

In today’s fast-paced work environment, traditional approaches like spreadsheets and manual operations are ineffective and inefficient. They result in disparate processes, inaccurate data, and poor productivity.

For effective construction project management and tracking, digital tools like Quickbase offer an exciting way to run and oversee your projects. Quickbase offers all the tools for tracking progress, tasks, communication, updates, documents, etc.

You can use automation capabilities to streamline task management and get real-time visibility into every task. The platform offers many features like reminders, escalation, permissions, visualization tools, and customizable dashboards to support every tracking aspect.

With Quickbase, you can get a complete view of the project and track every process and task. Start your free trial to see how Quickbase can simplify project tracking.