Benefits Of Online Construction Management Software
By: Richard A. Sampson
To be competitive today, architects, contractors, developers and owner need to do a lot more with a lot less. For that reason, many construction professionals are considering online construction management software. Such Web-based software can help contractors and architects make decisions faster, automate documentation and reduce costs.
Here are some of the major benefits of online construction project management software.
Current Information: Up-to-date information can be made available on the web without the need for direct contact with key individuals. Users get a real-time view of the latest information, reducing delays. The systems maintain a date-stamped log of each online document such as Requests for Information (RFIs), submittals of material samples and installation drawings, Construction Change Directives (CCDs), Architect's Supplemental Information (ASIs) and similar construction documents, eliminating confusion about whether (or when) users received the information.
Increased Accuracy: Information can be entered at the source and does not need to be retyped. For example, a field superintendent can enter an RFI question using a simple online form. The RFI is relayed to the engineer or architect, who can answer the question online. That information becomes immediately available to anyone else who needs it. All users see identical information, making it possible to resolve issues quickly.
Reduced Workload: Members of the construction team can get needed information (such as answers to RFIs) faster, helping them to complete projects in a timely fashion. The construction staff does not need to constantly expand and reformat contract-administration spreadsheets, a time-consuming and error-prone process. Because members of the construction team can directly input and submit information, no one has to re-input and reformat material. Real-time, online logs eliminate the need to reconcile logs in meetings.
Increased Accessibility: Online systems overcome some of the limitations of e-mail and faxes, which must be sent to everyone who needs access to the information. With an online system, it's a lot faster for people to browse the Web and download the information. The traditional means of communication "push" information out to the people; while the online system "pulls" people to the information. It is the difference between sending the information many times to be read once (e-mail or fax) or sending the information once, to be read by many people (e.g., online web access).
Online Paper Trail: The entire cycle is documented. Questions and answers are written and automatically date-stamped. This helps ensure the question is clear, and that the answer is less likely to be misinterpreted. With its immediate access to information and electronic search capabilities, online construction management software can significantly reduce the time needed to research previous communication and documents.
In short, such software can dramatically help construction teams improve efficiency, save time and reduce costs.