In construction, profitability depends on a company’s ability to manage risks. Projects are complex, and even with careful oversight many are derailed when minor issues aren’t quickly identified and resolved immediately
Poor communication is one of the most common causes of disputes, which cost construction companies a significant amount of time and money each year. Misunderstandings between designers and contractors, the field and office, or companies and their customers lead to delays, rework, and litigation.
Luckily, modern tools like digital reporting software can help construction companies better track project progress and manage their customers’ and partners’ expectations. Digital reports streamline communications from the field, so decision-makers know exactly what’s happening onsite at all times.
How does poor communication lead to disputes? While communications can break down and cause major problems during any phase of a construction project, there are a few common pain points.
When the design team makes a miscalculation, uses the wrong scale of measurement, forgets an important functional element, or makes any other mistake when drafting construction plans, this can cause major delays to the project schedule. This is especially true when the design error is not caught until well into the implementation process.
LACK OF PROGRESS UPDATES
Field crews are often very busy with project-related tasks each day. Daily reporting may be the last thing on their minds. However, it is incredibly important to provide detailed, consistent updates to project managers and other key stakeholders responsible for keeping the project on track.
Construction companies and their customers don’t always perfectly understand each other. Contract terms are often misinterpreted, leading to misunderstandings about costs or deadlines that aren’t noticed until the project has significantly progressed.
How can digital reporting technology help? Modern technology has completely changed the way we communicate on a personal basis, but many construction companies still rely on old-fashioned methods to share information on the job. Unfortunately, traditional pen and paper reports, individual spreadsheets, phone calls, emails, and text messages quickly become too time consuming and overwhelming to be efficient.
When collecting data is a chore, field workers struggle to provide detailed, accurate information, and project managers lose track of how progress measures up to project estimates. They spend valuable hours tracking information down and attempting to analyze and organize it for customers. Mistakes or safety issues are easily missed or overlooked until it’s too late and an incident has occurred.
Digital reporting systems that are designed for the construction industry streamline the communication process for both workers in the field and the office. Digital tools help field contractors quickly collect and share data in customizable, easy-to-understand report formats. This makes it easy for project managers and other stakeholders to review project work as plans are being implemented.
They can respond quickly when an issue arises, and they can provide more frequent updates to customers to make sure they are on the same page and haven’t misinterpreted design plans or timelines.
DIGITAL REPORTING FEATURES
The best digital reporting software helps construction companies improve report accuracy and increase visibility while also saving time over traditional reporting methods.
Detailed data: Digital reports are consistent, reliable, and accurate. Using templates and checklists, digital reporting software standardizes the reporting process so field crews know exactly what information they should provide with little guesswork. They can use mobile data capture and voice-to-text capabilities to quickly complete reports and submit them to managers on time.
Digital reporting systems will also automatically organize data collected into different views to track material usage, budgets, and other key performance indicators. Project managers don’t have to spend time combining and analyzing the data manually, which further reduces communication errors.
Real-time reports: Stored and shared through cloud storage, digital reports are available for instant access once they are submitted. Instead of having to track down reports from multiple sources, project managers can view real-time data all in one place as soon as it is available. They can quickly download reports and share this information with customers on a regular basis to help manage their expectations.
Photo and video capabilities: With digital reporting, attaching visual data like photos and videos to reports is much easier. Photos and videos show what’s happening onsite better than text descriptions, allowing both project managers and customers to easily review progress at a glance. Using photos and videos increases visibility and clarifies issues that text reports can’t efficiently communicate.
Easy resolutions: In the event a dispute occurs, digital reports are easily accessed. They can be searched easier than physical files so a particular report can be located. Managers can use digital search features to quickly find a report and resolve any conflicts fairly. Historical data can also be more easily reviewed to help project managers draft more accurate bids and make informed process improvements.
The most important tool for reducing risks in commercial construction is good communication. Digital reporting helps construction companies better communicate project progress both internally and externally. With improved visibility, you can catch potential issues early and respond before they turn into costly disputes.
For More Information:
Raken is a California-based construction software developer that designs tools with ease-of-use in mind. The company’s digital reporting solution features an intuitive interface for capturing and sharing real-time project data. Raken can help your team automate repetitive tasks and gain increased visibility without adding stress to the workday, keep your projects on schedule, and your customers informed. For more, visit www.rakenapp.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, October 2022
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