Nearly every contractor has experienced problems caused by design errors on the jobsite. As one of the most common reasons behind delays and rework, incorrect or incomplete information in project blueprints can severely hurt profitability.
No one is perfect, and it’s expected that designers may make occasional mistakes. But, when those mistakes aren’t caught and corrected in a timely manner, they quickly escalate.
By improving communications and visibility across their organization, construction companies can reduce design errors and keep projects on track.
A COMMON CAUSE
Drafting blueprints is an intricate process. Designers need to accommodate both aesthetic and practical elements in their plans. Often, a team of designers will work together, adding to the complexity.
Because of the complicated nature of designing blueprints, miscommunications are common. Often errors result from a lack of clarity in designs or when crucial information is missed or incorrectly calculated.
Below are several strategies that help construction companies prevent design errors and, when they occur, reduce their negative impact.
Consistent, clear communication protects contractors against many common problems, including design errors.
When the design team thoroughly understands customer expectations and site specifications, they are much less likely to make mistakes. And, when they have good communication with project managers who are providing oversight, they are more likely to catch errors before implementation.
Construction companies should establish a formal process for the design phase of each project that includes dedicated work hours for research and review. Timelines are often tight, but it is critically important that designers have adequate time to gather the details they need to produce accurate designs and gain approval once they are finished.
Managers also need time to communicate design plans to field crews, which should also be built into the project schedule.
A design mistake that’s caught early can typically be corrected with minimal delay, but what happens when work starts and a minor miscalculation ends up causing major construction errors? The results can be catastrophic.
Even with thorough review, design plans may contain errors. Managers must closely monitor project progress once work starts in the field. They should keep communications open with the design team as the project progresses and share frequent, detailed updates.
That way, if there is an issue, the project manager and design team can identify it quickly.
Construction companies may wish to provide educational opportunities to their staff that teach them the skills they need to communicate more effectively or be more proactive when it comes to catching design mistakes.
Even the most experienced designers and contractors can benefit from continued learning. Online or in-person training programs will refresh their skills and keep best practices of mind.
HOW DIGITAL REPORTING TECHNOLOGY HELPS PREVENT DESIGN ERRORS
While it’s easy for a construction company to say they’d like to improve communications and progress monitoring, it’s challenging to implement positive changes. But, with the help of technology, you can streamline these processes with minimal manual effort.
In fact, digital reporting software like the easy-to-use app from Raken is faster and more accurate than traditional methods. Raken helps construction companies communicate more clearly, track progress efficiently, and avoid the risks of faulty designs.
Raken makes it easier for design teams to connect and share information with the field. All documentation is stored on the cloud, where it can be accessed immediately as soon as it’s uploaded via mobile or desktop.
Designers can use the in-app messaging system to share documents and photos, tagging managers or creating groups for specific projects. Likewise, field crews can upload reports directly and add notes or photos with markup to ask questions or request more information about designs.
With automated notifications, managers and other stakeholders will know when a new document has been added to the system. They can review instantly and give timely feedback.
All project-related information is stored in the same location, and specific documents can be quickly located using the search function. Everything is automatically time and date-stamped so it’s easy to see when updates were made.
Raken’s digital reporting app is easy to use and helps field crews consistently supply detailed progress updates. They can quickly record field data using mobile devices, including photos and videos, and share reports with managers for real-time review.
If there are any design issues, they’ll be identified and corrected as soon as possible.
Raken also provides standardized report templates and a library of quality checklists, taking the guesswork out of reporting. Managers can assign a pre-made checklist or customize their own to fit the needs of the project, ensuring field crews know exactly what to look for when reviewing the implementation of design plans.
For maximum visibility, Raken can be integrated with webcam monitoring systems, giving managers and designers the best view of project progress they can get outside of being onsite.
Raken automatically organizes all report information into a visual PDF format complete with charts and graphs measuring progress against estimates. Managers can easily review progress and identify the cause of any delays, including design errors.
These insights help construction companies improve their processes. They can identify common design issues and help their design team learn from their mistakes and understand how miscommunications affect performance.
Remember that even with these strategies, most construction companies can’t completely eliminate design mistakes. However, with good communication practices and the help of modern technology, they can prevent common errors and significantly reduce their impact.
About the Author:
Brian Poage is a senior solution sales manager at Raken. Raken’s digital daily reporting app helps construction companies of all sizes improve communication and project visibility. With mobile data capture, photo and video capabilities, and an in-app messaging system, contractors can quickly capture and share critical information. For more, visit www.rakenapp.com/daily-reports.
Modern Contractor Solutions, December 2022
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