Your Guide to Software Selection

A Guide to Construction Management Software and Scope

Firstly, congratulations on your excellent decision-making skills! The fact that you are searching for construction management software, as well as scope, means you already have the first variables of a winning formula in place. Proper software and an airtight construction management scope of work are vital for tackling large construction projects. And if you choose your construction management software correctly, it can also help you define your scope.

But before we dive into how construction management software and an ironclad scope of work can improve your projects, let’s take a look at the variety of offerings software for construction management can bring to the table.

What Is Construction Management Software?

To fully understand how this type of software pairs with your construction management scope, let’s discuss what it can do. At its best, construction management software is your one-stop shop for carrying out a functionally viable project. Be it on the fly document editing, scheduling, or payment processing this type of software seeks to optimize the many moving parts of a construction project.

Not only will software for construction management reduce the many project-facing headaches you can expect to encounter, but it also provides a window for customers to remain involved and informed throughout the entire process. With a streamlined process for construction managers, contractors, subcontractors and clients in place, you can begin to hammer out a project’s scope of work.

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What Is a Scope of Work?

Before diving into the details of a successful scope of work, we need to define what an SOW is clearly. Put simply; an SOW is an agreement between a project owner, a construction manager, and the many contractors and subcontractors employed on a project. The details of this agreement are wide-reaching and effect a variety of essential pieces regarding the management and implementation of a construction project. A well-crafted SOW forms the very foundation of a construction venture and will act as a benchmark throughout completion.

What Makes a Scope of Work Important?

Imagine beginning a high-cost venture, and after gathering all parties together, you realize that more than half of those involved do not understand the jargon or abbreviations in use. Before tackling your first deliverable, there is a glaring hiccup in communication. A scope of work can easily remove such an issue by providing a glossary containing anything that could confuse someone looking over any plans to move ahead.

Your scope of work is a shield against a wide array of problems, a plan of attack and a touchstone for all of those working on the project to refer to in times of confusion. Another advantage is the prevention of scope creep.

The Dangers of Scope Creep

A contractor arrives on the job site for a hard day of work. There is no guiding document in place, only an end goal and the steps required to reach it. The contractor is suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of things that need to get done and begins bouncing from one objective to another. This breakdown quickly becomes endemic, there is not a set way to proceed, and goals start to fall behind schedule. Both time and money are soon well beyond the fixed budget, and the project is on the path to failure.

As shared by KPMG International, the pitfalls of working without a sturdy scope of work can lead to distressing statistics.

  • Over 50 percent of engineering and construction professionals report one or more underperforming projects in the previous year.
  • Only 25 percent of projects came within 10 percent of their original deadlines in the last three years.

Scope creep not only affects budgetary concerns, but can also leave the project open to disputes between parties and even litigation. Without clear marching orders as to where things fall in order of completion, it can be hard to nail down payment for contractors and subcontractors — an obvious flaw in maintaining a happy team. To prevent such failings, let’s discuss some tips to craft a creep defeating scope of work.

Construction Management Software Features to Define Your Scope

Now that you are armed with some knowledge, take some time to think about your business and what you would require from your software so that it can help you create a scope of work. What are some stand out must-haves you need in order to combat scope creep? If you aren’t sure, don’t worry. Next up we are going to discuss some prominent features of construction management software that are primed to keep you on track.

Keep the following features and benefits in mind when thinking about your requirements for construction management software!

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Communication

A common statistic shows that poor communication leads to project failure nearly one-third of the time!
Before setting anything in stone, it is important to maintain clear and consistent contact with the client. Everyone needs to agree on what the final product is and the location of the project. Are there any sticking points that the client has that need to be addressed? Have goals and efficient ways to accomplish them been discussed? Preventing confusion should be a main goal and construction management software makes this easy to attain.

The use of meeting management tools is a great way to keep everyone on the same page. Scheduling meetings, priming topics for discussion and collecting meeting minutes are no more than a few clicks away. With all parties in the loop, misunderstandings will be far less common.

Document Management and Control

It may come as a surprise to you, but in the age of digital and mobile friendly document access, many businesses still rely on bulky filing cabinets and paper documents to keep their projects organized. While this may work for some, a misplaced report can lead to significant hiccups that could echo throughout a job site. A lost or damaged CO (change order) not only costs time and money to replace but can also lead to tension between varying parties.

With streamlined storage of all essential documents and ease of access to those who need to view them, easily lost physical reports are a thing of the past. Being able to see, markup, and store 2D and 3D documents will keep your projects moving at a timeline friendly pace. Iterative storage also allows a quick lookup of all past edits, changes and markups to an existing document.

The ease of access to documents provided by construction management software taps into an important step of the scope of work creation process. After your scope of work is complete, bringing in all parties to view and sign off on all future plans can cut down on many time and money draining issues. If all steps are agreed upon there should be little tension between parties as the steps to completion are laid out for all to see.

Digital Documents in Procore

Incorporating Visuals

Bringing in visual elements to your SOW has multiple advantages. Visual elements are effective at dispelling any miscommunication about the aesthetic outcome of a project. Preventing any amount of guesswork will increase efficiency exponentially and alleviate any worries the client may have about how the finished product would look.

This strategy can be taken a step further through the use of BIM (building information modeling) software. As the project reaches new milestones, a model of the project in its current form is available for study and comparison to the finished product. Visual representations that show the project’s correct progression satisfy not only a client but also give those working a full look at how things are shaping up.

Visuals from Autodesk BIM 360

Budget Management

As shared by KPMG International: Only 31 percent of all projects came within 10 percent of the budget in the last three years. Implementing robust construction management software is a valuable step in preventing your project from running over budget. Being able to quickly and accurately import budgets from other applications, creating a locked static budget guide, and update any needed budgetary changes on the fly will help keep your project organized.

Should changes be made to the original budget, a live view of the original vs. current budget is available in real time for all of those who need to keep track. Without inviting the human error that can be involved in traditional budgets, unfortunate surprises are all but removed from the equation.

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Punch and To-Do Lists

When a project is nearing completion, punch list templates are available to speed along the process. QR codes can be assigned to tasks and even scanned at the job site upon completion. This way any final repairs can be identified, designated and marked as complete on time. If any other issues arise, these lists can be cataloged and populated with any needed changes in real-time.

Scheduling lists from Oracle Aconex

Safety Inspections

Leveraging machine learning, customizable and predefined templates, and integrated BIM (building information modeling) software for construction management provides everything needed to keep safety inspections updated and in place. Mobile accessibility features can also capture health and safety data from the field to increase accountability.

Well informed and continuously updated safety practices not only keep your teams happy, but also act as a shield against any possible litigation.

The Benefits Don’t End There

The use of construction management software is on the rise; the market for this type of software is set to grow at a CAGR of 9.19 percent in the coming years. As time goes on, more and more companies will realize and implement the multitude of support systems construction management software provides, don’t be left behind!

A Quick Word on Pitfalls

The numerous advantages of construction management software are apparent, but there are a few negatives to consider depending on your situation.

Smaller businesses may find the price of entry into many of these software packages rather steep, especially if they are seeking on-premise solutions only. Along with high rates, the time investment needed to implement, learn, and use the software can also be steep. Novice construction managers at small companies may find that the inclusion of oversized software can over complicate operations. Be sure to choose a software that fits your businesses needs, and avoid software that is too limited or too bulky.

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Final Takeaways and Next Steps

You should have a better feel for what you are looking for in construction management software now and how it can help you create a scope of work. Once you have identified the many requirements you need, jump into our requirements template to find the best fit for your situation. Finally, our buyer’s guide can help you identify which product meshes with your needs and provide answers to any more lingering questions you have.

How has construction management software helped you stay within scope? Leave us a message below!

Hunter LoweA Guide to Construction Management Software and Scope

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