From managing projects via paper-based documentation and Excel spreadsheets to virtual private networks (VPNs) and jobsite computers to cloud-based SaaS solutions with mobile applications, technology has truly revolutionized the building process start to finish.
Field employees don’t want to have to travel to the jobsite trailer or carry around a laptop, but they still require immediate access to all project data throughout the day. However, constantly revising, updating, reprinting and redistributing paper-based documentation or sending endless emails with attached spreadsheets and documents drastically inhibits project data accessibility and communication, ultimately wreaking havoc on project profitability.
Keeping projects on schedule is imperative to profitability, and avoiding delays requires every party to deliver work on time. Without the ability to monitor deadlines and anticipate delays in permitting, inspection or obtaining equipment, valuable time and resources are lost.
Construction software is only the first step to revolutionizing project management with the power of modern technology. Mobilizing project management with the cloud and smart devices has taken project communications and collaboration to a whole new level.
Mobile technologies have begun to replace fixed-location technologies that keep people chained to one spot. The workplace is no longer a place, but rather a device that can go wherever you want it to go.
The increased power of mobile devices allows for more powerful tools and abilities that were unheard of just a few years ago. Mobile applications can complete tasks that used to seem impossible, such as drawing management and real-time as-builts. Now, extremely large drawings containing rich objects can be manipulated on a device as small as a phone.
With cloud-based construction software mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, professionals can retrieve real-time project data around the clock, from any location with their mobile device. Teams no longer have to rely on outdated paper-based documentation or slow VPNs to manage and collaborate on construction projects. They now have the power to review, edit and share up to date project information to team members in a matter of seconds, no matter where they are.
Because many jobsites are situated in remote locations with no Internet connection, these tasks need to be achievable offline. Mobile applications for iPad, iPhone and Android allow users to work offline to complete all these tasks; as soon as the user’s device detects an available network connection, these revisions are automatically synced.
With construction applications for mobile devices, project teams have all project data at their fingertips and can answer any project-related question instantaneously. RFIs can be created and assigned directly from the jobsite. Product specs attached to submittals can be accessed in seconds. The current drawing set and all punch list items on it can be viewed, with their up-to-the minute open or closed status. Every time a contract adjustment is made, a commitment is entered or a change order is submitted, it is tracked in the software and available to all parties.
With cloud-based software, teams drastically increase their project efficiency by eliminating the rework brought on by poor version control of project drawings. Drawings are organized into one master set with all sheets automatically named and numbered. Automatic version tracking prioritizes the most recent drawing set to ensure project teams never work off outdated drawings again. Project teams can review sheets as well as mark up drawings with annotations or text comments, approve changes and distribute updated plan sets out to the entire project team. The entire change history across all versions as well as documentation of who made those changes is also tracked and archived, increasing accountability.
Cloud-based software accessed on mobile devices is just one example of how technology is impacting the industry. During the next few years, the industry is sure to see more advancements in collaborative, mobile software as teams continue to see the benefits of such technology.