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4 steps for better progress tracking in construction
Project tracking is such an essential part of any construction work that has so many moving parts. Monitoring is the only way a project manager can determine whether the project is meeting deadlines and within the budget.
Being able to monitor site progress in real-time gives project managers full control over a project and provides them with the data they need to align the workforce, reduce downtime and improve future processes.
Unfortunately, in construction, project tracking can be quite complicated. This is especially true in the past few years, where construction firms used to rely on manual methods of progress tracking.
Those stuck in the traditional realm are left struggling, while others are becoming more and more competitive in this highly saturated industry. With that in mind, let us have a look at the four steps construction managers need to take to improve construction progress tracking.
1. Establish a central source of data
Every construction project consists of a collaboration of different teams such as stakeholders, designers, contractors and subcontractors. Each of these construction players have their own role to play in fulfilling the organisational goals.
However, when these teams carry out their tasks, the amount of data produced is often siloed and information is disjointed. This is because collecting data manually presents challenges such as inadequate details related to work, incomplete work quality observation data and incomplete information to substantiate claims.
By investing in a central source of data, every member of a project can remain on the same page and have a detailed overview of the latest status of their tasks.
If multiple technologies are used to collect data (e.g. drones, AI, and BIM), then the information they collect should be collected on a single platform that could be the cloud storage of the project management software.
With less manual effort, construction managers can focus on analysing the critical data such as capital project outcomes, project risks, and construction insights.
2. Document everything
Construction projects are document heavy and involve all sorts of paperwork like blueprints, drawings, contracts, reports, invoices, etc. Every single piece of documentation is important and may be taken as evidence should the need arise. Therefore, it is essential for construction companies to maintain an organised and effective project documentation system.
Most construction companies, however, usually record key information such as movement of equipment either with paper files or through the use of spreadsheets. There is only so much you can accomplish with a static spreadsheet – especially when data is invariably changing during projects. And imagine the work involved with manual tracking and updating.
This is where the use of a construction-specific tools like IFCA’s ContractX will help ease the workload.
ContractX is a customer-centric solution that provides convenient and easy record keeping for subcontractors to input real-time accurate project work details, and data as well as manage job costings and variation orders (VOs) effectively.
By relying on a tool that can support this time-sensitive type of communication and automatically connect all findings to the master schedule, you can plan better, get on the same page and manage risks more effectively.
3. Automate your project tasks
Excessive admin workload is one of the biggest headaches for many project managers. Firms are already struggling due to shortage of resources. Admin heavy and manual process just makes matters worse.
Many technology advocates have pointed out that a lack of automation and adoption of technology as the primary reasons for the industry’s poor performance.
Therefore, this is a unique opportunity for construction firms to leverage construction-specific tools to standardise their processes and connect the programme to the site in real-time.
When project information is fed into a construction software, it should trigger the entire process flow and relevant project tasks; thereby notifying contractors of every single update automatically.
A construction software would give contractors real-time insights on bid tracking, scheduling, labour costs, company documents, procurements, valuations, cost-tracking and many more.
In the long run, automation will help contractors identify project loop holes and provide them with insight on how to close the gap.
4. Schedule tracking
Construction scheduling can also be a long-drawn process with the involvement of different vendors, requiring coordination between both internal and external resources. With so many different activities, going through a long list of schedule can be a nightmare.
Planned programmes fare much better and helps contractors manage these different components better in the long run. While pen and paper is all construction managers need to maintain a personal check on progress, online tools can help them create an itemised list of tasks and deliverables for the team. Not only that, it can automatically generate reports.
With a construction-specific software, the project schedule is shared with the entire team where details of their activities are listed. The project manager will be able to review the completed and pending tasks at the job-site anytime. This way, the construction managers can assess how their workforce is performing to the timeline and work out if more resources are needed for specific tasks.
With such a tool, site-related barriers can also be handled more effectively – especially with easy access to regular project updates. Listing out the different resources and their utilisation helps managers make better project-related decisions.
Today, most if not all companies have implemented a HR system. According to our recent HR survey conducted in August 2020, about 71% of businesses have adopted HR software to handle HR-related processes.
The survey also revealed that the top 3 most important features HR professionals look for in a HRMS are: Employee Information Management, Time & Attendance Management and Payroll/Benefits Management.
Picture by Unsplash/Ivanchenao
Progress tracking is essential and the conventional construction tracking method is time-consuming.
As construction growth continues to exceed forecasts, construction managers need the best support to thrive. And adopting construction specific solutions is the only way to go.
With the right contract management solution, contractors will be able to track their performance effectively – bonus points if it’s digital and paperless. Trust us when we say the construction team with the right tool will have a competitive edge.