Types of the Construction workflow to optimize the Build phase

construction workflow types

Explore the many types of construction workflows and why it is essential for successful project completion.

Anyone who has tackled a to-do list knows that an all-over-the-place approach doesn't work. To efficiently manage multiple tasks between people, you need a planned workflow. This principle applies to construction sites as well. It's all about workflow–and if you're not thinking about the efficiency of construction workflows, then the project might face many issues. 

Construction workflow is the coordination of a construction project by ensuring information and tasks flow efficiently from one participant to another. Managing construction workflow for your project is critical as it reduces inefficiencies, streamlines processes and improves construction quality. 

With construction projects becoming complex and companies managing projects all across the globe, construction companies today need automation of workflows. 

Construction workflow essentials

There are a few essentials for a successful construction workflow that a construction company can achieve in practice through modern digital technologies and automation. A few key points to consider when designing your company's construction process:

Customizable

Every construction company and project functions differently, and their construction management workflow should be customizable to any built process. You should be able to define the steps, grant access and attach it to your project. Most manual processes in the workflow need to be automated.

Standardized

A centralized and common data platform will ensure consistency across projects and teams. A Project manager should document these standards so users can reference them throughout the construction process and easily communicate internally (for example, through training materials) and externally (to clients). So, all parties involved will have access to relevant information about each project stage during its lifecycle.

Collaborative

Accessible and transparent communication between parties is essential for any construction project, like interdisciplinary collaboration among team members—such as engineers working together on multiple stages of an individual project—and cross-functional coordination between different organizations within your company.

Automated

Automation is needed because manual processes are slow, expensive, error-prone and difficult to scale up due to personnel limitations.

Integrated with other systems

Integrating multiple platforms is vital since accessibility is essential for software applications. A great solution to do this is by establishing connections between the systems you use for workflow. Doing so will maximize work efficiency and minimize errors and double data entries, which are two things no company wants to deal with daily.

Types of construction workflow

RFI

In construction Request for information or RFI is a request that a project owner or consultant makes to the contractor. RFI can be used to clarify the nature of work or differences between documents.

A request for information is generally used in large-scale construction projects as multiple parties are involved in the process, and they all need to be on the same page before construction begins. The RFI tracks changes in cost estimates, delivery delays, and other essential factors that affect project schedules and budgets. 

One way to help reduce confusion and ambiguity on a construction site is to follow the proper procedure by submitting RFIs (Request for information). Construction companies can use RFI requests to accomplish virtually anything from making corrections on blueprints due to an incorrect measurement or requesting more supplies.

Some of the common reasons for an RFI are design coordination, Construction coordination, design alterations, sequencing, material change, missing documents, and site conditions. 

While selecting an RFI tool for your construction project, make sure that -  

  • the platform is user friendly and easy to navigate
  • various teams involved should be able to upload attachments
  • units should be able to make changes to documents via the software without the need to download and re-uploading the files
  • the platform should accept documents in multiple formats
  • it should have a chat feature for accessible communication, 

Linarc's RFI tool provides a transparent, quick and straightforward communication exchange platform for all participants, including field leads - foreman, site superintendent, etc. It allows attachments like plan markups, photographs, PDF files, etc., for better clarification of queries. Workflow data flows seamlessly between the general contractor, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and owners through proper channels. So there is no lag in communication flow, and once RFI is answered and closed by the concerned party, the general contractor publishes it. 

workflow types

Submittals

A submittal can be the methods or process, deliverables, products, and samples used on a project. They are generally submitted for approval by subcontractors and suppliers to general contractors. It can include shop drawings, production specification documents, technical specifications, installation instructions for equipment, cut sheets, printed brochures, material samples, etc.

Submittals are often used to support construction documents and can be used for quality control purposes and to provide evidence of compliance with building codes and regulations. They're a part of the construction workflow that enables contractors to submit their work plans on time to stay competitive in today's marketplace, with businesses from around the world vying for contracts. 

Submittals are a crucial part of the job; there can be no construction without them. If I were to build a house, for example, there would need to be plans that I would need to review with my subcontractors to ensure that everything looked good and was well-planned. I wouldn't want the walls or anything not to fall into place correctly, so having an excellent walkthrough plan is essential. A submittal provides excellent explanations of how something should be applied or set up. 

While selecting a submittal tool for your construction project, make sure that -

  • It allows customization and automation of the workflow for different submittal items.
  • It will enable the digital managing and tracking of submittals.
  • Numbering in construction drawings can be confusing. So opt for a tool that keeps drawings from multiple vendors organized. Crush the myth that submittal numbering is time-consuming
  • Allows dates to be assigned to various tasks and sends reminder notifications to the concerned teams as and when needed.
  • It has an integrated real-time message platform for communication between different teams.

Linarc's Submittal feature lets general contractors create submittal packages and efficiently manage their responses. Linarc can track, organize and collate sub-contractors and supplier responses and lets you link them to relevant schedule tasks. This allows the field team - foreman, site supervisor or project engineer - to access the submittals from the field. It also allows customization of the workflow for each submittal item and due dates for each step.

Change Orders

A change order is a document that lists any addition, modification, or removal of work. It is also known as an alteration order. Change orders come into play when there are alterations to the original scope of work, contractual agreement, or budget for the project.

Change orders can involve minor modifications or significant additions or alterations. The latter may require coordination with other parties involved in the project like architects, engineers, contractors and subcontractors. A change order is often issued when significant changes in scope during construction affect pricing or scheduling and may even cause delays if not appropriately addressed at this stage of project execution.

While selecting a change order tool for your project, make sure that - 

  • It allows contractors to generate, view, track and submit bids digitally 
  • It will reduce manual subscriptions and confusion at the site. 
  • It enables different workflows for different types of change orders.

Linarc's Change Order module gives real-time visibility across teams and integration with cost and timeline. It lets general contractors generate CO, add their estimates, request bids, get approval and then add the final change order to the master schedule. It also enables subcontractors to review and respond to general contractor requests and add the approved change order to their schedule. 

Punch List

A punch list is a written list of items that need attention before the end of a construction project. A punch list will typically include not adequately installed plumbing, chipped paint, unfinished landscaping, etc. The project manager or general contractor often prepares punch orders to ensure that each contractor involved in the project has been allowed to address any issues before moving on with their next assignment. Everyone involved in completing the work (architects, engineers) should put together their lists of items that need attention before signing off on completion of construction. The primary purpose of a push list is to review work completed on a rolling basis, identify issues and fix them.

While selecting a Punch List tool, make sure that - 

  • It supports periodical reviews 
  • It allows different parties to submit lists and items digitally, review, and assign items to relevant teams.
  •  It enables the submission of photos and PDFs. 
  • It can track item completion and field review of the same.
  • It can identify critical pending items that impact schedule progress.

Linarc offers a complete Punchlist Manager with a checklist format for review, items details with specifics of the contractor, due dates, and reviewer. It also provides a customized dashboard for tracking and reporting. 

Before investing in construction management software, ensure that it gives you digital access to all the construction workflow tools. It should be fully automated, vertically integrated and let your company create custom workflow templates. For efficient management of a construction site, the primary workflow construction tools are RFI, Submittal, Change order, and Punch List. Besides these, other essential workflow processes are invoicing, schedule Baselines, Progress updates and contracts. Construction management software must offer seamless access to all the construction workflow tools.

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