The Benefit of Construction Project Management Software at Every Stage
“Construction project management is a professional service that provides a project’s owner(s) with effective management of the project’s schedule, cost, quality, safety, scope, and function (CMMA).”
Construction project managers have enormous responsibilities. Their duties include assembling the project team, assigning roles and responsibilities, defining communication rules, and coordinating the construction of intricate design elements while watching for potential issues that might cause harm, disruption, or dispute.
The work is challenging and rewarding, but it requires long hours and carries an element of risk which can sometimes be stressful.
Construction project management software lightens the load, lessens the risk, and makes managing a successful project far less time-consuming.
What Are the 5 Phases of Construction Project Management and How Does Software Help?
Construction projects decompose into five primary phases.
- Conception & Initiation
- Project Design
- Project Planning
- Project Execution
- Closeout & Commissioning
Each phase of the construction process breaks down further into individual tasks and responsibilities. It then becomes the project manager’s job to coordinate all those activities into safe, effective workflows.
Let’s look at each phase in the project lifecycle and explore the benefits of replacing manual, time-consuming systems with the convenience of cloud-based software and software automation.
1) Project Initiation
Emails, Zoom calls, and text messages begin the conversation as the project owner collaborates with various stakeholders to discuss the feasibility of a potential new construction project.
Even though the project team is small at this phase, more stakeholders are joining the project team, and communication is already challenging. Separate lines of communication can get jumbled as multiple streams of information discussing potential issues enter the conversation.
How is software beneficial in the initiation phase?
Emails, Zoom calls, and text messages don’t always include everyone, leaving some stakeholders out of the loop. Without a central source of accurate information, misunderstandings develop, which cause tension, errors, and confusion.
Construction project management software solves this challenge by centralizing all project-related communication on one easy-to-use platform. Documents, contextual conversations, photos, graphs, and architectural drawings are easily accessible by mobile app or desktop.
Software automation alerts every stakeholder to new information in real-time, so everyone stays connected, informed, and in the loop.
The efficiencies of software translate into shorter response times and faster, better-informed decision-making during the critical project initiation phase.
2) Project Design
Communication gets even more congested during the design phase as the design team surveys the construction site and creates digital documents, blueprints, and plan sheets to share with the owner, general contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers.
Designs are revised based on feedback from the stakeholders, generating more documents to keep track of and distribute.
Meanwhile, general contractors and their team members assess potential issues with constructability. At the same time, pre-construction cost estimates are compiled, reported to the owner, and shared with the entire project management team.
The thrust is to produce a design that fits the owner’s budget, needs, and expectations while identifying design issues early to avoid change orders and later overruns.
How does software benefit the design phase of construction project management?
The pre-construction process has sped up considerably now, and construction firms using traditional project management tools are likely to fall behind. In addition, the project team is growing, and these new stakeholders need to catch up fast.
Construction project management software eases these transitions because the threads of past conversations remain in the system: discussions and relevant project documents, blueprints, and plan sheets are available instantly. In addition, the software connects team members by mobile app and desktop, so no one is left out of this crucial development phase.
That means everyone has access to the most up-to-date information, no matter when they join the project team, so that they can make fast, accurate decisions to keep the project moving forward.
3) Project Planning
As momentum in the pre-construction phase grows, the need for more people grows right along with it.
During the pre-construction planning phase, the project manager secures the subcontractors, specialty contractors, and material suppliers they need to execute the build. Then, they create a project management plan, considering project scope, budget, and scheduling limitations.
The flow of information is going in many directions now, and the need for a cohesive information management system is greater than ever. But unfortunately, this is where the construction firms that use spreadsheets and manual forms fall flat.
How does construction project management software optimize the planning phase?
Construction project management software moves things along by uniting the entire project team on a single project scheduling platform.
The project manager can collect the work breakdown structures from the project’s subcontractors through the software and use that information to build the construction schedule.
With the master construction schedule in place, the project manager uses the software to collaborate with the entire construction team to create the critical path, watching for potential issues that might slow progress.
The software connects the work breakdown structures to the schedule of values for accurate accounting and project budget reporting. And custom integrations allow subcontractors to connect with their accounting software or ERP solutions for seamless bookkeeping.
4) Project Execution
The active construction phase is the height of stakeholder involvement. Skilled trades work shoulder to shoulder, all jocking for time and space, stretching the construction project manager’s attention to the limit.
There are more people on the job site now than at any other time throughout the project lifecycle. Because of that, strict adherence to the project schedule is critical to maintaining a successful project workflow.
Old pen and paper project scheduling systems like whiteboards, text messages, and emails can’t keep everyone informed and on task. The confusion caused by those outdated systems creates bottlenecks, conflicts, and delays.
How does construction project management software minimize delays during the project execution phase?
Construction project management software takes the heavy lifting out of managing the complexities of a busy job site.
- Seamless communication is essential to a successful project management plan.
- Construction management software provides quick and easy access to every project team member from across the job site, town, or worldwide.
- Project Tracking:
- Daily work reports are digitized, so updates are automatically available for review and better quality control.
- The scheduling software pulls unfinished work forward into the next work assignment, so every stakeholder sees what needs more attention.
- Project Scheduling:
- Document Management:
- Blueprints, spec sheets, and critical project documents are always available.
- Generate RFIs from anywhere, and software automation alert the relevant decision-makers for fast response and turnarounds.
- Job Costing and Finances
- Cost control is always a concern on the construction site. Software built for construction links financial reporting to the work breakdown structures for accurate, up-to-the-minute cost accounting,
Construction project management software smooths an otherwise rough and tumble construction process for improved safety, quality control, and decision-making.
5) Project Commissioning and Closeout
Project commissioning marks the end of the project lifecycle. Closeout is your last chance to honor your commitments and make lasting impressions on your team members, clients, and suppliers.
Construction firms relying on pen and paper punch lists, binders of project documents and heavy file folders jammed with owner’s manuals and system operating instructions don’t leave the best impression.
What’s the role of construction project management software in the commissioning and closeout phase of the project lifecycle?
Software programs built for construction streamline the commissioning and closeout process by digitizing documents, manuals, and system operating guides.
- Share documents, images, and files within the platform.
- Schedule closeout meetings, inspections, punch lists, and follow-ups through project management software.
- Assign punch list items with attached documentation, photos, and files to eliminate guesswork and ensure accurate and timely completion.
- Track work progress through daily reports, updated in real-time as project teams complete their punch list tasks.
Construction Project Management Software for the Construction Industry
Successful construction professionals stay on top of every aspect of their projects, from initiation through closeout.
Construction project management software streamlines these complex processes, manages task-based workflows, and allows seamless communication for a successful project.
Get a custom demonstration of the Linarc construction project management system today—the intelligent, intuitive, easy-to-use tool for managing the complexity of today’s building projects.