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How Project Managers Can Improve Margins By Going Digital

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For project managers and project engineers, finding ways to increase efficiency can drive down operating costs and speed up project turnaround.

Many emerging construction technologies promise to improve construction profit margins, but sometimes the implementation costs or operational problems that come with them can wipe away those gains.

In this post, we’ll detail a few technologies that have been proven to reliably improve construction profit margins.

Reduce manual Data entry and analysis

Construction worker using a laptop

According to a survey of nearly 3,000 construction professionals from JB Knowledge, 45.6% of construction project management workflows still rely on spreadsheets. Construction project management software solutions are specifically designed to streamline the processes that traditionally involved spreadsheets and paperwork.

Software providers like Procore, Aconex, and Bluebeam offer cloud-based platforms that provide easy access to vital information, enable notifications to expedite communication, and include digital workflows that take much less time than their manual counterparts.

Many project management platforms also offer integrations with other software solutions, such as BIM, visual documentation, and document management tools.

Project management platforms support workflows throughout the project lifecycle, from bidding to scheduling to punch lists. For project managers that still rely on spreadsheets or paper-based processes, switching to a dedicated software solution can save hours of work per day, dramatically improving margins in the process.

Shorten lengthy communications processes

The construction industry is unfortunately notorious for missed deadlines and extended time frames. Part of the reason for this reputation is that with so many parties involved in the building process, communication needs can cause a project to grind to a halt.

Among the biggest drags are simple communications tasks like requests for information (RFIs).

Because so many people are involved in making sure work gets done correctly (e.g. architects, contractors, engineers, project managers), answering a request for information can sometimes take more than a week. To answer these questions with any level of certainty, the responsible party often has to walk the job site — and if their schedule doesn’t allow for it, that could take a project from “in progress” to “on hold.”

However, projects that have comprehensive visual documentation available can reduce the time it takes to respond to an RFI from a week to several hours. A full-service documentation service like Multivista can be contracted to take photos of as-built conditions — like in-slab and in-wall utilities, exteriors, and more — and then organize and upload those photos onto interactive project floor plans.

The Multivista Platform includes RFI workflows and also offers deep integrations with project management platforms like Procore, Aconex, Bluebeam, some of which enable project managers to attach Multivista images directly to an RFI, saving a trip to the job site and, in the long run, reducing project turnaround times.

In addition, project teams can use photographs captured by visual documentation professionals to quickly complete quality and safety items like punch lists or daily logs.

Expedite inspections and observations

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Some observations and inspections require hours or days of labor, and rely on commissioning agents or other professionals to make a trip to the job site before work can be allowed to continue.

Thankfully, technology has been introduced that can expedite observation and inspection processes and improve turnaround.

Take an exterior observation, for example. An observer could either observe every bit of a building shell to spot defects, which could take days or weeks, or only observe a random sampling and potentially miss some key error which will come back later to cause an expensive delay.

Now, drones are being used to document the exteriors of large buildings for observation. A drone piloted by a visual documentation service like Multivista is flown along a strategic route up and down the building shell, systematically cataloging the installation of flashing and other critical weatherproofing components.

These photographs are then uploaded to a cloud-based platform, where they can be shared directly with an observer for review. What previously would have taken several days or weeks to schedule and perform can be done in a matter of hours.

Conclusion

Digitizing your project management workflows is an investment; it takes a little work and money up front to make it happen. But with the right tech stack, your team can communicate effortlessly, expedite processes, and reduce delays. The result? Improved profit margins.

To learn more about how technology can improve construction profit margins, read our new guide about remote monitoring in the construction industry.

Start boosting profits with visual documentation technology. Request a demo.

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