Top signs it's time to invest in construction software

By Georgia Galloway | 8 Nov, 2023 | 5 minute read

In the fast-paced and dynamic landscape of the UK construction industry, construction and contractor companies face many challenges in managing their operations efficiently and compliantly.

A reliance on Excel spreadsheets, the time and cost required for admin and human error all impacting workflow, productivity and margins all signalled the need for a better solution.

Construction and contractor management software simplifies intricate processes, including the management of workforces and the tracking of compliance, all while improving communication and reducing the time spent on administration tasks whilst reducing the costs and human error associated with admin.

But what are the signs you should look to invest in construction software? 

This question arises for most contractors looking to scale their company or streamline processes. However, adopting new software can entail additional costs, consume time, and disrupt your workflow. 

Over the past decade, the construction industry has significantly ramped up its use of digital technology to enhance project efficiency and combat common challenges. 

We will look at the common challenges faced in the construction industry. The more challenges that resonate with you, the greater indication that it's time to consider investing in construction-specific software.

UK house building site with complete and partially complete new homes. Scaffolding surrounds incomplete houses and new plots are marked out in the early stages of new builds.

Time consumed by admin tasks

Historically, construction and contractor companies have found themselves overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork to complete.

On average, construction employees invest around 90 hours per year in paperwork tasks, equivalent to over two weeks of their working time, as revealed by a survey conducted by YouGov. 

  • 23% of employees spend more than 7 hours each month reading paperwork. 
  • 18% of employees invest over 7 hours monthly, ensuring that paperwork is fully completed. 
  • 4% of employees spend 7 hours searching for misplaced paperwork. 
  • 10% of employees experience stress when trying to decipher other people's handwriting. 
  • 9% of employees lack confidence in inputting the correct information in their forms.

Paperwork alone imposes a substantial annual cost of nearly £1,500 per employee in the construction industry. 

There are many administrative tasks faced by construction companies, including (but not limited to) communicating with employees working remotely, verifying subcontractors, managing maintenance, tracking projects, and payments.

Contractor management software can be essential in reducing the time and costs allocated to completing admin tasks.

Solving admin problems with construction-specific software

Easier record keeping: Digitising records makes them easier to find and helps avoid losses due to misplacement or damage.

Faster compliance checks: Automated checklists help ensure no box goes unticked when it comes to compliance, making your work safer and more reliable.

Streamlined reporting: Generate accurate reports in a fraction of the time it takes manually. Additionally, with real-time data always available, you can be sure your work is up-to-date and accurate.

Construction software saves time and helps avoid mistakes that could cost you down the line. After all, an error on a report or miscommunication about task allocation can result in costly rework.

Inefficient traditional manual processes

Manual processes in construction have been the norm for decades. However, traditional construction methods can be a hindrance when projects become more intricate and there is limited time to complete them.

The following are typical challenges encountered in traditional construction project site management: 

Delayed access to real-time information: Conventional methods heavily depend on paper documentation and manual record-keeping, causing delays in accessing current information. This impedes effective decision-making and collaboration among project stakeholders. 

Communication and collaboration: Traditional site management often suffers from fragmented and time-consuming communication. Coordinating with subcontractors, suppliers, and stakeholders proves difficult, leading to miscommunication. 

Email chains become long-winded: Notes scribbled onto plans get lost; voice mails go unheard: there are many potential pitfalls here. On-site staff need real-time access to the latest information and decision-makers, which is something manual processes often struggle with.

Limited document control: Traditional site management heavily relies on physical documentation, making it challenging to maintain centralised and controlled access to project documents. This can lead to version control issues, document loss, and difficulty retrieving crucial information when needed. 

Lack of accountability: Establishing transparency and accountability among project team members can be challenging in traditional site management. Without a reliable system for tracking work progress and activities, monitoring individual responsibilities and ensuring timely task completion becomes difficult. 

Safety and compliance risks: Traditional site management may struggle to ensure compliance with safety regulations and industry standards. Manual tracking of safety protocols and inspections increases the risk of overlooking critical safety measures, potentially resulting in accidents or legal complications.

Issues with wages - resolved with the right contractor management software

We've seen first-hand the issues contractors face using Excel (or scraps of paper) to process wages and the inevitable problems with double-booking, over-booking and wages budget control. Not to mention the excessive time required to authorise and process wages. And then the time needed to discover and fix wage issues.

The problems faced without contractor management software systems have all resulted in money lost every month.

Choosing the right construction software

Selecting construction-specific software that meets your needs is a critical step. With so many options available, deciding which is best suited for your needs can be difficult.

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions come equipped with tailored features that cater to the specific needs of businesses, further increasing operational efficiency and upholding safety standards across all projects. 

They bring automation to repetitive tasks and streamline operations, enabling companies to allocate their time toward planning and innovation. 

Consider the following factors when deciding on construction software: 

Niche software: Seek specialised software for your specific trade, such as Carpentry contracting software.

Business size: Opt for scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) based on your workforce and site requirements. 

Budget: Find software within your budget. 

Features: Explore the software's features, ensuring it matches your needs without unnecessary complexity. 

User-friendly: Choose software that's easy to use and mobile-optimised for on-site teams. 

Customer support: Verify available customer support options or try a free trial before purchasing.

Is it the right time for you to invest?

Whether to invest in construction-specific software depends on several factors, including your specific needs, the size of your construction business, and your budget.

Here are some considerations to help you determine if it's the right time for your company: 

Project complexity: If your construction projects have become more complex and more significant in scale, construction-specific software can help streamline project management, scheduling, and communication. 

Efficiency and productivity: Construction software can improve productivity by automating tasks, reducing manual data entry, and facilitating collaboration among team members. It may be a good time to invest if your business is struggling with inefficiencies. 

Scalability: Consider whether your business is planning to grow. Construction software can support scalability by providing tools for managing multiple projects simultaneously. 

Compliance and reporting: If your projects require compliance with specific regulations or reporting requirements, construction software can simplify these processes and reduce the risk of non-compliance. 

Cost-benefit analysis: Assess the costs of implementing construction software, including software licences, training, and ongoing maintenance. Compare these costs to the potential benefits of time and cost savings. 

Industry trends: Stay informed about industry trends and the adoption of construction technology. If your competitors or peers are benefiting from construction-specific software, it may be a sign that it's time for you to consider it. 

Return on investment (ROI): Evaluate the potential ROI of investing in construction software and if it leads to increased project efficiency, reduced errors, and higher profits in the long run.

Ultimately, investing in construction software should align with your company's specific needs. When chosen thoughtfully, construction-specific software can revolutionise your operations, significantly enhance productivity, and ultimately contribute to the growth and success of your construction business.

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