Most construction professionals would agree that there has been a significant emergence of technology providers that cater specifically to the construction industry.
These providers aim to use technology to streamline processes, help people collaborate, and ultimately save time for every user.
With any new multi-million-dollar project, there is a huge amount of administration processes that need to be completed over the construction period. One area that seems to be a constant pain point is managing construction defects. In some cases, defects can completely eat away at project margins and if serious enough can send a company into administration.
Today through technology and smart devices, being proactive rather than reactive when managing defects allows the back end of a project to be less frustrating and reduce handover deadline pressures. Solutions that streamline the defects process to progressively complete issues can reduce a project's risk and dramatically cut administration time. So, what should you look out for when looking for an application?
It’s an obvious one, but when looking at different construction applications, mobile must be the focal point of usability. If the application can’t be used on a smart phone or tablet the same way it can be used on a desktop, the likelihood of it being utilised in the field will be low.
According to a survey in the 5th annual construction technology report by JBKnowledge, from 2012 to 2016, there has been nearly a 20 per cent increase in those who see mobile capabilities of construction software to be important or very important. Make sure your provider has a strong focus on mobile and user experience to ensure the process is easy, streamlined and covers your companies defect process.
No technology barriers
An important point to consider during defect management is what external contractors or consultants will need to do when reviewing or completing the required actions. Do they need to register onto your system or download additional software, or can they work straight from their emails without the need to follow a time-consuming registration process?
Providing a streamlined and simple process with minimal software barriers will see the adoption of technology increase and save you time training and registering your contractors onto a system. Be aware of the software’s process though a trial and ensure that it can become part of the business' policies and procedures.
The main benefit of any kind of technology is that it makes a process more efficient and saves time. For construction applications, this should always be the case. If logging defects into an application does not at least save you 50 per cent of the time it would have taken by paper and pen, then you are not using the right system.
Good software will streamline notifications so that when a defect walk has been completed, everyone required to complete items are already notified with any attachments such as plan mark-ups or supporting photos. The time taken to manually re-enter defects from paper into spreadsheets and email should be eliminated, saving at least a few hours per defect walk.
Furthermore, your system should do any chasing up required through reminder and overdue notifications to ensure that defects are signed off and not forgotten about.
Any construction software should focus on collaboration because that is what construction is all about, bringing different companies with different skills together to complete a common goal.
If a head contractor is issuing defects digitally while the client project manager is still handing over paper lists, it won’t improve productivity. A collaborative system that allows all participants to actively create, manage and complete defects will see a more streamlined approach.
Additionally, this level of flexibility and transparency will give clients confidence about your quality approach to their project, and will see a better finish and minimal delays.