A Comprehensive Guide to Construction Project Management Software
Retail organizations are constantly challenged with needing to open stores and locations as quickly as possible while maintaining low costs and doing everything they can to maximize profits. This is where construction project management (CPM) software can be a transformative solution.
What is Construction Project Management Software?
Construction project management software is a type of project management software that allows companies to effectively implement capital improvement processes and better manage new location construction and site openings, especially as companies pivot their facilities strategies and floor plans due to COVID.
A lack of coordination, efficiency and expertise frequently causes delays and creates financial waste in construction project management - including higher expenses, uncertainties and ultimately reduced profits. Organizations that do not have awareness or visibility into what is going on within their departments or construction projects are also prone to delays or excess costs.
As organizations continue to grow and construction demands increase, project teams will inevitably outgrow their project management tools.
The Basics of Construction Project Management Software
Construction project management software is a specialized project management platform purpose-built for managing the planning, design and execution of a construction project, offering comprehensive oversight of the entire construction process from beginning to end.
A construction project management solution should allow organizations to:
- Track and control costs through purpose-built functionality for budgeting, bidding and change management workflows
- Increase cross-functional collaboration with shared workflows and notifications
- Automate standard processes with repeatable schedules and flexible workflows resources
- Strike a balance between configurability and best practices with their construction projects
An effective CPM solution will enable organizations to control enterprise construction projects at scale, in both the macro and the micro. As companies continue to grow and expand their location portfolio, the solution should scale to fit their expanding needs.
It will help to eliminate project delays and increase broader efficiencies by allowing its users to work in a centralized and automated tool that keeps everyone on the same page -- ultimately allowing for better visibility into a standardized process.
How Construction Project Management Software Benefits Your Organization
With construction project management software, you can:
Stop Manually Tracking Through Spreadsheets
Many organizations are still using spreadsheets to track and manage their construction projects - even as their needs outgrow them. Spreadsheets are notorious for their inaccessibility, can be prone to error and require multiple versions that can easily be lost. For large or complex projects, manual spreadsheets limit efficient information sharing and make managing timelines more difficult.
This is because spreadsheets are not purpose-built to manage construction projects. While they can be customized to include the information you need, they require extensive manual updating and offer no assistance with best practices or automation. Eventually, companies find that they need the right tool for the job - and even the most advanced spreadsheet will never be able to support the complexities of project financials, approvals, conditional workflows, etc.
By pivoting to a construction management software solution, organizations eliminate the need for extensive spreadsheets, instead offering a more effective way to manage enterprise construction projects at scale and remove the fear of lost time, progress or information.
Create a Single Source of Truth for Critical Documentation
An effective construction project management system empowers your team to scale across departments, bringing people together from your real estate, accounting and maintenance teams. It also brings together leadership, project managers and general contractors to work out one system.
By accessing the same system across project modules, teams can seamlessly share and use information from the same system, eliminating complicated file sharing. This puts teams on the same page when sharing metrics and terminology, reduces misunderstandings and wasted time, and simplifies executive reporting.
Give the Right People the Right Access
An effective project management system offers users different dashboard options based on what each person needs to know, with a dedicated system administrator granting access as required. This keeps things simple - reducing clutter, minimizing wasted time and ensuring that the employees in your organization have right access to the right information at the right time.
A competent CPM solution can also keep sensitive project data out of the hands of those who should not have access, helping to uphold the standards of competitive bidding and allowing organizations to control project financials and other private information.
Share Information in Real Time with Mobile Access
A best-in-class construction management software will not only be cloud-based to maintain data integrity and security, but also have robust mobile capabilities to expand the impact and access of the solution. This means that teams both on and off-site are able to access the same information using a convenient mobile device. Teams on project sites can make updates in real-time, automatically syncing their data to keep information as up to date as possible, using either a mobile-friendly browser link or a mobile application.
This ensures that important data is not lost, and time is not wasted having to manually transfer paper documents into the system when returning to the office from a construction job site visit.
Track Costs and Financial Projections
62% of businesses identified measuring the time and costs of their construction projects as the most significant project management challenge.
A construction project management software solution gives you control over these core project management challenges by letting you track and manage any threats to your schedule or budget, ensuring you remain on your critical path and within budget.
- Automated notifications - Provide real-time updates across teams and departments
- Configurable views - Offers users customizable layouts set to individual needs and usage
- Mobile access - Equip teams with the ability to work remotely with accurate, up-to-date information
Get the right tool for the job, one that has all of the out-of-the-box features for what you need.
Leverage Construction Project Management Best Practices
A lack of coordination and workflow efficiency is a common source of delays and financial waste for large, complex construction management projects. It's not uncommon to experience higher expenses, project delays and ultimately reduced profits as a result of inefficient processes.
Knowing what works best for leading companies and what is endorsed by industry experts such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) can help streamline these roadblocks and offer a clear path toward project cost savings.
An effective project management solution will improve the overall quality of your workflows by offering expert guidance and templated workflows to set you up for success. By having these workflows built into the system and available for you to configure ensures you are starting your project off right, and that you can easily stay compliant with any construction regulations in your industry.
Further reading on construction project management software:
- Webinar: "Retail's Ever Changing Needs and How Accruent's Project Management Solution Can Help"
- Blog Post: "Leverage Industry Best Practices with Accruent's Exclusive Construction Project Management Templates"
Features to Look for in Construction Project Management Software
When researching construction project management solutions, there are many available features to evaluate and consider. But most importantly, a strong CPM solution needs to provide the right functionality for managing construction project from inception to project completion and simplify the overall user experience.
The primary features and core functionality to look for when purchasing a construction project management software solution include:
An effective construction project management solution should provide scheduling integration software that offers users and technicians insights into work calendars and timetables. For construction projects, this feature will minimize confusion for users and technicians by highlighting:
- Current work schedules, including any recent changes or updates
- Future work schedules -- by day, week, month or traditional Gantt chart view
- Standardized Gantt chart with views of when tasks should occur, etc.
- Where and how projects are is extremely valuable, down to finite details
- Real-time updates for scheduling disruptions or delays
Uncover where you are in a workflow process -- whether in a form completion process or a work order implementation -- and where you need to go next. This feature should give users insights into the different construction workflow stages, from beginning to end.
- Access needed information - when and where you need it
- Secure, reliable viewing of data and workflows
- Allows vendors and contractors involved in a project to come in and complete specific tasks and forms, and then have those forms sent to the correct person for approval
Budget and Cost Tracking
Perhaps the most critical feature involves project budget and cost tracking. With a CPM solution, organizations can define budgets and costs alongside individual projects.
This feature should allow you to:
- Understand construction project costs vs. a remodel
- Track costs from pre-construction to final costs in post-construction
- Access location/regional differences in costs and labors
- Standardize and regiment both project budget and cost tracking
- Tie tracking capabilities into other elements into the system
For organizations that work globally, having a construction project management solution that can be internationalized and customized is essential to success. Alongside customizable dashboards and easy-to-understand access to international standards, an efficient CPM solution should include:
- Purpose-built workflows that allow for simple rent review processes that acknowledge coverage of rolling break dates throughout different regions
- Regional-based reporting needs, including quarterly variance reports and property management reporting
- A comprehensive, inclusive income lease management suite for full portfolio management as well as lessor accounting compliance
Organizations can eliminate unnecessary trips and consolidate information between users and clients by allowing system users to store and attach relevant documents and photos.
This includes the ability to:
- Set mark-ups, red lines, check-in and out documents
- Attach photos, documents and video files -- including in the field through mobile
- Assign files to individual users
- Be remind with automatic notifications
- Shareability between users and applications
Focus on Delivering Construction Projects on Time and On Budget
Monitor progress and accurately forecast openings with a single view across your portfolio with a customizable CPM solution. It is increasingly important that organizations deliver projects on time and budget - losing track of ballooning costs or delayed projects can be catastrophic.
A best-in-class construction management solution should help you to:
- Manage cost and resources with visibility into budgets at the line item level
- Share project progress and schedules both internally and externally
- Create processes and templates that are repeatable and consistent
- Control multiple projects with workflows, automatic notifications and customizable reports
Field Users vs. Office Users
With so many ways to handle project tracking in an organization, which stakeholders need an enterprise-level project management solution?
The answer: From pre-construction to post-completion financial management, everyone within the construction workflow can gain a departmental advantage from using a construction project management tool.
When it comes to CPM solution users, there are two levels:
- On-site users - individuals who will use the solution in their every-day job, whether it is logging photos, tracking work orders or completing specific job assignments
- Office users - management and back-office employees who would use the solution to monitor budgets, internationalize production or craft construction projects
Both levels require a solution that can work from project implementation to completion without causing further delays or issues.
A construction project management tool solves this and helps users bridge the gap between on-site and office to manage new location construction, site openings and capital improvement processes by ensuring every detail is done on time and budget.
Do You Need a Construction Project Management Solution?
How do you know if a construction project management solution the right tool for your business?
A construction project management tool is a dedicated solution intended to help organizations manage new location construction, site openings and capital improvement processes by streamlining the project management process for everyone involved.
With a CPM solution, you can save time by reducing unnecessary meetings, keep clients and users up to date and informed on both site and construction data, and eliminate extraneous and unnecessary costs in the construction process.
Accruent's Lx Projects is a best-in-class construction project management solution that can help to ensure your business delivers projects on time and on budget.