Construction document management on a project is not a trivial thing. In fact, contracts, drawings and specs, and compliance documentation play a fundamental role in construction. On average, a large project might have upwards of hundreds and possibly thousands of project documents. That doesn’t even take into account the number of revisions to drawings. In the good old days, plans were stored in a giant stack in the job trailer, and before you got to work, you would need to sort through the stack, which was time consuming and often frustrating, and important changes were often missed. That is not the best way to implement effective construction document management.
Construction document management can be a real challenge; from training your team to learn the latest digital technologies, communications, and the actual sharing of construction project documents with the subcontractors, contractors, and consultants. The mistakes can be costly for capital project owners and construction project managers. If you implement proper construction document management from the outset, it can save time and money.
Why Improper Construction Document Management Wastes Time and Money
The cost of printing and mailing paper documents to external project team members can add up quickly. Plans from the corporate office can change daily and these need to be shared. They will need to be mailed or couriered to the job site, and the project manager will find themselves in a state of constant organizing documents and attaching changes to the right plans instead of overseeing the job site.
Now, let’s say that you have a work flow in place that manages sorting all these documents in the job trailer, resorting to a naming convention to track iterations can be confusing and lead to errors, and operating without a historical record of changes can be just as big of a problem. The accessibility and distributing of up-to-date construction documents and plans are imperative to the success of any project throughout all phases, from bidding through construction, and even during occupation.
More importantly, working off the wrong plan’s costs time and money. In fact, I bet you can’t find a single contractor who has never had to fix a costly mistake because someone on the job site was working off the wrong set of plans. If contractors, subcontractors and consultants can’t locate the most up-to-date information as decisions are being made, the project can suffer from unnecessary change orders and delays, both of which negatively impact the budget.
On every job site there are issues. Whether it’s an unexpected obstacle to construction, a discrepancy between the plan and reality or a conflict between one aspect of the design and another, issues are a part of the package. In the old days, issues had to be written up manually, delivered to the job trailer, then delivered to the designers and the owner, who were responsible for making decisions, then communicating the solution back to the contractor, to communicate it back to the field. At any point in this process, a missed communication can lead to problems, delays, and cost money.
Nothing will cost a construction company more in time and money than miscommunication. Communication ensures that the project is done on time, on budget, and to the required standards. With contracts, plans, regulations, permits, building codes, and other documentation subject to change at a moment’s notice, it is vital that everyone involved has access to the latest, most accurate information at all times. A construction job is only going to be as successful as the plan behind it. If the people on the ground don’t have the right plans, contracts, or other documents then the work doesn’t get done right, which leads to expensive delays and may even open the door to contract violations or other legal difficulties. When everybody is working from the same blueprint, that’s when things get done right—and the first time.
Proper Construction Document Management
What’s the answer? Using proper construction document management software, and there are lots of different software solutions on the market, but they all require an outlay of financial resources to use. Of course, when you measure the initial cost to the very costly mistakes of missed communications and working off outdated documents, the cost effectiveness is well worth the investment.
When choosing construction document management software, there are several factors to consider. Training, ease of use, whether it is cloud based, and does it offer everything you need. Some companies use more than one platform to meet all their needs. Collaboration software for the construction industry enables construction companies to improve project organization and streamline communications across every aspect of a job.
StratusVue offers the perfect solution for construction document management. PlansandSpecs improves project management by facilitating collaboration, providing better organization and streamlining workflows for the documents and files that are crucial to project success. We help you keep your communications flowing, your documents organized and up to date, and help your projects run faster.