Tips on How to Choose the Best Software Solution for a Construction Company

Small and mid-sized builders always tend to look for additional construction software solution that can save them money. There are many solutions out in the market making it difficult and sometimes impossible to decide which one is the best software. Large size builders have a dedicated team helping them navigating through these issues but the technical knowledge is not there. The ideas and process of selecting the right construction software need to be championed by a construction pro that understands the pains and issues when the decision is not right.

Trending Software Solutions

recent report by one of the most acclaimed construction software services amongst builders, Software Advice, is helping builders in visualizing what they need to know before buying a construction software.  The report, the third of its kind, indicates that small and mid-size builders tend to improve their estimating and project tracking areas. The trend acknowledged the idea of having products functioning through all steps during a construction project, starting during the planning and ending up during the close-out process. Construction software with the functionality of adding tools and extensions facilitating the integration with their existing tools is another concept these builders are looking for. The following paragraphs summarize the software report and are very helpful for your daily operations.

Why a New Construction Software?

The majority of the builders and construction companies who are looking for new software, are doing it so because they know it is the best for:

  • Expand and grow
  • Standardize their processes
  • Avoid costly lawsuits

The new technological solutions will help train new employees, make workers more efficient and keep track of all changes and modifications to existing contract documents. The new software will save money to your daily operations and can free up resources so they can devote their time to additional tasks.

Many RFP’s are now asking builders and contractors for technical and detailed data that can only be captured or processed by new construction software solutions.

Estimating Software

More than 50 percent of the small builder contractors still use pen and paper to do their estimating and take-offs, making it harder or diminishing the opportunity to increase profits or being more accurate with the right construction software. In addition to that 50 percent, other 13 percent of these companies use QuickBooks, a non-construction related software, to manage their financials and just 1 out of 4 builders is looking to update their software. One of the key aspects, builders need to focus on is software that can track and maintain records of who is using the software and how the information is shared.

A solid estimating software should be good enough that can help you in the following areas:

  • Reduce or minimize manual inputs
  • Cuts the time of generating estimates and take-offs
  • Generate accurate estimates and the right numbers for your bid
  • Avoid mistakes or reduces omission errors

Project Management Software

The report and by personal experience, many contractors and builders will look for project management solutions that can streamline their processes.

However, it is noted that most of the builders want to have better communication and clarity while tracking documents, RFI’s and change orders. This type of software along with PMP oriented professionals is the difference between successful contractors and those that look disorganized. Project management software is helpful when sharing prints, RFI’s, change orders, as-builts, and photos. A solid construction software must have the capability of multiple users, be able to run on different platforms, be available on the go and provide cloud services to store project files on a secure server.

Construction Software Solution Features

Builders and contractors seem determined to get software with some common functionality and features allowing them to be productive, on time and within budget. The most common features builders and contractors look on a software are:

  • Cost Estimating
  • Measure takeoff
  • Accounting & Cost Control
  • Project and Schedule tracking
  • Document management, storage and communication
  • Materials and inventory control
  • Bid proposals and project templates
  • Mobile access

It is important to indicate that new technology also integrates data captured by drones, photos or aerial imagery and material tracking. Specialized features are available for all of this new technology, like sensor-equipped drones helping in surveying and safety audits, disaster assessment and recovery efforts. Some other technologies like BIMrequire unique requirements and skills but in the long run, the benefits will outweigh the cost of this technology. RFID software is another one of the latest additions to the construction software solutions, making it easier for companies to track their assets, tools, vehicles and equipment using the concept know as geofencing.

Buying Checklist for Construction Software Solutions

According to the report, builders need to focus on the following areas:

  • Will the new software speed up my actual processes?
  • How transparent the software can be?
  • How can the software improve tracking and accountability?
  • What is the level of accuracy of this software (applicable to estimating software)?
  • What other features or other programs can be linked to this software?
  • Does this construction software addresses a specific industry problem?
  • How will this be able to modernize my business and operations?
  • Will this require multiple licenses and fees during the course of the project or the life of the product?
  • How many years does the company have developing construction software?
  • What type of technical support do they have to offer?
  • Will the software rep train my workers?
  • Is the construction software designed to operate in multiple PC operating systems?
  • How mobile can this new technology be?
  • How will the merger or transition process protect my data?

Once you have all these questions figured out and all of your doubts are answered, then you are able to complete the investment with your prefer business solution. For more information, you can have access to the report at the Software Advice website.

-Juan Rodriguez