Top construction estimation software providers boast of the many advantages of getting construction-specific solutions over the generic ones. However, the idea is met with some skeptics arguing over its cost effectiveness since it violates the aspect of reusability. The rising demands and the discriminating requirements of clients push contractors to adopt a balanced solution that will maintain their profitability and at the same time, satisfy their clients’ demands. This article will focus on the many functions and benefits of getting an industry-specific software solution for contractors such as construction estimation software.
Why Are There More Technology Skeptics in the Construction Industry?
Due to the labor-intensive nature of the industry, contractors find it more difficult to deploy a full implementation of technology, especially onsite. You still see a foreman using the traditional pen and paper approach, and construction men lining up to get their payroll. Realistically though, we are not seeing any full paperless implementation anytime soon due to practical, familiarity, or simplicity reasons.
Another consideration is the project-based nature of the construction industry. It is hard to invest heavily in terms of this kind of capital when you don’t know when you will be able to recoup it. It is also difficult to reinforce IT-based investments to your fees, as it is not easy to compute the appropriate overhead for it. It is hard to justify the cost to your clients, especially when the project is short. More so, the benefits of software and IT in the construction industry are benefitting the contractors more than it does the clients.
Additionally, investments for IT-based technologies are not simple and are quite expensive. You need software, hardware for the system or network, and IT people. You also need to train your people to use it, and some laborers who don’t have a background in computers may find it hard to grasp learning the interface. Since you are dealing with many workers especially onsite, you need more time to let them absorb the system before you can fully maximize it. Contractors thus are discouraged to invest heavily in technology, leaving it to the administrative and design alone, but not on the operations.
What Are the Different Types of Construction Software?
At present, there is a wide range of software and system solutions that a contractor can take advantage of. There are some overlaps, though, in terms of features and benefits, since they are not yet vertically-aligned to one another. There are also software that are generic, meaning, they can also be used by other industries of different nature while there are also construction-specific ones, which have specialized functions that are centered to the needs of the construction industry.
According to a Strategy&’s Engineering and Construction Trends for 2016, the industry experienced about 15 percent increase in 2015 and is predicted to be up by 6 percent more for 2016. This shows how the technology plays a significant role in uplifting the industry from the ill-effects of the 2008 global recession.
The following are some of the business processes of a construction firm which can take advantage of software:
- Accounting and Payroll
Basically, for any business to thrive, it will need a robust accounting and payroll system. In the case of contractors, they mostly deal with projects, so accounting software should be able to process reimbursements, differing project costs, etc. On the other hand, the payroll software must be capable of handling time-based or contractual employees. It should be integrated with time-tracking software to ensure that staff and workers are rendering the service they were asked to. This also ensures that your employees are productive, and the project is right on schedule.
The efficient allocation and use of resources is crucial in any project. The use of software makes sure that you have a wide perspective of all the things to consider when it comes to budget and manpower allocation. If a subcontractor is needed, this can help to supervise and monitor their activities. This feature also overlaps with that of project management software.
Software is useful during bidding process, as it can analyze all cost and time considerations and formulates a series of best prices for bidding.
What is construction estimating software? It is more of a multi-function software that overlaps with project bidding, procurement and project management software. It can be used as a collaborative environment that engages the processes for accurate project estimates, which also involves design, materials and manpower.
- Project Management
Project management software helps the key people in overseeing the operations on each site. This provides them a bird’s eye view of each or all projects as they take place. You can also monitor and track processes as they happen in real-time (through the dashboard) so you can take advantage of opportunities or fix a problem right away.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM)
This is a sophisticated technology that renders a building or infrastructure design in 3D, and which shows before and after images in great and data-based detail. The perspective it gives helps designers and contractors optimize their design and create better value out of it.
- Customer Relationship Management
Nowadays as clients are more specific about their preferences, it would entail software that will help the company to effectively communicate using different channels. It is also imperative to know how they want to be dealt with, and how you can encourage your leads to become clients with how your treat them. CRM software is capable of capturing the data from various channels that customers and the potential ones use and then analyze it. It then returns reports of metrics-kind which are valuable for the key decision-makers and in analyzing customer behavior.
- Cloud-computing technology
Now that more industries are going digital, the issue of security and accessibility of both applications and documents are becoming important. Especially in the construction industry that is document-intensive, construction estimating software on the cloud will make it easier for architects and engineers to collaborate with their designs to ensure that it was properly designed and will be executed.
Architectural software is an essential tool that ensures all design considerations like economy, stability, cost efficiency, and aesthetic value make up the project’s overall design.
Gain Leverage in the Construction Industry With an Estimating Tool
Construction estimation software is an indispensable tool for any contractor. Facing head-on a fiercer market competition, alongside the pressures of informed clients, entails the rights tools in order to keep up with the expectations. Current business practices should also be supported with a robust system to ensure that project outcomes will be delivered on a timely manner. Due to the ever-changing prices of materials, design trends and workforce demands, it is also important to have software to use where you can easily apply changes and find the best options to sustain the project without sacrificing too much.
What does construction estimating software do? Aside from organizing things surrounding a construction project, bask in this host of benefits of construction estimating software:
Definitely, one of the advantages of incorporating technology to processes is its ability to speed things up. When you are already adopting an effective system, integrating technology will make you realize the best outcomes faster. This gives you leverage in the market competition, and increases customer satisfaction.
Process execution is more efficient since you deal with digital data and automation. Your employees will be relieved of non-core and repetitive tasks so they can focus on the more profit-oriented side of their jobs. It also makes the project estimates less prone to errors, and prevents redundant data.
Doing manual methods of computation might introduce human-based discrepancies. Estimates are critical as the client tends to focus on this. Too much overhead at the end of the project will defeat your profit and at the same time, you may lose your reputation in the industry.
One of the best reasons to get a construction estimating software is because you remain consistent with your project estimates even if it is 1 or 100 projects at a time that you deal with. Since the system utilizes a single inventory and pricing, you can be sure that computations for materials costing and labor are consistent among all projects. Changing one price for a material will automatically take effect on the other projects.
Contractors need not be discouraged of the complexity of using a construction estimating software. In fact, the best construction estimating software in the market boasts of its intuitive interface and features. If your employees are already familiar with a spreadsheet method, they won’t have any problems as most software use almost the same layout and buttons, only that it is already integrated with the right formulas behind it (no need to manually input). You can also choose which construction elements you want to display and customize your reports.
As projects become sophisticated, the more things that you need to consider when doing sound project estimates. You may need to consult other business processes for their data like manpower salaries and availability. The good thing is that construction estimation software can effectively integrate with your other business processes so that the data can be automatically streamlined.
- Analytics and reporting
Sound project estimates will also need to consider historical data. The software is robust enough to analyze the data from past projects and derive a historical report for you to consider such as trends, possible setbacks, and price increase estimates. This can be very useful for making accurate but considerate markups for unexpected events that can hamper the project if not addressed early on.
Data-driven solutions will benefit any business for long-term. With the use of construction estimation software, you can reap the benefits of being efficient, accurate, and timely to deliver your project outcomes that satisfy your clients. With the use of technology, you can analyze past and present considerations for making sound estimates to ensure a substantial profit for you and can be justified to the clients. As the optimism quotient for the industry remains high, there is hope that with the help of technologies, the industry will recoup from the effects of recession.
Convinced that you need one today? Where do you buy construction estimating software? Let CrowdReviews.com help you with its extensive list and construction estimating software reviews for options and vendors in the market today.
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