Imagine that you are coming to the handover stage of a construction project. Before signing off, the client asks why a certain feature of the building diverges from the original plan. You search through your files but just can’t find any information explaining the change – which puts you in an awkward situation. At this point, a new generation of construction document control software could solve your problem.
The industry is increasingly turning to modern records management tools to avoid these kinds of situations. By using these solutions, you benefit from more rigorous and reliable record keeping.
Here’s everything you need to know about document management software in the construction industry.
What is construction document management?
Construction document management is a form of record-keeping used in the construction industry. It chiefly involves stakeholders compiling and storing certain kinds of project information. These records provide an accurate ‘history’ of what happened during a project, how the team made decisions and why plans changed.
Some document management is also a legal requirement. It is obligatory to keep records of things like:
- Invoices for materials
- Payments made to subcontractors and suppliers
- Health and safety information
- Building plans
Keeping other kinds of construction record may not be legally required, but it is very useful. This includes things like your:
- Site diary
- Meeting minutes
- Progress reports
- Daily productivity and time records
- Emails and other correspondence
The kinds of construction documents you choose to keep will vary depending on the client and the nature of the project you are working on. Consequently, it is useful to have a flexible document management system that you can adapt to any of your projects.
What is construction document control software?
Construction document control software simply provides a digitised method of storing these files in a centralised place.
Once, construction document management involved the storage and maintenance of paper files in filing cabinets. Over the last 20 years, it has become much more common to use generic IT systems to do this – think file shares, email programmes and hard drives in desktop computers.
Today, a new generation of specialised construction document control software can store all of these files. This technology is specifically tailored to the construction industry’s document management needs.
Benefits of modern construction document management software include:
- Save time: Did you know that around 30% of office workers’ time is simply spent looking for information? Construction document management software makes it a lot easier to find all the records associated with a specific project.
- Saves space (and money): Document management software digitises all of your paperwork and stores it in remote cloud servers that you connect to over the internet. As a result, you no longer need large filing cabinets for paperwork or a basement full of costly company servers.
- Efficient: Rather than spreading your content over lots of different IT systems and email inboxes, construction document management software centralises everything in one place – which makes it much easier to manage.
- Mobile: Staff can access up to date project files on their mobile devices while working on the construction site.
- Legal protection: If your company stores files and paperwork digitally, you can easily and clearly see who created, edited and opened files over time. If your documents ever need to be audited, you will easily be able to show you are legally compliant.
PlanRadar for construction document management
PlanRadar is part of a new generation of construction document management technologies. The software allows you to upload a wide range of files related to your projects into an interactive interface in the Cloud.
The app helps you achieve the highest standards of construction records management in a number of ways:
- Plan comparison: You can directly upload new versions of the construction plan to the system and share them with all stakeholders in real-time. Meanwhile, the system automatically saves previous versions in the Cloud, keeping them accessible for reference. All changes are also visible to all project participants, including photos, text and voice recordings.
- Task management: The app automatically produces a record of tasks and checklists. From the assignment of remedial work to individual employees’ jobs, the app’s task management tools give you a paper trail of decisions and activity.
- Historical record: Tickets are automatically stored chronologically based on your entries. You can also use the plan comparison feature to track how the plan was changed over time, why and by whom.
- Reporting: Legally compliant reports are also generated in the app – covering anything from healthy & safety to snags to fire assessment reports.
How to introduce new construction document control software
Investing in new construction document management systems represents a change in how construction companies do business. Additionally, if your teams are used to paper-based systems, a shift to an app-based approach could present a challenge. However, given the benefits of construction document control software, it is certainly worth the effort.
Ultimately, this is about business change management. When introducing new document management software, the following techniques can support your deployment:
- Engage employees from the beginning: Talk to staff about their current records management practices and find out about ‘pain points’ they experience.
- Communicate: Explain the benefits of the new construction document control software and show how it is going to help with their day-to-day work.
- Start small: If you are deploying new construction document management technologies it might be helpful to start using them on a small project to learn lessons about implementation before rolling out to the wider company.
- Get executive buy-in: Your CEO, site managers and senior staff should also use the software to record construction changes. This sends the message to everyone that they must use the new digital tools.
- Measure the change: You should soon notice a significant reduction in document management costs at the same time as improved efficiency.
Start using construction document control software
PlanRadar’s construction document management app can help your organisation to improve how you manage and store records. Learn more about the app’s features here, or begin your free trial today to see how it could improve your approach to records keeping.