There are few industries where a greater number of people with diverse perspectives work together than in the construction sector. On any project, you will find architects, builders, health and safety professionals, project managers, engineers, developers, and countless other stakeholders. All these people approach projects from a different angle and may have competing priorities. And this is where construction management tools can help.
Construction management tools aim to build a bridge between these different actors and enable interdisciplinary and parallel work. By improving communication and ensuring all participants understand the ‘high level’ project as well as their own tasks, these tools help reduce the risk of miscommunications and can make projects run much more smoothly.
So, what are construction management tools and what is their potential?
What is wrong with traditional project planning?
To understand why construction planning tools are so valuable, it is first important to understand the limitations of traditional construction project management.
The conceptual development of any building project is a management process that drills down ‘vertically’ from the big picture (i.e.what the final structure looks like) to the finest of details (such as where electrical outlets will be located in the walls). At the same time, the project must be planned ‘horizontally’ too – from the determination of the basic purpose of a building to preliminary and draft planning, right through to approval and implementation.
As planning progresses, more planners with different priorities will be involved in the construction project, managing a variety of tasks. Rarely does everything come from a single source, which adds further layers of complexity. Therefore, engineers, structural engineers, building physicists, and architects must collaborate effectively to get the job done.
All these different perspectives make it time-consuming and complex to develop a project plan which satisfies everybody’s needs and avoids mistakes.
CAD software and project management tools: the best existing solutions
Currently, the best option for managing most construction projects is a combination of CAD software, PPM tools and paper blueprints. As the following chart shows, the popularity of CAD software has grown dramatically in recent years. Much of this growth is driven by the building industry, where it has been widely adopted.
CAD/CAM software segment market size from 2012 to 2020:
The fact that BIM and CAD software has been adopted so widely by the construction industry is testament to the fact that building projects needed a better way of managing projects. Nonetheless, it fails to solve a key part of the problem: clear communications.
CAD software doesn’t offer any way for you to track, document and monitor all running operations in your field of work. You still need to print blueprints, and individuals at different stages of the plan will have no way of asking questions or resolving issues quickly. This is why construction management tools that prioritise communication and collaboration are needed.
Why construction management tools are so valuable
The diagram below shows an example of the parties usually involved in the execution planning of a standard project. As we can see, a large number of experts is necessary to ensure fault-free construction.
As the building goes from a design in your CAD software to a detailed project plan, you’ll collect the knowledge of numerous engineers, architects and planners. The focus is therefore on effective communication between the project participants. Any misunderstanding can be costly and mistakes made here have serious implications. If planning is flawed, it can not only lead to increased costs but may even result in danger to life.
Connecting specialists through construction software
PlanRadar is a software solution for the construction industry which aims to resolve the communication problems that commonly cause delays and mistakes in building projects.
Using a notebook or mobile device (smartphone or tablet), you can load your current plans in PDF, JPG or PNG formats into the interface. This creates one single place where specialists from different backgrounds can come together and discuss project plans at every level.
On different layers in PlanRadar you can upload and categorise:
- Floor plans
- Sectional views
- Technical drawings
- Execution plans
- Fire protection plans
- And much more
You can then use all these plans by creating tickets, alerting specific individuals to issues that need to be resolved.
Construction planning tools like PlanRadar mean that users can assign tasks and responsibilities to the responsible project participants and track them depending on their completion status.
Based on these transparent steps of documentation scheduling, your projects become a lot easier to manage. By observing your team and the work of other subcontractors with PlanRadar, you can track and react to inconsistencies in time, and work on a more reliable approach to scheduling.
Learn more: 5 ways to boost construction productivity
Construction management tools can revolutionise the sector
Ultimately, the construction plan will always remain at the heart of any successful building project. It is the foundation for project approval and forms the basis for all subsequent events in the construction project. However, until now, most construction plans have suffered from several problems related to miscommunication and conflicting perspectives. That means that projects can get delayed and mistakes are made.
And this is where jointly usable, interdisciplinary, functional software solutions for planners help.
Construction planning tools like PlanRadar can improve building quality, reduce costs and avoid mistakes. What is more, they allow you to optimise scheduling, resolve document shortcomings, improve communication and save time. And, because PlanRadar works smoothly as an interface between BIM and CAD software, it can fit in seamlessly with your pre-existing processes – no major learning curve is needed.
To learn more about how construction management tools like PlanRadar save you time, improve communication and reduce mistakes, contact us today.