Despite a challenging year in the construction industry, the outlook for Cat B fit out companies is looking healthy. Facility managers, hospitality owners and employers are keenly aware that they will need to rethink their floor plans in line with changing social distancing norms and the growth of hybrid working. However, there are also many challenges facing fit out companies. From the rising costs of materials to labour shortages, fit out companies are facing a growing range of cost, time and productivity obstacles. To address these issues, many are starting to use fit out software.
What is fit-out software and how can it help your company?
What is fit out software?
Whether it’s redesigning office meeting rooms or changing airflow around restaurants, the expertise of fit out contractors is more valuable than ever. Fit out software supports these experts by enhancing a number of activities that they perform during their day-to-day work. It is available on desktop computers as well as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Typically, it will allow you to load up a plan of each project you are working on for improved collaboration. Then you can assign tasks to different subcontractors, view project progress and much more.
This kind of project management software uses the various features of digital technology to improve how tasks are managed and monitored. For example, it can use the camera on a contractor’s smartphone to take photos to demonstrate they have completed a specific task. Similarly, it allows them to use chat tools to speak with colleagues in your headquarters and improve communication.
By bringing together various tasks and activities into a single app, fit out software aims to make your projects run more smoothly and efficiently – while also giving you greater control.
What can you do with fit out software?
There are seven main ways that you can use dedicated project management software for fit outs:
- Task management & oversight
- Site inspections
- Streamlined communication
- Health & Safety
Different kinds of fit out software offer different features, so it’s important to consider your needs when choosing a software solution. This is how PlanRadar can help your business with each of these core tasks:
Task management and oversight
PlanRadar’s fit out software provides you with a variety of features to support the management of people and resources on your projects. This oversight helps you stick to timelines and avoid going over budget. Project management features allow you to allocate tasks to individuals and track their completion in customisable dashboards. Using this feature across your team means everyone knows which jobs they have to do and what their deadlines are.
Any software used by fit out companies should include snagging tools. This allows the interior designer to visit a restaurant, hotel or office fit out and record all snags in the app using a simple form. They can then assign snagging tasks to individual fit out contractors. This means issues are resolved much more efficiently than if the project manager relied on a paper-based snagging list.
Regular site inspections are essential for fit out companies to ensure that projects are progressing as planned and that all health and safety standards are being adhered to. PlanRadar allows you to conduct site inspections by including a digital plan or BIM model of your building where the inspector can mark up any problems that they notice. Using a smartphone, they can add photos and videos and produce reports quickly.
Fit out software provides all project participants with a simple way of communicating with one another. Rather than relying on emails or telephone calls, team members can ask (and answer) all questions about the project in a single interface.
This provides multiple benefits to fit out companies and fit out subcontractors. It significantly reduces the risks of misunderstandings, avoids the possibility of emails getting lost and ensures that answers can be provided faster. By being able to communicate more smoothly via software, you can lower the risk of mistakes and costly rework.
Some kinds of fit out software include reporting features that allow you to automatically generate auditable reports on things like health and safety, project progress, costs, material delivery and so on. By having all your reports in a single place, it is much easier to view your data and analyse it. PlanRadar also allows you to customise templates for reports that you generate often, adding cover pages, images and other ancillary information you might need.
At the end of a project, you can use fit-out software for the handover process. The owner can tour the site with the fit-out company and verify that all contractual terms are met using a custom form within your app. You can also add any snags that you find on the final inspection. On completion of the project, the fit-out software lets you generate handover documents and digitally sign off the project. This is more secure and convenient than relying on paper documents.
Health & Safety
When fitting out an interior, health and safety should be a top priority. Construction project management software can help fit out companies to keep track of their safety requirements. Whether you have a QSHE Manager or a different job title taking on the responsibility of site safety, they can use PlanRadar to record safety inspections and complete safety checklists. You can store completed checklists or reports indefinitely for future reference, in case of a claim.
Related reading: Find out more about what PlanRadar can do for snagging.
How might software help your interior fit-out business?
A growing number of fit out companies are beginning to use fit-out software and seeing real benefits in their projects. From meeting deadlines more comfortably, reducing snagging issues or improving communications, this technology can be a real game-changer.
So how could fit out software help you? PlanRadar’s interior fit out software is a platform that helps fit out companies manage projects more effectively. Begin your free trial of PlanRadar today and see how it can work for you.