If you have ever worked with a truly inspirational site manager, you will know just how much more smoothly projects progress when they are in charge. Effective site managers are the kind of people who know how to communicate, value teamwork and are confident delegating tasks to the right people. And, with the emergence of new construction management apps, those skills can be even further enhanced.
Learn more: What is construction management?
Construction management apps support a wide variety of tasks – from reporting to health & safety checks and more. And they are growing in popularity. A 2019 study found that approximately half of construction firms use this kind of technology for time management, 40% use them for plan management and a quarter use them for managing BIM files.
What are construction management tools, and why should you use them?
What are construction management apps?
A construction management app provides building professionals with a mobile-based tool for managing project tasks and responsibilities. As opposed to traditional task and project management on building sites, which depended on paper-based plans or a document stored on a PC, mobile apps mean plans and tasks can be distributed to anyone with a mobile device (construction apps for Android, iOS and Windows are available).
Construction management apps let project managers do things like:
- Delegate specific project tasks to workers via the app
- Discuss snags, concerns, or resolve questions
- View building plans on a mobile app wherever they are on the site
- Record progress against the plan
- Report on progress and any problems encountered
Construction management apps cover a wide range of tasks and activities in the building trade – and at different levels of planning and operations. Currently, there are apps available on the market for quality control, site supervision, delay management, planning, health & safety and more.
How are apps and cloud-based construction software used?
The following example illustrates how mobile construction management apps support the work of site managers.
Greg is overseeing the construction of a new building at a university. He spends his days monitoring progress of the project, addressing specific problems that arise and liaising with the client.
One day there is a delay at the site because a supplier is late delivering a batch of materials. In the past, this might have held up the project, but Greg uses his cloud-based construction software and a mobile app to use the ‘free’ time more effectively:
- Using the app, he communicates with all contractors before they arrive on site to let them know about the delay and informs them that today’s project plan has changed
- He delegates a number of specific tasks out to crew managers
- He uses the app’s building plan to select specific locations in the site where work could be done during this ‘downtime’
Greg would generally be able to do this communication and delegation even without an app. However, doing this task from his smartphone makes the process much faster and more efficient. For example, the ability to select specific locations on the building where extra work is needed means there is much less chance of misunderstandings. Similarly, the ability to communicate with everyone via an app means there is a direct way to reach all contractors without the risk that some might miss the message.
Benefits of construction management apps
There are multiple benefits to using construction apps for Android and iOS devices. These include:
More efficient sites
By tracking your project either via remote monitoring systems or a defect tracking supervisor, you ensure that everything is under control. You can also check that problems aren’t being accumulated without your knowledge. This reduces the costs of sudden mistakes or delays.
If you provide your team with a platform that truly connects them (rather than the formal email process), you ensure everyone is on the same page and can avoid missed emails or misunderstandings. For example, a general contractor app that allows the site manager to communicate with all sub-contractors. As a result, everyone understands what is expected of them.
More efficient reporting
A construction management app allows all workers to report on exactly which tasks they did over the course of a day. They can log which site they were on, any issues encountered and check off tasks/write short reports on their mobile devices that summarise what they did. As a result, you ensure transparency for the client and you have a clearer idea of what is going on.
Construction management apps improve transparency – it is possible to see who did what, and when they did it. It therefore becomes much harder for individuals to avoid taking responsibility for delays or poor quality work.
Are team members underusing expensive rented tools? Are certain contractors not working at full capacity? Is one supplier charging high fees? A construction management app gives you a much clearer view of how much different project outgoings are costing you. This can help you seriously reduce expenses by identifying overspend.
You don’t need a large IT department to use these new technologies – today’s construction project management software is lightweight, competitively priced and easy to use.
PlanRadar: a multi-featured construction app
PlanRadar provides a powerful solution to support site managers with every aspect of effective project management. The cloud-based construction software provides you with an app which supports a wide range of project tasks including:
- Snag management
- Communication about tasks
- Recording site diaries and project progress
- Plan management
- And much more!
As a result of bringing all these tasks into a user friendly mobile application, the site manager’s job becomes much easier. The technology especially encourages improved communication and collaboration.
Mobile apps and cloud-based construction software will never replace the need for a skilled and intelligent site manager. However, by using construction management apps, they can effectively extend and enhance their existing communication, teamwork and task delegation skills.
PlanRadar was founded in 2013 and provides innovative mobile-first software solutions to the construction and real estate industries. Our app is available on all iOS, Android and Windows devices and has helped more than 7,000 customers in over 44 countries to digitise their workflow.