Did you know that almost half of construction firms are using some form of field and labour management technology? The popularity of this kind of general contractor software has risen dramatically in recent years.
Why is general contractor software becoming more popular? And, if you are not already using it, should you invest?
What is general contractor software?
General contractor software brings many of the typical processes that a contractor is responsible for into a single, centralised digital tool. It takes a variety of tasks – such as handing out jobs to labourers, dealing with contracts, project management, building inspection and much more – and allows you to perform them digitally.
The best examples of software can be used on a desktop PC, a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet.
Here are just some of the tasks you can perform using general contractor software:
- Bidding process: In this stage, software can help with inviting subcontractors to bid on projects and view plans, specs and conditions. This gives the general contractor the ability to know how many current bids are still open and which subs responded to the bid invitation.
- Construction workflow: General contractor software supports every aspect of the construction itself. It provides an easy way to communicate with your subs, the architect and customer to keep them updated with the project workflow and any defects which arise. It also provides an enhanced communication method using chat features in mobile apps (rather than endless emails).
- Project closeout: At the time of the project closeout, every project participant rushes to complete remaining tasks, file all legal documents, check the project quality, finalise maintenance plans and complete the financial statement of the project. General contractor software will untangle these interlacing layers, giving you an efficient way of documenting and recording every project aspect separately.
These are just the main stages of building projects where the software helps. At each stage, there are additional features that enhance the workflow.
What does general contractor software look like?
Let’s explore how this kind of software might be used with a real-world example.
Terry is the general contractor on a residential building project. Here is how he might use general contractor software during the building process:
- Bidding: Terry uploads blueprints of the BIM building model to his chosen software. He then invites subcontractors in a variety of trades to inspect the plans then provide costs estimates.
- Planning: Now Terry has selected the subcontractors he wishes to use, he begins planning the project within his contractor software, setting deadlines for completion of each stage.
- During the build: Once the building starts to go up, Terry uses the software’s statistics and reporting features to monitor progress. If all the subcontractors download and use the mobile app, issues can be raised and fixed quickly.
- Closing out: Terry uses his general contractor software during the closing out stage to identify snags and assign jobs to individual labourers.
- Handover: When it comes to handing over the building to the client and their lawyers, Terry can quickly generate a comprehensive file of all analysis and data relating to the building project.
Dig deeper: How contractor apps transform your projects
7 major benefits of general contractor software
General contractor software evidently provides many advantages over the traditional approach to building project management.
- Boosts building safety: Software for defect tracking enables higher quality production for the building in line with guidelines and building codes.
- Protects you legally: Cloud software allows you to upload, organise and update your documents in a secure, centralised location. All your legal documents are then ready should you ever need them.
- Labour safety: With the help of contractor software, you can easily track tasks and working hours. In addition to identifying everyone’s location on-site, you can easily check that they have the equipment they need.
- Resource management: Are you using all subcontractors to their full capacity? How much are they costing you? With this in mind, could you reallocate some tasks to boost productivity? General contractor software allows you to understand how you are using sub-contractors on-site so that you can manage resources effectively.
- Communication: Good communication is especially important for efficient project management. Once again, using software means you can share plans, give clear instructions and provide a simple means for everyone to communication with you.
- Makes admin faster and smoother: General contractors must deal with many challenges on the project, from budget issues to creating reports. Once again, specialised software makes it far easier to get the data you need to understand your projects.
- Saves time: Finally, software saves so much time by allowing you to receive data and make decisions fast. You then always have the information you need in one place. What’s more, you can use the features of smartphones (such as photos, videos and geolocation) to help resolve issues from a distance – you don’t have to travel by foot or car to view each issue.
Get started today
PlanRadar is a leading general contractor software provider used by building firms of all sizes around the world. PlanRadar provides you with multiple features that can support how you work, e.g.:
- Task management
- Building inspections
- Site diaries
- …and much more
To explore how our general contractor software can support your next project, sign up for a free trial today!