Construction, like most industries, is document intensive. Everything must be carefully recorded and managed from plan changes to job site safety. The key to a successful project is communication and the key to communication is documentation.
With all that documentation comes a truckload of paper that needs to be carefully copied, sorted, filed, stored, and actively managed. Slow to change in the past, the construction industry is beginning to embrace technology, specifically cloud computing, and its unique solutions for the management of project records.
Why Keep Vital Construction Documents in the Cloud?
The cloud refers to a complex network of servers that either store data, deliver a service, or both. A decade ago, businesses bought the latest software, installed it on company computers, and used the program. Information could only be obtained on the computer where the software was installed and an update to the software meant purchasing a new version and going through a company-wide installation, a process fraught with frustration.
New cloud based software allows for automatic updates during non working hours, eliminating lost productivity and the inconvenience of installing updates on individual computers. More importantly, cloud technology allows information to be accessed and shared anywhere a wifi connection is available.
As construction companies have moved toward more technology integration, the availability of specialty project management services and accompanying apps driven by the cloud has increased dramatically. Daily reports, time cards, job site photos, and change orders can now be sent in real time from the jobsite and distributed immediately to the project team. Preventing costly delays and allowing critical decisions to be made quickly and efficiently.
Cloud-based document management saves money and increases efficiency.
Running a paper-only project is a tremendous waste of resources. Not only does is take time and money to manage all the records on any given project, it also requires accuracy and precision. Superintendents have to spend time handwriting daily reports while administrative assistants struggle to decipher and input them into software. With cloud software and integrated applications, reports can be filled out on tablets and cell phones with customized selections for weather, descriptions, and attendance. Documents can be signed from anywhere and everyone is on the same page thanks to real time information sharing.
Here are a few new and popular apps and technologies for the construction industry:
• Cudasign – lets you sign documents online with your electronic signature (e-signature) from any device from anywhere in minutes.
• OnsiteView – construction cameras for video surveillance & site monitoring, includes wireless cameras, video surveillance systems and time lapse photography .
• Fieldwire – a planning app that makes it easy for foremen, project managers and superintendents to collaborate while they are in the field. The organizational app lets crews look at the latest set of plans and share critical information such as photos and punch lists.
• iSafe Inspections – designed to help construction teams save money while managing their safety inspection programs, users can automate any type of inspection, including safety audits, work orders, property assessments, asset management, service management and custom forms.
• PlanGrid – one of the best iPhone and iPad apps, letting contractors and architects collaborate on all their project plans, specs and photos. Users can upload PDF drawings to plangrid.com, and they automatically sync to all devices in real time.
• iHandy Carpenter – gives carpenters five tools in one app, from measuring to leveling.
For more information on how contractors utilize technology, read our recent white paper, The Current State of Information Technology in the Construction Industry. If you are looking for a general contractor with experience in digital document management for increased efficiency, contact us today at (904) 497-1500.