5 Must-Have Construction Technology Tools

Construction technology is an always-evolving field, with the outdoor nature of job sites making it difficult to access computer equipment. But today’s mobile devices make it easy for contractors to take software to the job site with them, even sharing it with subcontractors and site managers.

Below are examples of some common construction-site tasks that can be automated by technology.

Time-Tracking Tools

Construction teams need the ability to plan and track entire projects, storing timesheets, tracking time, and holding all relevant project documents on easily-accessible Cloud servers. Sage Construction and Real Estate now allows tracking of employee time worked in the field, giving employers the ability to track labor costs and employees to log time directly from a smartphone.

“One of the most common areas of opportunity for a construction company to strengthen a project’s financial performance is to improve its visibility into labor costs and potential profitability threats earlier in the project,” said Jon Witty, vice president and general manager of Sage Construction and Real Estate. “Making it simple for employees to provide employee timecard information in the field using phones and tablets better positions a company to collect necessary labor information sooner so they can course-correct faster.”

Cost-Estimating Software

Estimating is one of the most crucial parts of a construction company’s operations. Creating competitive, professional bids helps construction businesses land those jobs that will help them succeed. By automating the process, contractors can easily obtain pricing on all parts and labor to ensure no surprises pop up once the job is awarded.

Look for a solution that factors in the cost of subcontractors, parts, business costs, and a small profit for your business. Sage, and ProContractorMX both provide the comprehensive tools businesses need to prepare proposals that win jobs.

Procurement Automation

For a small construction business, inventory, purchasing, and order processing are time-consuming tasks that take owners’ attention away from the work that keeps money rolling in. Procurement software like Maxwell Systems’ Procurement Management (from the makers of ProContractor MX) automate tracking of items received, invoiced, backordered, produced, and used. Inventory Control will protect against duplicate orders and supply shortages, which can delay projects.

 Project Management Software

One of the most important duties of a construction manager is ensuring projects progress on schedule. Construction-based project management software can provide 24/7 visibility of all projects and their statuses. For home builders, BuilderTrend provides multiple views, custom schedule templates, and multiple views. For other construction projects, ProCore is an easy-to-use Cloud-based solution. ProCore provides a centralized hub to allow owners, engineers, architects, and specialty contractors to view and update the progress of different facets of a project. This saves time on e-mails and phone calls, helping move things along more smoothly.

Billing Automation

If a construction business is still using paper billing processes, that business is already behind the times. Billing is one of the administrative functions your clients can clearly see. If you’re still sending paper bills and requiring payments be mailed, you will likely look less professional than your counterparts. For many construction businesses, general solutions like QuickBooks should suffice. Some of the above-mentioned solutions also provide billing automation as an option, so this may be something you’ll want to consider as you browse solutions.

Every facet of a project, from start to finish, can be automated to help keep construction projects moving. These solutions can take care of the grueling administrative tasks to let managers focus on the work itself.

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About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.