Construction management software is becoming increasingly more important in this current age, especially for contractors. Industry-specific solutions, such as Eque2’s Construct for Sage software, are equipped with the tools to manage construction businesses efficiently and securely in order to eliminate risk and protect margins.
These programmes remove the need for manual spreadsheets and store important information all in one system to help with day-to-day management, job costing, subcontractor compliance and client billing. But what are the wider benefits and what difference can they make to construction businesses and the industry as a whole?
According to a recent publication from the McKinsey Global Institute, the implementation of digital technologies across the construction sector would generate a 14-15% improvement to the industry’s productivity. Both large and small contractors are under a hefty amount of pressure to meet current housing demands and to build buildings for the nation’s ever-developing regions. And although this demand is keeping the industry occupied, as a whole, these unwieldy pressures are stunting the industry’s overall output.
Taking the McKinsey statistic into consideration, it is clear that investment in technology would increase construction projects’ efficiencies, driving the industry towards the modernisation it is yearning for.
Moving towards a digital resolution
As a collective, the construction industry should always be asking itself: what can we do to deliver projects more efficiently? What the industry truly needs are solutions which streamline even the slowest and arduous tasks which businesses have to complete day-in, day-out. Whether it is manual invoicing or general administrative duties, these tasks have the potential to save time and money if the right platform is selected.
In this case, the right platform is digital solutions. A pivotal aspect of the UK’s current Industrial Strategy, the digitisation of the construction industry is already having a transformative impact on both the quality of construction projects and the manner in which they are managed.
The immediate benefits of digital technology on the construction industry are multiple. For instance, a solution such as Construct for Sage, a product created by construction management software provider, Eque2, in partnership with Sage, revolutionises the way contractors run their businesses. Providing different packages dependent on a business’s size, Construct for Sage is a comprehensive solution allowing businesses to run their company with more efficiency.
With this technology, crucially the finance and commercial teams can share vital project information across a multitude of tasks without the need for duplication of effort. These digital platforms ensure all information is stored securely and can be accessed easily by those granted to acquire them, rather than sat in multiple standalone spreadsheets which are prone to errors.
Not only can they ensure subcontractor compliance with CIS, manage industry-specific processes such as variations, applications and retentions, they can also see the real-time performance of a project and take action early when a contract is set to go over budget. This level of visibility into the true financial performance of projects is crucial to protecting margins and ensuring contractors keep on-top of their business at all times.
Another huge pressure on the construction industry is the skills shortage. According to statistics from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), 168,000 new jobs will be created over the next five years. Although it is encouraging to see new work being won, it is still an immense pressure on an industry that is already floundering; fuelled by the departure of EU workers from the UK due to Brexit.
There are, however, examples of some change in action. For instance, mobile technology has been developed to connect on-site work with the back office. This modern method of working is highly attractive to younger people looking at a career in the industry.
Moreover, the City of Glasgow College has implemented Eque2’s EValuate estimating software to help students working towards a career in the construction industry. This progressive college recognises the need to continually modernise and adopt new practices to remain relevant in today’s tough climate.
The technology is fresh, innovative and exciting; radically changing the erroneous perception that construction simply constitutes hammers, ‘wood’ and muddy hi-vis vests. In effect, further integration of software into multiple institutions will cultivate a substantial workforce equipped with the knowledge and experience to take the industry into a digital age.
On a broader spectrum, construction management software also minimises risk which is crucial in post-Grenfell construction world. A calamity such as this truly highlighted what needed to change in industry – enhanced visibility and traceability. With digital solutions, risk can be easily identified as information can be accessed quickly and efficiently. Risk can be located throughout a building project’s entire lifecycle; to not only ensure occupant and building safety but to preserve the industry’s credibility as a whole.
For an industry that is drastically lagging behind in terms of digital adoption, straightforward, easy-to-use, innovative digital systems are the catalysts for change. The benefits of these digital solutions are twofold; not only do they help businesses manage their day-to-day operations more efficiently, they remove risk and save money – two fundamental factors essential to the construction industry’s preservation and growth. And with digital systems already showing the fruits of its labour, it is becoming more and more difficult to identify the reasons why digital systems won’t be the industry’s saving grace.