Contributed by Anastasios Koutsogiannis
Anastasios is a Content Marketing Manager at GenieBelt, a construction management software that allows the connection of field personnel back to the office in an efficient and easy way.
Image courtesy of GenieBelt
A construction project may just be one of the most complex, challenging and costly project management undertakings of any industry. Both offsite and on-site project managers are tasked with navigating different trades, goals, stakeholders, supply chains, budgets, timelines and technologies within an often dynamic and unpredictable environment.
Mobile construction tools can provide valuable help in solving all the different bottlenecks that may pop up along the way. From a general standpoint, mobile solutions can be a money-saver and increase efficiency during the whole management process.
Advantages of Using Mobile Construction Tools
Traditionally, the management of a construction site is a slow and costly process. Many different agents are involved, from general project managers to senior engineers and designers, while many tasks have constantly to be re-allocated to third parties. Under these circumstances, the flow of information isn’t easy and a strong need for guidance is required.
In a nutshell, mobile construction tools have the following essential advantages:
Straightforward communication process
Mobile construction tools provide a scalable, straightforward way of negotiating and tackling the difficulties many project managers face. Anyone working on-site can fast and easily come in contact with other members of the project, simply by using their mobile phones.
Faster decision making
More direct communication can eventually speed up the decision-making procedure. This can have multiple benefits for the whole project. First of all, it can allow a more efficient management of a potential crisis. On top of that, the need for repairs will decrease to a considerable extent, as there will be a faster exchange of views and information between different parties.
As a natural consequence of the two points above, the scheduling and planning phases of a construction project are remarkably simplified. Everything can be arranged through your mobile device, and changes can be made in real time.
Easier record keeping
The existence of a central database allows you to easily keep track of every little detail around the project. Moreover, you can have a clear overview of when, where and by whom every task was carried through.
From a financial aspect, the return on investment of mobile construction tools is unprecedented. Again, effective real-time communication and lower need for repairs are two of the keys to success. In that way, contractors are able to reduce resource and time requirements. Thanks to that, they can comfortably meet the set deadlines and keep their clients satisfied.
The cost of delays and reworks are minimized
It’s standard to expect plenty of costly revisions during the construction process. Without a solid framework between different activities, it gets very challenging to update the program successfully. Many man hours are lost due to rework inefficiencies.
Administration difficulties are reduced
Construction sites are littered with paperwork, from contracts to design guides and specification blueprints. Printing is a huge cost both financially and time-wise. Mobile construction tools save you money by providing a virtual filing cabinet instantly accessible to all members of the construction process.
Better drawing control
Advanced mobile construction tools allow for automated drawing control, making sure that all parties are aware of drawing revisions and have access to issue sheets. Additionally, there is only one repository for drawings, RFIs and photos. The contractor, subcontractors, and top-level managers are all working with the latest version of documents, whether on a PC in the office or at the construction site on a tablet or phone.
Mobile construction tools are also highly secure modes of preparing and communicating sensitive documents. Project managers can have peace of mind when transferring contracts, budgets and blueprints amongst external and internal teams through secure channels.
Disadvantages of Using Mobile Construction Tools
Mobile construction tools have a great number of advantages, as we noticed above. But there are a few points of concern around them as well.
The disadvantages of mobile construction tools can be summarized by the following:
Need for training
Having to train your employees on new technologies may be trickier than it seems sometimes. Some of your partners may not be used to work with modern technology. In that sense, it’s possible that they will have serious difficulties adjusting in the “new reality.” In such cases, you may have to sacrifice a fair amount of time and money in order to reach your goal.
The wrong people may acquire access to confidential information, if the right measures aren’t taken. That can be really dangerous for the progress or the existence of a construction project.
The use of a top-performing mobile tool should be regarded as an investment to your construction project’s efficiency. But there may be cases (e.g. desktop software) where a high upfront capital is required.
Despite the few drawbacks of mobile tools that we listed above, their contribution to the construction management process is essential. With rising labor and resource costs, larger projects with more technical requirements and tighter schedules, having mobile construction tools are now more required than ever before. They can streamline every aspect of the procedure and record it for future reference, ensuring you can provide clients with accurate risk cost assessments — one step ahead of your competitors.