Construction Project Management Software for Builders

Construction project management software for builders and contractors or “CPM software” in short, is the use of project management software specific to construction projects covering commercial, residential, oil and gas, industrial, civil and environmental.

The reasons and demands to use a construction management software within the AEC industry are well documented at this stage with clear ROI benefits for all parties. With free trials, on-boarding help and SaaS pricing models, selecting a construction management software for builders is not an overly complicated process and can have a major impact to the contractors or builder’s business.

The software will easily allow construction project managers to specify plans and objectives, to ensure resource efficiency, in managing tasks, to control budgets and as a shared communication platform for all stakeholders. Construction project management while unique in its own challenges share many of the similarities found in the management of projects in other industries such as software, health and the pharmaceutical sectors. Take for instance, every construction project has the requirement to reach certain objectives within the constraints of a schedule, budget and quality targets, much the same as say a project management program in the health industry.

Construction project management software for builders opens up a range of benefits from risk assessments, O and M manual templates to full project autonomy. Add to this the ability to seamlessly share project documents with 24/7 access from anywhere and through any type of WIFI enabled device allows everyone in the project team to be instantly updated. The major benefit to a construction project manager is document and status access to all involved in the project while removing the hassle of creating documents manually. This makes it so much easier to maintain the correct document versions for the project plus ensuring that document archiving and maintenance, happens without human intervention.

Construction project management software also helps the builders and contractors to completely manage all aspects of a construction project from start to finish including health and safety, risks, asset register, task assignments and cost control. It is also a great tool for productivity via online collaboration instead of meetings and it gives all project stakeholders an input into the process.

Construction project management software such as RaptorPM is used by a board range of companies from general building contractors, oil and gas, engineering firms, and specialty AEC subcontractors. Acting as a central communication tool, it allows everyone who needs to post updates, keep abreast of changes or report back on progress on any construction project including project managers, site managers, architects, engineers, surveyors and the various subcontractors.

It is all about giving construction project teams the tools to communicate more effectively, make decisions faster, resolve issues quickly, share updates instantly, resulting in a faster and more efficient project delivery framework.

RaptorPM construction project management software helps building and contracting companies to increase project efficiency and accountability to project sponsors via vastly improved communication and documentation sharing which ultimately saves on expenses and boosts profit margins. The outcome is that construction professionals get to collaborate on projects from any device with internet access so they can action all project documents, contracts, RFIs, submittals, schedules, drawings, manuals, construction risk assessment and deliver project excellence every time.

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O&M Manual Contents

O&M manual contents for inclusion in final documentation can seem confusing as the term has a broad meaning for all project handover documentation. However, one thing is certain that your O and M manual contents is substantially more than a few ring binders of information thrown together. Whether you are a Property Developer, Main Contractor, Electrical or Plumbing Contractor then you need to be fully versed in the requirements of an O&M manual.

 

In a nutshell, the O&M manual contents AKA “operation and maintenance manual” (O&M manual), is a file that contains all the information required for the operation, maintenance, decommissioning and demolition of a building or structure.

Today, an O and M manual is usually creating using a cloud-based software solution as part of a construction project software rather using a manual hard copy process. The manual is specific to each area within the project from equipment, electrical, plumbing, gas etc. Each manual is prepared by either the contractor, sub-contractors, services engineers and the other contracted suppliers. The O and M manual contents is a requirement that has been defined as part of the tender documentation where its contents will be outlined. It can be sub-divided in sections or even standalone manuals covering equipment, mechanical and electrical installation services in the mechanical and electrical specification section.

An electronic soft copy or draft version of the O and M manual contents would normally be provided for the client as part of the handover procedure prior to any final sign-offs for completions. The final manual will then be created online for reviews, edits and updates so it can be accessed by authorized personnel 24/7 or printed to a hard copy for distribution. The preliminaries in the tender or contract documentation may require several copies of the O&M manual so electronic versions are advisable to avoid it being overly labor intensive.

 The O and M Manual contents can include a wide range of documentation:

  • Details descriptions covering the main design or architecture principles.

  • Lists of the building’s construction guidelines (incl. specs, finishes, cladding, doors and windows, roof construction etc).

  • Versions and revisions to drawings and specifications.

  • Detailed instructions for its operation and maintenance (covering health and safety documents, equipment and manufacturers’ instructions for efficient and proper operation).

  • A complete asset register of all plant and equipment installed.

  • Documentation on commissioning and various testing results.

  • The inclusion of warranties, guarantees and certifications.

  • Outlines or instructions related to upkeep, maintenance, operation, demolition, decommissioning and disposal.

 The challenge in creating O&M Manual contents is that while most of this information will probably already exist, is to simplify the preparation, compiling and assembling of its various components. Also, as updates and revisions are a normal function within the industry, the use of software avoids any delays or out of date versions. Another good idea is to use an O and M Manual template to reduce manual rework. Because during the life of the building or structure, the manual will evolve to reflect the changes that happen to the building, its equipment or systems, along with records of all maintenance that has taken place.

In conclusion, the objective of the O and M Manual contents is to optimize the buildings and its equipment operational efficiency with clear documentation on maintenance guidelines, specifications, warranties, inspections, approvals and sign offs to proactively manage its operation.

What is a Construction Risk Assessment Template

Using a construction risk assessment template helps project managers to complete their risk assessment protocols. This construction risk assessment template can be used as an information guide in order to complete a live document. It is important to note that risk assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis, or else if an accident or a near miss has occurred. Also, it should be reviewed when any significant change in personnel or to work practices happens.

A construction work site is inherently risky and dangerous, so accident prevention should work alongside risk minimization with the knowledge that neither is possible without a detailed assessment of what the risks are. These include all general construction activity, building tasks, demolition, refurbishing projects, refits, siteworks, etc. When construction projects are compared with other industries such as software or financial, construction is less technically complex. The main the risks on a construction site include:

  • Disputes over work practises leading to litigation

  • Poor safety and health records

  • Compromise on health and safety provision

  • The commercial pressure to save money and time

Construction Risk Management

The purpose of risk assessment and risk management in construction is to plan, monitor, and control measures needed to minimize or prevent risk exposure. To achieve this, it is critical to identify any hazards, assess the extent of possible risks and then provide the measures to control the risks including managing any remaining risks.

The Risk Management Process in Construction

The below is a sample of a construction risk assessment template procedure. It outlines the concept of residual risk management (unidentified risks or those risks remaining despite compliance with risk control measures):

Construction Risk Logs

Regardless of the industry type, risk logs are always used. The difference in construction is that risk logs may also assess the time and cost impact without any controls and can include actions identified on residual risks. Generic construction risks are usually identified, then risks specific to the project, and risks remaining despite controls being used (residual risks).

Construction Risk Assessments

All risk assessments are controlled and supported with set processes. There is normally a legal compliance for risk assessments around health and safety in most countries. A typical assessment would follow this process:

  1. Identify the hazards. Example – pipelaying in bad ground.

  2. Identifying who or what could be harmed. Example – the pipe layers in the trench.

  3. Evaluating the risks identified in the hazard. Example – risk of earth collapsing.

  4. Determining the control measures required. Example – use trench support box.

  5. Evaluating the risks from the hazard. Example – the risk of a worker being crushed, injury from digger bucket, and risk of cave-ins.

  6. Recording the findings of the risk assessment. Example – fill in the construction risk assessment template.

  7. Plotting contingency plans for the residual risks. Example – prepare safety method statement based on the risk assessment, foreman to lead task discussion, permits to work required, supervisor or overseer working with excavator operator.

  8. Reviewing and revising. Example – monitor the site operations and modify the construction risk assessment template where necessary

  9. Follow through by holding further task talk if method statement is changed.

Construction Risk Types

The Project Client

Risks from the project client usually revolve around cost, time, and quality. Risk management considerations usually involve feasibility, design, funding and commercial risks.

The Contractor

Probably the biggest risk for a contractor will be during the tender stage when price and timescale commitments are submitted. If estimates end up being inaccurate, profit margins are eroded with a knock-on effect around risks. The use of subcontractors also opens up project risks.

Project Health and Safety

Risk assessment and management in project health and safety risk management are legal requirements. All construction projects have a requirement to have a health and safety plan in place prior to commencing any work.

Fire Risk

Fire risk in a construction project and on the site, is an ever-present risk. Insurance, legal and government standards nearly always require contractors to take measures to prevent risks of fire injury. To ensure the provision and maintenance of firefighting equipment plus training a set of workers to use the equipment. No construction project should ever proceed to the building process without a fire safety plan developed by the project manager.

Differences between risk assessments and method statements.

A risk assessment is exactly what it says on the tin, a thorough assessment of any risk in a construction project. Using a construction risk assessment template, this will be completed prior to any work commencing that presents a risk of injury or ill health.

A method statement is a set of instruction for how the tasks and work will be carried out safely. A method statement will set out the work in logical steps and explain to all workers on site how the work should be done, providing additional details. The method statement will usually be accompanied by the risk assessment template, and will include the risks identified within the risk assessment and the control measures required. In fact, these two documents always support each other and will deliberately contain overlapping information. Also, another difference is that the method statement is not always required.

The point to remember is that all work should be covered by the risk assessment, whereas method statements are usually for the higher-risk, more complex and unfamiliar tasks. You can access a free risk assessment templates on RaptorPM.

Risks on Infrastructure Projects

Risks on infrastructure or construction projects present many type of challenges. The impact of getting it wrong right at the start of any project could bring years of headaches. But, by taking a proactive approach, stakeholders can reduce uncertainty during the planning stage. This gives project managers insight into mitigating risks on future infrastructure projects using lessons learned to save on future project costs.

Risks on infrastructure projects are predictable. These can include the insecurity of funds, cost of project overruns, failing to source materials and workers, and delays. These are the common challenges stakeholders face during large infrastructure projects.

It takes hands on project management to juggle all moving parts of a long-term infrastructure to keep it on track.

Risk performance influenced by uncertainty

According to the Institute of Risk Management research, Managing cost, risk & Uncertainty in infrastructure projects, project managers face many challenges. This most important phase of a long-term, infrastructure project is during in the early, planning stages. A lack of transparent risk assessment during this phase can mean high risk and uncertainty throughout the project. This can cause:

  1. completing a risk analysis with different possible outcomes

  2. poor decision-making

  3. stakeholder optimism – delusion or deception

  4. loss of focus and sub-optimal risk mitigation.

Risk analysis challenges

A risk analysis is subjective, especially on infrastructure projects. Why? There is no clear way of progressing hypothetical risk analysis to project specific cost analysis within a commercial structure. There is also a tendency to exaggerate how well mitigation strategies work. So, project managers identify unnecessary risks or overestimate the effects of mitigating project risks. This leads to overestimating costs.

Challenges of poor decision-making

An Institute for Government (IfG) report, What’s wrong with infrastructure decision making? found the following key flaws in stakeholder decision-making for infrastructure projects:

  • No strategies for investing in infrastructure. Stakeholders      often do not have clear strategies for investing in infrastructure      projects. Without infrastructure investment strategies, it is difficult to make good decisions. Also, there is nothing to measure project outcomes against.

  • Little attention paid to assessing options at the start. Stakeholders spend too little time during project development looking at all the options. This can result in missing better project options causing project cost blow outs.

  • Misunderstanding project risks. Decision-makers can misunderstand project risks. This can mean there is little forward planning for when things go wrong.

  • Winners and losers. Infrastructure projects can divide communities and create winners and losers. These groups can have a lot of influence on decision-makers and cause project delays.

  • Lack of project measurement. Stakeholders fail to measure infrastructure project outcomes against the costs when completed. Having key performance measures is an invaluable tool for future use. This helps stakeholders to learn from past mistakes when commissioning new infrastructure projects.

Challenges of stakeholder optimism – delusion or deception

Reducing risk on large infrastructure projects depend on whether:

  • the assumptions stakeholders adopt are strategic misrepresentation or genuine optimism

  • financial managers ignore/misunderstand real risk levels while pressuring for cost reductions to meet short-term financial goals

  • there has been an overestimation of the risks by project managers to secure a larger contingency fund and, thus, cover all bases

  • pricing from contractors is low to remain competitive but they may use other means to maintain a profit

  • there is resistance from project managers to processes and procedures that reduce contingencies and risks.

Complex projects increase these risks. Taking control and ensuring transparency from the start helps reduce infrastructure project risks. You can mitigate risks during the contract phase.

Reduce risks during the contract phase

It can take years to fully complete infrastructure projects, so they have long-term project plans and phases. During this time legislation and regulations can change. This needs careful consideration during the contract phase, especially if dealing with European contractors. Consider the following:

  • Are there higher costs related to dealing with a European contractor? Look at the different legislation between the two countries.

  • If there are changes to immigration legislation that impacts the contractor’s access to workers, who is responsible for this?

  • Who is responsible for paying the taxes between the UK and the EU?

You should also consider the risks associated with currency variations, as well as the continuity and cost of a skilled workforce. If sourcing skilled workers from overseas, can you maintain the workforce for the duration of the project?

It is important to mitigate these types of risks at the contract stage. Having these set out in contracts before starting the work can reduce costly potential conflicts during long-running infrastructure projects.

Overcome challenges on infrastructure projects using transparency. Good construction risk management software or Infrastructure project management software can give all stakeholders the transparency required. Planning a realistic acquisition program allows all stakeholders to fully investigate all the options. Once these are clear, you can take a logical approach that accounts for emerging technology and changing economic times.