Tag: construction

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.

Guide to Managing Construction Projects

In this guide to managing construction projects we cover the technical skills along with the deployment of construction project management software to keep projects on track.

This guide to managing construction projects also includes best practice tips to help avoid pitfalls on construction projects. It provides specific advice to help complete a construction project with success.

 

Construction project phases

Construction projects have clear phases within their lifecycles – concept, planning, implementation, control and close out. These give guidance on how to get things done on budget and on time. Skipping any will likely mean your project is running out of control.

This will include setting up the project phases and defining deliverables for each milestone.

Most projects that follow best practice use the following main phases:

  1. Conception. Before you plan anything investigate the feasibility of the project. Complete a project feasibility report. This should include costs, deliverables, timelines, and how and why it will be done.

  2. Planning. Once the project has the go ahead with scope, budgets and timelines set, start planning how to achieve each phase. Complete a work breakdown structure for each part of the construction project. Allocate resources and setup a schedule in construction project management software. Make sure to include every last task with timelines and costs assigned.

  3. Implementation. Implementation begins when people actually start the physical work. This is when the construction of the building occurs. You need to keep on top of:

    1. Time management. Keep track of time. Use the schedule to compare estimated times to finish against actual completion times.

    2. Managing costs. You should already have estimated costs against each task in the schedule. Add in actual costs on completion of each task.

    3. Managing quality. Quality management is vital for the quality of the end product. Without processes and procedures to ensure the quality of every aspect of the build, there is no way to maintain a quality build.

    4. Managing change. Good processes for change management make changes simple to execute. Construction management software can manage the change process for you. This makes it simple for all stakeholders to access with transparency.

    5. Managing risks. Risks should already be logged into a risk register. Keep a close eye on these so you can mitigate them before they occur.

  4. Keeping control. Keeping control is really part of implementation. It is all about staying on top of the costs, risks and meeting timelines to get those milestone payments.

  5. Project close out. Wrapping it up is an important part of the construction project process. To close out a project write a report, address any outstanding issues, file any administrative paperwork for completion and redistribute resources no longer required on the project.

 

Setting up roles and management systems

All construction projects have clear roles with responsibilities assigned, along with management systems to make everyone accountable. It is important for the success of a project that there are clear leaders with good communications skills to lead the construction team.

Assign roles and responsibilities to team members with matching skills. Take advantage of people’s key strengths to get the best outcomes.

Managing quality assurance

How do you manage quality assurance? This takes knowledge of legislation and regulations. You also need to know how to set up processes to maintain quality assurance during each project phase. Construction projects have to meet many standards. Missing anything can mean expensive repairs after completion. And, a loss of your reputation.

Tracking and identifying variances

Tracking is vital to any construction project. It allows for the identification and resolution of project variances. Using construction project software can take care of everything you need. Reports, cost overruns schedule slippages can all be identified and reported on automatically. You need ways of measuring the performance of the project that you can apply to the work breakdown structure and any other parts of the work. Examples of measurements you can use include:

  • Budgeted cost of work. This is the scheduled cost in the budget for the scheduled work.

  • Actual cost of work. This is the cost of work completed at any time according to the organization’s accounting system.

  • Budgeted cost of work performed. This is the earned value of the completed work at any nominated time.

  • Estimated cost at completion. This is the expected cost to complete the construction project calculated at any given point in a project.

By using the work breakdown structure as the basis for project tracking it helps to establish a project baseline. This gives you something to measure against.

These best practices are interrelated. By missing any of these, your project will run into trouble. With the complexity of managing construction projects, project managers need all the tools available. Construction project management software makes it easy to track projects with transparency. It also helps when dealing with the change process and alerting to potential risks all in a central database. We hope you enjoyed reading this guide to managing construction projects.

Improving construction safety

Source: Improving construction safety

Safety on construction sites is a constant challenge. Improving construction safety is of paramount importance for all construction companies. There is no denying, construction sites are hazardous places. Workers face daily challenges including preventing falls, and chemical and trip hazards. Construction health and safety is on everyone’s mind. What do you do to reduce the chance of accidents on work sites?

 

Set up safety steering committees

Often organisations use the top down approach to construction safety. Dictating compliance rather than involving workers so they have input into the process. Increase worker participation in safety activities that mean something to them. Give workers ownership of safety in the workplace.

Set up a safety steering committee made up of respected employees. Let them meet at regular intervals to review the safety audit, discuss issues and make recommendations. No management or supervisory personnel should attend. It is a place for open communication. For workers to express their concerns, leave management out. The purpose is to allow all workers to discuss construction safety and offer solutions from personal experience. This is the opposite of managing by directive.

Involving workers in construction safety, gives workers a sense of inclusiveness. After all, an organisation’s workers know how to better manage the risks in their workplace. Giving workers ownership of construction health and safety increases productivity. Highlight safety as a personal value the organisation stands behind.

Cutting safety budgets can be a disaster

Often the first thing to suffer budget cuts can be safety training programs. This can be a false saving over the long-term. New and inexperienced employees are more prone to accidents without the safety training they need. They also become a risk to themselves and to the rest of the work site. Accidents cost and if you lose a worker through an accident at work, then you will pay a high price. Invest in safety training to empower workers instead.

Keep safety training updated

Keeping safety training updated empowers workers. It keeps construction safety fresh in their minds. It also promotes better communication between workers and management. Safety hazards on construction sites can go unreported because of ineffective communication. More awareness results in less accidents. Less accidents means there is more time to focus on getting the job done. Good safety protocols boost productivity.

Updated training means old, outdated safety methods get replaced quickly. Implementing safety into every day operations reduces your risks and liabilities.

 

Innovative thinking

The accident rate would be higher on work sites without the innovative thinking of construction companies. They are devoting extra resources to keeping workers safe. Developing new practices and adopting technology can improve construction safety up to 100%. Keeping up with changing legislation can challenge improving safety protocols. Encourage an open exchange of ideas to find new ways to build on construction safety.

Software and technology

Technology improves managing construction projects. Software can link into your current processes and procedures, and existing safety programs. This allows everyone including workers to interact online using software tools.

Trying to track everything the old-fashioned way no longer works with pen and paper. It is time-consuming. Use software to track changes to construction safety priorities on an organisational level. Software platforms are a guaranteed approach to optimizing construction safety. You can configure software packages to meet individual organisational needs.

Advocate continuous improvement

Knowledge is a powerful tool. When workers know how to work with an organisation’s support, it creates stability. Stability leads to better ways to do the same work faster and safer. This gives the work site a culture of continuous improvement, which results in greater efficiency and productivity.

Document your safety procedures and plan using software to revitalize your business processes.

Proper equipment

Working on a construction site is dangerous enough without cutting corners with the use of incorrect equipment. All equipment should be suited to the job, and all machinery and equipment well-maintained. Most construction workers are subcontractors, what they do affects your reputation. And subcontractors, hire subcontractors to help them with the work. Make sure that you hire those with a good reputation and the right equipment to do the job. Check licences are in place for difficult jobs (for example, heavy crane work). Look at their own safety records from their work on past jobs. Check they are prepared to live up to your construction safety standards. And, make your stand on construction safety clear as part of the contract.

Conclusion

Regardless of whatever else you do, without the right management tools your organisation can be at further risk, you can even use some FREE RISK ASSESSMENT TEMPLATES. Technology has the ability to bring change and progress today. It has never been easier to integrate safety management software into you companies project safety alongside your processes and procedures. It is vital you keep up-to-date and accurate construction health and safety records.

Whatever your goals for improving construction safety, your organisation can have it all cost-effectively. Combine education, inclusiveness, innovation and commitment along with smart software to improve safety on your construction site.