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Construction management software can help streamline the management of resources and work on a jobsite while also enabling easier collaboration among project stakeholders. These tools are essential for any project manager who wants to meet quality standards and local regulations while keeping their projects within budget.

There is a wide range of construction management software available, ranging from general-purpose programs to highly specific tools. There are six types of digital construction tools that contractors should consider.

1. Accounting and Budgeting Tools

Even small changes, such as an unexpected rise in material costs or equipment failure leading to downtime, can run a project over budget. A good accounting or budgeting tool can keep track of all related expenses, minimizing costs and preventing overages. Many construction companies' tools will also keep track of payroll for various contractors, subcontractors and temporary employees. This delivers the best picture possible of how much labor will cost on a project, day by day or hour by hour.

Many modern tools also include features that will minimize project costs and maximize the potential return on a job. Many of these tools are also cloud-based, meaning that managers and relevant workers can have instant access to current budgets and estimates if needed, no transfer of files required.

2. Punch or CheckList Software

Punch lists and checklists are a reliable way to manage site quality assurance and ensure a project is ready to move on to the next phase. These tools are not high-tech and may not seem like they need a digital solution. However, digital punch- and checklist tools can be essential for site managers and the contractors they work with.

Making the switch means there’s no need to digitize notes and resources, such as site photos. This can make note organization easier and help managers pass on updates to project stakeholders.

3. Video conferencing and Collaboration Technology

During the pandemic, videoconferencing technology became a standard consideration for site managers. It helped them stay in touch with project stakeholders and other site supervisors without the risks of an in-person meeting.

Most construction companies don’t rely on industry-specific solutions for web-based videoconferencing. Instead, they use one of the many enterprise web conferencing tools available. There are also a small number of digital construction project management and collaboration tools available that can update shareholders and manage project planning, especially when in-person meetings aren’t possible or practical.

However, general-use collaboration tools will also likely work well here. Popular solutions like messaging tools and collaborative document creation software provide a collection of basic features that will facilitate communication with coworkers. They make it possible to collaborate on important project documents.

4. BIM

Building information modeling tools are related to computer-assisted design. BIM platforms enable the creation of digital models of buildings and systems, such as plumbing, HVAC and wiring. They are intended as a way to provide an alternative to conventional 2D drafting software. Therefore, they’re also useful for managers needing to estimate material costs, prevent clashes and ensure a project proposal meets client specifications.

Use of BIM will likely require buy-in from the construction firm a site manager works for. BIM tools will need to be used throughout the design process to produce models and information that’s usable throughout a project. However, if the use of a BIM platform is a possibility, these tools can make every step of a project, including day-to-day management, reporting and collaboration, much simpler.

5. Data Collection and OnSite Reporting Software

During the construction process, site managers need to collect information to provide updates and create documentation, like daily reports. Digital data-collection and reporting tools help site managers and contractors collect information that will be relevant and useful when drafting these documents. They can also help ensure good data-collection practices, so no key information is left unrecorded. 

Many modern BIM tools also include robust data-collection, reporting and collaboration features. Depending on the device, managers may be able to use their BIM platform for data collection and reporting purposes. If not, there are a handful of construction data collection and reporting tools available. Some tools provide all-in-one project management aid that includes toolsets for site data collections and reporting. There are also dedicated note-taking tools for site managers who need extra help with data collection.

6. Future Technology and Emerging Software

These tools are the result of new developments from outside the construction industry. They are less essential than others right now, but could become key pieces of industry technology in the near future. Early adaptation could provide a competitive advantage as their use becomes more common.

For example, augmented reality, which uses cameras or headsets to project virtual images onto the real world, is becoming increasingly common in construction and architecture. 

Most construction workers have all the necessary hardware needed for these tools, e.g., smartphones and tablets, but some companies may also opt for a growing range of AR headsets and smart glasses. These devices can provide hands-free visualizations at any point in a worker’s field of vision.

These tools are capable of overlaying many kinds of visual information, such as where finished construction will be. It can also show what it will look like from their perspective before construction begins.

Current AR applications can allow workers to visualize brick-laying patterns or flag errors in virtual models. Tools like smart glasses can also allow contractors or site managers to provide clients with a view of the job site from their perspective. 

Essential Construction Management Software for Site Managers

Digital construction tools can be an invaluable asset for site managers. New technology has streamlined existing processes such as like budget management or created alternatives to current physical devices, such as punch lists. 

Site managers who want to simplify their workflows while ensuring quality and reporting standards should consider having these tools on hand.

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