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Risk mitigation is a bigger part of managing construction projects than most people outside the industry realize. Construction is a risky business by nature.

However, with the right tools, contractors can protect their businesses from costly litigation and keep jobsites safer and more productive. Modern technology helps increase project visibility for internal and external stakeholders, helping them monitor risks and resolve potential issues as quickly as possible.

How does increased visibility reduce risk?

The most common causes of litigation in construction are quality issues, schedule delays and injuries. Each of these risks can be reduced with better communication and documentation.

Good communication helps construction companies manage client expectations and prevents misunderstandings of contract terms, while good documentation of daily progress offers proof that those terms are being followed and gives project managers a chance to catch and correct errors early. When all stakeholders know exactly what’s happening onsite each day, there are fewer unfortunate surprises leading to disputes or rework.

How can technology help?

Visibility is limited when using traditional reporting methods like pen and paper. Recording data in a handwritten format is prohibitively time-consuming for most field contractors. Project managers and other supervisors may have to chase down information from field workers who are busy working on project-related tasks. Crucial details are lost as they scramble to complete reports at the end of the day.

Even if they regularly receive pen-and-paper reports from the field, office staff spend hours transcribing and translating handwritten notes. By the time they have enough information to analyze progress accurately, the project may already be delayed due to staffing or scheduling issues, construction mistakes or safety concerns that could have been easily corrected had they been identified sooner.

Digital tools like spreadsheets can help speed up the reporting process, but using a program that isn't industry-specific still wastes valuable time as employees need to enter information manually and download reports to share via email. That’s where daily reporting software designed specifically for contractors comes into play. Industry-specific tools help field workers quickly capture the right information from the jobsite and share it instantly with stakeholders, all in an easy-to-read format.

Digital daily reporting

Digital daily reporting tools allow field contractors to record data from the jobsite using familiar mobile devices. Features like standardized templates, built-in checklists, voice-to-text capabilities and time tracking can be used to make the reporting process extremely detailed and accurate while still saving time over pen and paper.

Consistent data: Because they can be standardized using templates and checklists, digital reports are easier to digest for project managers and other stakeholders who can’t be onsite each day. Digital reports may be automatically organized into different views to track important details like progress on a particular project phase or material use. They are more consistent than traditional methods, and critical information can always be found in the same place.

Instant insights: Through cloud storage, digital reporting software allows information to be shared as soon as it is uploaded to the reporting system. Instead of waiting for paper reports to be delivered or for emails to come through, office staff can view day-to-day work as it’s completed. They can also share this information more quickly with clients, who will appreciate being kept in the loop.

Visual data: A picture is worth a thousand words. This old saying rings true in construction. Contractors can easily attach photos and videos to digital reports using the right reporting software. This visual data adds more clarity to text for project managers who can visually identify risks more easily than they can when using written descriptions. Photos also give clients who may not have the right experience to understand construction terminology a clearer picture of progress.

Historical review: Digital reports are easier to review than pen and paper. If an incident or error occurs, digital libraries can be searched much more easily than physical file cabinets. Resolve disputes quickly by finding the report you need to identify the cause. Likewise, when it’s time to draft an estimate for a new project, previous reports are easier to locate for historical review, so bids are more accurate.

Is digital reporting right for your construction business?

Most construction companies can benefit from investing in digital reporting tools as long as they are easy to adopt and end up saving the business time rather than making the reporting process more complicated. The most important thing to consider when looking for a digital tool to help prevent litigation is how that tool will help increase visibility through improved communication and documentation. If a digital reporting tool can help staff better communicate project progress with each other and with customers, it will reduce risks and help a business manage expectations and avoid litigation.


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