Anyone who’s encountered a colossal to-do list knows that an unorganized approach doesn’t work very well. That is the reason why you clean your house systematically from one room to another. It’s why you plan itineraries in advance to take the most efficient route to evade traffic. And it’s why we tend to prioritize tasks related to each other, to minimize waiting and wasting resources such as time and money.
It’s all about workflows— and if you’ve never considered maximizing your construction workflows, you’re missing out on significant efficiencies that you can apply in managing construction. So much so that you might find your company getting behind your competitors in the industry and missing big opportunities along the way.
So the question now is, what separates a good construction workflow from an inefficient one? And why does it matter anyway? And ultimately, how do you fix common construction workflows? Let’s dive into all of this and more below.
What is a Construction Workflow?
Before we dig deeper on how to streamline construction workflows, let’s first take a step back and look at the actual definition of workflow: Workflow, in description, is the automation and execution of business processes where information, tasks, or documents are passed from one person to another for action, according to the given set of procedural rules of a specific business or company, and sometimes, the whole industry in general. Organizations incorporate workflows in their operations to efficiently coordinate tasks and activities between people and accurately synchronize data between systems to enhance organizational efficiency, profitability, and overall responsiveness.
Obviously, this concept applies in the construction industry, where managing documents and tracking tasks are fundamental parts of the entire process, from planning to preconstruction until the closeout of a project. Because it helps optimize and clarify each phase of the construction process, implementing firm procedures for each phase can be a significant advantage to any company.
Why Work on Your Construction Workflows?
Need convincing reasons on why you should be prioritizing your construction workflows? Below are a few of the key reasons why you should care:
- Reduce inefficiencies: Streamlining construction workflows is a robust method of reducing the ineffective issues encountered in construction, one step at a time.
- Optimize conventional processes: In many construction companies, several redundant tasks had been passed down from generations, which are just a waste of time and resources. By focusing on your current workflows with a new set of lenses, you gain new insights into what is essential for your company and get rid of what is not.
- Enhance quality: Fine-tuning workflows also signifies that you can present better construction quality to your clients. That, consequently, means happier clients, fewer reworks, and repeat business.
Construction Workflows You Can Fine-Tune Today
Want to transform your most critical construction workflows to be the most helpful ones? Here are the six construction workflows you can start implementing today:
Precious time is wasted in preconstruction workflows when project stakeholders feel disconnected from one another. Considering that many teams are involved in this stage, such as designers, engineers, and clients, this problem is no surprise. Whether it’s bidding of project, estimation of cost and materials, or qualifying trade subcontractors, there are far too many people hand on in these stages. As a result, data and documents can be disorganized, missing essential files, or buried in the digital inbox. Construction teams struggle to get everyone on the same page when collating and organizing all the necessary information to commence the project on the right foot.
Here are some of the surefire ways to improve your workflows at the helm of the project:
a. Centralize All Your Data:
Preconstruction teams are infamous for storing their project data in a million different locations, from filing cabinets to Excel spreadsheets. However, with the right document management tool, storing all that data in one continually updated source of truth is possible. Keeping all project information in one common place guarantee consistency strengthens communication between stakeholders, and simplify preconstruction workflows.
b. Automate and Integrate Your Workflows:
Build integrated workflows that other team members can review quickly and easily. This means not relying on emails and manual processes to track your activities, as they are likely to leave some members out of the loop. Construction scheduling software can help project teams receive the same information and updates in all the project phases, from preconstruction up until the final closeout. No one will be left in the dark.
c. Connect Data from Preconstruction to the Jobsite:
In addition to a new system that centralizes project information, find a digital solution that allows teams to seamlessly store preconstruction documents and data like bid details, designs, estimations, and more to the team in the job site or the field one actual construction starts.
Building Information Modeling, or most commonly known as BIM, is popularized as a time-saving construction technique but can only be effective if implemented correctly. If BIM is misused, this method can lead to even more wasted time, mainly when there is repeated information, incorrect data, or gaps in the design modeling. This can typically happen when two separate teams model the same set of elements.
Furthermore, data have often gone missing when models are used in the construction field—originally detailed property data. It is flattened into mere sets of pdfs when sent into the field, leading to lost information and project details. The attempt to recover or harmonize incomplete data can lead to rework, errors, wasted time, and money down the drain.
Here’s how you can improve your current BIM workflows:
a. Embrace a Common Data Environment:
Implement a cloud-based BIM to create a common platform to avoid redundant and missing information. This type of technology will allow everyone on the project team to see what’s already been uploaded or not, allowing easier tracking of the duplicate documents in the process.
b. Connect BIM Data:
To fully maximize the benefits of BIM, as well as ensure data accuracy, connect your BIM data to other preconstruction, design, and operation workflows, including drawing plans, design reviews, project takeoffs, estimating, change order management, and cost engineering. This will dramatically decrease risk and improve inefficiencies during the planning to the construction project’s execution stage.
c. Improve Accessibility:
Make BIM accessible to the team in the field, and let anyone conveniently and immediately access BIM models in real-time operations.
Submittals is one of the most critical project management for construction workflows to start any project on the right foot and usually mishandled.
Generally, the review process for submittals is long and brutal. Stakeholders need to consolidate them from all the involved contractors, ensuring they cover all the aspects of the project and input them into a system- often done manually, which gives ways to omissions and mistakes. This can take months or even years, and as the project grows in scope and size, so make the errors.
Below is a way to improve your submittal workflows:
Digitally Track and Manage Your Submittals:
Yes, it is possible to manage and monitor your submittals, among your other document, in one common location. Each of the project stakeholders can easily upload submittals right to a cloud-based software where they can also add comments, see the progress of reviews and approvals, and critical sync information straight to their mobile devised for offline access, anywhere and anytime. This removes contractors’ need to monitor them manually and easily consolidate them in one area to ensure that not one sheet of paper is lost.
4. Closeout and Turnover
Punchlist is imperative to closing out any construction project, but they can also be left to the last minute, delaying the closeout and the project’s overall timeline. Manually keeping track of the punch list is a massive waste of time, as there is no accurate and transparent system to see the current status of a punch list item.
When it comes to punching listing throughout the project, only 44% of the general contractors implement this method on at least half of the projects they handle. In many projects, a closeout is frequently delayed because punch list items are not properly tracked and prevented ahead of time.
Here is how you can improve your punch listing workflow:
a. Treat Punch List Items as Tasks:
Looking at punch lists items as tasks and tracking them using a cloud-based project software can help streamline managing the pending items.
b. Use Mobile Solutions:
Adopt punch listing for mobile, so you and your team can add/delete/update as needed.
Want to reach a zero punch list for your project? Here are 8 Strategies to Achieve Zero Punchlist (ZPL) That You Can Adapt Now.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t expect your company to fine-tune every one of the stated workflows right off the bat. Even if you start fine-tuning today, you can expect that the transition period can go for several months. For this reason, there is no more time to waste. Get started with streamlining your construction workflows and manage construction projects better with Pro Crew Schedule.