Project management software is an effective solution to keep teams coordinated and efficient, including construction teams.
- Project management software can help coordinate teams and find efficiencies for businesses in a wide range of industries.
- Project management software includes scheduling, project tracking, document management and cost forecasting tools.
- This guide includes five recommendations for project management software geared toward construction businesses and contractors.
- This article is for business owners in the construction industry looking to better organize their teams, predict costs and track projects down to the task level.
While project management software is often associated with the business and tech sectors, professionals in the construction industry are increasingly turning to software solutions to streamline their workflows. Project management software can help contractors and construction firms improve communication, manage budgets and documentation, and keep track of their employees. This all makes companies more efficient, allowing them to scale their business in the long term.
Are you interested in adopting construction project management software for your company? Read more about construction project management software and what it can do for you, five software options, and some important considerations for comparing project management solutions.
What is construction project management software?
Construction project management software helps supervisors schedule and track punch lists, assigned tasks, and client billing. It also helps contractors and construction firms stay within their budgets and timelines by assigning employees to tasks, monitoring deadlines, and tracking estimated versus actual spend. Project management software can also help construction firms and contractors ensure they have the appropriate oversight and documentation for requests for information (RFIs), change orders and purchase orders.
What are the benefits of construction project management software?
Construction project management software not only makes your teams' jobs easier; it also provides your company several competitive advantages.
One of the major benefits of project management software is increased accountability and, subsequently, less liability. It creates a virtual paper trail for all of your documentation, stored in a centralized location, complete with tracking and version control to monitor any project updates. Additionally, since most construction management software is online, team members can easily access and collaborate on projects in real time from any location.
Project management software also helps firms and contractors keep track of financial insights. You can easily monitor costs as they accrue and compare them to the estimate. In some cases, you can integrate the software with accounting and job-costing systems you already use.
Construction management software can also give you a competitive advantage in your market. It helps firms and contractors standardize and track their processes and documentation, which improves employee and client communications. Project management software also helps teams stay on budget and on schedule, which allows you to complete more projects in the long run. Finally, construction management software allows you to effectively manage a greater number of projects and employees as your business grows.
Key takeaway: Construction project management software improves accountability and transparency of projects, helping teams manage costs and meet deadlines.
Key features of construction management software
When determining which construction management software is best for your company, keep an eye out for the following common features. Most programs offer at least some support in these four areas.
Project scheduling: The scheduling feature allows managers to assign employees, resources and equipment to a project. This is especially important for companies with back-to-back deadlines or multiple contractors to manage.
Project tracking: Construction management software allows businesses to keep track of task lists, time and progress throughout a project's life cycle. Many programs have automated features to streamline communication, such as automatic notifications when tasks are assigned, updated or completed. They can also send out alerts if projects are approaching budget or timeline constraints.
Document management: All project documentation – including blueprints, contracts and photos – are archived in a centralized, easily accessible repository. This helps teams stay organized and makes collaboration significantly easier. Document management also has the benefit of a virtual paper trail that both your team and your clients can refer to as needed.
- Job costing and project finances: Project management software allows team members to compare initial estimates with actual project costs, as well as to create and send purchase and exchange orders. Many programs also integrate with accounting software, allowing you to manage all your payments, invoices and timesheets in one place.
Depending on the size of your business and scope of your projects, you may not need all of these features at the start. For example, a single contractor probably doesn't need to schedule or track projects if they're the only person on the job site. However, even a smaller company could benefit from extensive support, especially if you're planning to expand your business in the future. When comparing solutions, keep both your current and projected needs in mind.
Key takeaway: Project management software offers important functions and tools for construction businesses, including scheduling, tracking, document management and cost forecasting.
Top construction project management software
Once you've decided to adopt project management software for your company and determined the features you need, it's time to research potential solutions. Fortunately, there is no shortage of high-quality software to help your construction company. Here are five of our top picks.
Buildertrend is a cloud-based platform designed for home builders, remodelers, and specialty and general contractors. It offers employee and project scheduling, financial, service, and customer management tools. Buildertrend also offers presale tools to assist with customer relationship management, bids and proposals. It can integrate with accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero. Buildertrend is accessible via any web browser as well as the iOS and Android app.
CoConstruct provides home builders and remodelers the tools to manage their projects, clients and finances. It integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks to manage estimates, budgets and other financial tracking processes. In addition to full project management and tracking, the software streamlines client communication and supports the prospecting, estimating, and bidding processes. Users can access CoConstruct from a web browser or the iOS and Android app.
3. Contractor Foreman
Contractor Foreman offers construction companies full project scheduling and tracking, financials and accounting, and contact management. Its dashboard provides information on employee locations, appointments and calendars, and local weather conditions. Contractor Foreman also assists with safety and compliance requirements, such as maintenance of OSHA 300 logs, scheduling of safety meetings, and management of incidents. The software is accessible via iOS and Android mobile apps as well as any web browser.
JobNimbus is geared toward home service companies looking to manage their projects, workflow and contacts in one program. Managers can easily assign and track projects based on employee schedules, manage and send digital documentation, and create and share invoices. JobNimbus' calendar can integrate with Google Calendar, Outlook and Mac/iOS Calendars. JobNimbus is not only accessible through iOS and Android mobile apps, but also features an offline mode that saves your work and syncs as soon as you're reconnected.
Procore is an especially useful tool for companies with multiple teams, as it connects all project contributors with owners, contractors and subcontractors. The software allows managers to track projects, assign tasks and manage financials. The Procore app also comes with a marketplace of over 150 apps that natively integrate with the platform, keeping everything you need in one place.
These are just five potential software solutions, with plenty more on the market, so conduct the appropriate research and consider your company's needs before deciding. You may find that none of the software solutions meet all of your project management needs and your company needs multiple solutions.
Key takeaway: Buildertrend, CoConstruct, Contractor Foreman, JobNimbus and Procore are some ideal project management software solutions for construction businesses.
Considering your business needs before you select project management software
Strato Doumanis, chief technical officer and creative director of MediaCutlet, said that no project management software can have every possible feature for every single company. You may need to make sacrifices in one area to access support in another, or buy multiple project management solutions to achieve everything you need.
"Most project management tools excel in one particular area but lack in another," Doumanis said. "That point is subjective to the needs of the project and the user. The features list and UI decisions by the developer of any software puts its users in a box. Sometimes that box is a good fit, but rarely does it satisfy 100% of the project management needs."
Although Doumanis does not work specifically in the construction industry, he has found Google Sheets to be a good catch-all solution for nearly every project.
"I've tried and used many different tools for project management over the years. Time and time again, I keep coming back to Google Sheets," he said. "I am a programmer – web development is my most tuned proficiency – so being able to completely customize a spreadsheet and turn it into a 'smart sheet' works for me."
While Google Sheets can't do everything, Doumanis said, the program allows users to stretch formulas, filter views, use conditional formatting, validate data and more. This has helped him to come up with "homegrown solutions exactly to the spec I need for each project."
If you or your team have skills in web development or programming, you may be able to develop your own project management system. Alternatively, you might opt for multiple software solutions to meet your needs. Whatever you choose, a strong project management system for your construction company can make your team's work significantly easier and improve your bottom line in the long run.
Key takeaway: The project management software or methods you choose should suit your business's unique circumstances. Determine the features and tools most important to you before you buy.