Small and Medium Business Enterprises (SMBs) often find themselves within the numerous choices offered in the hyperactive and fast-evolving construction management process.

An account also has to be taken for the real choice of switching systems that also involve departing from the usual pen-and-paper approaches that still hang on within the construction management returns.

This brief will guide SMBs through this tangled web and will contain a comprehensive list of the top 10 must-have features in construction management software.

While this list wasn’t necessarily exhaustive, these features still amount to core fundamentals behind good Construction Business Management Software. However, they do tend to rather become borderline indispensable after a while for the growing business in need.

What is Construction Management Software?

Construction management software is an integrated tool that helps construction professionals organize, synchronize, and control different parts of a construction task. This software can simplify the task process, enhance efficiency, and reduce mistakes and hold-ups. It aids in team collaboration in real-time. This includes team members, contractors, and clients, ensuring everyone is working towards the same aim. In short, this software is precious for pe­ople in construction wanting to refine the­ir task processes and achieve­ successful projects.

Construction management software provides numerous helpful facets to the construction industry and project managers.

Increased Efficiency— By using the software for tasks like organizing projects, budgeting, and communication, construction firms can save time and decrease mistakes. This can result in faster project completion and cuts in project costs. 

Improved collaboration: Most software platforms have features that let team members, subcontractors, and clients work together in real-time. This assures everyone is updated and can obtain critical project info when they want it.

Improve project transparency and accountability -The software creates a vivid record of project tasks by monitoring project progress, overlooking budgets, and recording changes. This can be useful for disputes or claims, as all pertinent details are readily available. 

Overall, investing in construction project management software can lead to fluid project operations, enhanced communication, and, ultimately, more successful construction projects.

Top 10 Construction Management Software Features

Here are the top ten key features of Construction Management Software:

1. Document Management System
2. Estimation
3. Change Order Management
4. Purchase Order Management
5. Invoicing
6. Scheduling
7. CRM or Sales Management
8. Contact Management
9. Time Sheet Management
10. Accounting and Job Costing

Let’s Explore The Value & Use of All These Features:

1. Document Management System

a. Versatility: It can handle versatile businesses with handling systems not just to make space for all kinds of documents but also to manage photos and videos smoothly, thus every bit of content within the projects at your hand tip and highly organized.

b. Custom Access Control: Proper custom access should be applied for each proprietor. Less access should be empowered according to the roles in the team, ensuring proper confidentiality and control of sensitive documents for the life of that project/holding.

c. Real-Time Collaboration Among themselves: The system allows the team members to carry their real-time collaboration within documents, through which they can establish effective communication among the workers that, in turn, encourages creativity and innovativeness.

d. Mobile Device Access: Working in active construction setups, team members are in and out of the office while on a working day. This calls for their documents to be accessed on the mobile structures as they move about. Promotes agility and quick decisions even outside office areas.

e: Management Feature: Used to advanced document management features including versioning, audit trails, and automatic archiving helps to set up projects in an organized and ordered way easily.

2. Estimation

a. Budgeting: The software maintains complete checks of different factors involved, including the cost of the material, labor, and equipment in a converging form, for the envisioned budgets of the project, which helps to see a better picture overall for project financials. This way, a tactical financial plan is put forth, and resource allocation is done accordingly.

b. Customized Proposals: Properly developed proposals based on client criteria and with added customization features are the most esteemed. It may include catering according to the client’s format, providing breakdowns, and other specifics required by the client.

c. Template Creation: Saves the user’s time, for by creating and using estimate templates, the process of estimate development becomes repeatable, thus giving the chance for repetitiveness and consistency between more than one project with the same scope, for example, semi-custom and spec-based for construction. Saves time; hence, the user can easily go back to the client’s prompt in case of any inquiry.

d. Costs Databases: Details concerning the used material and labor items in a well-organized cost database are given. This will ensure that the company is put in a position where it can prepare the most accurate and quick estimates using construction estimating software. The database is regularly updated so that estimates are perfectly in line with the market.

3. Change Order Management

a. Complete Tracking: Every change along with its cost is tracked, thus keeping the project transparent and accountable. One might fairly say that this allowed project managers to track the changes and what the changes mean with regard to project scope better.

b. Workflow and Approval: Since there are built-in structured change order workflows, along with clear approval processes, it simply only means that changes are documented and approved per client, saving time as it does so. It would therefore avoid spending time in a cycle of approval, with misunderstandings that may arise.

c. Reporting: It generates change order reports for each project and facilitates project analysis and decision-making. This acts as a source of valuable information whereby stakeholders are on the same page concerning the change required to be implemented.

d. Invoicing: The software must provide for the easy creation of change order invoices, to aid in reducing the financial project change implications. Automated invoicing will guarantee changes are catered to in the least possible time.

4. Purchase Order Management

a. Elaborate Tracking: Apart from the tracking facility for the changes accompanied by the costs that relate to the purchase orders, the software must provide tracking for the shipment along with the overall process. This will also involve the tracking for deliveries, supplier performances, and whether the procurement policy is being conducted or not.

b. Approval Workflow: It guarantees, through an approval and purchase order workflow, that whatever is purchased is within the budget and project objectives. Automated approvals and alerts enforce better efficiency in enforcing avoidance of unauthorized spending.

c. Project Reports: It provides a consolidated purchase order report that, at a glance, will ease the review of procurement between various projects. Such reports have a positive contribution toward providing wonderful data timely in the reviews of compliance with budgets, reliability of suppliers, and general performance of the project.

d. Invoice Creation: Creation of invoices is quite easy in the system when one follows the Procure to Pay workflow, as this process is characterized by functions that allow for the creation of purchase order invoices. This further aids in the invoicing process with lesser manual data errors in entry.

5. Invoicing

a. Invoice Types: It should have different types of invoices categorized, like, fixed-cost project invoices or Progress Invoices with Progress Billing, i.e., catered to diverse project payment structures. This flexibility accommodates diverse contract arrangements and generally contributes to boosting client satisfaction.

b. Holdback Management: Close-process control guarantees effective holdback tracking and management for projects in financial considerations of project milestones. The functionality stated is part of managing cash flow and supporting a good relationship with clients in taking care of their financial resources.

6. Scheduling

a.  Comprehensive Schedule: In addition to Work Breakdown Structure, Gantt Charts, and Calendar View, the software should provide advanced project scheduling like resource allocation, task dependencies, communication with the team, and critical path analysis. A controlled or comprehensive schedule is the lifeblood of refining and implementing a project.

b. Automated Communication: It eliminates any chances of information gaps, such as the case of changing milestone achievements or schedule changes that can automatically send an email to all stakeholders. The process has made that transparent and, in turn, reduces the chances of miscommunication.

c. Schedule Templates: Provide a template for the schedule; this way every individual staff may create a new schedule which brings out consistency in all the projects. In the templates, there should be an information list of all kinds of tasks, dependencies, and milestones that have to be similar in all the

d. Comparison with Baseline Schedule: This provides the comparison with the baseline schedule, hence indicating deviations in how well a time frame on a project is optimized. It avails efficiency in providing useful insights in regard to project performance and proactive management.

e. Critical Path Method: This is the method where both resources are properly allocated and schedules are managed accordingly for proper project implementation using scheduling software. It emphasizes listing the critical activities governing the overall time of project duration so that their occurrence may be focused on, and such risks mitigated.

7. CRM or Sales Management

a. Tracking of communication: Keeping track of all communication flowing out to potential clients, trade, suppliers, and contractors. This goes beyond emails to phone calls, meetings, and others.

b. Client Follow-Up: Automation for reminders and follow-ups to prospects and clients. It creates in-built automation for reminders and follow-ups that turn prospects into clients, promising increased sales output through timely communication with clients. It does not let opportunities go by; every contact with the client is timely and makes great sense.

c. It forecasts sales: These foresee sales businesses that enable construction management through permitting planning and strategic decision-making with the accurate projection of estimates, proposals, and schedules. On this aspect, it incorporates future sales estimation, fostering efficient resource allocation, and further growth of the organization.

8. Contact Management

a.  Versatile: With regard to versatility, it implies that differing contact forms are to be managed simply right from employees, contractors, trades, suppliers, clients, and other stakeholders. With such a scenario, it is versatile and one on the lookout has been covered.

b. Comprehensive Management: Comprehensive management of both individuals and companies will ensure the process of communication is streamlined. That is, the feature shall include contact profiles, project affiliations, and team communication all in a detailed history for a comprehensive view.

c. Communication Tracking: Communication tracking aids in tracking, total, communication to produce a historical record of the communication on all contact. This underlies the understanding features for the project’s communication by supporting the process for the making of certain decisions.

d. Compliance Management: It supports the contractor’s process in terms of compliance through reliable, adequate, and appropriately kept insurance, certificates of safety, and all other forms of documents that may be needed. Sync notices and alerts ensure that your requirements are always up-to-date, and fulfilled, and reduce project risks.

e. Customized Displays: This means that, over and above the data content, even the manner of how data are displayed is customizable. This will enhance user-friendliness and enable different team members to focus on the more crucial information suiting their roles.

9. Time Sheet Management

a. Information accessibility: The online-based paperless time sheets have opened up access to information through any platform such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. Online access is extremely flexible in that it can be used for either office or field work, supporting work at construction sites and positively affecting both the verification of time and materials.

b) Location Tracking: Allows the organization to track the punch-in and punch-out location by GPS. It helps the level of responsibility of the employee and ensures valuable information is at hand, which is beneficial in management. Such a feature makes the organizational process easier as it tracks workforce productivity, workflows, and payroll processing.

c) Flexibility: It will offer the flexibility of both individual and team-based time entry, catering to workflow differentiation throughout the organization. This feature supports teamwork, making sure it is possible to satisfy the needs of other departments regarding diverse time-tracking methods. 

d) Time Sheet Reporting and Audit: Creation of the timesheet reporting and auditing of the same can be done. In turn, these facilitate the subjection of this analysis to projections regarding resource usage, project costs, and workforce efficiency and effectiveness. 

10. Accounting and Job Costing

a. Integrated Accounting Software: Integrated construction management software with a built-in accounting software module streamlines financial processes within the construction management software. This feature ensures consistency in financial data, eliminates the need for manual data transfer, and enhances overall financial visibility. There is one drawback, it ties up project management and accounting to a single vendor and does not allow the option to the best of each. 

b. Third-Party Integration: The third criterion of the software is its ability to integrate with third-party accounting software and be flexible enough to allow the company to have its best choice in accounting solutions. This is another feature that easily accommodates organizations that may have already established their accounting systems and, on top of it, supports further scalability. 

c. Job Costing: It provides simplified yet accurate job costing that will enhance easy tracking of budgets required in maintaining regular profitability levels and financial transparency. This feature is blended to help companies track their costs against budgets with much ease, analyze the profitability of the project, and help in making good decisions.

d.  Communication: Proper transmission of information from the accounting module or third-party packages avoids errors and ensures smooth operation in general financial management. This will help in the financial flow of data, minimize data redundancy for financial data entry, and make the report guaranteed with a high degree of accuracy.

With these features, Construction management software enhances efficiency and transparency for small and medium business enterprises. Therefore investing in the right software can help small businesses streamline their operations, improve communication, and optimize project management.

Request a free demo for 123worx software for your construction business!