Will construction evolve in 2020? That’s the question on everyone’s lips. The short answer? Yes. While it may not feel like the industry has progressed over the past two decades, the reality is it has grown quite dramatically. The rate of adoption for construction technology has steadily increased, and investor interest in construction software companies is a testament to that.
But what does this have to do with construction payments? For contractors to get paid on time, construction projects must stay on track. Without technology on the jobsite, the chance of on-time projects and on-time payment gets less likely.
To ensure work gets done on time and within budget, contractors need to adopt technology that improves the way they communicate, coordinate, and collaborate. In turn, construction projects will progress quickly and contractors will get paid faster.
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Construction Technology Drives Communication
No matter the project, big or small, communication is key. Without good communication, contractors have no idea where to go on-site or what to do once they get there. Without real-time communication, important documents like preliminary notices don’t land in the hands of the people who need them.
And without transparent communication, the GC or owner is in the dark. They are left wondering who is even working on their project. As a result, confusion mounts, work is delayed, and payments are late.
Tips for Better Communication
To prevent this from happening to you and your company, follow these simple steps:
1. Agree on the most efficient means of communication. Humans communicate in a number of ways every day, both verbally and nonverbally. Construction communication is no different. If you have some contractors communicating via text or email and others communicating via plans or tasks, you’re bound to run into problems.
Decide on the best means of communication for you and your field team and enforce it site-wide. Better yet, implement construction software that unites all contractors and communications in one place. This way, everyone knows exactly where to look for the latest update or receive the quickest response.
2. Communicate via pictures, not words. Research shows that the English-Spanish language barrier is one of the greatest challenges facing the construction industry — and a serious one! When contractors are unable to clearly communicate or understand site instructions, they may put themselves and others at risk. Communicating via pictures — e.g., a photo of a defect that’s captured and marked-up on mobile, then instantly shared with others — is the most effective and efficient way to relay information and prevent jobsite accidents that delay projects and payments.
Construction Technology Drives Coordination
To ensure safety and quality throughout construction projects, coordination is also critical. Without an effective way to coordinate tasks, punch list items may go unseen, causing project closeout to get pushed back. Consequently, without an efficient way to coordinate tasks, contractors may perform outdated jobs that derail schedules and budgets.
Coordinating deadlines on a construction project is also critical to ensuring that you get paid for the work you do. Every project has its own procedure for submitting payment applications. Beyond that, every state has different deadlines for sending documents that preserve your right to file a mechanics lien. It’s important to ensure that your office and field staff are on the same page, so everyone knows which work you completed on which date. Missing the submission deadline by a day could mean you don’t get paid.
Tips for Better Coordination
Without efficient coordination, work and payments both slow down. To prevent coordination failures from derailing your next project, follow these two steps:
1. Play nice together. Assemble owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and specialties around shared knowledge and common goals to create an environment of mutual benefit. This coordination of stakeholders must exist across all lifecycle phases of an asset — from design, through construction, operations, and maintenance — for project success to be achieved.
2. Bring all professionals together in one place. To prevent important information from falling through the cracks, software like Fieldwire automatically updates plans and sends push notifications about critical tasks. This instant coordination helps reduce rework and keep projects on track.
Construction Technology Drives Collaboration
Utmost collaboration is an outcome of great communication and coordination. As a result, improving collaboration is the ultimate way to keep projects on track and get paid on time. For improved collaboration on construction projects, contractors need a seat at the table. In other words, contractors need to have access to the same tools, plans, people, and data, that everyone else has.
Tips for Better Collaboration
To better connect and collaborate with stakeholders on your next project, follow these tips for success:
1. Focus on less. Instead of having to nag various stakeholders with multiple emails at the end of every week, give them access to a central hub for communication and collaboration. This way, any stakeholder can access the hub, no matter where they are, to check the status of a certain task or overall project progress.
The best part? Spending less time on end-of-day reporting gives you more time to focus on the real work that gets you paid.
2. Go paperless. Just imagine how much time you’d save if you didn’t need to communicate via paper plans, reports, or notes from the field. (Spoiler: You’d have at least 5 extra hours each week to focus on the work that matters.)
By digitizing workflows and ditching paper you’ll also be standardizing processes to ensure everyone — from the owner all the way down to the various trades — is working from the same place. As a result, the transfer of information is rarely delayed, projects continue to stay on track, and contractors get paid faster!
Construction Technology Improves Projects & Payments
It’s clear: The construction industry is ripe for change. The rise of technology adoption is a positive indication that workers are willing to embrace technology that helps them get paid faster.
Without the right field coordination tools, productivity will flatline and projects will get delayed. Communication, coordination, and collaboration will deteriorate, and stakeholder relationships will suffer. It’s time to work efficiently and challenge the status quo; it’s time for us to evolve, together.