The Benefits of Cloud-Based Construction Software

cloud construction technology

Cloud computing exists as a more flexible alternative to traditional servers managed by users or companies. With the cloud, software is available over the internet rather than licensed to individual machines.

Companies offering cloud computing are generally referred to as SaaS businesses, which stands for “software as a service.” In the construction industry, SaaS solutions can be anything from accounting software to online plan rooms, takeoff and estimating platforms, project management systems, and more.

What Does Traditional Construction Software Do?

Construction software exists to replace pen and paper methods for all aspects of the construction industry. While many professionals are still using pen and paper, more and more are seeing the efficiencies gained and business value in software and thus upgrading their processes.

Today’s construction projects are more complex than ever, so having a software solution for each phase of the build makes a complicated project go more smoothly.

What Types of Software Do Construction Companies Use?

Construction companies use software for specialized tasks such as finding and submitting bids, performing takeoffs and estimates, generating proposals, and BIM (building information modeling). Some of the top options can be found here.

But there are also software solutions for general business processes that have been customized for the construction industry. Project management and accounting software are essential for larger businesses; cash flow apps can help solve the unique problems of acquiring materials at the beginning on long repayment cycles; and even drones and virtual reality are becoming popular tools on construction sites.

Desktop Construction Software Features and Functionality

Traditional construction software is purchased with licenses for individual computers. This means that in general, only one person can be logged in or manipulating data at a time. Any files this person changes must be saved to a shared server maintained by the company or uploaded to cloud storage for other team members to access.

Issues can arise with desktop software when people accidentally save documents to their hard drive rather than the designated shared space. This results in confusion over the most up-to-date version of the file and creates the extra work of checking for duplication. If one person is the gatekeeper for data and they are not available for any reason, the rest of the team is stuck and must wait until they return. Collaboration in construction management is tough to achieve with traditional software.

In addition, updates to desktop software involve IT departments manually installing them for the team, often on an annual basis and for an additional cost. IT must also be active in backing up data to avoid losses.

When desktop construction software became a widely available option in the 1990s, it was truly a welcome addition to the industry, but as technology has evolved, it’s clear that construction companies are moving away from old-fashioned options and steering toward cloud-based SaaS solutions that better meet their needs.

Construction data shows that the industry is a major contributor to the US economy, and as such, it needs modern solutions that encourage time savings and team collaboration.

Advantages of Cloud-Based Construction Software

Cloud-based construction software offers distinct benefits that desktop software cannot match, including real-time team collaboration, mobility, instant updates and backups, and so much more.

How Can Cloud-Based Construction Software Add Value to Your Business? Here Are 3 Major Ways

The flexibility your team gets from cloud computing is unmatched. You’re not tied to a specific device or location, and that gives you a huge advantage over competitors using old-fashioned desktop construction software. Here’s how the cloud gives you that competitive edge.

1. Mobility and collaboration exponentially speed up your processes.

Whether it’s your preconstruction team performing faster takeoffs and estimates, your project management team keeping track of site activity, or your finance department using cloud-based construction accounting software, speed is key to making a good impression on general contractors.

As you think about moving to the cloud, consider what you want your team to be able to do: your software should allow you to work on Mac or PC, and you should be able to view plans and specs on any device so teams in the field can have quick access to them. With these capabilities, your takeoff software, for example, can make your measurement speed up to 10 times faster, allowing you to deliver results in a fraction of the time.

Also keep in mind the conditions under which your team works best. Cloud-based tools allow for more flexibility so your team can work in the office, in the field, or at home. Remote teams can be extremely effective in managing their time and responsibilities, and allowing employees to work remotely can generate company loyalty and result in workers who are willing to go above and beyond. A better work/life balance for your team can better – and faster – performance at work. (If you’ve never managed a remote team, try these strategies.)

2. Increased accuracy and quality win more work every time.

Cloud-based tools provide a single source of truth for your company’s data, which significantly reduces the likelihood of mistakes. If you’re creating an estimate from a takeoff, for example, the need to export measurements into Excel and manipulate the spreadsheet can introduce errors. A single misplaced decimal point can wreak havoc on all of your numbers.

But with everything contained in a single platform in the cloud, you can produce detailed, accurate estimates that will impress GCs – even if you’re not the lowest bid, you’ll show your expertise and they’ll trust you to get the job done right.

Regular reviews of performance, successes, and roadblocks are also essential to maintaining the high quality of your work. Use your cloud tools to easily find and review past projects. You might even consider making use of the Construction Institute’s Integrated Project Monitoring Method to begin visualizing project health.

3. A great impression starts with excellent customer service.

With cloud document storage and an organization plan, your team is able to access the most current version of documents and plans in moments – from anywhere – so you can pull up any documents you need to discuss with GCs. Show them you’re prepared and ready to do the job.

A professional proposal that’s generated directly from your estimate data in the cloud and that addresses all bid documents, alternate materials, value adds, and clear pricing breakdown reflects well on your company: don’t leave room for uncertainty about what services you will and will not provide.

Online plan rooms allow you to submit bids directly to GCs. With them, you can get all the information you need to bid the job properly, including contact information and specs. Follow bidding best practices to make your bids stand out, and feel free to reach out for more details on anything that’s unclear.

How Does Cloud-Based Software Benefit the Construction Industry as a Whole?

Cloud computing’s two biggest benefits for the industry are the ability to attract new talent and cut costs: Younger, tech savvy workers are eager for perks like remote work, and with an arsenal of cloud-based tools, it’s easy for companies to implement remote policies. As far as cost savings, reduced rework and streamlined processes can decrease non-billable hours spent on searching and making corrections.

How Cloud-Based Technology Works for Construction Software Newbies

If your team is still using pencil and paper for tasks, you’ll be shocked at the difference when you switch to cloud software:

• No more spending thousands of dollars to print project plans
• No more digging through unorganized plan rooms for takeoffs you did months ago
• No more flipping through plan pages to find what you need
• No more worry over inaccurate scales or measurements on construction blueprints
• No more days-long takeoff processes
• No more re-measuring entire sets of plans due to change orders
• No more crowding together over a table to collaborate on a takeoff

Moving your construction bidding process to a SaaS solution will open opportunities for you to bid more jobs and win more profitable work.

Reasons Cloud-Based Software Is Crucial for Your Construction Company

Our economy and society have embraced a mobile, flexible culture, and, while the construction industry may be lagging behind other spaces, it’s no exception to this development. To remain competitive, your team will need to adopt cloud technology.

Why Is Cloud-Based Software Important for Your Construction Company’s Growth?

Everyone wants to grow their construction business – that’s why you work so hard and are careful with your cash flow. But if you’re stuck using paper and pencil or old-fashioned desktop software, it’s likely that you’re just treading water.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Because it takes days to bid a job, you can only bid a few per week. You miss opportunities that would have been good for your construction company, and you only win a small percentage of the jobs you are able to bid.

You and your employees are overwhelmed with preconstruction tasks and are frustrated by not being out in the field performing your actual trade more. You’re spending late nights and weekends working on bids.

To bid more jobs, you’d need to hire more estimators, but you can’t predict that you’ll win more projects, so you can’t afford to hire help.

A cloud-based tool will help solve all of these problems. With a streamlined takeoff and estimating process, you won’t need more human resources – your existing staff will be able to perform takeoffs up to 10 times faster than they can now and bid many more jobs.

By performing all your precon tasks in a single platform, your estimates will be much more accurate, so you can better project material, labor, and other costs and develop a better sense for how many jobs you can expect to win.

By performing all your precon tasks in a single platform, your estimates will be much more accurate, so you can better project material, labor, and other costs and develop a better sense for how many jobs you can expect to win.

Once you have a sense for how much other contractors are charging and you’ve cultivated strong relationships with some GCs, you may even find you’ll be able to increase your prices.

How Can Cloud-Based Software Help Make Your Construction Company More Efficient?

Efficiency is a key benefit of cloud technology. Once your team is up to speed on your chosen tools, you’ll find that you need fewer employees to do a thorough job. You’ll be able to increase bid submissions without adding the costs associated with more employees, such as insurance, taxes, equipment, and training.

Your existing team’s processes will also improve with the use of cloud storage. When they no longer need to spend excessive time searching for documents or pages within plans, they can direct their focus to on more profit-driving responsibilities.

How Can Cloud-Based Technology Take Your Construction Company to the Next Level?

Freeing up your time with cloud-based tools means you’re left with more capacity to strategize about where you want your construction business to go. In addition to increasing sales goals, you might decide to expand into other trades, begin specializing in a certain type of build or go after more government projects, or even move into development yourself.

If you’re ready to start evaluating cloud-based tools for your company, download this checklist.

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