You know how long it takes your crew to perform specific tasks, and how much materials cost. But could your preconstruction process be optimized for more efficiency? Taking stock of what’s happening before the field work begins could mean freeing up time to bid more projects, increase revenue, and grow your business.
How Productive Is Your Construction Company’s Precon Process?
To determine your level of productivity, look at how your precon employees spend their time. Ask yourself:
• Do they regularly have to switch between multiple platforms to get a bid proposal prepared?
• Does your technology stack allow them to work together on takeoffs?
• Are there ways to automate tasks that could eliminate errors caused by manual efforts?
• Do they have what they need to succeed AND excel in their roles?
With just a few small changes to your preconstruction process, you could set your business up to reap long-term benefits.
5 Steps You Can Take Now to Improve Precon Productivity
A quick audit of the way your team handles tasks today can mean big payoffs in the future. Here’s where to start.
1. Streamline tasks with software integrations and partnerships.
If your team is using multiple tools to perform related tasks, it’s time to take a look at the software you’re leveraging. What might have been the best – or only – option a few years ago might now be practically obsolete with the rapid changes in construction technology.
Or, on the flip side, there could be new integrations and partnerships that work in your favor. Seek out services that allow you to connect easily among different tools.
For example, many online plan rooms partner with a takeoff and estimating software like STACK so you can find jobs to bid, download plans, and perform takeoffs, moving smoothly between the two platforms.
You can also find partnerships among time tracking software, accounting solutions, project management platforms, and many other tech offerings. There might even be a software solution out there for a process you’re still doing manually. Check out these top contech tools and ask your current providers about their partnerships.
2. Speed up your takeoffs.
Possibly the easiest way to improve productivity is to adopt a superior takeoff platform. If you do your takeoffs with pencil and paper, switching to a user-friendly software tool like STACK can increase the speed of your takeoffs by up to 10 times! If you’re using outdated desktop software, you’ll be surprised at how much faster the process goes when you make the switch to a clean, modern interface – especially one that’s cloud-based.
Quicker takeoffs mean the ability to perform more of them in less time – so your team can examine each job critically and determine which will be the most profitable ones to bid on. Freeing up takeoff time and turning it into time spent evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of projects lets your team use their skills to the fullest and fills your pipeline with the best jobs for your crew.
3. Cut down on rework – and reduce costs – by consolidating software solutions.
If you asked your estimating team what part of their job is the least productive, we’re willing to bet that rework related to estimate creation would be at or near the top of their list. After takeoffs are complete, so many teams must then transfer measurement data into Excel or export it into a separate estimating software.
Not only does this have the potential to introduce costly errors, but it’s also time consuming and serves no purpose when a better solution exists. A comprehensive preconstruction platform allows you to keep all your data in one place – you can perform takeoffs and instantly create a detailed estimate from either unit costs or materials and labor. You can even generate a branded, professional proposal without having to open any word processing software.
Having a single platform allows you to cut out redundant steps and software, saving your team time and your business money.
4. Remove barriers to team collaboration.
If it’s been a while since you looked into what type of software is out there, the first thing to consider is moving to cloud-based platforms.
Old-fashioned desktop software simply doesn’t fulfill the needs of today’s preconstruction teams. It’s tied to a single machine and single user at a time, so your team can’t collaborate effectively, nor are you able to support remote work.
With cloud-based tools, your team can access files on any device, from any location – whether they’re in the office, in the field, or at home. They can help each other by viewing and marking up the same plans in real-time, saving the back and forth of lengthy email Q&A sessions.
Cloud storage also means all of your plans and documents are available instantaneously in their most up-to-date forms, so there’s no more worry of files getting lost on an employee’s desktop, having to invest in costly server setups or wondering if you’re working off the most recent version someone else saved.
5. Reward and retain your best employees.
Employee turnover can reduce morale in remaining staff, not to mention the enormous financial and time costs of hiring and onboarding new employees. You have to weed out candidates in multiple interviews, and your existing staff has to take time out of their day for training.
So, hire the best and brightest and do what you can to keep them. By providing the best tools for their job, encouraging use of vacation time, recognizing good work, and creating a flexible, trusting work environment, you’ll go far to increase the productivity of your team. When workers feel valued, they’re much more likely to give their all at their job.
Why Is Operational Efficiency So Important in Preconstruction?
When you implement these 5 steps and improve your team’s productivity, you’ll see the effects across your business. With a simplified and clear preconstruction process, your team can analyze more projects, bid strategically, and win more jobs – all of which increase your profits, improve your relationships with GCs, and help you grow.
If you’re ready to compare preconstruction solutions, see why STACK is ahead of the curve.