How Builders Are Planning Their Return to Work

BT Blog How Builders Are Planning Their Return to Work

Keep Your Crew, Subs, and Clients Safe

With the onset of COVID-19, remote working has suddenly become the norm for millions of people. As economies begin to open, several companies have confirmed that employees will still be able to continue remote working and that may be the new normal for many organizations. But not everyone can work from home.

During the lockdown, there was a spotlight on those frontline and essential workers who provided necessary services while many hands-on sectors saw a complete shutdown of operations. It’s hard to build your client’s dream home when you can’t get your hands on supplies you need, and you must stay six feet apart. The good news is that technology presents a unique opportunity for custom home builders, remodelers, and contractors returning to work.

While the pandemic’s long-term impact on the global workforce remains to be seen, digital technology can still play a pivotal role in helping the residential construction industry get back on its feet. According to McKinsey Global Institute’s Industry Digitization Index, the construction sector is routinely one of the world’s least digitized.

When you look at a typical construction project, the challenges for digital are understandable:

  • They involve many independent subcontractors, trade partners, and vendors with little-to-no incentive to use a new tool
  • Budgets for new technology are often small or non-existent
  • Projects vary in scope, so it can be hard to develop repeatable or scalable processes
  • Most of the building process happens on the job site, not the office, which makes it hard to use software if it’s only developed for an office environment

But these shouldn’t be reasons to completely write technology off, especially now when the health and safety of your crew, subcontractors, and clients is a top priority. Remote collaboration tools can help builders get back to work and get projects moving again. The key is to look for software developed specifically for builders with features to support the processes you already have in place for budgeting, bid management, scheduling, selections, change orders, and accounting.

Here are some of the ways builders are using construction management software to safely run their business:

Photos and weekly progress reports

Part of the excitement of building a dream home is getting to see it materialize from the ground up. Your clients may no longer feel comfortable visiting the job site and you want to keep them offsite as much as possible to guarantee the safety of both them and your crew.

A construction management tool enables you to share progress photos and weekly reports with clients, so they still get to see their home taking shape. The weekly report will also notify them of any scheduling changes they need to be aware of as well as change orders that require their attention, so they’re in the loop throughout the entire process.

Daily logs

You need to know what’s happening at the job site, which is where daily logs come in. Track who is supposed to be at the site on any given day and see what they accomplished. Know when deliveries arrive on site so you can have someone there to sign for them and ensure the safety of your crew and the delivery driver.

You can also keep notes about projects, so things don’t fall through the cracks. This is a best practice to consider if you’re dealing with scheduling conflicts or vendor changes. If you have new crew members or subcontractors coming on to the project, they can catch up on progress quickly and know exactly where to start.

Virtual communication

Effective communication is critical during the building process and it’s even more important with physical distancing measures in place. You can text, call, or email, but with separate conversations happening across a variety of platforms, something is bound to get missed.

A construction project management tool can centralize your conversations in one easy-to-use application that’s accessible from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Easily search and find information you need instead of sifting through your inbox, tag people to ask questions and confirm project details, and ensure everyone stays up to date even if they’re not on the job site.

Document storage

Stop passing paper around and centralize your documents in one place with a construction management solution. In the field or behind your desk, you and your team will have access to view and upload all job-related files from wherever you are. You can control permission on which documents you want to share with clients and subcontractors. Everyone has access to the information they need without having to physically pass documents from one person to the next.

Adjusting to the new normal

As you adjust your processes to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in a project, it might be time to look at how a construction project management app like BuildTools can help you tackle the new normal and grow your business beyond what you could do with pen and paper or spreadsheets.

Visit the ECI blog for more information, tips, and best practices on adjusting to the new normal.

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Jenna Guy

About the Author

Jenna Guy is the Field Marketing Manager for the Field Service division of ECI, responsible for planning, organizing and activating marketing programs for lead generation. A digital marketer with experience in content creation and inbound marketing, Jenna began her career in marketing after completing her Master’s degree in English Literature. In this time she’s developed and managed the content strategy for a global software company, designed editorial best practices and delved into SEO dos and don’ts. She’s an art lover, cinephile and avid concert-goer who enjoys reading and writing.