Construction documents are the pulse of contractors’ projects. From initial design documents to plans, specs and drawings, contracts and compliance documents to purchase orders, invoices and material receipts — documentation permeates every aspect of the construction organization. Without the right, updated documentation in place for teams to work from, projects either grind to a halt or tasks are carried out incorrectly, forcing costly rework and fixes.
Many contractors have moved from outdated manual documentation processes like pen and paper and email communications to digital, paperless and cloud-based collaborative operating environments. They have found a variety of solutions for document management available to them, some more sophisticated than others.
Contractors that haven’t digitized their operations or made the switch to cloud-based solutions to manage construction documents could soon find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage. Today’s modern contractors can work smarter and quicker than ever before and using technology to manage documents and workflows is significantly reducing risks that disjointed document management can bring.
Construction Document Management Challenges
Document management is not a trivial thing. Contracts, compliance documentation, drawings and specs and more all ensure a project is carried out according to plan. These documents play a fundamental role in construction. But many common challenges arise related to document management, even in modern construction organizations. Among them:
- Version Control Issues: As revisions to documents are made, multiple versions of documents are created. With many teams and individuals working from the same documents, some may not be aware of or have immediate access to new versions when they are created. This can easily lead to errors and rework if crews consult an outdated document.
- Accessibility Issues: Finding the right paper documents can take time but even accessing digital documents in the field without the right solutions can be time-consuming as well. Internet connectivity issues, slow VPNs, file permission problems and other delays can arise, especially when multiple digital solutions are used to store, send or access documents.
- Modification Issues: Not all software applications make it easy to edit, alter or comment on documents, especially for people who work outside the back office.
- Wasted Time: Without a centralized repository for documents and the tools to share them in real time, everyone spends extra time looking for what they need — waiting hours, days or even weeks before they can get their hands on them.
Centralizing Documents in One Platform
The first step to getting a handle on document management at your organization is to centralize your documents. Integrated software solutions designed to not just handle, but effectively organize and automate the sheer volume of construction data and documentation that project teams need provide a single source of information to work from.
At Viewpoint, we often talk about the importance of having integrated software providing one accurate source of data, and document management is no exception. Unless everyone is working off the same information, how can you confidently say things will be done correctly?
Turning Documents into Collaboration
Beyond simply storing and organizing construction documents, contractors need an easy way to ensure both their internal and extended project teams have immediate access to the latest versions of documents at all times.
A cloud-based project document, workflow and collaboration solution allows your team to access documents in the field, right from mobile devices, share them among the entire project team, collect data, edit or create new document versions and update project information right from the field in real time.
Our Viewpoint Team solution, for example, can be accessed using a computer in the office, or a tablet or smartphone out in the field thanks to its easy-to-use browser interface. This allows for real-time sharing and viewing of important documents. It has a customizable folder structure, so it’s simple to navigate, and includes a complete version history and audit trail so you can see who’s made changes to documents. With Viewpoint Team, users can also manage complex sets of construction drawings with the ability to mark up PDFs from their connected mobile devices. And, Team streamlines project closeout by providing an easy export and archiving of project documents.
Solutions like Viewpoint Team are also highly flexible and easy to use for the end user, allowing them to set up their own dashboards so that all of the relevant information and documents they need are right at their fingertips when they log in. No longer do team members have to worry about logging into and navigating multiple software application or waiting until they get back to the office or physical documents are delivered to the jobsite.
A centralized, reliable document management solution ultimately enables better collaboration for everyone working on your projects and gives you more control over documentation. Having the right documentation in hand at all times helps prevent costly mistakes than can delay projects and shrink profit margins.
Read how Leander Construction is streamlining project management and mitigating risks with Viewpoint Team. Or, contact Viewpoint today for your own demo.