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Keep Construction Costs Under Control With Collaborative Project Management Software


Closing your construction projects on time and on budget is a top priority. The more efficiently you can manage projects, the more profitable those projects will be. But achieving on-time, on-budget projects can be challenging. Unexpected change orders combined with unpredictable material and labor costs can easily upend schedules, sending construction budgets soaring.

To make matters worse, project participants might use different systems to track change orders and related costs. Those systems typically aren’t well-connected, if they’re connected at all. When change orders are tracked manually, be it on paper or in spreadsheets, the problem may only get worse. Without a single, unified view of construction projects, it’s nearly impossible to keep costs in check and projects on track.

Luckily, these factors are within your control. When you have a way to unify and automate your construction cost data, you can ensure that your projects come in on budget and on time. Collaborative, integrated construction project management software is your path to keeping construction costs under control.

Change is Inevitable — Cost Overruns Aren’t

Construction projects involve project managers, subcontractors, engineers, quality control personnel, accountants and more. When an issue requiring a change order arises, everyone affected — from the field to the back office — must be notified. The project manager and other stakeholders need to assess the scope of the issue, acquire estimates, add them into the system and secure approvals. Once the change is approved, it must be executed smoothly to avoid disruption and additional costs.

If you manage your change orders by gathering data from multiple sources and inputting that data in a spreadsheet as a single source of truth, you’re likely not alone. In the meantime, however, your subcontractors may be using a different resource to manage their end of the changes. How can you be sure the information on your side aligns with the information on their side? Without an integrated common interface, you can’t. And how can you be sure everyone is informed and updating their systems? You could send an email, but can you be certain that all the parties who need to know the information will receive it?

Unless your communications happen on the same platform or system, the risk of miscommunication is high. Disconnects between systems make it difficult to pinpoint and resolve issues. That’s wasted time and wasted money.

If you don’t have an integrated construction project management system, each stakeholder’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system often becomes the default mode for managing change-related costs. Multiple ERPs lead to a multiplicity of issues. With separate, disconnected systems, you could be duplicating data or storing it in different ways. This can make the data hard to find, leading to project delays, cost overages and dwindling profits. If you’re relying on disparate, manual construction cost management processes and using separate ERPs to track changes, you cannot achieve the truly collaborative, unified approach needed to manage your projects on time and on budget.

Trimble ProjectSight: A Collaborative Single Source of Truth

A single source of truth is the key to efficient and effective construction cost management. When all project team members and outside contractors can easily access project information from an integrated construction project management program, they can easily collaborate to keep the project running smoothly. With the right construction project management software, you can complete your projects to expectations every time because you can rely on one view for tracking budgets that will help you keep the project timeline. What’s more, a comprehensive project management program stores records related to change processes and provides an audit trail throughout the entire change process, allowing you to build on today’s success to refine your processes for the future.

Four ways ProjectSight drives a unified approach to construction cost management

ProjectSight allows project teams to manage changes and costs from a single pane of glass. Using this complete solution, builders and contractors can more effectively identify risks and make changes quickly. For example, field superintendents who notice an issue can enter it in ProjectSight, confer with team members (including subcontractors) directly within the program and track change resolution progress — all from one place. Every change order can be created directly within the system and tracked to completion.

ProjectSight delivers an integrated approach to construction cost management through:

  1. Collaboration: ProjectSight collects all the disparate information from various stakeholders into a unified, integrated view that provides stakeholders with the access they need, when they need it. Information from other sources, such as models and drawings from architectural software, can be linked together in one record, rather than drawn from multiple systems. Changes are sent directly to the ERP so the accounting team is kept up to date. Invoice information is instantly available to relevant stakeholders. When the accounting team creates invoices, project managers can easily see that. All of this eliminates extra steps and ensures that everyone has immediate access to the information they need to make the right decisions quickly.
  2. Configurability: ProjectSight is configurable to meet your specific needs. The system’s unique ability to assign security roles at the subcontractor level gives you maximum collaboration with a minimum of risk — program administrators can assign roles and permissions directly within the system. Because ProjectSight is an open API solution, it works seamlessly with other programs.
  3. Consistency: A unified look and feel makes the program easy to learn and use, no matter what features you’re accessing. Once users are familiar with one screen, they know the entire interface. API innovation allows the system to connect with multiple ERPs to provide a seamless experience to end users regardless of their job function, without requiring them to learn a new interface.
  4. Convenience: This out-of-the-box solution is easy for you to get up and running without any help. All the system modules are included in the package. You simply pick and choose what you need. You have full access to all modules and can add as many users as you want without acquiring additional licenses — saving you money up front in addition to giving you control over your construction costs.

Construction Cost Control Assistance from the Experts

Trimble has been setting the industry standard for construction cost management software for more than 25 years. We understand your business and know how challenging construction cost management can be. We have a solid reputation for helping general contractors minimize costs and maximize profits with a solution that provides the forward-looking, cost-related information you need to make the best decisions and bring your projects in on time and on budget. ProjectSight gives you the visibility and ease of use you and your stakeholders need to successfully oversee and manage construction costs from project beginning to end — eliminating costly surprises and protecting your profitability.

About the Author

Jesse Lavine is Product Director at Trimble. With over ten years of product management experience, Jesse is passionate about building software solutions that customers love.