Reporting made easy
Construction projects can be very perplexed as they require perfect coordination and collaboration between numerous people. Accurate resource and material allocation is also a significant aspect of a project’s success. For that reason, frequent and detailed site visits can play a fundamental role in the effort to increase team efficiency and productivity and to avoid costly mistakes and delays.
But solid progress monitoring can be a long and challenging process. The good news is that with the right plan and tools you can ensure that your project is running smoothly and in full compliance with the set requirements and deadlines.
At LetsBuild, we know well how demanding construction progress monitoring is. That’s why we decided to take some time and present to you 10 powerful tips that will allow you to take the most out of your site visits.
1. Find the right reporting tool
Keeping a bird’s-eye view of your project is always fundamental. In the case that you are working in multiple projects at the same time this need becomes even more imminent. You should be able to effortlessly monitor the progress of your project(s) either you are on site or at the office. A top-performing digital tool can help you a lot with that.
Before you select the reporting tool that you want to use, you need to take into consideration what type of information you will need while using it. For instance, being able to calculate the percentage complete for your various projects and find their location (eg. through postal code) can be very powerful if you are supervising many construction sites at once.
Like that, you can be sure that you have a good overview of how things proceed and quickly detect which projects require your attention. Based on these bits of information, you can prepare your site visit plan in a smart and efficient way.
2. Implement automated reporting systems
Being able to generate building reports on a daily basis can make your life much easier when it comes to construction progress monitoring. But you have to keep in mind that creating daily reports can be extremely time-consuming if you have to do it manually.
That being said, the generation of automated progress reports can be one more feature you want to look out for while searching for construction software.
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At LetsBuild, for example, a user can periodically distribute construction reports in order to communicate the overall progress of the project to the other agents. What is more, in a report you want to include as much relevant information as possible. Comments, photos and reporting period are only a few of the parameters you may want to cover.
Lastly, being able to add the branding of your firm can also be helpful when you want to create professional documentation that has to be shared with other stakeholders prior to a scheduled site visit.
Here is how an automatically generated construction report would look on LetsBuild:
3. Invest in real-time communication
Getting the right information to the right project members fast is indispensable. In that manner, you can feel safe that next time you visit the construction site everything will run in full compliance with the plan. To achieve that, you will again need a trustworthy digital solution that will help you focus on what truly matters as the project develops.
Site visits are already time-consuming so there is no reason to waste time and money while trying to find out about task problems and progress. With the help of an interactive Gantt Chart, you could stay informed about any type of changes in real-time.
Thanks to this, you can respond fast to any emerging issues by assigning tasks and allocating your resources accordingly. In a nutshell, the optimization of the information flow will simplify the construction progress monitoring process and make your site visits much less painful.
This is how a LetsBuild Gantt Chart looks like:
4. Make reporting easier for your team
Detailed and accurate reporting can be a pain not only for construction managers but for people who work on site, as well. In that sense, you need to provide them with all the necessary tools for an easy and simple mobile field reporting progress. Only then, you can be confident that workers on site are fully informed about the latest changes and that they report everything that takes place on site.
This transparency during the building process will simplify site visits and boost productivity. To be more specific, workers on the field should be able to check their tasks across the numerous projects and easily update their progress or report a problem.
For example, if you are a carpenter working on 5 different projects, you should have access to your assigned tasks, organise them both on a daily and weekly basis and update them accordingly by uploading a new report or picture. Like you can do with LetsBuild:
5. Keep an eye on the weather
It’s no secret that weather is a crucial parameter in construction. A vast number of tasks can be significantly affected by weather conditions. Detailed planning is required before you begin to work on site.
But that’s not all! Unforeseen weather phenomena can bring your project upside down and make you reschedule some of the tasks. It goes without saying, then, that weather has a serious impact on the construction progress monitoring process.
With that in mind, it’s a great idea to invest in real-time weather tracking. By doing that, you can subsequently send detailed weather reports to every member of your team and keep them informed about any last minute changes. This will allow you to build both smarter and better.
LetsBuild provides a nice example of automatically generated weather reports which you can check below:
6. Prepare well before you go visit the site
Before you go for your on site visit, you have to be well prepared. First thing you should do is to take a close look at the problems that may have been reported in the course of the previous week. In that manner, you will be able to provide your team members with smart and practical solutions.
Site visits can take a lot of time, so it’s important that you are already informed about what has happened within the last week before you even get there.
A feature like LetsBuild’s Drilldown can untie your hands and offer you a detailed overview of what’s going on across your project. More analytically, with Drilldown it’s easy to get a report on tasks starting in specific time period, decide whether to include late tasks and to decide whether to include or exclude milestones. You can also save your results and keep an eye on everything assigned to you or your team in next 7 days.
7. Take as many photos as you can
Now that you have completed your preparation and you are arriving on site, it’s vital that you document everything.
Based on these observations, you will be able later to detect any mistakes and re-adjust your project strategy. Make sure that you take as many photos as you can so you can be confident that you have all that you need to monitor the progress of your project and design its next phase.
As soon as you take these photos, try to share them with the other project agents and add comments. Again, the use of a reliable digital tool can help you a lot with storing and sharing the pictures with your partners.
8. Find your leadership style
Being in charge of a building project signifies that you should also know how to lead. Finding your leadership style isn’t as simple as it sounds. You have to come closer to the people working on site and approach them in a way that will inspire respect. During the decision-making process, offer to your team the opportunity to voice their concerns and express their ideas.
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Moreover, if you are working on global construction projects, you should be prepared to embrace diversity and find a way to connect with people from different backgrounds. The above elements will make your life on site much simpler.
Through trust and well-established communication, it will be easier for you to turn your site visits into something meaningful and beneficial for the full construction process.
9. Request a PMO
Not every construction firm is excited with the idea of a PMO (Project Management Office) due to cost concerns. Nevertheless, a PMO is a department (or group) that can provide you tremendous help with putting every aspect of your project in order and establishing good collaboration flow between the various members of the team.
One of the biggest challenges for a PMO in construction is the internal introduction and implementation of new processes and digital tools. This applies to every project agent either they are working at the office or on site.
Furthermore, a project management office should be ready to come up with well-functioning and straightforward methodologies that will accelerate work progress and will secure the project from any unpredictable bottlenecks. It goes without saying that the better job a PMO does the easier your site visits will eventually be.
10. Use a Facilitator
As we already mentioned, construction projects can be quite complicated. There are simply too many elements that need to be taken into consideration. Especially, when we are talking about construction progress monitoring things can get very tricky. That’s why the appointment of a project facilitator can be a smart move.
By having someone on top of the little things and details around your project, you can keep track of its progress easier and faster. A project facilitator can prepare your site visit and keep you alerted for issues that you need to investigate while you are there. In other words, facilitators can save you from a lot of chaos in your everyday life.
Wrapping it up
All in all, it’s evident that construction site visits are challenging and require a lot of attention to detail. Nonetheless, with the right plan and the help of a reliable digital solution you can simplify this process and be able to monitor everything that takes place on site in real-time.
As far as the reporting tool of your choice is concerned, our only recommendation is that you select a simple to use tool that could be easily adopted by every member of your team both on site and at the office.