Workflow Management Tips to Scale Commercial Construction Companies

workflow management

Even the best and largest commercial construction companies face workflow management challenges. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the top commercial construction companies complete 25 percent or more of their projects ahead of schedule and 50 percent or more of their projects under budget.

How can your company improve on those numbers? Dodge Data & Analytics surveyed top commercial construction companies and learned that they prioritized improving their work processes and their technology. They used a variety of strategies to optimize their workflow management.

Tip #1: Use a single cloud platform to manage project workflows

Many commercial construction companies use several different technology solutions to manage their project workflows, but the top commercial construction companies optimize their workflows with cloud construction management platforms. Why? Each separate software system can add time to job stages and functions. Some programs don't communicate effectively with other programs and are also labor and time-intensive, like Excel spreadsheets or data management programs.

Consider using a single cloud platform to integrate all of your commercial construction company’s processes and functions. Adopt programs like ProEst to integrate bidding and estimating seamlessly with your change orders. Use a cloud platform to manage design reviews, document storage, inspections, and BIM.

As one example, ProEst integrates RSMeans Construction Cost database to optimize project teams and stay up to date with estimates. ProEst's integration of the RSMeans construction database means up-to-date information on labor costs and commercial construction-specific costs and estimates. The necessary information is all at your fingertips within the program. The costs are stored seamlessly in the cloud and are included as part of ProEst's estimating software.

Look for cloud data management or SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms that have security for your data. The platform should also make it easy for you to integrate the multiple partners, subs, and stakeholders on your commercial construction projects. It should also allow you to use any device, from cellphones and tablets to laptop or desktop computers.

Tip #2: Make workflow management visible and collaborative

Having workflow management visible to everyone helps the top commercial construction companies finish jobs ahead of schedule and at or under budget. In the past, cost and time overruns often occurred because stakeholders were firewalled from each other and didn't communicate effectively.

Firewalls get built and stay up because of conventional ways of doing business: paper drawings, pen-and-pencil take-offs, and hand-written reports. The paper and pencil methods practically guaranteed long, weekly project meetings that never covered everything that needed to be covered.

Cloud-based commercial construction workflow management helps to shorten long meeting times. It can even let you have meetings online, saving time on the job site and at your office. Collaboration becomes smoother and easier using cloud-based construction management software and tools. Cloud-based document storage, information management, and data tools can make unproductive, time-consuming meetings a feature of the past. Increasing collaboration among team members will improve efficiency and time management.

Tip #3: Open administrative and construction bottlenecks with technology

E.C. Concrete, a Florida-based commercial, industrial, and mid-rise residential contractor, increased its business by including logistics into its bidding phase and carrying the information throughout job workflow management. The company improved its profitability by including work schedules, inspections, safety, and job site layout in its pre-job meetings.

Putting job site information and logistical details into construction workflow management software helped them to reduce bottlenecks resulting from unexpected site conditions once jobs began. Asking a lot of questions before jobs start and incorporating the answers into the bidding and start-up phases opened up bottlenecks and improved profitability.

Tip #4: Seamlessly manage contract obligations

Up until the 1970s, RFIs were usually informal and took place during project meetings or even over the phone. Today's need for information and legal requirements have formalized the RFI process. They’re a given for every commercial construction project.

In some cases, RFIs can hold projects up. Worldwide, a study of commercial construction projects showed an average of 9.9 RFIs per $1 million construction cost. In North America, the average reply time for an RFI was a little over 8 days.

If you can shorten your time for RFIs, your efficiency will increase and you'll improve your ability to bid on, win, and execute more commercial construction projects. According to a Sage survey, the average cost to receive and respond to an RFI is $1,080. You can cut RFI response time and costs by streamlining your information processes and using estimating software like ProEst.

It would be great if commercial construction projects could be finished with no change orders, but change orders are likely even on smaller projects. You can increase your efficiency and let owners know that change orders aren't unlimited or free of charge by using construction workflow management software to its best advantage. Use the software and estimating information to determine a percentage cost for the total change order. You can attract higher-quality subs and increase your profitability by being professional and proactive with your change order policies and processes.

Understanding all aspects of the construction process, from the initial bidding process to completion, is one of the most important steps in increasing your company’s competitiveness in commercial construction. You’ll gain the advantages that the most successful, highest-efficiency commercial construction companies have.

Importance of successful workflow management

So, you have your team and project all planned out, but things aren't running as smoothly and peacefully as intended. Each corner needs to be clarified because someone approves or initiates tasks without following the proper management system.

This slows construction company jobs taking a lot of time and making it hard for work to flow effectively. Don't worry; this problem can be easily fixed by streamlining all your tasks at the construction company.

Good workflow management is the best way to help your work run smoothly and faster. After building, automating, and managing your workflows well, your construction company will understand how doing this is important. 

Here are six benefits of a successful workflow management system for a construction company.

  •  Reduced errors

Working in an environment that has zero errors is impossible. So what you need to do is prevent those errors from happening either today or tomorrow. 

Identifying and setting your construction company errors right is crucial, especially when you're using a sound workflow management system that helps locate where the error is coming from and deal with it.

  • Improved connectivity

Using a workflow management system in a construction company helps connect multiple entities, including people, software, and work culture.

Here, employees get the opportunity to communicate with each other well. To enable high productivity, work at the construction company should be well-connected. Therefore, integrating software systems is critical in your construction company. 

Employees can be able to use different software tools to do some tasks. For example, a workflow system draws data to improve workflows, prevents errors, and helps connect people with software more efficiently.

 Increased productivity

There is always a difference between after and before a construction company's workflow management system is implemented.

 With the management system in place, the employees can access data quickly, getting the proper information on everything they need, thus staying in the loop on any new development at the construction company.

 This makes tasks done faster and smoothly without lots of errors that could be avoided.

  •  Redundant manual tasks eliminated

A study says repetitive tasks cost $5 trillion a year globally, and office workers spend an average of 69 days per year on manual tasks. Now imagine how effective and productive a construction company will be after introducing a workflow management system. Everything would run smoothly because this workflow system will help in some areas that need to be done manually.

This is important because it also helps in productivity and time saving hence be easier to assess and give out tasks without any unnecessary errors.

  • Multiple tasks are juggled easily

With a sound workflow management system introduced to your construction company, one can bring multiple employees on board, manage IT requests, raise marketing content requests, and even run internal surveys.

It's like everything is under one roof. Instead of using emails, multiple project brands, and chat tools, a sound workflow management system in construction companies will genuinely help productivity and time-saving.

  • Increased trust, transparency, and control

Having micromanagement issues in your construction company is a bad thing.

The best option for a construction company is introducing an effective workflow management system that helps employees know exactly what tasks they need to do, thus getting detailed information on their assigned duties.

Managers also have the opportunity to manage tasks easily and also quickly know where there is a problem.

Using a workflow management system also helps keep the construction company in control and free from unnecessary confusion, saving time and increasing productivity.

Results of poor workflow management

Implementing a workflow management system is one thing. Having it run smoothly and effectively is another thing.

You can have a workflow management system in your construction company, but it could be better, bringing chaos and confusion to the workplace.

You may be unable to notice, but when poor workflow management happens in a construction company, the results are too crucial and time-consuming, making it hard to achieve the targeted goals on time.

Things like a lack of proper communication in different departments at a construction company result in poor workflow, which leads to project demise.

It is problematic if construction company employees cannot do their responsibilities and be accountable for their tasks. A workflow management system that effectively ensures the accountability of functions is critical.

Lack of stakeholders' feedback and poorly defined goals can also result in poor workflow management in your construction company.

Without a response from stakeholders, work effectiveness becomes an issue.

A lack of clearly defined goals in a construction company can also lead to poor workflow management, reducing overall productivity. Unclear knowledge of a project is also a result of poor workflow management at a construction company. 


A workflow management system is fundamental for a construction company to complete projects effectively.

Avoiding issues that lead to poor workflow management is also very crucial.

If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your construction estimation accuracy in order to gain more profit, feel free to reach out to ProEst and schedule a free 1-on-1 walkthrough session today!