The pre-construction process is complicated in commercial construction, and without the right systems in place, projects can get quickly off track.
But because of today’s evolving construction industry and the demand for more efficient projects, new systems and technologies have been developed to help construction leaders. These new systems can support client relationships, more accurate reporting, project communication, and a faster estimation process for pre-construction teams.
The systems you develop and the technology you use can support more successful construction projects. Instead of wasting time on correcting mistakes and project inefficiencies, construction leaders can save time using automation and estimation software, so they can focus on getting to work (and growing their business).
Here’s how construction leaders can master their takeoffs so they’re able to deliver estimates and launch client projects more effectively.
The complexity of today’s commercial construction projects requires more solutions than traditional (and outdated) manual processes can handle.
Modern commercial construction projects require a more agile crew, better project management, and a new approach to effectively leading team members. It’s an evolving and growing industry, so the way that today’s firms are run should evolve alongside this growth.
The following strategies will help make your processes smoother, but they’re also a more sustainable method for growing your business than the hierarchical and top-down approach of yesterday’s construction industry.
Commit to more collaborative strategies. Getting all the stakeholders in a project will facilitate better communication, so encourage the participation of your whole team.
“During pre-construction, it’s essential to operate from a single source of information—or at least as few sources as possible—so that everyone is on the same page from the beginning,” according to the Engineering News-Record. If you don’t have a system to keep your team on the same page, especially for pre-construction, it’s time to consider that kind of investment. “Connecting everyone, from the owner to the general contractor to the subcontractors and suppliers, requires technology that every team can access and use,” states the ENR.
Make project management a focus for the whole team. Have a plan in place that everyone on the team will refer to, not just your project managers or team leads.
“Every project needs a good management plan for use by all team members to help guide the process,” reports Mitch Binns for the Wichita Business Journal. This makes your processes more collaborative and transparent—everything from the checklists you use to pre-construction estimates. “Together, the entire team defines project parameters, determines operations, establishes preliminary budgets, delineates roles and responsibilities, sets major milestones, and determines project phasing and sequencing.”
Prioritize risk-assessment on your project. First things first: Identify any potential project risks up front. This risk assessment should take into account how the design will be built, used, and maintained, and provide your team with information about potential risks.
“One of the first steps is to identify potential risks associated with any aspect of the project, whether that is to do with the site, the intended structure and/or any existing structures on which work will be required,” according to Designing Buildings.
That not only keeps crews and other people safe but also improves the performance of a building. “It is generally accepted that as well as complying with regulations and reducing the incidence of accidents, risk assessment also improves quality and reduces the costs of the development,” DB states in another report. Start your projects with the long term in mind right at the beginning, so safety and resilience are built into them from day one.
Stay future focused. Sustainability and resilience aren’t just buzzwords in construction, although their meanings have gotten watered down because of trends in design. They both refer to how a design performs over the long run and what resources are required for the building to function over its lifetime.
“Resilient building design goes beyond the code minimum requirements and considers the financial and societal costs of operational disruption in the wake of disasters,” according to Jonathan Humble with Construction Executive. A future-focused construction project takes into consideration how the building will impact the economy and environment, not only after construction is complete but also over the long term. “It is not enough to have a building simply withstand an unexpected event; whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake or blast, if that building is not safe for immediate occupancy, is not functional, or is not quickly repairable and able to be put back into service.”
Does your pre-construction team keep resilience in mind on every project? It boils down to establishing consistent and sustainable practices that support your team’s objectives so you can accomplish the goals you set out from the start. That’s future and forward thinking.
Many times, projects go over deadline or budget because a pre-construction process hasn’t been put into place. “Many overruns involve direct project costs and are a result of design errors, omissions or just a general lack of communication about expectations,” says Binns.
That’s because most of the construction industry has relied on decades-old business practices and outdated project management strategies. It’s clearly time for a refresh, and many firms have had to entirely revamp their processes to prevent inefficiencies and additional costs.
Consider it an opportunity for improvement, especially in pre-construction processes. Binns recommends that construction managers develop “a robust pre-construction process that gives ‘a line of sight’ as to exactly what the owner wants and has envisioned for the project.”
The pre-construction process is arguably the most important part of a construction project. But it’s essential for a reason: setting things up correctly during pre-construction, risk assessment, and estimation ensures that your project:
But achieving those objectives isn’t possible without more sophisticated technology to track all those objectives, milestones, and project information. The software you use should have on screen takeoffs, data integration, and team communication tools and should make streamlined tasks (and smoother workflows) possible.
But that’s a tall order for any technology! Fortunately, today’s construction leaders can find software that supports their needs—if they know what features to look for ina platform.
Construction leaders can do their team and business a disservice if pre-construction processes aren’t supported with the right technology. That might mean you’ll need to overhaul your current systems, however.
“The first step to any overhaul is effectively analyzing each individual step,” explains Sarah Wilkinson in For Construction Pros. “By breaking down the different aspects you’ll be able to look at individual elements closely, identifying weaknesses. Of course, looking at the bigger picture is important too, but with more information you can establish where changes will have the biggest impact.”
From risk-assessment to team efficiency, pre-construction leaders should note where the most frequent “hiccups” are in their projects and look for solutions in the technology they choose.
What solutions do commercial construction firms need?
Today’s construction technology has to perform to higher standards to meet the needs of more complex projects and an evolving industry.
Going digital in construction has helped construction firms in a few ways, from efficiency to project accuracy, according to Construction World: “A paperless system allows managers, field workers and administrative staff to be more efficient by locating and retrieving critical documents faster.” Inefficiencies have held the construction industry back, but developments in construction technology have transformed businesses for the better. Ultimately, it comes down to the bottom line. “By saving time and creating a more streamlined business, companies will be able to increase profitability.”
Construction firms can encourage their business’s success (and growth) when they work with a technology partner who actually cares about their profitability. Pre-construction software from ProEst has helped contractors everywhere create project estimates more quickly, with more accurate data, so projects are more profitable and streamlined from day one.
Using software from ProEst helped one mid-sized construction firm improve its estimates and made pre-construction project management a more efficient and profitable process.
The Oswald Company needed to improve efficiency in their estimation process. The firm tested several software packages to help them transition away from using Excel and other manual methods during pre-construction.
“The largest problem with Excel was its lack of consistency,” said Bryan Riehle, director of pre-construction for Oswald. Using Excel and other manual methods for project management has slowed down many construction teams, and Riehle needed solutions for streamlining operations and his bidding processes. After testing other software programs, Riehle landed on ProEst.
He worked with ProEst over several months to implement the software, and in 2018, the Oswald Company transitioned away from Excel almost entirely. “It was a completely different way of setting up projects,” he said.
By eliminating manual methods and using ProEst to support his pre-construction team, Riehle was able to streamline how estimates were delivered to customers. This made the process more efficient, more transparent, and ultimately, more profitable for The Oswald Company over the long term.
(Want to learn more about how ProEst helped The Oswald Company scale their growth? Read the full case study here.)
The construction technology you use should support your business's growth by establishing more efficient workflows and ensuring project profitability.
But that technology shouldn’t be a pain to use, which is what makes transitioning to ProEst’s software so attractive to contractors and construction estimators across the country.
“With any software, there are going to be glitches or issues that arise,” said Riehle. “ProEst Customer Service would give me a call in less than 24 hours and say, ‘This is what we’re experiencing, it’s in the queue, or we fixed the problem.’”
ProEst also features tools to help construction leaders deliver project reports, cost estimates, and information to their clients, which benefits teams in a few ways:
Knowing that you’re able to deliver accurate, efficient estimates to your clients doesn’t just give you a better chance at winning bids. Delivering estimates with confidence instills trust with your client and helps you build a better reputation with them over the long run.
Developing a service-focused business with productivity and accuracy in mind is a great formula for success, especially since innovation has been needed in this area in the construction industry.
“After decades of stasis, the industry appears to recognize the pressures bearing down on it, and these forces are motivating owners and contractors to change,” according to McKinsey researchers. “As pioneering organizations transform, they will create best practices that can be emulated across the industry. Players that don’t rethink their approaches may be left behind in what could be the world’s next great productivity story.”
ProEst’s software was designed with these pioneers in mind, so they have the tools needed for more efficient and streamlined projects.
When pre-construction leaders can guarantee the accuracy of estimates and master on screen takeoffs, they’re poised to scale their team for growth. “If you compare us now to where we were five years ago, we’re doing a lot more volume,” Riehle told ProEst. “We’ve grown exponentially.”
Planning construction projects and creating estimates with ProEst means accuracy and integrity are built into every bid you deliver. With tools that guarantee transparency across all stages of your project, teams can execute tasks with efficiency and meet client expectations. Everyone wins!
ProEst’s array of tools were designed to make construction estimating an easier process. But customers benefit from more than its robust software.
ProEst includes a community of experts who offer technical support and educational resources to customers, so they continue to improve and succeed in business. With attractive pricing options tailored for your company’s needs, ProEst delivers solutions to construction teams of all sizes.
Using pre-construction software from ProEst helps you deliver estimates with confidence, which makes projects more efficient and overall success more achievable. Reduce commercial construction takeoff time, improve efficiency in your estimation process, and help guarantee business success when you choose a technology partner like ProEst.
Learn more and schedule a 1-on-1 demo with one of our specialists!