It doesn’t matter whether you are in the construction, renovation, home decoration or subcontracting business, your client’s project will have three main stages which start with consultation and planning, followed by the tendering/bidding process and the contract management stage. Estimates and budgets are produced in the planning stage, proposals in the form of priced bills of quantities or contractors rates are submitted in the bidding stage and work on site begins in the contract stage.
Hence, if you are looking for the best construction management software to manage client projects, you have to choose a program that supports these three critical stages. A program that provides an intuitive understanding of the modules is easy to use. There should be a systematic flow and seamless integration between the planning stage, bidding stage, contract stage and project finalization. It all depends on the collaboration between the software developer and the construction industry specialists. A user-friendly estimating program will not only produce quick results, but it will allow anybody involved in the project to follow progress and accelerate training for estimating technicians and project managers. For the sake of meeting productivity and profit goals, the CEO should invest in software with powerful functions and simple interface that improves efficiency.
Types of Applications for Contractors:
There are two types of construction management software that you can use for estimating, budgeting and project management. There are computer-based programs that you have to download and install on your desktop computer, and there are cloud-based programs (a.k.a web-based apps) that you can access by purchasing a subscription. The advantage of a cloud-based estimating program is that you can access it anywhere, for example if you are managing projects in different parts of the city, state or region, all you need to access the project is log into the app on your Smartphone, tablet or laptop. Networking with other members of the construction team is possible, and you can receive live updates on site.
The following are some of the top project management applications for construction firms, remodelers, interior designers and trade specialists:
BuilderTrend is touted as a cloud-based construction management software for building and renovation companies, including specialty contractors. Since it’s a web-based application, the software can be accessed on common platforms such as desktop computer, tablet, iPhone and Android. A look at the software shows that an attempt was made to make it as simple as possible for its users. The program has 4 main modules to tackle the life cycle of a building or remodelling project. If you are managing a new project, you will begin with the Pre-Sale module. This module is used for lead management, estimating the project cost, budgeting and preparing bid documents also known as tender documents. As a contractor, you will be able to price bid documents using the in-house pricing information that is readily available on the interface.
The next phase of the project after the bidding period is handled by the Project Management module. That is if the contractor has won the tender or secured a contract. In this module, the contractor can prepare a programme of work by using the Scheduling feature. As work commences on the site, the site clerk will record daily activities via Daily Logs. There are features to record site measurements and notes, including marking up changes to initial drawings. When variation orders are issued by the Architect or Resident Engineer, the Estimator will use the Change Orders feature to capture the instructions.
The Financial module in BuilderTrend helps the Estimator to track and prepare payments, as well as manage costs via budgeting. This feature deals with financial paperwork that needs to be prepared as soon as the Estimator returns to the office from the site. The last module is the Customer Management module which allows a client to log into the cloud app to check progress, provide feedback and make changes to specifications.
All in all, you have to master 14 sub-modules which are presented in a simplified thumbnail box grid when you log in. BuilderTrend claims to have at least 450,000 users around the world and at least 800,000 projects that have been completed by contractors. You can test-drive the software by logging into a live demo:
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BuildTools is purely a construction management software which is accessed on a web-server managed by the company. The platform is designed for builders and remodelers who want to manage their projects, improve efficiency and communication on all matters related to the construction process. Just like a typical construction app that is built with simplicity in mind, the software contains modules that can be easily recognized by a contractor or anybody who is involved in the project.
There are 10 modules in BuildTools and these will help the contractor to communicate effectively and quickly with the construction team, schedule a project, produce budgets, make selections, create a task list, manage documents, change orders and create financial reports. There is a service module which allows clients to review the work done. Clients are able to submit feedback based on inspections made to the finished work. Items in the initial construction program are compared with the final account to verify any missing work items or anything that was not done according to specifications. Like other software, you can connect to accounting systems such as QuickBooks.
For those who are interested in this software, it is important to note that you can use BuildTools remotely from any location as long as you are connected to the internet. It works with a desktop browser as well as iPhone, Android and iPad.
However, if you are looking for a construction estimating solution, this software is not made for that. There is no estimating module. It only allows members of the professional team (the Architect, Quantity Surveyor and Engineers) to collaborate on a centralized platform. Building information is shared with the professional team as well the contractor, client and everybody who is involved. To see how the software works, you can schedule a demo on the website.
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ClickHome is a construction management application for home builders. Developed by an Australian company, the software is a workflow management system with 6 modules that a Project Manager would find useful on and off the site. Like other software, you will get a Leads Management module that deals with capturing potential clients and processing them into the funnel. It’s an important part of the marketing department which ensures that leads are retained and managed from a central database.
The next step after capturing leads is the client brief with the contractor and architect. This is where the contractor makes use of the Pre-Construction module. During this stage, feasibility studies and model simulations are done to identify potential errors, pitfalls and bottlenecks which might affect the project. The software will enable a smooth management and flow of the processes involved in the pre-tender stage, for example planning and preparation for building, and ways to improve efficiency, save time and money.
The pre-construction stage culminates with the tendering process, and at this point, the contractor has to activate the Tenders module which will assist the Construction Estimator in preparing rates and pricing BOQ items. The software creates a bridge between the tender quote and post contract pricing, allowing the estimator to track changes. Comparisons can be done and cost reports can be produced. Quotes are based on a price list which can be updated at the click of a button.
During the construction stage, the Inspections module will come in handy allowing the site manager to collect field data via the ClickHome app installed on a smartphone or tablet. As you enter the information from the site, the digital records on the software portal will be updated and somebody at the office can access the data.
So by now you should be wondering if this software is capable of estimating a project. The software does not have an inbuilt estimating capability, but it can integrate with estimating and costing solutions such as Sage, Constructor, BEAMS build and Databuild. You can even connect your own estimating system to ClickHome. Other features of ClickHome are its Client portal called MyHome and the Supplier portal which allows a contractor to manage suppliers from one platform. To see how this builder’s software works, you can schedule a demo with the site admin or watch a video:
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Constructor is a complete construction management and estimating solution that any building contractor would be proud of. What makes this software attractive is the fact that it’s not just a project management software, but it has full building estimating functions that allows a contractor to produce a Bill of Quantities. It also includes important accounting and payroll features, so the contractor will not be required to install a separate accounting system for the company.
With Constructor, you can manage your project, construction team, employees, finances, payments and payslips. Let’s see how this software can be applied in a project from idea inception to the final account. As with any business, a project begins by securing a lead also known as a client. This software, developed in Australia for local builders has a CRM module which helps the contractor to manage both potential and existing clients. Client information is stored on the platform for current and future use. You will be able to communicate with the client, make appointments and create a plan of action.
For leads that have been turned into clients, the next step is blueprint analysis. The program can import and process digital drawings, producing automated quantities in an instant. However, there is an option to make manual measurements. The estimating module can produce pre-construction estimates and Bills of Quantities. When construction begins, the Estimator can measure the actual work on site, using the estimating feature to record changes to the initial BOQ. You can automatically generate Bills, purchase orders and specifications from estimates.
During the Tendering stage, contractors will submit a bid that includes a programme of work also known as a construction schedule. Constructor comes with a project scheduling feature that automatically generates a list of activities from BOQs and estimates.
In the course of construction, the Quantity Surveyor has to control costs on site in relation to the budget. This is done through the Project Cost Management module which allows the QS to update the Bill with current valuations done on site. Cost reports showing variances will tell the Project Manager items which need to be controlled and investigated to meet the initial budget.
The project accounting feature is used for processing valuations, claims, purchase orders, retentions and progress payments. It also deals with debtors and creditors, and all items that an accountant is concerned with – tax, trial balances, general ledger, project statements, invoices and bank reconciliation. The software is capable of generating reports, printing cheques, bookkeeping and clerical recording.
When you want to pay your construction team and office employees, you don’t need to set up a third party payroll system. Constructor can handle payroll, assign wage rates, manage employee allowances and benefits and schedule payments.
Compared to other Builder’s software, Constructor is a powerful program for Quantity Surveyors, Estimators and Project Managers. To see how the software works, you have to try the online demo.
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eBuilder is a cloud-based collaboration platform for construction management. The software was designed for organizations which run capital projects. These are government departments, healthcare providers, educational institutions, commercial property developers and K12 institutions. These types of organizations have multiple projects running at a time and they are usually large-scale projects involving large sums of money.
eBuilder attempts to function as a BIM solution whereby information from parties involved in the project is managed on a central platform, providing a means to identify issues and solutions before the project is at an advanced stage. The client, contractor and members of the professional team will continue using the platform in the construction stage to control costs and expenditure. The collaboration software deals with 5 elements of a project, namely planning, design, procurement and post-tender processes of construction and operations.
Planning involves cost projections, budget allocations and cash flow requirements. Financial risks are identified and references to previous projects are made to help with estimating and budgeting.
Collaborative design is achieved by sharing digital drawings and BIM models on the platform, so that they can be reviewed in real time. As input is provided by parties to the project, new design versions will be produced, allowing everybody to see what has changed through blueprint mark-ups. Compliance with design standards and feasibility of the building design can be tested and critiqued until a final solution is found. As with any BIM platform, designing does not rest with the Architect, but it is driven by the client. The contractor and other specialists are actively involved.
eBuilders procurement feature will be used by the organization to run tender evaluation and selection. The whole process is cloud-based and digital, so the department of project management will save money which would have been wasted on paperwork, postal delivery and sorting the documents. With this feature, you can send digital bid documents to contractors, analyze submissions, award tenders and manage the contractor.
To manage the actual work on site, eBuilder has a construction phase management system that allows an organization to track and monitor multiple projects at a time. The project managers can control cost, schedule work items, enter information from the site and submit change orders. You can also manage payments and project budgets.
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SimpleBuild is a web-based construction management software for building contractors. The application has project management tools that are laid out in a simple and user-friendly interface. There are 12 modules that a contractor will need to access upon logging into the platform. The Project Management module allows the contractor to handle pre-contract sales, contract administration and post-contract warranty.
The project begins with pre-sale consultation with a potential client. In this procedure, the construction firm has to make presentations and demonstrate its ability to finish a building project on time by making references to past projects which were successfully executed. When you win a client, the next step is planning the budget and programming the work. The contractor will prepare a programme of work, then send out bid packages.
During the construction phase, the same module will be applied on day-to-day management of a project. The project manager can schedule tasks, monitor progress on site and manage suppliers, subcontractors and clients on a centralized platform. The scheduling feature will send notifications about new developments on site and changes to the project team.
The final account is prepared at the closing of the project. Most contracts allow for a defects liability period of up to 24 months. SimpleBuild will keep a client account beyond the project closing, allowing the client to report issues and file warranty claims during the defects liability period.
Updates from the site are managed with a punch list that can be accessed on your mobile phone or tablet. The site manager can send tasks from the field to various parties involved in the project. Trade specialists and vendors will be notified of current developments, and each of them will receive updates that are pertinent to their trade.
The Product Selections feature allows the client to pick specifications based on available budget. A choice of suppliers is provided and when a selection is approved by the client, the system will notify the providers. The system also takes care of the contractor’s profit through addition of mark-up, attendance and other items.
Other modules of SimpleBuild are document management, daily reports, and client login. Like other construction software in this class, you will not find an inbuilt estimating / measurement module. The application is built for project management purposes.
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UDA Construction Suite
UDA Construction Suite is an advanced construction management and estimating software for residential, commercial and green building projects. This software will make your Construction Estimator proud because it is capable of in-depth measurements and detailed cost estimates. It will handle your project right from the moment you capture leads to project finalization. There are 10 features of UDASuite which you would like to appreciate.
Since your project begins with capturing leads, the software has a CRM module for managing leads, which is also useful for managing contacts involved in the project. The types of contacts you will have include the construction team, suppliers, clients, trade specialists and creditors. You can easily add service providers under a specific group or trade, making it easy for you to locate and track them. The contractor can record the number of presentations and negotiations that have been done for each lead, schedule activities for trade specialists and verify insurance and licensing for all contacts who are working on your project.
UDA’s OnCost Estimating allows you to create estimates and BOQs for new construction and remodelling projects using customizable pre-loaded templates. You will get full Bills of Quantities which you can modify by removing items or adding items from a database which functions as an inbuilt library. The estimating interface has all the features that you will need such as setting and editing dimensions on the fly. The navigation menu allows you to select items from database, set sales tax, classification mark-ups, add and edit change orders. As you enter quantities on the screen, you can view the cost breakdown and summary on the sidebar.
For fans of digital takeoff, OnCost Estimating allows you to integrate with CAD programs such as Revit, Chief Architect and CADSoft. You can also import files from estimating programs such as eTakeoff and CADEstimator. However, in order to enjoy these features, you have to get the Premier version of OnCost.
Like most project management applications, UDA Suite has a scheduling feature that supports critical path programming for Project Managers. The interface allows you to view project updates and set advanced critical paths that make use of predecessors (subtasks) for each item. You can set starting dates and workdays, set minimums, link items and generate Gantt charts in a format you like.
In order to keep workers on alert, the Project Manager will set automatic reminders for each subtask in the program of work. Reminders are sent to material suppliers, workers, subcontractors and the professional team.
Since most features of UDA are integrated, it is possible to create cost estimates and budgets based on schedules. Schedules can be exported in 5 formats which include PDF, Microsoft Files and Image.
Other features of UDA Suite that you will find useful are the construction calendar, document management, the projects center, QuickBooks integration and a reporting module that produces all kinds of reports – schedules, project totals, company overview, cost estimates, cashflows and aggregate reports.
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Workflow Max is a download-free project management software for various industries. Among people who have used the software are construction industry professionals such as architects, building contractors, engineers and surveyors. Non-construction agencies who have found this software to be applicable to their needs include business consultants, marketing firms, web design and IT companies.
The software has 5 modules with 14 features. Additional features can be integrated via add-ons, and there are more than 30 add-ons to choose from. So does Workflow Max measure up with other construction management software?
Let’s see how this software can be applied by home builders and remodelers. To start with, there is a CRM module which allows a contractor to manage leads, clients and quotes. Inside the simple lead manager, you can see the total number of leads in different states, which are classified as freezing cold, cold, hot and won. The manager can see the number of leads obtained by members of the marketing team. The information is presented in nice graphs and charts.
After winning a lead, the project progresses from pre-sales to contract stage. This is when the contractor deploys workers and equipment on the site. The job costing feature in Workflow Max allows you to manage work expenses and job orders. You can make purchase orders via Xero and ensure timely delivery of materials and scheduled equipment.
To manage your employees and human resources needs, you have to use the Job Manager. The Job Manager interface shows you the number of jobs running at a time, as well as the client name. You can check if a job is in progress, on hold or under planning. The starting dates and due dates are denoted, and there is a progress bar which shows the percentage of completed work so far.
To distribute work evenly and prevent time wasted due to employee lagging, the software shows the name of the worker who has been assigned with a particular task. The time to complete a task is measured, so you can compare the cumulative time with the estimated project time to see if the project will go beyond the due date or not. This job scheduling feature might look simple but it is effective in managing time and employee performance. The manager can also set up email notifications to staff when deadlines are approaching and whenever changes are made.
Workflow Max is also capable of online quoting using custom-defined templates for the client. Within a few minutes, you can create a presentable and professional quote that can be saved as a template for future use. While preparing a quote, you can adjust the profit margin to suit your needs, and make instant revisions to meet the client’s budget. The simplicity of the layout allows you to add new tasks, costs and mark-up at the click of a button. There is flexibility in pricing items, you can enter hourly rates, composite rates or sums. Workflow Max is available for 14 days free-trial.
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