How to Improve Your Construction Management Workflows

By Emma Worden | construction | December 17, 2021

The construction industry is one of the most inefficient and wasteful industries, with many areas yet to be improved. The construction projects typically struggle to be finished on time and within budget due to many different reasons: collaboration issues, contractor errors, inaccurate forecasting, or unforeseen labor costs.

Many of these issues can be traced back to inadequate and flawed processes. The solution might lie in improving workflows. 

What Is Construction Workflow?

A project workflow is a business process that defines what steps should be taken on a specific task to complete it correctly and consistently.

Companies can use workflows to perform various tasks, assigning them to employees and designing how the tasks are to be completed.

One completed action in a workflow leads to another until the task is concluded.

Any task you need to complete on a construction project can be transferred into a workflow. A workflow may organize how to conduct construction planning and scheduling or describe how to pour concrete for the foundation. Construction project managers can also have multiple workflow styles to complete these tasks.

Workflows are not that difficult to create — you design an exemplary process for actions you usually take, but you do it more efficiently.

This article can help you understand your construction company’s workflows and improve them to stay on schedule and within your budget.

Design Review

In the early stages of a construction project, the designated architect will create a suggested design for the build. The collaboration must run smoothly in this stage, as the design needs to accurately reflect the owners’ requirements. If a contractor or a consultant doesn’t see comments during the review, significant mistakes can occur in the construction phase.

To improve your workflow in the design reviewing phase, you can try to connect all the critical stakeholders on a single platform. The workflow needs to include automated document updates to perform every step required in the design process. The design review workflow should include all comments and revisions, automatically manage version control, and keep project design documents in centralized storage.

Finally, the project manager has very little work once the design goes out to bid, as documents are automatically attached to each bid.

Responding to requests for information

If you’re looking for a candidate for perfect construction workflow automation, the process of responding to requests for information may be the one. A contractor or subcontractor can ask for clarification or additional information during any project phase.

Especially for massive projects, tracking and managing RFIs can be time-consuming and often tedious for project managers. If an RFI isn’t captured and fixed timely, the odds are high that it may lead to delays in the project schedule and high costs.

By implementing an RFI workflow, you can automate this process to focus on other tasks while ensuring stakeholders get all the information they need on time. 

Managing Change Orders

A change order is a material change to a construction project’s original scope of work resulting from various sources, such as mistakes in design or changing preferences. Change orders are always tedious and time-consuming and, more often than not, quite expensive. 

A change order’s physical workflow often causes considerable delays, as it has many steps and includes many stakeholders. The primary communication channel is typically email, making the decision-making and the entire process last longer. As a result, construction processes halt.

This is where a project management tool or a platform can help construction companies out. With access to a centralized database, every relevant stakeholder can quickly identify the workflow stage and the cost impact of change orders and timely play their part.

Worksite Tasks

Construction companies can also benefit from creating workflows for repeated tasks at the worksite. There will be no reason to turn from these routine workflows in most cases, so you can streamline the process by standardizing it for your workers.

You can best provide the workflow using a flowchart and describe what workers should do in a situation when they need to make adjustments. For example, if the team cannot pour the ready mix concrete directly into the forms from the truck, the flowchart can inform them to use the concrete pump.

It’s important to note that safety regulations and measures should also be part of procedures to protect your employees and avoid legal hurdles

Maintaining Worksite Equipment

The state of your worksite equipment plays a crucial role in making sure your project stays on time and budget. If your equipment malfunctions during a project, it can cause a nightmare for you as a manager.

By enforcing a maintenance workflow for each asset and allocating individuals responsible for the workflow, you can ensure that the equipment stays in top shape.

This workflow may be presented either as a flowchart or a checklist. For example, you can create a list of actions that need to be done each day or weekly to maintain the assets. You can also create a flowchart for situations when a piece of equipment doesn’t meet the standards.

Paying Invoices

When it comes to construction companies, paying invoices is often manual, resulting in a contractor not seeing a check for months. 

To ensure that payments are made on time to contractors and their subcontractors, a workflow must be established between the project manager, finance department, and the contractor.

Unless the process is automated, it can waste hundreds of hours tracking down emails, manually updating cost sheets in excel, informing the finance department.

Your construction company will benefit from streamlining invoice and payment workflow to log and update project cost reports in real-time adequately. 

Since workflows can clarify and streamline each construction project stage, improving them will benefit your construction company by improving organizational efficiency, responsiveness, and profitability.