HeadshotTara Callinan • 

Construction project cost overruns have become so common that they are basically expected in the industry—largely due to over-budget and over-schedule construction projects. In fact, worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimated in 2016 that large construction projects are typically completed 80 percent over budget and take 20 percent longer than originally scheduled.

SVGZ Insights CDP Imagining constructions digital future ex1

Cost and schedule overruns can be attributed to factors such as the labor shortage in construction, but also the result of the industries overarching inefficiency and lagging productivity. Here are four specific reasons why construction projects run over-budget and over-schedule as well as how to deal with project cost overruns.

Initial Planning Oversights

With so much going on, it is tempting as a project owner to want to rush the initial planning so general contractors and specialty contractors can get to the real work. However, that first step is the foundation for the next several months (or years) of hard work. It’s extremely important to make sure even the smallest of details are carefully thought through so that everyone can do their part knowing exactly what is expected of them. Following Lean Construction methods, such as pull planning for scheduling, will keep workers accountable and projects moving as each task is dependent on another.

Instead of being focused on efficiency, however, craftspeople are focussed on savings due to the competitive nature of the bidding process creating pressure for delivering projects at lower prices. This deprioritizes time spent on important parts of the pre-planning process such as detail drawings and plan-checking, elevating the likelihood of mistakes. According to Construction Business Owner, a mistake discovered in the middle of a project could cost about 30 percent of the original project price to fix, and that increases to 80 percent when problems are discovered once the work is complete.

The takeaway? Be patient during the pre-construction phase. It’s better to ensure everything is planned out as much as possible so there are fewer mistakes. Once the budget of a project has been finalized, check it several times to make sure everything is accounted for.

Administration Inefficiencies

It’s no secret that labor inefficiency is a serious, common issue in construction. This is not primarily due to the industry’s labor shortage, but craftspeople not knowing what they are supposed to be doing. Another reason for labor inefficiency is that historically, all the paperwork, blueprints, and updates have been recorded using pen and paper and passed around manually or communicated in phone calls. A system like this is ripe with potential mistakes.

Task management software like Fieldwire can help combat this inefficiency and make sure construction project owners are aware of—and have records of—everything happening onsite. From an iPhone, Android, iPad, or laptop, workers both on and off the field can view their plans offline and make changes to them from any device.

This ensures that everyone working on the project—general contractors, specialty contractors, designers, and project owners—receives the most up-to-date information in a timely manner. This matters most because time is money, and the average craftsperson currently spends only 30 percent of their day on “wrench time” doing the actual work in the field. The rest is spent on redundant tasks such as data entry, paperwork, and waiting for equipment; all of which contribute to cost overruns but can be avoided entirely with field management software.

The Craftsperson Day

Unexpected Uncontrollable Complications

It doesn’t matter how much time and energy is invested into mapping out each detail of a project; setbacks are inevitable. The most frustrating part is that these complications could have nothing to do with human error. Instead, they could be the result of bad weather, unexpected factors in the environment, or even just a part or tool randomly malfunctioning or breaking down.

While these unexpected complications are — well — unexpected, they still need to be considered during the planning portion of the construction project. As the project owner, make sure general contractors have a contingency plan in place for scenarios such as bad weather. That includes buffering the contract and schedule a little to allow for any issues. It also means having the right equipment on hand—such as water pumps or large tarps— in case of a disaster.

Try to be patient with any changes to the schedule in order to accommodate factors such as bad weather. It’s better to reschedule than to have work done in impossible conditions when mistakes and injuries are much more likely to happen.

Expensive Human Errors

While everyone on and off the field has extensive training, mistakes still happen; we’re human after all. But some mistakes are more costly than others. A mistake in budgeting could immediately throw the entire project off course. A safety incident in the field results in reverberating consequences throughout the project. An oversight discovered after construction often becomes extremely expensive. All of these are likely to result in construction cost overrun.

Fieldwire helps cut down on opportunities for miscommunication, which decreases the likelihood of mistakes. However, if one is made, Fieldwire can assist with its powerful issue tracking. Workers onsite can report issues—including photos, annotations, and comments—within Fieldwire’s construction management software and communicate them to the office team.

Construction cost overrun has become such an issue that KPMG reported that only 31 percent of project owners surveyed came within 10 percent of their original budget in the past three years. However, better preparation in the pre-construction phase, effective field management software, contingency plans, and quick recording of mistakes will help decrease the likelihood of your next project going over-budget or over-schedule.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

A home is not a structure built from bricks. A home is a sanctuary to retreat to each day; a treasure chest full of countless memories, and a place that serves as a reflection of our lives.

As we grow, however, and as life changes, it is natural for our homes to change too. When personal style shifts or when families suddenly shrink, homeowner’s turn to renovators and designers for professional advice and assistance. It is their job to help homeowners realize their vision; to listen to their needs, be honest and transparent, and ultimately, convert their dream to reality.

For Carpe Domi, an interior design and renovation company in Paris, positive client relationships are the foundation for success. Through their high-quality work, complete transparency, and ability to stay on budget and schedule, Carpe Domi has fulfilled their ambition to reconcile homeowners with craftspeople. In order to meet their client’s needs, the company chose Fieldwire to manage its operations. Today, the platform is used across 100% of the company to nurture customer relations and improve productivity.

Customer Story - CarpeDomi - Workers

To learn how Carpe Domi use Fieldwire to work four-times faster and strengthen communication, check out our full customer story here. Or, continue reading to uncover three key benefits of using interior renovation software for construction projects:

Build lasting relationships with homeowners

As a home renovation architect, designer, or developer, client satisfaction is the key to your success. Thankfully, this is easily achieved or improved with the help of modern technology and interior renovation software.

Fieldwire’s construction management platform is used on interior renovation projects for real-time communication between homeowners and site teams (including architects, civil engineers, logistics managers, and construction workers). Any request from a homeowner – whether it comes during the initial walkthrough or during closeout – is recorded in Fieldwire and assigned to the appropriate field team. To ensure clients of Carpe Domi are kept in the loop, they share weekly progress reports with them, providing key insights into the renovation of their home. This level of transparency helps clients rest assured that their home is in good hands with Carpe Domi, in turn, helping them establish themselves as a trusted interior renovation contractor in Paris – sustaining a 40% annual growth over the last five years.

Communicate home design changes in real-time

Equipping your employees with the tools they need to collaborate is going to help your home renovation construction projects move forward each day. Having interior renovation software that unites and empowers your team – no matter where they’re located across multiple sites – will set you up for long-term success.

Customer Story - CarpeDomi - Team

At Carpe Domi, there are 25 employees spread across various home renovation projects in Paris. To ensure each team collaborates efficiently, the company provided all staff with a smartphone – giving them full access to the Fieldwire platform on mobile. This decision to go paperless and work from iPhones loaded with field construction management software also translated into significant time savings. Long email threads and phone calls are no longer needed to get missing information or the latest plans. Everyone has access to the most updated information and can fully focus on the work they do best.

“Getting used to the platform is quick and easy. Just 15 minutes is enough for our workers to be operational.”

Florent Litzow, CEO, Carpe Domi

Stay organized and save time on home renovation projects

With so many ideas and projects to keep track of, it can become quite difficult to stay on schedule, and the longer a project takes to complete, the more dissatisfied your clients will be. It’s important you spend enough time planning at the start of a project — to ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them before the actual work begins. Carpe Domi use Fieldwire to plan and prioritize work across a multitude of interior renovation projects. Tasks are assigned to the appropriate worker and annotated with photos and time-stamped messages. This ensures the office and field staff are always on the same page and eliminates the need for unnecessary QA/QC visits to homes under construction. As a result, Carpe Domi spends far less time traveling between jobsites; time they can spend doing the real work.

“Gathering all the project information on a single platform enables our workers to focus on what’s essential and to spend less time coordinating.”

Florent Litzow, CEO, Carpe Domi

To read more about Carpe Domi’s success with interior renovation software, you can read our full story here. To learn more about the Fieldwire platform and how it can work for you, request a demo today.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

No matter whether you’re working with architects to refurbish a resort or collaborating with contractors on the world’s tallest tower, you, as a consulting engineer, have a set of rules to comply with. You know exactly what work needs to be done - inspections, reports, and the actual restoration work - the question is: how can you do it more efficiently?

For many consulting engineers, the answer lies with technology. Consulting engineers are turning to construction management software to simplify work, organize craftspeople, and ultimately, increase productivity.

Fuse Consulting Engineers, based in Miami, is using Fieldwire’s platform and mobile construction app to streamline job site productivity and eliminate manual, busy work. Fieldwire enables Fuse to conduct site inspections on mobile, assign tasks on-the-fly, and generate reports in minutes to dramatically reduce time spent in the office.

To learn how Fuse saves 10+ hours each week with construction management software, register for our webinar here. If you’re looking for some quick takeaways, here are three key tips for structural engineers on how to save time and money on your next project.

Annotate plans on mobile

Digitizing plans to annotate changes in the field is a surefire way to increase productivity. Going paperless in the field and having access to plans on mobile means far less time is spent organizing documents and manually updating plans. Having all versions of drawings stored in one place will specifically help consulting engineers who are forever jumping between sites and projects.

Fuse, for example, uses Fieldwire’s iPhone app to store and update all of their plans, which can be accessed in the field even without an internet connection. Having this kind of information at their fingertips has allowed Fuse to operate efficiently, confidently, and without a need for expensive hard copy materials. They can fly through a site, take photos of defects and pin them to an exact location on a plan, add notes for context, and assign it to the right subcontractor - all from the convenience of their iPhones.

“Now, all we need for an onsite inspection is our phone, Fieldwire app, and a battery.”

Kylie Schalz, Senior Engineer, Fuse Consulting Engineers

Streamline and simplify reporting

Once defects are annotated on plans, the next thing to do is generate a report. For many engineers, this involves hours of busy work back in the office. And while busywork might be inevitable, it is also avoidable with the help of technology. With the right construction management software, Engineers can dramatically reduce the time they spend on manual data entry for reporting.

Fuse Consulting Engineering Photo 2 phone tasks

Fuse, which knows all too well about the negative impacts of busywork, are using Fieldwire to recover more than a day each week that’s lost on reporting. Because before using Fieldwire, building one inspection report per week could take 10+ hours in the office. Now, from a smartphone or tablet, Fuse engineers record site observations on-the-fly, and have the ability to generate a fully timestamped CSV or PDF report in the click of a button. Just imagine how much time this streamlined process could save you!

“Before using Fieldwire, organizing reports and uploading more than 1,000 photos took 10-15 hours per report each week; this would take up 70% of our time in the office.”

Kylie Schalz, Senior Engineer, Fuse Consulting Engineers

Have a single source of truth

Recording observations and issues onsite is a critical part of your day-to-day operations, but if not done correctly, could cost you more than time. When documenting deficiencies, it’s important you supply as much context as possible to ensure every issue gets addressed correctly. That’s why, when Fuse conduct site inspections, they use Fieldwire tasks to highlight defects, add searchable hashtags, checklists, categories, and assign it to the right person to resolve. This makes issues easier to find, and important information rarely slips through the cracks.

Having an organized history of all deficiencies is especially important for Engineers when it comes to due diligence audits. If at any point, post-project completion, Fuse is asked to explain a construction defect, they can access their Fieldwire tasks to see exactly when the issue was reported, who it was assigned it too, and what work had been done (or not done). So no more taking the blame for mistakes you’re not accountable for.

“Fieldwire has become the common language between all parties involved in a project.”

Federico Balestrazzi, Engineer Director, Fuse Consulting Engineers

Documenting work in one, easy to view place has undoubtedly saved Fuse a great deal of time and trouble. Please register for our webinar Repair, Restore, Repeat: Consulting Engineering Best Practices From Fuse CE on December 13th. We look forward to seeing you there!

To learn how to harness field management software for increased job site efficiency, take a look at our full coverage of Fuse’s success.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

And just like that, another month has passed, but not without any major achievements! Fieldwire received some honorable press mentions, this time from four prominent publications — The Globe and Mail, ENR, BIM+, and Construction News — to all of whom we are truly thankful.

In case you missed it and would like to catch up, here is a quick recap of each story’s highlights:

The Globe and Mail: App-based technology comes to the construction site

The Globe and Mail (the largest newspaper in Canada) further explain how EllisDon uses Fieldwire as part of their series on innovative decision-makers in Canada.

In this article, Chief Technology Officer at EllisDon, Tom Strong, explains why he chose Fieldwire in such a competitive tech market, and why he will continue to use the platform going forward on every project. He said:

“Fieldwire helps our project teams deliver high-quality results by connecting us seamlessly with our clients and trade partners.”

To learn more about Strong’s perspective on app-based technology in construction, read the full article online today.

ENR: Construction Productivity: Why It Matters

How can we move the productivity needle if we don’t have any boots on the ground? Yves Frinault, Fieldwire’s CEO, weighs in on this debate to give ENR (the largest construction trade publication) readers some food for thought when it comes to construction productivity, or lack thereof.

Frinault speaks to the high turnover rate in construction — 13% higher than in oil and gas — as a reason for a labor shortage and explains why with supporting evidence:

“Competing industries like oil and gas offer skilled workers a higher wage. The average pay for construction workers in the U.S., according to BLS, is $29 per hour – a staggering $16 less than oil and gas workers who earn $45 per hour on average.”

How do competing industries afford to pay employees so much more? They’re much more productive and therefore generate more revenue per employee. ENR 2018 - Construction Productivity - Why It Matters To learn more about the pay and productivity gap, and why it matters in construction, read the full article on ENR here.

BIM+: Can construction quality be boosted by collaboration software?

The short answer is yes.

While quality control is an issue plaguing the construction industry in the UK, it can be resolved with field management software.

This article in BIM+ (a respected digital construction resource in the UK) explains how Fieldwire is used by global construction giants – like EllisDon – to improve efficiency all while boosting quality. In fact, leveraging collaboration software for QC could result in significant savings. The article notes that:

“Better quality management could save the industry between £7bn and £12bn.”

Learn how to leverage technology to improve quality on your next project! Read the full article here.

Construction News: Warwick’s 1,000-year-old school gets a new site

A UK-based construction company with a passion for innovation, Speller Metcalfe, has been contracted to expand and relocate one of England’s oldest institutions; King’s High School in Warwick.

The three-year project will be managed on Fieldwire to ensure the project stays on track and critical information doesn’t get overlooked. Speller Metcalfe Project Lead, Michael Quinney, said:

“Fieldwire is particularly useful for snagging and allows notifications to be sent to the team when work is overdue or complete. It means we can keep a complete live track on the project as it is being built.”

For more details, please read the full story in Construction News, the UK’s leading source of construction industry news, market intelligence, and forecast and trend data.

Jillian cropped 1 Jillian Reesink • 

At Fieldwire, we’re always shipping new features and improving our platforms functionality. With Fall in full swing, we want to give you an overview of every product update that was made over the past couple of months. Just a few of the highlights include:

New digital forms

The biggest release of the Fall comes with Forms! This a is a new way of using Fieldwire, allowing business and enterprise users to consolidate disparate paper forms onto our platform. Forms save huge amounts of time and work now that all of your Daily Reports, Inspection Requests, RFIs, and Timesheets can be completed on Fieldwire. You can link forms to tasks or plans and assign them to anyone on your team to complete. Check out our full support page or read our launch blog post.

Types of Forms

New mobile notification center

Ever missed a notification on your mobile device? No problem! You can now find all of the notifications you were tagged in on our new notification center on mobile. All of the updates on your tasks and plans are now consolidated in one place across all of your projects. Staying on top of your projects has never been easier! Check out our full support page.

Gantt calendar view

There is now a new “Gantt” view in the tasks tab to accompany our kanban and calendar views. This view is a great and simple way to visualize the flow between your tasks, especially if you are using tasks to schedule activities. Simply add start and end dates to your tasks or drop-and-drag them directly on the Gantt chart to set durations. Check out our full support page.

Drag-and-drop tasks on plans

Improve your Fieldwire workflow with the drag-and-drop feature for tasks. You can now add a task to a particular position on the plan by simply dragging and dropping it from the task list on the web. In fact, you can even drag-and-drop multiple tasks onto the plan at once. This can be particularly useful when you create multiple tasks for inspections or punch walks and need to associate them with a plan later on. Check out our full support page.

And lots more including. . .

Quickly build structure into your site inspections and workflows by adding checklists in bulk, and automating weather on daily reports. Fieldwire will auto-fill weather conditions based on your location, saving you more time at the end of the day. We’re also making life easier for iOS users who can now upload files from the iCloud/Files app.

To stay on top of new product releases, check out our support page for Fieldwire feature updates.

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