E-Book: Overcoming the Top 5 Project Cost Management Challenges
Are you struggling to improve your cost estimation and project control? Download this e-book to learn about the 5 most common project cost management challenges faced by owners, contractors and EPCs and how to solve them.
[Video] Introduction to Virtual Design and Construction
A special seminar hosted at INEIGHT for the Arizona AGC Young Constructors Forum
Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is one of the fastest growing technology segments of the construction industry. Enabling organizations to gain greater transparency, reduce risk and increase efficiency, VDC concepts and technologies can help project professionals improve project confidence.
In an effort to serve growing industry interest, INEIGHT recently hosted an educational seminar about Virtual Design and Construction for the Young Constructors Forum, a committee of the Arizona Chapter of the AGC (Associated General Contractors of America). In this session, Connor Christensen, a BIM and VDC expert from Kiewit Corporation, provides an overview of history of BIM and VDC and how professionals can build a foundation of knowledge to leverage VDC technologies.
Innovative project-driven companies understand that the scale and complexity of today’s infrastructure, building, oil & gas, mining, and utilities projects call for active coordination and real-time reporting. To keep all stakeholders informed of schedule and cost status, they have invested in the technologies that enable the faster decisions needed to keep projects on track.
In this white paper, we will share how companies are adopting modern, connected, electronic project controls solutions that can enable project transparency and mitigate risks to increase productivity, collaboration and optimization.
In this white paper we’ll share how “The INEIGHT 8 Habits for Project Success” can help companies create:
• Process efficiencies
• Timely and accurate intraday feedback about activities and progress
• A collaborative and transparent work process
Please fill out the form below to download this white paper:
Winning more profitable work is one of the most important cost estimating goals. To accomplish this, many estimating teams put in lots of overtime simply to keep everything running at current levels, let alone grow the business. Data needs to be captured and analyzed, and mistakes and redundancy are all-too-common with generic software such as Microsoft Excel.
What stands in the way? Old systems, manual effort and inefficient processes can all lead to bidding fewer jobs, winning less work and, ultimately, lower company profits.
In our recent webinar, “Overcoming the 5 Most Common Project Cost Management Challenges,” we polled the 100+ attendees to share *their* top challenge. Slow and inefficient estimating, no ability to benchmark estimates, and limited visibility between office and jobsite were selected as the overall top three challenges.
To address the first in that list, here are 4 ways to deal with slow estimating:
#1) Ensure easily reproducible data
Having the ability to quickly copy, multiply and split data items can significantly reduce effort and organize jobs. In an ideal system, when changes are made, all related items are updated automatically, including equipment, manpower, hours, production or materials. Speed estimating by reducing manual work!
#2) Leverage NORMS databases
Standard cost libraries that have industry-standard details about productivity rates and costs can make it much easier for estimators to quickly create more accurate estimates. Examples include RSMeans and Richardson Construction Estimating Standards.
#3) Save time with material/quantity takeoff (MTO/QTO)
Leveraging designs to quickly build more accurate estimates is a crucial step to expediting the overall process. Estimating systems that integrate with RIB MC2 or On-Center On-Screen Takeoff can quickly move design data about labor, material, and assemblies to drive the cost estimate.
#4) Keep the estimate and schedule synched
The ability to link estimating and scheduling systems allows data to easily flow between the two, speeding processes and reducing errors. Save time by taking the initial estimate and move it over to a scheduling system to have the time-phase element that is a key part of a bid.
As the construction industry is so competitive with such low margins, winning more jobs by producing more bids is key to keeping the company going. Any inaccuracies can affect the company in its entirety. Substantial amounts of time, manpower and money are often required, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
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Technology Strategies to Better Manage Construction Projects
A fundamental goal of all construction businesses is to minimize risk – whether it’s tied to schedule, resources or other key costs – during a project’s lifecycle. As the complexity of construction projects continues to grow in today’s market, the level of risk grows as well. It takes an exorbitant amount of time and resources to ensure the project is operating as efficiently as possible without compromising performance in any key operational areas.
Now, construction firms are using technology to get a “leg up” to maximize profits and preserve margins. Technology is helping increase the speed of collaboration, dramatically improving visibility to key data and reducing costs associated with antiquated, often paper-based processes. In the quest for zero setbacks or losses on any project, technology is helping companies in the construction space take significant leaps – and greatly reduce risk.
There are three key areas where a focus on the right technology solutions can reap big rewards for construction companies.
All construction projects track quantities – a universal necessity. The best companies have technology systems in place that can capably track, manage and report quantity consumption, such as labor, materials and equipment, across all phases of a project. A good quantity management system also should maintain open connections to the back-office management system or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. This will allow teams to manage a project or portfolio level consumption of quantities with the same cost structure used for budgeting and purchasing. A quantity-focused system lets everyone speak the same language across the project.
Estimating can often make or break any project. Unrealistic estimates will almost always (and quickly) lead to reduced margins. Strong technology systems should be able to give project teams greater access to historical benchmarks and when combined with a strong quantity management system, can help ensure more accurate, realistic estimates. Comprehensive access to historical benchmarks also allows teams to more deeply analyze risks and better forecast anticipated productivity levels to provide a broader view for every estimate. Over time, each estimate can get more accurate and predictable than the last, helping construction businesses win jobs at the best price.
The ability to view current data on quantity consumption and to compare that data against estimates is essential. Equally important is the ability to continuously measure labor performance against the original plan – something technology can greatly enhance. With better access to performance information, plan adjustments can be made early enough in the process to have a meaningful impact on overall project results – helping meet or beat an estimate. With a robust project performance toolset, project teams can realize measurable benefits by limiting risk earlier in the lifecycle.
Mobile applications are the last piece of the puzzle, arming those in the field with near real-time information so they can make more timely adjustments to plans faster and smarter than ever before.
With technology strategies and tools focused on quantities, benchmarks and performance, construction business have the ability to better manage risks – and get closer and closer to maximum results and profitability. Start building your technology game plan today.
About the Author
Brad Barth is Chief Product Officer for INEIGHT Inc., where he oversees the product management and product marketing departments. Prior to InEight, Brad was vice president of industries for Hard Dollar Corporation, where he was instrumental in transforming the company from a start-up software developer into one of the world’s leading solution providers for project-driven enterprises.
As daily reliance on mobile technology increases, so should use of technology on the jobsite
Think about your daily activities. You wake to the sound of an alarm on your mobile phone. Electronic meeting reminders help you stay punctual and remember important events. Your phone and tablet allow you to stay connected to news and information when you’re away.
We plan and manage our lives on mobile devices, so why should construction jobsites be any different? Mobile devices can be used to collect and view project data wherever you are and whenever you want — in the office or out in the field. Project managers, planners, executives and owners want to know what is happening in the field as quickly as possible, and mobile devices can accommodate those demands. Here are three fundamental reasons you need a mobile solution to collect construction job site data.
1. Provides immediate visibility into job site activities
Software with field data collection applications enables users to link information from job sites to field offices and vice versa. This provides better visibility into job site data, such as hours assigned to tasks or information on safety incidents — all with the click of a button. Gone are the days when project managers in field offices had to wait for crews to return to the office each evening and manually input information before they could view reports.
2. Creates efficiency by eliminating paper process
It’s easy for details to get lost in the paperwork. Paper gets misplaced. Handwriting isn’t legible. Coffee spills onto reports. A lot of things can happen when you’re bound to one hard copy report — not to mention the poor staff member who is going to have to enter the paper documentation into the system anyway. Avoid the time drain. Mobile applications eliminate the paper process, making field data collection more efficient. Today, construction crews can use mobile technology from practically anywhere. Even when connectivity is a problem, some advanced mobile applications allow data to be entered in offline mode and synchronized later.
3. Shows real-time performance and keeps the project on track
Extending project systems with mobile technology can provide instant access to key performance details. By learning of problems when they occur, rather than at the end of each day or week, you can more quickly solve problems and keep your project on track.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I get all of that, but it sounds complicated.” You’re not alone. Research shows that one of the primary reasons construction companies hesitate to implement new technology is the fear that it will be too complex for crews to learn and use. After all, even the best technology solution in the world is useless if people can’t figure out how to use it. This is why the best mobile applications are “battle tested” by construction crews early in their development cycle to ensure that user-friendly functions are actually user friendly.
As our reliance on mobile technology increases in our daily lives, so should our use of mobile technology at the job site. Mobile technology isn’t a trend or a fad. It’s a reality. It provides instant visibility into job site data, creating efficiency and connecting key stakeholders in real time. To stay current and competitive in this industry, mobile technology solutions are no longer just nice to have, they’re must-haves.
About the Author
Brad Barth is Chief Product Officer for INEIGHT Inc., where he oversees the product management and product marketing departments. Prior to InEight, Brad was Vice President of Industries for Hard Dollar Corporation, where he was instrumental in transforming the company from a start-up software developer into one of the world’s leading solution providers for project-driven enterprises.
Recent Hard Dollar releases have featured many integration enhancements, making our link with Primavera P6 one of the best bi-directional integrations available. Fill out the form below and watch this on-demand webinar replay to learn how this tight integration can increase your project visibility and control.
In this webinar we’ll share how to:
Define predecessor/successor logic while planning in Hard Dollar and push these changes to Primavera P6
New! Add new scope items in Primavera P6 and automatically update HD Estimating
Auto calculate escalation by user-defined timing periods
New! Push percent complete from Primavera P6 to HD Performance
Please fill out the form below to watch this webinar:
Achieve Project Confidence Through Increased Project Forecast Accuracy
Continual re-forecasting of active projects can provide the visibility needed to avoid surprises during project execution.
However, if your project controls system is disconnected from the original estimate, you are stuck with a summary model that lacks the details required for accurate forecasting once conditions change.
Fill out the form below and watch this on-demand webinar replay to learn five keys to increasing project forecast accuracy. We will also share how our Hard Dollar solution makes project forecasting accuracy a simple an easy process.
In this webinar we’ll share how to:
Forecasting against current estimate and current budget
Manual EAC Forecasting
Detailed ETC Forecasting
Forecasting based on Average Performance
Please fill out the form below to watch this webinar: