How Construction Technology Enhances Client Relationships
November 15, 2022
Capital project general contractors like you must be able to respond to the needs of your clients, and that means taking a decidedly client-focused approach in how to manage their projects.
The first step is understanding what your clients want and expect: Reassurance that you can bring their project to life within the established budget and timeline. Transparency into costs. Progress updates. Heads up on potential project-impacting challenges and backup plans to address them. And demonstrable focus that their project requirements are front and center, as evidenced in design options, materials selections and the constant decisions in support of their project.
The next step is finding ways to deliver on these needs and expectations. Creating quality-based plans and processes are naturally a part of it. To support them, contractors are turning to construction technology that turns those plans into an actionable, trackable, measurable practice. Just as importantly, it reframes how contractors interact with capital project clients, enhancing those relationships in several ways.
Provides transparency into reality-based bids and estimates
One of the most important things about managing capital projects is managing expectations — right from the beginning. When bids and estimates are based on incomplete information or overly optimistic assumptions, both parties run the risk of getting caught off guard when things go wrong — and they often do. Given the tendency for projects to exceed established budgets and timelines, it’s understandable that bid and estimate realism has emerged as a key expectation among clients.
Construction technology with bidding and estimating functionality pulls back the curtain on the costs, timelines and risks that can impact a project by enabling you to incorporate real-world past project data that deliver a better understanding of what’s involved in completing the work. That means less chance of optimism bias and strategic misrepresentation finding their way into these key documents that serve as a foundation for planning out the project life cycle.
This trust-building openness leads to less risk for both parties when it comes time to negotiate changes in scope because there’s more clarity and certainty around what’s possible or not possible with respect to budgeting and timing.
Visually explores design possibilities and limitations
Every client has a vision of their project — not just its intended purpose or use, but how it will look once built. Just as construction technology allows you to give clients a direct line of sight into their project’s bid and estimate details, you can use more advanced options like building information modeling (BIM) and augmented reality (AR) that allow clients to see their projects in ways that go far beyond the more limiting 2D variety.
With BIM’s interactive 3D modeling capabilities, you can explore how different design options would look, guide clients through a realistic tour of the structure and confirm that their project requirements are being met. This kind of visual clarity helps you communicate to them why certain decisions were made during the design phase and what impact those choices will have on the structure itself as well as its surroundings.
AR takes visualization a step further, allowing you to overlay a virtual model, such a BIM model, onto a live camera view of a physical environment. So, for example, you can demonstrate to clients how a project will look at the jobsite itself, integrated among all the natural and built surroundings. Or you can get buy-in for modifications by projecting a proposed structural change onto the relevant portion of the built structure.
With this kind of design and evaluative visibility, clients gain reassurance that everyone has a shared understanding of the project and confidence in your ability to meet their expectations.
Offers visibility into project data, progress and status
Contractor accountability is a critical aspect of capital projects, yet clients have typically had little insight into what’s happening on the construction site and how their investment is progressing. Contractors must be able to demonstrate they’re meeting their commitments, managing risks and delivering on time. But many have found this difficult in part because they haven’t had an easy, efficient way of communicating the right details at the right time.
Cloud-based construction technology featuring online dashboards and daily reports streamlines this process. Both are reliable documentation tools that share information in their own way, while avoiding the miscommunication problems that have plagued capital projects.
Dashboards condense the massive amounts of real-time project data into more easily digestible formats for easier at-a-glance tracking. Offering such visibility into key project performance metrics enhances the client relationship by providing better insight into where things stand — giving peace of mind that everything is being effectively managed and enabling them to make decisions based on accurate information instead of outdated assumptions or incomplete reports.
Automated, customizable reports keep clients apprised of project progress, documenting the whats and whys of a project that form its ongoing storyline. The more transparent you are with standard report details like onsite resources, change verification, delays and risk occurrences, the better your client can trust you as their partner in this process. They’ll be more likely to accept changes or delays when they understand why they’re happening and what’s being done about them.
Strengthens owner trust and confidence in your abilities
There’s enormous demand on the construction industry to keep up with new projects and become more efficient. The adoption of construction technology helps companies not only meet this demand but also provides a better client experience at every stage of a project — from planning through execution. And the most pragmatic option for this is an integrated platform.
Integrated platforms give you more control over how you deliver this information by providing real-time access to all aspects of your project. They give clients access to information about the entirety of their capital project, rather than one function, without having to rely on multiple sources of data, which can lead to misunderstandings or gaps in knowledge. With unified data from all phases of a job, clients can make informed decisions about project phases and milestones based on real-time data rather than guesses or estimates. It also lets you share data more easily across the organization, giving everyone from project managers to site crews to clients, access to real-time information about progress on-site. This allows for greater transparency across the board — something that’s vital for building greater trust between clients and contractors.
Construction technology for your projects and your client relationships
The very construction technologies that are helping contractors manage today’s progressively more complex projects are also helping them manage client expectations while improving the client experience. Incorporating these technologies into their businesses as well as their client relationships can improve project outcomes that keep budget and schedule overruns in check. We invite you to schedule a consultation to learn more about how such technology can deliver on a stronger relationship with your project owners. And if you’d like to learn about these technologies, like InEight integrated platform, just let us know.
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