The Critical Role Digital Construction Reports Play in Capital Projects
January 20, 2022
“What’s really happening on the jobsite?” The answers can be found in the details captured in construction reports. Each report describes everything that transpired on a given day — what the weather was like, the kind of work performed, who worked and when, what equipment was used, what was noticed during safety reviews, reasons for delays and completed tasks.
But reports provide more than an account of a day in the life of your capital project. Those same details also help answer other crucial questions, like: “How can we better mitigate risk?”, “How might contractor-client trust be improved?” and “How can we lower the chances of litigation?” This is why the right digital construction reports play such a critical role in the success of capital projects — and why they should be your best friend.
Let’s take a look at all that construction reports can do to improve project outcomes.
Manage and reduce risks that can derail project progress
Knowing the signs to look for can help you better manage and mitigate risks, and even prevent them. Those signs are readily available in the data your project generates, in particular earned value management (EVM) metrics. Through digital construction reports you can monitor these real-time performance metrics for actionable insights that help you stay ahead of potential schedule delays and cost overruns. These reports can be set up to alert you when there’s an anomaly in the numbers. So, it becomes an early trend detection system that, when coupled with the daily capture of jobsite details, allows you to discover and explore the chain of events causing the deviation so you can address it head on — faster and more effectively.
This idea of remedying something before it develops into a bigger issue is a must when it comes to safety. With safety inspections not typically making the rounds on a daily basis, those everyday digital construction reports become a key player in risk mitigation. How? Noting an observed issue out in the field in real time — a protocol violation, site hazard or damaged equipment — decreases the likelihood it’ll result in a costly threat to physical or structural safety. Recording it in these reports makes it possible to quickly and easily note such risks, complete with photo uploading for clarity and documentation, for immediate handling, corrective action or repair.
One often unaccounted-for risk factor is with onboarding new project team members. During a long-term project there will be shifts and changes among the team and other stakeholders. Providing past and current digital construction reports provides the ongoing narrative of the project to help get new personnel up to speed. This helps head off potential miscommunication, misunderstandings and conflicts that can result when recent hires lack the backstory of how the project has progressed as well as what was agreed upon or discussed.
Strengthen the contractor-client relationship
Clients make a considerable investment in their project. Naturally, they want to know, and should know, what progress is being made. Granting them authorized access to the digital construction reports — tailored with the level of information they need — keeps them in the loop, aware of what’s happening every step of the way. For them, these reports become an invaluable communication tool, answering all the what, when, where, how and why of their project that they’d otherwise be asking of you. They see milestones being met and what efforts you’re taking to head off potential delays. And they also see everything from the photographic evidence of Mother Nature’s structural damage that caused delays due to repair work, to the notes about unforeseen supply chain issues keeping materials from arriving on time. This transparency keeps you from being held responsible for anything that happens beyond your control during the build — especially those things throwing off the completion date that would have otherwise triggered liquidated damages claims and jeopardized contract retention payments. Real-time visibility not only helps them understand how you’re managing the build but documents your ongoing compliance of their contract requirements — all of which strengthens trust in your ability to successfully complete the job.
Make it easier to help settle disputes
This is where timely data capture really makes a difference because construction reports are assumed to have been recorded every day, with details recorded in real time. Why does this make a difference? Given the complexity of each capital project, it’s impossible for anyone to recall every detail of its history. If anything goes wrong, memory doesn’t qualify as evidence. Digital reports become the project’s memory, making it a reliable piece of evidence in disputes without having to resort to faulty recollection after the fact. They provide an account of who was on site, the work done, site conditions, anything that went wrong, steps taken for issue resolution, performance metrics, and any communications related to incidents recorded for that day. The amount of information to capture can be overwhelming.
But software with prebuilt templates or those you tailor to your specific project can ensure nothing gets overlooked. Because every detail goes toward lowering legal risk. And those details together form a digital paper trail of documentation in the reporting system that ultimately can be helpful in defending against claims for compensation, liquidated damages and withheld contract retention, and therefore in preserving ROI.
Get more from your digital construction reports
Reporting software created specifically for construction can deliver far more accuracy and value than generic options. A robust solution like InEight Progress helps streamline recording the specifics that make up each day’s work and provides insight into the what, when, where, how and why of your capital projects. A demo will show you how impactful your construction report can be.