The Construction Project Lifecycle Drives Innovation in Construction Technology | Jasmine Lee

Construction projects can be gargantuan undertakings, made up of a mind-boggling number of moving parts. Though such projects may be expensive, lumbering giants, they can be tamed with the right stack of construction software.

Stereotypically, construction projects are deemed always running over budget, running out of resources due to lack of proper resource management, and running behind on projected times. But this is not true anymore. Many construction companies and contractors have already recognized the benefits of implementing such tools to optimize operations and construction management. Now, it’s up to construction software vendors to provide ways for those tools to work in conjunction with each other. The goal is to empower and enable construction companies to access and leverage any data that those tools generate. G2 has updated the construction software categories on the site to reflect such changes within the offering to better align with the way individual and overall stakeholders work within the entire construction project lifecycle.

Advancements in the Construction Industry

The construction industry is the latest to witness an evolution in technology that reshapes an industry’s entire market. New construction technology and software companies are working hard to ensure that construction firms can optimize construction projects. Construction firms are in a constant state of bidding, leveraging the benefits of bid management software, and winning projects, always competing against other firms to prove their value to new clients. These companies work on a thin margin of error and waste and now tailored solutions exist to improve their ability to win projects, consistently increase profit margins, reduce oversight on construction sites, and ensure communication between all stakeholders at all times.

To be clear, these tailored solutions are not new developments in the construction space. They’ve evolved over time; at first, construction software vendors’ biggest hurdle was proving to construction professionals that software does actually make their jobs easier, safer, and reduces risks on-site. As the adoption of various construction tools became the norm, vendors have recognized that they must align their tools with the construction lifecycle to be even more beneficial to end users.

Buyers have pain points that they want their desired solution to resolve: do they want to optimize tasks, simplify crew and employee scheduling and communication, better manage their projects’ financial health, or streamline their estimates process? The end user may or may not be aware of (or even interested in) what point of the lifecycle their work exists in; they simply want a tool that works, allowing them to communicate with others on the field or in the office and streamlining project tasks, assignments, and reports. Additionally, artificial intelligence software and technologies like geolocation and machine learning are being added to construction software to strengthen its capabilities.

G2’s Construction Categories Evolve as Technology Evolves

The term “construction management” encompasses a whole lot: it can be used to discuss the management of projects, resources, equipment and materials, office activities, general contractors and subcontractors, and jobsites. To better reflect the current construction market, G2 has created eight new categories, expanding upon the 10 existing construction categories on the site. There are plans to add two more so that construction industry professionals can continue to easily find the right software for their needs, accelerating digital adoption in construction.

The new construction categories include:

Construction CRM—Construction companies must organize their client and project information in a way that is easily accessible. Generalized customer relationship management (CRM) software doesn’t quite fit the needs of construction firms; specifically, the numerous projects, bids, and contacts that a single firm regularly deals with. Construction CRM software enables users to attach multiple bids and contact information to a single project while allowing them to create and maintain a searchable database of any and all customer communications.

Construction ERP—Construction projects require physical assets and supplies, ranging from equipment to materials, and construction ERP software enables users to have a complete, end-to-end overview of the supply chain. The construction ERP category was created to provide a space for solutions that do more than project management, accounting, and contractor management.

Construction Project Management—Construction project management software offers users a comprehensive project management solution tailored to the construction industry. Such industry-specific project management software facilitates task management and assignment, communication and collaboration, scheduling and workforce management, reporting, and even draft versioning.

Construction Data Analytics—Construction projects gather a lot of data—from the site to project progress to workforce management—and that data is a trove of intelligence. Construction data analytics software can be utilized and leveraged by construction professionals to improve future projects or generate compelling reports on the performance of a construction firm.

Construction Drawing Management—Construction drawing management software offers users construction document and communication management tools. This construction-specific BIM software simplifies the process of creating drafts, revising drafts, and collaborating on drafts. This does not necessarily designate tasks or enable field-to-office communications unless it also offers construction project management functionality.

Construction Risk and Safety—Risk management has become a focus for construction software vendors and companies that run on small margins. Construction risk and safety software can be used in both the pre-construction (“pre-con”) and site construction (“site-con”) phases of the construction lifecycle. The aim is to enable project managers and site managers to reduce risk on jobsites as well as generate assessments on the viability of contractors and resources before they’re even contracted. It’s not just about punch list or snag list management, it’s about effectively managing all sorts of project risks and worker safety.

Jobsite Management—Site-con is trickier to encompass into a singular category, but any product that can be used to manage both human and physical resources on a site falls into the new jobsite management software category. Shift scheduling and hours and time tracking, on-site communication and collaboration, reporting back to the office—these are all jobsite-specific tools.

Prequalification—Prequalification is firmly in the pre-con phase of the construction project lifecycle and exists separately from even bid management software. This enables construction firms to verify and validate any contractor they want to hire for their project. Prequalification software also creates a database of bid and proposal history, making it easier for construction firms to organize and sort through their contacts and historic RFPs and RTTs.

Why the Change?

Today’s construction market is intrinsically tied with the overview, management, and coordination of the entire construction project lifecycle. The idea behind the change is to update the taxonomy to reflect how construction technology is now sold, as opposed to the patchwork way it has been sold historically.

Previously, construction software tried to automate specific tasks without necessarily taking into account how those tasks worked in tandem within the scope of a project or bothering to include guidance on how to navigate various regulations. Why? Because either the software vendor assumed there would be some element of manual oversight that allowed contractors and project owners to double-check any automated processes, or they knew that the majority of construction data was housed in Excel or other databases that provided manual upload and import functionality.

Most construction solutions are sold as construction management software. This makes sense because, in the end, construction projects are indeed managed by whichever point solution has been adopted by the construction professional. However, there are nuances to that management. Is the software managing the site workforce? Is the software managing communication and collaboration on design plans? Is the software managing the bidding and proposal generation of projects? Is the software streamlining trade-specific operations? Prospective buyers of construction software know the problem they want to solve, and those problems can be better answered when framed in terms of the construction project lifecycle.

Are More Changes Coming?

In a word, yes. Trade-specific software categories like masonry and roofing have been planned for rollout, as well as a takeoff category to better represent the subtleties of the overall construction estimating process. The best buyer experience on G2 happens when they can easily discover solutions that fit their particular industry-specific or problem-specific needs. That applies to any industry, not just construction. However, in this particular case, past, ongoing, and future changes to the construction categories simplifies the buying and reviewing process for construction professionals.

Construction firms and contractors work on complex projects, no matter the scope. When it’s time for them to pivot from tried-and-true tools like Excel and more generalized solutions that require workarounds, they are pressed for time and financial resources. G2 wants to make it easy for them to take advantage of technology that will help them reduce project costs, win more jobs, and keep up with or beat out the competition.

Jasmine Lee is a former G2 senior research analyst for a slew of vertical categories, currently focusing on the trends, impact, and evolution of the healthtech, medtech, agtech, propertytech, and construction spaces. Prior to joining G2, she worked in the nonprofit sector in a copywriting and customer service capacity, and contributed to a handful of online entertainment and pop culture publications. G2 allowed her to continue investing in her passion for digging into the nuances of consumer-focused, legacy industries to offer digestible, relatable insight to those same consumers.

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