6 Challenges Owners Face with Cost Management (and How to Fix Them)

5 Autodesk Build Features for Cost Management

Cost management is one of those areas of a project that should never be neglected. If handled poorly, every stakeholder on the project feels the effects of it. So rather than sifting through multiple, disconnected tools to get the cost data you need, the dream scenario is to use a single solution.

Autodesk Build provides just that. General contractors have seen the benefits, and we’re going to show you why fellow owners love it too. So, let’s take a look at six common challenges owners face in cost management, and the owner-friendly features you have access to in Autodesk Build.

1. Complex or clunky system setup

You’ve purchased your cost management software and you’re finally ready to get it all set up. That’s when you realize that setting up dashboards, permissions, and project preferences require a time-intensive and very meticulous configuration every time you launch a new project.

This is why the project configuration wizard in Autodesk Build for Cost Management is a game-changer. It’s called Project Process, and the wizard simplifies the configuration process for different user cohorts. Based on the selected role and project preferences in this setting, it configures what components in Cost Management display and configures permission options. Check out the video below for an example of how simple it is for owners to select the desired workflows they’ll use.

2. Lack of change order collaboration between owners and GC’s

Lack of transparency between owners and other stakeholders leads to distrust, miscommunication, and poor collaboration. In fact, according to a report on the impact of trust on construction, FMI and Autodesk found that firms reporting high levels of trust see 25% to 95% higher profit margins.

These issues become even more pronounced when dealing with change orders and increased costs. When owners, contractors, and subcontractors can’t get on the same page, disagreements escalate, and the entire project and team suffer.

To promote better collaboration between teams, you can bring your contracts directly into Autodesk Build to speed up the change order process. This reduces the risk of delays by utilizing a collaborative potential change order (PCO) workflow. For example, you can provide your contract with the ability to generate, review and reject PCOs directly within your project instance, with a detailed audit trail of every action.

This workflow allows owners, GCs, and subcontractors to work in a single environment, thus streamlining change order collaboration. It paves the way for higher levels of transparency and accountability, ensuring that everyone wins.

3. Complicated schedule of values management

The schedule of values (SOV) lays out the cost of all billable work for the project and represents the final contract price. Owners use the SOVs to track the progress of work completed on the project to justify payments to the general contractor and evaluate progress relative to the plan.

But SOV management can be time-consuming. Depending on the size of the project and the level of detail you require as an owner, your general contractor's SOV root nodes may exceed hundreds of items.

It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief though. With Autodesk Build, managing SOVs is very easy for owners. For example, you can directly connect the required SOVs to the appropriate contract, and from there you can view the SOVs in a full-screen format with the ability to group items by budget code segment and save views for later. Making it much easier to find what you need quickly. In addition, you can easily navigate from this view to associated payment applications. Information once buried in a haystack is now just a scroll away.

4. Change order markup inconsistency

Change orders are an inevitable part of the building process but they can be a pain, as it creates more work for owners and contractors alike.

As an owner though, you need access to all the information surrounding a potential change before you open your checkbook. This includes having clear visibility into the change order markup fee to ensure it falls within the agreed-upon markup fee percentage. But, with the fast-paced nature of a project and the influx of information rolling in, if change orders aren't managed correctly, and there's markup inconsistency, your budget will be impacted.

Luckily, by managing change orders in Autodesk Build, you can quickly validate that any change order markups are within the contractually allowed markup, and if you see a discrepancy, you can make the adjustment. This significantly simplifies the task of calculating markups when change orders occur and helps you and your contractors meet each other's expectations.

5. Forecasting Difficulties

Construction forecasting is critical to success. Throughout the project, owners must understand cash flow to plan to fund accordingly, maintain up-to-date financials, and make informed business decisions. But forecasting is challenging; owners don't have all the necessary schedule specifics to distribute the budget, so they have to rely heavily on general contractors. Which means longer processes, duplicate data entry, and data scattered between various spreadsheets and systems.  

To help support collaboration and streamline the forecasting process, you can bring suppliers directly into Autodesk Build to create and update distribution of forecast final costs throughout the project. Do not worry; the supplier will only see actual and forecast final costs, keeping all other sensitive budget information private.  

This workflow allows owners and general contractors to work in a single environment, thus speeding up the forecasting processes and allowing for greater visibility into the project's financial health.  

6. Too much time spent compiling reports

As an owner, getting a clear picture of the financial performance of all the projects in your portfolio can be tricky. Generating reports on budget and forecasts takes time particularly when you need to do it for each project. The process is made even harder when your financials aren’t standardized or worse, coming from several disparate sources.

The Executive Level Cross Project Budget Report in Autodesk Build solves this problem for you. This account-level report provides a summary of cost information by project and surfaces info such as the:

  • Original budget
  • Revised budget
  • Projected budget
  • Forecasts
  • And more

It also allows you to filter outputs by project or business unit, enabling you to identify internal opportunities to maximize profit as much as external.

With the Executive Level Cross Project Budget Report, you can generate reports in minutes (instead of hours) and effectively gauge the financial performance of your projects to make smarter budgeting decisions. Learn how to use Reports in Autodesk Build.

Use technology to get project costs under control

Owners have a lot on their plates, and there is massive pressure to see that the project you pay for delivers on the value you were promised. To which we say, let technology ease some of these burdens for you. Autodesk Build is designed with flexibility top-of-mind to meet the varying needs of owners and all other types of users.

Autodesk can improve your workflows by streamlining cost management and helping teams stay aligned. That way, you can focus more on growing your portfolio and delivering high-quality (and profitable) projects.

Request a demo today.

Cassie Bustos

As a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Autodesk with nearly a decade of experience in the construction industry, Cassie is passionate about technology's transformative power. She feels lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with customers to learn and share success stories they've encountered on their technological journey.