Collaborative Document Management in the Construction Industry (Part 1)

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Collaborative Document Management in the Construction Industry (Part 1)

The construction industry includes some unique challenges when it comes to communicating and collaborating effectively.

Today, the construction business is more global than ever before. Branch offices, site foremen, machine operators, clients and customers must all find ways to work together, efficiently. One way to achieve greater synergy in this area is to use a collaborative document management solution.

Construction projects are often plagued by weak communications between construction site, field managers, private construction monitors, HQ executives and in some cases, the property developers. A construction site can be compared to trying to put a 4-dimensional puzzle together and starting with the corners and the frame as a starting foundation. Like that foundation, people need one place they know they can go to for re-assurance and authority. For this reason, permit and purchase approvals, for example, need to be written down somewhere. But they shouldn’t all have to exist physically at a job site. A digital location for all pertinent documents allows a construction company to organize themselves as well as to show clear organization of needed documents and materials to others.

Even something as simple as recording incidents and injuries to and on the job site benefits from being accessible at multiple locations. When shared quickly with others at company headquarters it allows risk and safety managers to think about ways of reducing such incidents with real-time information, not only at monthly meetings

Safety training of all kinds (specific, specialized tools or first aid to name just two examples) can be housed via a collaborative document management system and tracking incidents can be folded into the process.

Even before construction, in the bidding process, having all ducks in a row and projecting clear and efficient organization is a big deal. Each project has some unique characteristics – the type of ground or an accelerated timeline. Having everyone know what they are, being able to address them and knowing everything has been addressed with a quick glance is reassuring and invaluable.

There are less concrete benefits, as well. Getting everyone at a company, of any kind, to get used to looking at all types of internal communication quickly develops a work environment of openness and whether those who need to know certain information are being left out.

In fact, a project with even just one building can involve many companies, including designers and architects, structural engineers, building services consultants, and building contractors. Using an app for efficient collaborative document management can help head offices, mobile workers, and remote field teams collaborate more quickly and work more efficiently.

We will publish part two of this look at processes and internal operations for construction companies next week. That will focus on how fragmented teams can act as more of a cohesive unit with organized worflows.