Construction management and scheduling involve a lot of complex tasks. Contractors need to view construction project schedules, all the activities that need to be carried out within a single project, an overview of machinery, materials, and labor required, and other project scheduling requirements. So if you want to manage complex projects and take care of deadlines, as well as budget, you should consider investing in construction scheduling software.
That being said, construction scheduling tools available on the market range from a small desktop construction scheduling program to sophisticated multi-user systems integrated within broader project management systems. This buyers guide has all the information you need to choose the right software for your business.
Here's what we'll cover:
What is construction scheduling software?
Construction scheduling software helps construction managers and contractors in managing their construction schedules in terms of labor, resources, materials, and equipment. The software allows construction professionals to define project phases and project tasks, and then match them with the labor, materials, and resources required to complete each task and phase.
Construction scheduling software sometimes comes as a part of a broad construction management software and helps in automatic calculations when determining the task/project completion date due to available labor and equipment.
The software is aimed to fulfill the project management needs of contractors, homebuilders, engineers, and construction companies of all sizes.
A view of change order in Autodesk Construction Cloud (Source)
Common features of construction scheduling software
Shortlisting construction scheduling apps is easier when you know what the most common features are and what they do for your business.
Let’s look at some of the common features of construction scheduling systems:
||Create, manage, and share multiple calendars. Track staff hours through a calendar view.
||Identify critical tasks that make up a project, and assign start and end dates for each of these tasks.
||Share bid details, archive bids, and create bid requests to assist in obtaining bids and quote comparison.
|Change order management
||Track all change orders submitted across projects and automatically update the budget to reflect the most recent costs.
||Schedule jobs to start automatically and monitor progress.
||Plan and coordinate all the resources, job costs, and time needed to execute assignments.
What type of buyer are you?
Before you start evaluating construction scheduling software options, you'll want to know which buyer category you belong to. Most construction scheduling software buyers belong to one of the following categories:
- Project manager: A construction project manager is the type of buyer who is concerned with construction project management functions such as construction project scheduling, job cost estimation, cost control, and document management. Consequently, they prefer to use the construction scheduling apps offered within their construction project management software.
- Calendar managers: Calendar managers are the buyers who manage smaller, less complex tasks in construction projects such as employee scheduling, task scheduling, and more. For these kinds of buyers, a simple calendar application may suffice for scheduling capabilities. Most construction scheduling solutions will include a calendar, which will address these buyers’ needs. There are also options on the market that provide construction scheduling software programs free of charge.
- Project schedulers: Project schedulers are the buyers who are focused almost exclusively on project scheduling and are fully focusing on the need to automate this function. Their construction project management schedules are extremely detailed, and they run multiple scenarios. They are often interested in advanced functionality such as earned value analysis which helps project managers to measure the progress achieved in a project. Therefore, these buyers will be best off with best-of-breed systems with enterprise-class capabilities.
Benefits of construction scheduling software
Let’s look into some benefits of construction scheduling software:
- Automated record keeping: Deploying construction project scheduling software can save time and avoid errors for a construction company as it automates the process of documentation and record keeping. Since manually maintaining records for construction project tasks, processes, and resources can produce errors in the final report, construction companies can benefit from using a construction scheduling software.
- Better job cost estimation: By using construction scheduling software, project managers can more effectively schedule resources, which can also help in reducing job costs. For instance, a job requiring a rental crane can rent that crane for fewer days if its tasks are scheduled more closely together, and the materials and resources are scheduled to be used in the most efficient way.
- Better resource scheduling: With construction project scheduling software, you can reap the benefit of effective resource scheduling. Project managers can monitor a projects’ workflow and can map the availability of labor and equipment in line with the requirements from projects.
- Quick task completion: When teams, equipment, and resources are properly scheduled, projects can be completed faster by removing bottlenecks, such as when a workforce waits on a prior phase of the project to be completed.
- Better planning: The construction project scheduling process requires project managers to consider project phases, project schedules, tasks, resources, and labor in greater detail. Managing all these things with a single construction scheduling management software leads to more thoughtful project planning.
Considerations when purchasing construction scheduling software:
- Size of projects: Each and every construction project has its own requirements. Some projects may be simple with limited subcontractors and relatively easy scheduling. However, some projects may be complex with a large number of subcontractors which will require a construction scheduling tool with multi-user functionality and mobile app. Therefore, be sure of the size of the projects you need to handle before investing in a construction scheduling software.
- Integration requirements: Look for a construction scheduling software that is capable of playing well with other solutions that you are using in your tech stack, such as project management, accounting, customer relationship management, and inventory management. You can invest in construction management software with all these functionalities or best-of-breed construction scheduling software capable of integrating with other apps. It will not only help you to maintain consistent records and data but also assist you in tracking progress with real-time information in all of your projects.
Market trend to understand
There are a few market trends that are playing out in the construction project management software market. Here is one that you should understand:
- Rising use of mobile functionality: The construction industry usually requires to spend a significant amount of time out at a worksite, away from computers or desktops. Therefore, using construction scheduling software programs integrated with mobile apps is an area of increasing focus as it helps employees to enter timesheets directly into the app, track project progress, and monitor all construction jobs and activities in real time. According to this report, 92% of construction workers use a smartphone while on job. Following that, some vendors are focusing on building native app functionality for the iPhone, iPad, and Android-enabled devices.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.