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Managing Construction Projects in the New Normal

by Evan Hill   |   July 28, 2020

Episode 1: Thriving through change in the Construction Industry

The world of construction has historically resisted any sort of technology adoption to either improve or change the way “business has always been done”. Whether it’s due to generational gaps, confusion over technology implementation, or legislative restrictions — the hesitancy has always been there.

In episode 1 of our 6-week webinar series showcasing the “New Normal” in construction, we invited several construction leaders to share how they and their organizations are adapting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Benjamin Crosby of Yates Construction, Nasser Fakih from the City of Sunnyvale, and Andreea Ursu from the City of Boston all provided recommendations for how leaders can manage a construction project throughout a global crisis.

In case you missed the webinar or don’t have time to view it, we broke down the prevailing themes and advice provided by our speakers.

Finding Stability in a New Normal

At time of writing, work from home measures are still being implemented across many states. For some employees, this has been an easy transition. For example, many project managers in construction have been working remotely for a while now. But for some others, it hasn’t been such a smooth transition. If your physical presence on the worksite wasn’t 100% necessary, you were sent to work from home.

For owners or other key project leadership, visibility into project developments and progress became a lot more challenging. Suddenly visits to the jobsite were no longer allowed. In-person meetings & close contact with others became highly discouraged.

Owners who had already invested in a construction project management software (like e-Builder Enterprise) suddenly had a leg up on their peers who hadn’t invested in one yet. Andreea from the City of Boston raved about how easy it smooth the remote transition to managing construction projects was:

“So having eBuilder, it definitely was easier for my eBuilder users, because they didn’t need those capabilities, they just went to the website and click on the URL and log in, and that’s it.”

For owners who hadn’t yet invested in a project management software, there has been a sense of desperation. Project timelines have been delayed, there’s mass confusion among project contributors, and visibility into project workflows has been extremely difficult. As an organization, we’ve definitely seen an uptick in owners seeking to invest in construction software.

Construction software providers leaders and project contributors with a stable form of collaboration during an uncertain time.

Visibility into Project Workflows

When project workflows reside in emails, on paper, and in file cabinets — project delays are inevitable. A lack of collaboration among stakeholders, data silos, and a lack of visibility are issues that plague most construction projects. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, these issues were only exasperated. The difficulty of managing a construction project only increased.

As a leader who had already invested in construction software before the pandemic hit, Nasser from Sunnyvale shared this to owners:

“If we didn’t have eBuilder, I would have much more gray hair right now, but if we had like 20 times the emails we are receiving now, maybe more than that, because every workflow would have to go through each step via email, or whatever other system we may have had, to get authorized through … let’s say another contractor, and now the contractor goes online, starts the process, requires payment, the inspector reviews it, goes online, and completes the process.”

Process and workflow management in the cloud reduces inefficiency, improves collaboration across key stakeholders, and gives your project a better chance of successfully completing on time and within budget. In a time when jobsite access is heavily limited and employees are working from home, collaboration across a central platform that hosts all associated workflows is critical.

Closing Thoughts

For owners who had already made the investment in construction software, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t cause a major disruption to their projects. Their proactive investment towards technology adoption ended up serving as a critical insurance policy for the survivability of their projects.

The one resounding takeaway we’d like owners to learn from this New Normal is this: frankly, no one predicted that a global pandemic was going to disrupt the world’s economic landscape across multiple industries. An initial lack of investment in technology was a reasonable mistake, but now owners and construction leaders don’t have the benefit of the doubt moving forward.

Investment in technology is not a choice, it’s a must. Which technology and software companies you choose to partner with is up to you, but the decision not to invest is no longer an acceptable one.

If you’d like to watch the full webinar on-demand, listen to it here.

Key Topics Covered: Construction Project Management, New normal in Construction

About the Author

Evan Hill
Product Marketing Manager

Host of the Connecting Construction Podcast and frequent contributor to the blog, Evan Hill is a Product Marketing leader with an intimate history of working in the SaaS space. He is passionate about helping construction owners deliver their projects on time, within budget, and with success.