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It is a very common assumption that all types of projects require the same kind of management and can be managed using regular softwares available in the market. To understand the challenges faced by contractors or project managers while managing construction projects, it’s important to understand how construction project management is different from other forms of project management. Project Management is a very loose business term.
Project Management in some industries can range from managing simple tasks taking a few hours to very complex procedures involving multiple steps. For instance, making a financial report for the company could be considered as a Project for a Financial Analyst or generating a marketing plan for the company could be a Project for the Marketing Manager. Projects can be tracked and managed efficiently using checklists, spreadsheets or simply by using regular Project Management software.
Construction Project Management however is an entirely different ballgame. There are multiple diverse stakeholders involved in construction who need to be kept informed of the progress happening Onsite. They have to manage everything starting from labour and payroll to accurate accounting and costing of the project.
To understand the unique challenges faced by contractors or project managers while managing construction projects, it’s important to understand how construction project management is different from other forms of project management.
What makes Construction Projects different
Higher diversity among the project staff: In a typical IT or Consulting project, Planning as well as Implementation is done by office based resources who have quite similar educational backgrounds and thinking style (in fact the implementers become planners after a few promotions) – this of course results in faster and better communication between the two groups. In a construction project on the other hand the design team and the Implementation teams are very different – with respect to their educational background, their thinking style and their experience.
Therefore a construction project requires much more structured communication between the Planners (Office) and the Implementers (Site) – with regards to work progress, issues faced at site.
ONSITE is a mobile based, easy to operate tool, which helps in structuring the project information and improving the communication between Office and the Site. All the project information (Tasks, Site Photos, Attendance, Expenses, Raw Materials) is stored in ONSITE and can be retrieved at any later stage. This information would be available to the whole project team and in fact can greatly help in work handover from one person to another.
Different Risk factors: Risk Factors in a construction project are completely different from that in a typical IT project. Every construction work requires a raw material (wood, cement, steel, paint, adhesives, etc.) which needs to be ordered smartly (avoid excess or stockouts), checked for quality at inward and stored properly at the worksite before use. Any mis-management of material results in waste of time as well as workers’ time.
ONSITE helps in tracking of Raw Material at the worksite – so that there is a clear accounting of how much material (of right quality) was actually received at the worksite. This information together can help the users estimate how much material would be remaining at the worksite and how much more to order for the work to complete.
High cost of error: Mostly in the IT projects, the cost of error is same as cost of re-work, but a construction project is again very different – in a construction project, an error can cost dearly since there will be a cost of demolishing what has already been wrongly built (which may not be straightforward in most of the cases) and there is a cost of rebuilding as per the right design.
ONSITE drawing module helps in saving all the drawings of the project in one place and making them easily accessible to all the project team – so that an outdated drawing can be discarded easily and the project staff can view the right design at click of a button.
How ONSITE helps
High cost of error
Cost of error = Cost of demolition + Cost of re-work
Cost of demolition is mostly nil for IT projects
Save all the drawings of the project in one place
Easy access of drawings to the project team
Easy to discard outdated drawings to avoid confusions
Complex Worksites: This is another dimension which differentiates a construction project. A construction site doesn’t necessarily allow use of a computer or a laptop and many times may not have easy internet access.
ONSITE is a mobile based application, which allows it to be used even on entry level smartphones. It’s usage interface is designed to be as simple as a messaging tool like whatsapp.
How ONSITE helps
Difficult to use a computer or a laptop at construction site
Weak internet access
Mobile based application – can be easily used at construction site
Can be used with entry level smartphones
User interface as simple as a messaging app (like whatsapp)
It is important to note that the challenges highlighted here are applicable to all the segments of construction – whether it is interiors in a 3BHK house or construction of a high rise building or construction of a power plant. And to say that Construction Projects can be managed using any kind of software is a definite understatement and Construction requires a specialized tool like ONSITE to efficiently manage a construction project.