As the construction industry continues to evolve, streamlining operations has become more crucial than ever to ensure project success. Using the right software for each stage of construction can significantly improve efficiency, reduce errors, and minimize costs. For example, using AI takeoff software, Togal.AI, in the preconstruction stage can help increase an estimator’s productivity.
By reading this article, you will gain valuable insights into the types of software needed for each stage of construction and how they can help you streamline your operations, leading to better project outcomes.
Stage 1: Initiation Phase
The goals at the initiation phase of a construction project are to:
Establish clear project objectives
Identify all stakeholders involved in the decision-making process
Determine the project budget
Conduct a feasibility study, and
Choose the most beneficial project delivery method for the project depending on budget, design, risks, timeline, and owner’s experience, e.g. design-bid-build, design-build, or CMAR.
This phase often involves complex and critical decision-making, which requires efficient and effective management of various aspects of the project. Project management software can help streamline the initiation phase by providing tools to manage project objectives, stakeholders, budgets, feasibility studies, and project delivery methods.
What Types of Software Are Needed During the Initiation Stage?
Various software tools can help with project planning and management during the initiation phase of a construction project, such as Procore and Autodesk BIM 360.
These construction project management software provides centralized platforms for stakeholders to collaborate when determining clear project objectives, the project budget, and the timeline.
These software solutions can also help streamline the selection of the project delivery method and ensure that stakeholders are informed and aligned throughout the initiation phase.
Stage 2: Design Phase
The goal of this stage is to produce a complete and detailed architectural design that fulfills all of the project's requirements. Note: The design should be a collaboration between the project owner and the architect.
The milestones are as follows:
Programming - Determine and document scope, requirements, and criteria to avoid back-and-forth changes impeding the project's progress.
Schematic Design- Condense all information into an initial design, including floor plans, materials, codes, etc.
Design Development - Finalize the design by finalizing materials, revisions, code issues, finishing materials, and cost estimates.
Construction Documentation - Create official documents that include the project brief, finalized design, specifications, materials, and other pertinent information a general contractor needs for bidding.
One of the biggest challenges in the design phase is avoiding unnecessary back-and-forth changes in the design that impede the progress of the project. This is where software can play a crucial role in streamlining the design process and reducing the number of revisions required.
Other challenges include ensuring that the design:
Meets all of the project requirements
Adheres to building codes and regulations, and
Stays within the project budget.
What Software Is Needed During the Design Phase?
During the design phase of construction, several software options are available to architects and engineers to help with creating and visualizing designs. Some of the commonly used software include computer-aided design (CAD) software, building information modeling (BIM) software, and 3D modeling software.
Here are a few suggestions:
Below is a picture of Bricsys assigning classifications to the geometry in just one click.
Stage 3: Preconstruction
The principal goal of the preconstruction stage is to establish a well-documented and detailed roadmap to achieve a project's objectives, including generating accurate cost estimates for the project.
The milestones are as follows:
Finalize the project design and tender documentation.
Generate accurate cost estimates through a construction takeoff process.
Submit bids to secure the project contract.
One of the biggest challenges in the preconstruction stage is performing accurate and timely construction takeoffs.
Traditional methods of performing takeoffs are time-consuming and prone to error. Fortunately, recent advances in construction technology have resulted in the development of AI-powered software that can automate the takeoff process and produce more accurate results in less time.
What Software Is Needed During the Preconstruction Stage?
The software should be able to automate the takeoff process, provide accurate results quickly, and easily integrate with other project management software.
For example, AI estimating software Togal.AI uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to automatically detect, measure, compare, and label project spaces and features on architectural drawings. As a result, general contractors and estimators can complete takeoffs in just under a minute with up to 98%accuracy.
Here are some of the other ways Togal.AI can help streamline the preconstruction stage:
One of the biggest advantages of using Togal.AI is it helps boost profitability.
Imagine using traditional takeoff methods to submit 150 proposals annually. If it takes an average of 4 hours to conduct a takeoff per proposal and the average project size is $100,000, we can estimate that our program can save a construction firm about 450 hours per year. This is equivalent to 113 potential additional bids and $5,625,000 in potential new revenue.
To calculate your potential ROI when using Togal.AI for takeoffs, use our ROI calculator.
Another real-life example includes Coastal Construction. After shifting from on-premise software to using Togal.AI, they were able to save 14.5 hours per plan set, 13,920 hours per year, and averaged 10 bids every month. Consequently, in their first year of using Togal.AI, they totaled ~$1 million in savings.
Stage 4: Procurement
The goals of the procurement stage in construction are to acquire the necessary goods, materials, manpower, and services required to build the construction project within scope, budget, and timeline requirements.
The procurement stage in construction can be implemented through the following steps:
Review and selection of subcontractors by the General Contractor.
Subcontracting works under the general contract.
Supplier management to ensure that all services, materials, and equipment fulfill cost and quality requirements.
Careful planning and balancing of procurement objectives to ensure that performance and cost requirements are met.
The challenges in the procurement stage of construction that only software can help with include:
Navigating and mastering a complex supply chain.
Efficiently managing contracts and purchasing to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery of goods and services.
What Software Is Needed During the Procurement Phase?
Here are some potential software construction experts and project owners can leverage during the procurement phase.
The goals of the construction phase of a project include executing the plan and delivering the completed structure according to the specifications, budget, and timeline while ensuring quality and safety.
Mobilization, including site clearance and erection of temporary facilities
Execution of construction activities such as excavation, framing, electrical and plumbing works, and finishing
Ensuring safety among construction workers
Monitoring and management of activities by the main contractor
Quality control by the design team
Review and approval of changes in specifications by the design team
In the construction stage, a lot of moving parts and variables come into play, making it challenging to manage and coordinate all aspects of the project. Common problems in this stage include project tracking and communication, material management, scheduling, budgeting, safety, and risk management.
Any delays, cost overruns, or unexpected events can have a significant impact on the project's timeline and budget, making it essential to have software tools that can help manage these aspects of the project efficiently.
What Software Is Needed During the Construction Phase?
From ensuring worker safety to documenting management and collaboration, there are many software options available to streamline construction processes.
Here are some examples:
Below is a picture of Newmetrix detecting bad worker ergonomics that could impede with productivity.
Stage 6: Post-Construction
Goals at the post-construction stage of construction include completing quality control and safety inspections, creating a punch list of outstanding items, and providing necessary documentation to the owner. The aim is to ensure the project was built to specifications, and the owner can commence usage of the building.
To implement the post-construction stage, the following steps can be taken:
Perform quality control and safety inspections.
Create a punch list of outstanding items.
Rectify minor defects, non-compliances, and deviations from specifications.
Issue a Certificate of Substantial Completion and a Certificate of Occupancy.
Provide the owner with essential documents, including change orders, as-built drawings, operations and maintenance manuals, safety manuals, inspection certifications and clearances, provisions for future expansion, and request for information.
Conduct a walkthrough of the building and commence handover.
Challenges in the post-construction stage that only software can help with include facility management and maintenance, particularly in large or complex buildings. The use of software can improve documentation and tracking, streamline maintenance, and reduce costs.
What Software Is Needed During the Post-Construction Phase?
Software needed during the post-construction phase of construction includes computer-aided facility management (CAFM) software and energy management software. These software options can help with maintenance and facility management by:
Managing assets, space planning, and work orders. E.g. Archibus
Monitoring energy usage, identifying areas for improvement, and reducing costs. E.g. EnergyCAP
Below is a picture of total calendar year emissions as tracked by the software, EnergyCAP.
Use AI-Powered Software to Streamline Preconstruction
Using software to streamline operations in construction can greatly benefit project outcomes and reduce costs. With the right software for each stage of construction, such as project management, scheduling, communication, and AI takeoff tools, construction teams can improve efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration.
Investing in the appropriate software can help construction companies to ensure a smoother construction process from start to finish, ultimately leading to successful project completion and client satisfaction.