Can you imagine doing any of your construction project work without using Excel spreadsheets? In fact, I’m willing to bet that as you read this on your browser, you have Excel open on your system!
Spreadsheets are excellent; they are extremely flexible, can accommodate almost any kind of work, and help you stay in control of the project data you feed.
Yes, that last one is critical. We love Excel and the reason for that is we always have control over the data that we input; it allows us to practice control and keep a check on what we wish to highlight and what we wish to hide.
It’s safe to say that spreadsheets have become an integral part of construction projects, from their inception and conceptualisation, all the way to the final handover. They have become an integral construction management solution as you can find project managers and planners using different construction schedule templates to create their project plans. Be it quality checklists, cost estimates, daily work permits, daily or weekly work schedules, to tracking the work progress, the list goes on. Not a single day goes by on-site without a project tracking spreadsheet being developed.
Considering this, we seem to be doing great at managing our construction project data and information and sharing it with the relevant stakeholders at the right time.
But are we really?
If you look at what the industry stats are saying, the answer is a clear and simple, no. We are still draining time and money on construction projects across the globe on account of our poor and dated construction management tools and processes.
Let’s break this down.
It is a “live” shared document, but does it update in real time?
Even with a live working document, there’s nothing enabling a real-time approach to information being shared. This is because end of the day there’s a time when this sheet needs to be made “ready” and that’s when filtered information starts to pour in and populate the sheet.
You probably have a spreadsheet for each part of the construction job; each job has multiple departments and so, what you end up with is hundreds of spreadsheets being updated by your teams, day in and day out. This valuable time of your teams, which could be better invested towards the project, goes into manually updating and preparing documents that need to be further circulated.
Is it reliable data?
The simple answer is NO. Since it needs manual data entry for every single process, there are bound be a lot of human errors. What’s worse is that the entire workflow is plagued with latency in the updates; this leaves you with unreliable data being communicated at the wrong time.
Ask yourself these questions before you start to think – that’s how we work!
How many spreadsheets are you updating on a daily basis?
The question would drive one up the wall as we know that for a simple construction project, there are so many sheets – construction schedules, budgets, labour records, material records, permits, project tracking spreadsheets; the list goes on. As a Project Manager, you would know the pain of dealing with hundreds of sheets for every single project you’re handling.
Is it helping you manage the project efficiently?
Imagine there is an issue at the job site; that means the work has halted at 2 p.m. on-site today. This information takes till the end of the day to reach the relevant teams at the site office, which then gets updated in a spreadsheet by someone, and shared further for resolution. You have already lost the better half of the day just getting the information to you, by which time it is usually too late, and the problem has had a knock-on effect on the entire supply chain.
Can you picture this?
Your construction team on-site has just been hit by an unexpected problem. The team reports this by clicking a button on the phone, which notifies the line manager about the problem at the site office, who documents this issue with another click and notifies the respective supplier about the faulty equipment for repairs to be initiated immediately. That is not it; while all of this is happening, the supply chain is dependent on this team and that equipment is also automatically updated about this present issue and can now decide the next course of action.
Difficult to picture?
But it is possible with VisiLean, a cloud-based construction management software, based on Lean BIM integration. VisiLean enables collaborative scheduling and real-time progress monitoring with the help of LiveSite, a construction mobile app.
What to know about our groundbreaking features to manage your construction project planning and scheduling effectively?
Head over to – https://visilean.com/features/