Use technology to mitigate risk and avoid litigation

Industry-specific software allows field teams to carefully record project progress and increases visibility for the management team, reducing conflicts and rework. However, not all technologies are created equally.

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When it comes to risk management, modern construction companies have many useful tools at their disposal. Digital solutions for daily reporting and documentation help contractors keep job sites safer and more productive than ever.

Industry-specific software allows field teams to carefully record project progress and increases visibility for the management team, reducing conflicts and rework. However, not all technologies are created equally.

It’s important for construction companies to carefully consider their options and invest in digital tools that protect them from litigation while making the reporting process simple and efficient for the whole team.

How does digital reporting improve visibility?

Even today, a significant number of construction companies use pen-and-paper reports or basic spreadsheets to track work done in the field. Most contractors find it difficult to perform day-to-day reporting tasks when these traditional methods are used because manually capturing, recording, and sharing data takes up significant and valuable labor time.

Managers then spend hours trying to track down the information they need to properly monitor schedules, budgets, and security issues, before they can analyze it and organize reports for partners and customers. Not only do these hurdles make the reporting process too long, but handwritten reports are also unreliable. They can easily be misinterpreted, and sometimes these miscommunications lead to costly mistakes.

Digital reporting simplifies the data collection process, standardizes report formats and streamlines communication. Using the right software helps contractors in the field consistently deliver detailed progress updates and share them in real time, in a way that is easy for office stakeholders to digest. They get increased visibility into daily progress and can better understand what is happening on site. They can also share this information with customers to build trust and better manage expectations.

Which digital reporting features are important?

Before investing in new software, construction companies need to consider several factors.

Ease of use

To best mitigate risk, a digital reporting solution must be easy to adopt. If field teams can’t intuitively understand the interface or the report information is poorly organized, it won’t save time on pen and paper.

Field crews need to be able to capture field data using their favorite mobile devices. The software should offer report templates and checklists that help contractors deliver accurate details quickly with little oversight. Then, once the report data is submitted, managers should be able to view it at a glance and automatically organize the information into different views that help them track production at a granular level.

Real-time reports

Technology is used every day to share information instantly. A digital reporting solution should have the same capabilities. With cloud storage, report data can be shared in real time, so all stakeholders with access can see updates in the field as they are uploaded.

This up-to-date visibility means everyone is kept in the loop and minor quality, safety and scheduling issues can be caught immediately before they escalate into long-term issues.

Photo capabilities

Photos and videos show the construction site in more detail than the text. Sometimes issues that would be missed in written reports are easily noticed and corrected when there is visual documentation. This is especially important when project managers cannot physically oversee all aspects of a complex construction project.

Digital reporting software that allows for easy photo and video capture, especially when automatic time stamps are included, protects construction companies from litigation not only because of the increased visibility they provide. They can also help resolve disputes, as a photo or video can take the guesswork out of identifying the exact cause of a delay or the timeline of accidental damage.

Historical review

Digital reports should be stored in organized libraries that are easier to navigate than physical filing cabinets. When information in a particular report needs to be located to quickly resolve a dispute, construction companies need to be able to search and find it with little manual effort.

Organized report storage also helps construction companies bid better. They can easily view data from historical reports and make accurate decisions about budget and schedules.

Messaging features

Some digital reporting software allows in-system messaging, which means contractors won’t have to open separate emails or text messages to read important security information. Construction companies can notify field workers directly in the system they are working in if there is an occupational hazard or environmental concern that will affect their daily tasks.

Will digital reporting prevent litigation?

While no solution can completely eliminate project risk, for most construction companies, digital reporting helps prevent disputes much better than traditional reporting methods. In addition to risk mitigation, digital reporting saves time and money by giving stakeholders a highly accurate view of day-to-day progress and productivity.

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