Ritchie Industries

Avoid Construction Disputes

Technology Puts the Solutions at Your Fingertips

by Linda Schmid

Resolving disputes is a time-consuming, costly process that can significantly affect the profitability of a job or, in extreme cases, even put a construction company out of business. It’s important to invest in tools that help prevent disputes and reduce miscommunication.

Digital construction management software allows field crews to efficiently document progress and monitor compliance on the jobsite. Better documentation leads to better visibility, helping project stakeholders catch potential issues early to avoid disputes or resolve them quickly and fairly when they happen.

How to Improve Documentation with Digital Reporting

Focus on the Field

Transitioning to a digital daily reporting solution is the first step towards improving documentation and ultimately preventing disputes, but if the software you choose isn’t easy for the field to use, the positive effects are minimal. Encourage high adoption rates by implementing a solution that makes reporting easier than pen and paper, not more difficult.

Field contractors work hard each day completing project-related tasks, and they don’t want to slow down or extend their workdays with a complicated daily reporting process. Software should be intuitive, with a simple interface, so workers can collect consistent, accurate data and share it without hassle. 

Make reporting the easiest task of the day, and you’ll see an improvement in report quality.

Efficient Data Capture

When contractors can capture information using a mobile device, especially with voice-to-text capabilities, they can complete daily reports in greater detail and more quickly than with pen and paper.

Daily reporting software also may offer pre-built reports, checklists, and other templates, so workers can track time and progress consistently with less room for information gaps or communication errors. And, when stakeholders review the documentation, they’ll know exactly where to find the information they need to accurately assess project status without chasing it down.

Photos & Videos

Photos and videos add enhanced visibility to documentation. Digital solutions may include the ability to quickly capture visual data and add it to daily reports, which allows workers to avoid having to explain through text what can easily be demonstrated with a clear picture.

Project managers and other stakeholders can compare photos to design documents to catch potential issues early or, with automatic time and date stamping, can prove exactly what work was done at a specific time. 

Implement Automation

With digital documentation, construction companies have the ability to automate time-consuming manual processes. Reports can be automatically published into an easy-to-understand standard format and distributed to stakeholders instantly.

With less manual data entry, there are less miscommunications. You’ll also be able to more
easily engage customers by setting expectations and providing consistent updates.

Store Data on the Cloud

Pen and paper reporting takes up space, and in the event of a dispute, it can be difficult to search historical data for vital information. Digital documentation can be stored on the cloud, easily accessible—and searchable—to all stakeholders when needed, as soon as it’s uploaded by the field team.

Review Historical Data

Not only does good documentation help construction companies avoid disputes while working through current, ongoing projects, it can also prevent disputes during future projects as well.

Digital documentation allows project managers to review historical data all in one place to gain highly accurate productivity insights and better plan future budgets and schedules. This means better bids and less potential scope changes.

Integrate Your Tech Stack

Integrating your digital reporting software with your existing technology for project management, accounting, or more can further help prevent disputes because you’ll instantly share information without duplicate data entry. 

For example, field crews can track time to cost codes and share it directly with accounting, who can quickly catch errors or assess when projects are over budget. Or, a project manager can review daily reports as they come in and see how progress stacks up to projections in real time. 

Protect Your Business Against Disputes

Detailed documentation is key to preventing disputes and resolving them fairly. Not only will clear, consistent jobsite data help both field and office teams monitor progress and prevent disputes, it also provides proof of progress in the event a disagreement or delay does happen.

The best way to improve documentation is to implement a digital project management tool that is easy-to-use, streamlines reporting, and automates communication. You’ll gain better insights from the jobsite that will help the field stay on task, adjust expectations as needed, and clearly communicate with stakeholders before a dispute develops. RB

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