The current workflow submittals process in the construction industry is outdated. Technology is automating and streamlining every industry today. Smartphones have become smarter than computers, virtual assistants can do work over the internet, and self-driving cars are running free on the roads of Europe and the US. However, construction is still behind in that race.
Only 10% of earthmoving contractors are using GPS systems and only 11% are using drones to map out construction sites. Technology needs to lead the way in an industry that literally builds the cities we live in. And the beginning needs to be in automating and streamlining the workflow submittals process.
Boosting Workflow Efficiency
Electronic processes can boost efficiency. Not too long ago, a contractor, when asked to bid on a project, would need a print out of the plans and to distribute copies and drawings to everyone involved. Now it can be done with just a click of a button.
Technological advancements have made it possible for a variety of project software systems to streamline processes and for them to be fully digital.
Since the workflow submittals process is one of the most tedious processes to get through during the project, automating the contracts and signing various documents if they meet certain criteria can make the workflow more efficient.
Eliminating Submittal Paper Trails
Construction submittals play a very crucial role in commercial projects. They can expose inaccuracies and discrepancies early on which can affect a project’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness later on.
Because of their importance, they need to be quickly accessible. Last minute submittals create problems, including requests for information and change of orders, which can cause project delays. Going paperless can speed up the workflow submittals process and can incorporate those submittals into project management and design software.
Saving Money on Submittals
The reduced cost of going paperless and digitizing the workflow submittals process is the most immediate advantage. Multiple parties, including subcontractors, general contractors, architects, structural engineers, the owner, and even consultants, may require submittals to sign off a deal.
The average number of items needed to be checked on the proposal is eight. Each one has two or three pages of product data as well as installation details. This adds up to nearly 25 pages in total which includes the cover page. Going through all of this can be tiresome for everyone if it’s on paper. Going paperless will help reduce the burden and the time required.
Updating Workflow Information in Real Time
Correcting mistakes and sending them back for revisions can be very tiresome for contractors and subcontractors, as well as construction managers. This process of checking, correction, revision, etc. can take ages if done on paper. If there is a direct link between those reviewing the submittals, each person can view the edits, make corrections in real time, and respond quickly.
Therefore, the workflow submittals process can be considerably shortened and become more cost-effective. All the money and resources consumed by printing/reprinting drafts and corrected versions can be allocated to other parts of the business.
It should also be noted that the job site tools that you are engaging with should always be up to date. Tiny improvements in software and efficiency updates can make a difference in the long run. Even if they’re shaving off a minute or so for one submittals process, this can add up over the years.
Building Information Modeling
Many construction companies have shifted towards integrated project delivery (IPD) through the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM). This software has multiple benefits, including clash detection, scheduling, and cost estimation. This makes it capable enough to replace a room full of paper submittals.
BIM models link the design database with building material properties. A lot of the information that is found in project submittals can be linked to objects in the design model.
For example, providing submittals electronically. The approved mix design for concrete footings can be linked to the footing object within the model. The design model can hold every detail of information in a single resource.
The value of an as-built resource is huge, especially to a project that was once completely based on the paper system. The software and tools are available for the creation of electronic submittals like tracking approvals and incorporating the submittals within the project management software and BIM technology.
Another way to modernize and increase efficiency is to use virtual assistants. They can help automate the submittals process by performing repetitive tasks and scheduling, sending and approving the submittals based on pre-decided criteria.
Construction workflow submittals are a tedious but very important part of the construction project process. Automating the repetitive tasks involved and improving the overall process can yield a net positive benefit not only for the projects or for a single company, but for the construction industry at large.
For help making your workflow submittals process more efficient, contact us today.