Trying to stay on time with a project, communicating progress with stakeholders, making sure you get paid for all the work your team does on site—these are only a few of the many moving parts of a construction project.
Documentation is what keeps all these moving parts on track. With proper documentation, you’ll be aware of any missing pieces before they cause project delays on site—and have solid evidence of project completion to ensure you receive payment for your team’s work. And if litigation ever does arise, you already have the proof and protection with these documents and reports. As a result, your company stays in good standing, and you save time and money by working (and communicating) more efficiently.
How do you properly document a construction project?
Because there is so much to document on a daily basis in construction, we’ve compiled this construction project documentation checklist to help keep you on the right track. These are essentials that will save you headaches down the road. We’ve also added some tips on choosing the right construction software to make these processes simpler and more beneficial to your company—so you can reap all the benefits of organized, effective construction project documentation.
Bid proposals are the first document of a project and are how you earn your bread and butter. Having construction technology that helps you estimate project costs and timelines accurately is monumental. If it also helps your bids stand out, even better. Here’s a few features to keep in mind when upgrading your bid proposal process:
- Project insights that provide realistic estimates for future bids
- Branded daily reports that stand out in bid proposals
- Bid calendar that manages project invites and due dates
Project insights may not directly help you submit more bids, but they will help build your reputation for more accurate bids, making your company more likely to finish projects on time and within budget. This reputation alone can take your business far.
Daily reports are a necessity in any construction documentation checklist. And while using pen and paper might be the traditional way of completing dailies, handwritten notes aren’t always legible or reliable by the end of the day when being transferred to a computer. There are several ways to not only save time, but also improve the quality of information documented in dailies. Here’s a few features to look for when considering a daily reporting construction software:
- Voice-to-text notes
- Automatic weather capture
- Time-stamped photos
- Daily surveys for routine checklists
Daily reports should be a powerful tool that protects your company. Unfortunately, more often than not, these reports end up being a last-minute thought at the end of a long day.
Using construction software for dailies can mean more specific, timely updates from the field and an increase in overall project transparency. Features like automatic weather capture and time-stamped photos also provide indisputable evidence of the jobsite conditions and work your company completes.
Construction software that provides insights into production tracking is invaluable. No need to spend time crunching numbers every time you want to check on production progress—instead open an app to instantly see where your construction project stands.
Production tracking provides higher-level insights and data that can help you know each projects’ productivity. This means better-informed real-time decisions and more accurate bids in the future. Don’t let production tracking be an after-thought. Incorporate production tracking software so you always know the state of every project's performance—and keep your business a step ahead of the competition.
A few especially important aspects of production tracking include time cards, materials, and equipment. Here’s how you can get the most out of these production tracking features:
Maybe you spend a lot of time chasing down workers, trying to confirm work hours, and generally feeling disorganized about time cards. Simplify this process by incorporating an easy-to-use time card service that does the work for you. A few features to look for when considering adding a time cards construction software include:
- Logs hours from the jobsite
- Applies cost codes to hours
- Integrates with accounting software
Time cards are an important piece of construction project documentation and evaluating production progress. Having accurate and organized information on hours worked on projects makes your job—and payroll’s— easier.
Materials and equipment
Tracking materials and equipment for one project is difficult enough, but add multiple projects and jobsites to the mix, and keeping track of everything can be near impossible. To help you keep track of materials and equipment—so you can stay within budget—look for these features:
- Logs how many days equipment has been used on a project
- Records materials installed
- Applies cost codes to materials and equipment
With an easy way to track materials and equipment, you can get powerful real-time insights. The more you know about production on every project, the better you can measure (and predict) productivity—ultimately helping your company cut costs and improve project efficiency.
Safety and quality control checklists
Having digital, completed checklists in one place makes it easy to prove that your team is taking construction safety and documentation seriously. Organized checklists will help you save time and protect you in the case of litigation. Here’s a few things to consider when making your safety and quality control checklists more organized:
- Ease of use on the jobsite
- Custom templates and question types
- Ability to attach photos and notes
Make completing a safety and quality control checklist as easy and quick to complete as possible, so construction workers on the jobsite can focus on what they do best. Checklists that are automatically saved as a document streamline communication and help prepare you for future inspections or audits.
Completed toolbox talks
Toolbox talks are a key aspect of safety training. Documented toolbox talks will protect you in the event of legal action taken against your business, as well as reduce incidents. This can mean a better Experience Modification Rating (EMR) and lower insurance rates.
Helpful features to look for in a toolbox talk software include:
- Ability to bulk schedule toolbox talks
- A library of topics and the ability to upload your own
- Electronic sign-off sheets
Being able to schedule toolbox talks ahead of time, and having stored documents showing the completion of talks, all means one less thing to worry about. The end result? Increased safety on the construction site—without having to dig through binders of loose paper.
Contracts and change orders
Contracts will define much of the process during a construction project, but inevitably, there will always be changes throughout the actual project. Change orders mean lots of documentation you can’t plan for.
Being able to quickly and easily document change orders will save not only frustration, but often payment for work completed. Switching to digital documentation allows for quick sharing of change orders and other documents. Here’s a few extra features to look for:
- Option to sync changes across multiple projects
- Quickly document signed change orders
- Ability to collaborate while protecting sensitive information
Making large-scale changes to drawings and scope of work, especially across multiple projects, can mean a lot of documents and paperwork—and less time moving the actual project forward. Digitally document this paperwork to expedite this process—and know exactly where to find updated drawings, and documentation of work completed, so you receive payment for the completion of all performed work.
Where to start when going digital in construction
Incorporating digital insights into construction projects can provide a myriad of benefits. Unfortunately, incorporated too quickly, or without the enthusiasm from construction workers on the project site, efforts to go digital can end up being a waste of time and resources.
While you want the most powerful insights you can get, keep the end-user in mind. Choose software that’s easy to use and can be incorporated quickly, and start with adding one piece of technology at a time. Remember, Rome was not built in a day—and neither will your tech stack. Look for construction tech that is easy to adopt on the project site.
Why Raken is a great start to building a construction tech stack
Raken is designed to be easy to use for construction workers at the jobsite—while also providing powerful production insights and reports for those in the office.
Gramercy’s Project Manager Maxiel Rodriguez said of Raken, “all of our information comes from the field. So the field crew needs to be the first to buy into the software. If they can’t document quickly and easily, it just doesn’t work. We had a couple of our Superintendents try the app for a week, and they picked it up pretty quickly. We then started incorporating the rest of the gang.”
Using Raken means you receive immediate updates on daily reports, production tracking, completion of safety and quality inspection checklists, and toolbox talks. All of this information is saved and documented in one place, so you have instant access—whenever you need it.
The best part? Incorporating additional construction software to your tech stack couldn’t be easier. Raken integrates with software like Egnyte to help you manage contracts and important documentation, and STACK to help you expedite quantity and material takeoff lists. Plus, software like our industry partner PlanHub can help you manage bids.
Want to learn how Raken could help your construction project documentation become more efficient and organized? Schedule a demo today to see how we can help.