Communication on construction projects is a central challenge. It isn’t always convenient for the foreperson, supervisor or an employee to relay information to their project manager or back to the office, or for the right person to receive those messages in a timely manner. A field notes tool for construction can make key messages easier to relay.
Why communication in construction is problematic
One of the difficulties of managing one or multiple construction crews is that so much happens out of your sight.
Progress and events such as site safety concerns, new demands for material, equipment issues, and even the news of a job’s completion can be missed when you aren’t on-site—or you might find out late, when time has already been wasted by the crew.
How field notes can help job site messages travel faster
Field notes allow for instant job site updates from the field in the form of photos, audio files and text. Notes appear on the dashboard of our cloud software and are also attached to job sites in your system, so that they never get lost and remain part of your labor record.
Let’s say a plumbing contractor is coming to the new build site tomorrow, but one of your workers notices that the framing in the bathroom is obstructing the spot where the plumbing pipes need to go. That worker can snap a photo and send it as a field note to the office. Now, the office knows exactly what to tell the super, and can alert the plumber, too.
Maybe there’s a tool or material another tradesperson on the site has that your super recognizes is needed for your crew. He can simply take a photo of it and attach it to a field note rather than trying to describe the brand and appearance.
How field notes can improve cash flow
Contractors need all the help they can get with expediting payment from owners or builders.
In a time and materials (T&M) or cost-plus contract, the cost of labor is germaine to the amount payable on the construction invoice. And labor hours need to be tracked carefully so that you can charge for them accurately.
Since stakeholders don’t know what amount to expect with a T&M contract, they may sit a little longer on the bill once it comes. The contractor can’t afford to delay in submitting his invoice or general pay application for that project.
Whether you’ve got one or multiple projects going at once, you want your billing department to know as quickly as possible when last bit of work has been wrapped and the labor hours for a project are complete.
With ExakTime’s field notes, the field has a clear method of communicating to office staff as soon as a project or key stage in a project has been completed. The office sees the field note come through on the dashboard and can send the invoice immediately, expediting pay and improving cash flow.
There’s another reason invoicing quickly when a project is complete behooves contractors working under T&M contract: trust. If a client receives a bill immediately after they are notified that work is complete, they will know that contractor runs a tight ship and hadn’t dawdled in his completion of the work.
Other field notes benefits
One of the major benefits of ExakTime’s field notes is that they are instantly attached to the job site they pertain to within our cloud software. That means there’s a record of the communication that remains permanently with the job site.
This makes field notes ideal for changes, re-ups of supplies or other occurrences that you need a record of for a T&M or Cost Plus job, for change orders that may need to be submitted, or even just for your own budgeting purposes.
A last but no less important benefit of field notes we’ll name is in safety and health-related communication. A picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes your field crew’s photo of an incident or situation on a job site os needed to convey the true hazard of the situation, and to create a record of what happened.
Field notes are extremely useful for construction businesses with multiple workers or crews, in which there isn’t constant back and forth between field and office or laborer and contractor throughout the day.
When communication about job site incidents or progress can be instantly sent to the office, augmented with a photo as necessary, and attached to a job site, crucial business steps and pivots are communicated quickly and clearly—greasing the wheels of invoicing and payment.