Construction teams don’t always operate as single, cohesive entities. Many disparate parties must cooperate and coordinate to complete the work: contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, office staff, and project owners.
This can make it difficult to ensure full compliance across partners and teams who each use their own metrics to measure compliance. This article will cover the most common challenges project teams face when attempting to ensure full compliance. We will also share tips on how they can be overcome.
Why compliance is so difficult to achieve in the construction industry?
Construction is one of the most regulated industries, with multiple rules and laws that regulate every aspect of the building process—insurance, building codes, worker agreements, union requirements, safety codes, and more. Moreover, large projects often require participation from third-party contractors and collaborators. Ensuring compliance from all stakeholders with all required regulations is challenging, to say the least.
There are many ways companies can fail to comply with the many regulations that must be followed in the industry. Inefficiency, poor documentation tracking, and negligence can result in hefty fines, conflict resolution settlements, or rework costs. The construction industry loses $177 billion a year on average in overspending.
Time wasted in poor documentation management is one of the main challenges construction projects face. In a survey conducted by the “Construction Disconnected” report, respondents said they spend 65% of their time on project-related activities, and as much as 35% performing non-project-related tasks that waste time (e.g., tracking down documents, dealing with mistakes that need rework).
The barriers to compliance in the construction industry
Regulations cannot be avoided, and companies often struggle to meet state, federal, and even international regulations—from building codes to audits. This can be overwhelming to even the most organized construction company. Fortunately, there are solutions to help overcome them.
Challenges in Construction #1: Paperwork overload
Construction document management is an essential part of the modern construction business, but managing the massive amount of paperwork required every day in a project can be difficult. One mistake in a document can be costly in execution. Poor data and documentation management costs millions of dollars to the industry, mainly in rework requests due to a lack of version control.
Besides the high rate of rework, other consequences of poor documentation management include:
- Wasted labor time: construction staff wastes a lot of time trying to find the right files, order changes, and requests for information.
- Communication issues: when a team member needs to request access every time they need a document, these delays can disrupt the project timeline.
- A slow response to change orders: construction projects generate over 50 change orders from design to building. Manual processes cannot ensure a quick response.
All these cause compliance issues. Physical paper is always at risk of being misplaced or damaged, and there is no time to fix documentation issues when the project is under inspection or an audit. Construction management technology is evolving with a focus on automation, efficiency, and data management to improve processes and reduce risks.
Challenges in Construction #2: Outdated Technology
Construction companies that use free or low-cost data storage, spreadsheets, and other solutions not specifically for document control, create siloed information. Since staff need to switch between dozens of applications, errors can occur. Outdated technology or one that is not explicitly designed for construction can result in auditing issues.
Leveraging a single centralized software solution can help you manage all documentation and data and help you keep on top of compliance. These solutions often keep track of the regulations, with automatic updates and monitoring in real-time.
Challenges in Construction #3: Safety Regulations
Among the numerous regulations that construction companies need to meet, safety mandates require the most constant monitoring. Employees’ training, safety data sheets, and inspection reports can create a daily amount of paperwork that can be easy to miss or neglect.
Environmental, health, and safety software capabilities help manage workplace safety, centralizing documents and compliance.
How to use Artificial Intelligence to overcome these challenges in the construction industry?
Construction software can help overcome construction compliance challenges. For instance, workers in the field can file reports directly from the job site. Here are four ways construction software can help with compliance:
On-site reporting and visibility
A leading solution designed for construction integrates mobile devices to enable a seamless synchronization. Inspections and reports are automatically synced to the centralized system. Managers can have instant visibility of a job site, which allows them to respond quickly to any issue.
On-site digital reporting not only eliminates paperwork but reduces administration costs and increases data accuracy. When you have all reporting features from the field automatically on your screen, you can more easily manage staff and procurement, and create a preventative maintenance schedule.
Mistakes due to poorly filled out paperwork or illegible forms can result in costly fines. Paperless operations ensure all your checklist boxes are ticked; and the reports, change orders, and other digital paperwork are filled in full before submission. Most mobile construction devices will support RFID, barcode scanning, and image capture, which give a level of data accuracy that cannot be achieved with manual processes. A construction software enables carrying on inspections quickly and updating the form from the smartphone or tablet.
Construction companies need to track materials, deliveries, and maintenance. Software solutions designed for construction managers can coordinate supply deliveries, account for delays, and schedule equipment management.
By tracking compliance requirements and documentation, construction software can eliminate most paperwork issues and human errors that often result in poor compliance. Construction software also streamlines processes by automating repetitive tasks and supporting paperless operations. It also helps keep your documentation and reports up to date with state and federal regulations, which is essential to success.
About the author
Tom Stemm is the CEO/Founder of Ryvit. He was inspired to build Ryvit when several of his clients in the construction industry had asked for some custom integration development work. At the time, Tom was part of the founding team at GadellNet (a fast-growing IT consulting firm in St. Louis, MO), and they realized that there was a significant gap in the construction tech industry – namely that, while tech purchases were high, the adoption rate of those solutions throughout all stakeholders was still lagging. After a very diligent launch process, Ryvit was born to address the rampant problem of a disintegrated tech stack in the construction technology space. Tom continues to lead a team of integration developers, application enthusiasts, customer heroes, and sales superstars on a mission to eliminate duplicate data entry and rampant data errors from the construction technology world.