In our last Visual Live blog—Construction Project Management, Part 1—we discussed the five stages of every building project. This time, we will go into more depth concerning the use of software to keep a project on schedule and to identify and solve potential problems in the field using augmented reality software. These project management software programs will allow you to be more effective and efficient as a project manager.
Project management software that incorporates scheduling will help you accomplish your implementation/execution phase. It should include these functions:
- Sequencing—Proper sequencing of construction tasks is essential if you are going to stay on track, on time and on budget. For instance, you need to survey a site for elevation before excavation can begin. Following excavation, you pour footers and foundations. Then comes steel and/or block, etc. The closer you can have one task follow another, the tighter you can adhere to the project schedule. You will also save on labor costs by not having one crew waiting on another to finish before they can begin.
- Tracking progress—Software that can track daily progress online will help you keep moving forward from one task to another. Foremen (or workers) can login to the software remotely to sign off on completed jobs and begin the next assignment. As the project manager, you will be able to know where each crew is and how they are progressing. You will also know without delay whenever they are experiencing slowdowns.
- Communication—Through high-quality software, you will be able to communicate information and assignments. A daily work schedule with detailed instructions will prepare the crews for their next tasks. It will allow the construction teams to plan and coordinate with each other in the field. When all the subcontractors are aware of progress and developments, they can work together more efficiently, thus saving time and money while keeping the project on track.
- Flexibility/Versatility—The scheduling software needs to be able to communicate in real time over cell phones, laptops and tablets. It needs to be able to work in the office and in the field with the same degree of accuracy. This is essential to avoid conflict and misunderstanding. The software must be easy to use; not everyone will be well-versed in computers. And finally, it must be able to sync any changes in real time across multiple platforms.
Problem solving software
No matter how much thought and planning has gone into it, every construction project will eventually run into problems. A problem is simply an opportunity to build on past experience to produce a viable solution. But to solve the problem, you need to have accurate data.
Most of the unexpected problems will arise in the field. A common scenario is one where an engineer in an office hundreds of miles away makes a design change in a partially completed building. How will that change affect certain systems that are ready to be installed? Will the current HVAC distribution system be affected? Must ductwork or piping be rerouted?
Enter the software! 3-D imaging software such as VisualLive Augmented Reality Software will enable you to superimpose the CAD drawings of the affected systems onto a rendering of the new design. A foreman in the field can see the new layout on a phone, tablet or laptop computer right there onsite. Not only that; he or she can walk around the area and see the rendered image in 3-D, noting any place where the new change would create a problem. The foreman, the project manager and the design engineer can all see the same thing in real time as a virtual reality video feed on their respective devices. They have the ability to discuss conflict solutions immediately and can make decisions on the spot.
Visual Live is based in Tempe, AZ. We have been working to bring immediate solutions to inevitable problems in the construction industry. You can use augmented reality software to take your large BIM models to the job site so you can see a visualization of your completed project on or in the building itself. Visit our website, and sign up for a free trial. Once you experience VisualLive, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.