The Bolt Subcontractor Blog

How to Stop Wasting Time on Paperwork During New Home Construction

Posted by Sam Knight on Oct 15, 2019, 9:35:42 PM
Sam Knight

New residential construction jobs generate oceans of paperwork. One project includes requirements, blueprints, work orders, estimates, contracts, check lists, photos, change orders and more.

All of that turns into a document management headache that’s both annoying and expensive. In fact, spending just one hour a day dealing with paperwork costs construction companies an average of $9,000 a year.[1]

You need to make documents work for you (and not the other way around). So ditch the paper for a digital tool that helps you organize, access, update and manipulate project information quickly and easily.


Keep Documents Well Organized

Each job involves managing a countless number of documents. And if you need one for a reference, legal process, purchasing, scheduling or billing, you don’t want to spend hours hunting for it. It’s crucial to organize paperwork for fast, easy access.

Tedious paper filing is prone to mistakes.

With paper documents, most companies create a job folder that holds all reports for a project. But manually compiling and filing folders invites mistakes that can cost money and time.

For example, assuming you can fit about 2,500 pages in a 25-inch file drawer and assuming through human error just one half of one percent of those are misfiled, that’s 125 documents in every file drawer that are in the wrong place and may never be found.

Plus, it takes time to gather, collate, and physically arrange paper in a folder. And when you need a document, you have to go wherever the folder is, either on the job site or at the office, and sift through it for the right information.

 
Pile of paperwork on an office desk

 

Digital storage simplifies organization and access.

Documents stored electronically are accessible from anywhere with an iPad or a computer. And with standard filenames, you can search for information in seconds.

If a builder calls in to ask about the work schedule, any office employee can quickly look it up and answer the question. No one has to drop by the office to check the white board or call around to find a supervisor.

With digital storage, you’ll also misplace fewer documents because you don’t have to carry paper back to the office for filing. You can upload them from the job site, your office or the builder’s office.

A mobile technology that streamlines document management for the residential construction industry, Bolt Construction Software, enables audio, photo and video capture to document important phases of the new home construction project. For example, a contractor can rely on his smartphone or tablet to assess job site preparation, completed work, and check off punch-list fixes. Bolt Construction Software instantly adds the files related to that particular project for other contractors (as well as the builder), to reference.

 

Keep Documents Up to Date

Gathering and collating the initial paperwork for a new home construction project doesn’t stop when the physical work starts. As you work through the phases of a project, the original information can change and must continue to be updated. The crew also produces new records, such as status reports, materials lists, walk-through checklists and change orders.

Paper updates might not get to the people who need them.

If documents created and revised during the project are kept on paper, there’s increased risk of miscommunication. For example, if the most recent materials list is in the office project file, field crew may not know the list they have has been changed. They purchase the wrong supplies, causing work stoppage and extra trips to pick up what they need.

 

Residential construction worker taking measurements

 

With digital, everyone has updates in real-time.

In a cloud solution, employees make changes directly on an iPad and everyone has instant access to it. Materials lists, for example, can be updated on the fly and immediately shared with field crew. Entering details directly online also reduces the typos and mistakes likely to occur when copying hand-written field notes to a project file.

 

Keep Everyone Informed

Residential construction jobs are constantly evolving, and supervisors and builders want to track progress. A solid document management system makes it easy to share project status and other key information with those who need it.

Today’s challenges with relying on paper documents.

Paper can only exist in one place at a time. If the crew completes a job site take-off or a walk-through checklist, someone has to take the paper document back to the office and put it in the file. If builders or supervisors want to know the latest progress, they have to call in, leave a request, and wait for someone to look it up and call them back. This causes unnecessary back-and-forth in today’s digital age and slows progress.

Digital solutions can answer questions before they’re asked.

As soon as a phase is complete, online status is available for everyone to see. With a solution like Bolt, contractors in the homebuilding industry have automatic notifications that update builders, crews, and other subs with crucial details that will keep up the momentum of the overall project.

 

Reduce Bottlenecks & Keep the Project Moving

Documents don’t just report on a project, they also require approvals to help move it from phase to phase. When contracts are signed, work can start. When change orders are accepted, work can continue. Mobile document management helps you accelerate approvals and responses so the job stays on schedule.

Paper documents need escorts.

When contracts, work orders, change orders and more are all paper-based, they have to be carried around for sign-off. You end up driving a document to the field or to the builder for a signature. Or you have to run and pick up a work order before the crew can start. Other important papers, like invoices, have to go by snail mail.

 

Residential construction worker giving thumbs up

 

Digital documents travel at the speed of light.

With a cloud-based document tool, you can share contracts or estimates and get approvals instantly. Bolt integrates with builder systems which send work orders automatically. Bolt also integrates with QuickBooks - one of the most popular business accounting programs. QuickBooks will automatically generate invoices based on the data in Bolt, ensuring payments aren’t delayed by a backlog of paperwork.

 

Keep Your Peace of Mind

New residential construction comes with plenty of challenges. Paperwork doesn’t have to be one of them.

If you’re ready to leave the document hassle behind and spend more time growing your business, take a look at Bolt’s innovative technology for residential subcontractors.

 

[1] Based on construction industry wage data from Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf

Tags: software, residential construction, productivity