How Can Construction Software Help Me?

  Construction software is specifically designed to deal with the special needs of a construction project. There are several dynamics to consider when undertaking any build. Construction software can be used on something as simple as a project that remodels a kitchen to something as complex as building a skyscraper. Materials, labor, expenses, layouts, financing, etc. are all considerations and are necessary to keeping a construction project on time and on budget. So, what are some of the things to look for in a good construction software program?

Many of the features included in most construction software programs relate to the financial aspect of a build. Contractors can keep a close eye on the budget and the progression of the construction. They can also keep an eye on employees, payroll, account adjustments, and essentially map where the money comes from and where it goes to. Productivity, costs, materials, labor, etc. can all be tracked with this type of software. Not only will a good construction software program allow for the viewing of the entire picture, but it will be able to let the user focus in on the individual pixels (so to speak). Some programs have analytics built into them that can help contractors give accurate estimates to clients, provide data points that can be tracked and trends that can be used to get better deals on labor and materials.

Construction software, however, is only as good as the people who use it. Employees need to be trained to input appropriate data into the software so that information is reported to the overseers of a project correctly. In this way, they can make the necessary decisions about the build to make things more efficient. As an example, an employee may take 10 2x4x8 boards out of inventory and inputs that into the database. The person looking at that data knows how many boards are left in stock and can also surmise that the employee who took the boards should be close to finishing that part of the project.

Construction software can be as expensive or inexpensive as needed for the project involved. There are companies out there whose sole purpose is to analyze a projects need and design construction software around what is needed. For large companies, this may be a calculated expense that saves money in the long run. However, for a small construction project, a simpler over-the-counter program may be all that is needed.

No matter how you look at it, the unique information that is involved with a construction project needs to be recorded, tracked and analyzed. Any good contractor should know that. Inventory needs to be monitored, tracked, the amount of materials purchased needs to be estimated, materials may need to be reordered, etc. If there are extensive problems with inventory, there may be a potential theft problem that construction software can alert the user. Budgets also need to be met and tools, materials, rentals and any other expenses a construction project has can be recorded specifically for budgetary purposes. Finally, the employees need to be paid. Construction software can monitor time cards and payroll as well as schedules and deadlines for all concerned.

The use of technology in construction has been fundamental in the increase of efficiency in all facets of the industry. From using 3D modelling on computer for initial designs, having access to better communications via mobile phones, to the use of construction software, the construction industry is benefiting from the introduction of technology.


On a single construction project a large number of people are required to perform many different processes and operations. There could be hundreds of individual steps that involve the effort of thousands of people. Technology is helping communication between these people and speeding up the decision making process. Staff can also share information a lot easier, as traditionally they would work on their part of the project with little interaction with other people, but through the use of the Internet, project information can be shared more quickly as it is more centralised and accessible.

Computer Aided Design

Construction plans take the form of drawings and these were originally done by hand, an incredibly time consuming process, and often identical details had to be redrawn many times. Now done by automated process on computer they can be modified quickly and easily cut and pasted to fit a new location. Using computers for design also makes the use of 3D modelling possible, which is now an essential part of business to help attract potential clients. A physical model can be converted into a computerised image, which as well as being a great marketing tool, it is easily accessible and is portable. All you need is a laptop.

Lasers and Global Positioning Systems

String and steel tape measures were used so property measurements could be taken from boundary lines. Today foundation work can begin more easily and quickly as calculations are done using lasers and global positioning systems. They are also a much more accurate method of measurement. Machines can also be equipped with these technologies so that the preparation of the foundations is a lot more accurate. Heavy machinery can be set to cut the exact angle and grade required, saving a lot of time and guess work.

Personal Computers

No business could function today without the use of personal computers, and the construction industry is no exception. Instead of being bound to their offices using slide rules and paper, word processors and spreadsheets are now increasing productivity. Programs can be run on a laptop on site and information can be sourced instantly. Efficiency on site can even be increased through the use of today's smart phones. Project managers can do their job so much better when they are able to be more mobile and continue to have access to all their information at the same time.

Sustainable urban design empowers government planners, architects, engineers and communities to minimise the impact of development upon the environment, while protecting valuable resources for future generations. Amongst a turbulent period where there are global concerns about diminishing resources and environmental impacts, questions are being raised regarding the quality of life to be experienced within cities and suburban environments. With growing population bases, changing demographic trends that create a greater demand for housing supply, infrastructure and facilities, the sprawling urban environment is in need of sustainable urban design principles, ones which not only contributes to a reduction in continued use of resources but they leave a long term infrastructural investment for future generations to build upon.

Much of the worldwide development of urban environments has been completed under the premise of necessity, with a supply-driven focus taking precedence over principles of sustainable urban design. With trends of changing demographics, climate conditions, economics and technology, the future of urban development and design is to take a sharp turn; one which integrates the dual goals of improving the quality of life of residents along with the minimisation of resources and environmental impacts upon future generations.

Approximately 80% of the New Zealand's population lives in urban environments. Population growth projections indicate that this trend of urbanisation is only set to continue, placing increasing pressure on infrastructural requirements of these future 'mega-cities'. Taking into account these projections for continued growth, urban and metropolitan environments are now facing significant challenges in respect to their sustainability; pressures that simply cannot be ignored. Furthermore, the issue of climate change, which is receiving increasing media and scientific attention, is creating a situation where sustainable urban design must take into account the level of fossil fuels being used in the construction process, as well as carbon emissions that are a result of such construction.

Populated urban environments are a focal point for the use of fossil fuels, with the trends towards urban growth exacerbating the problem into the future. Planners, civil engineers and civic leaders are now recognising the importance of implementing more sustainable energy consumption principles in urban design. Advancing technologies in design, construction, building materials, transportation and manufacturing will however provide a valuable platform from which to achieve the implementation of sustainable urban design principles, creating new forms and functions of urban environments that will improve resident's quality of life while addressing key concerns of population patterns, climate change, energy consumption and environmental management.

Harrison Grierson is a large advisory and design consultancy working in four key market sectors; Land and Buildings, Water and the Environment, Utilities and Transport. The Company operates throughout Australasia and the Pacific Rim.

With a focused organisational culture that stretches back over 125 years, they are well positioned to provide clients with a variety of professional skills in engineering, surveying, planning, urban design and landscape architecture from an integrated network of offices that functions as one business


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