by Rhiân Davies
Published on 23 March 2017
With stakeholders rarely altogether in one place, project management in the construction industry can seem like an almost Herculean endeavour. You've got subcontractors and workers in the field, architects in an office hundreds of miles away, and project managers working remotely.
So, how do you set about choosing project management software for your construction company that will suit everyone?
Whether you're looking for construction project management software that excels in collaborative functionality, mobile optimization, or task management, we've searched through reviews of these apps to break down their five key strengths. Take a look at some of the solutions that construction professionals are using, and find out why.
Buildertrend is a dedicated project management software for construction professionals that combines many aspects of the project cycle, including service management, project scheduling, a built-in CRM system, and payment processing. It also integrates with popular accounting solutions QuickBooks and Xero.
Key strength: ease of communication
One of Buildertrend's strengths lies in its ability to allow all stakeholders to communicate effectively throughout the project's duration. Drew Wright says:
"I also liked the ability to include subcontractors and homeowners in the project communications - where desired - this can be controlled."
Another reviewer also lauds the app's communicative capabilities, commenting on how many of the app's features can facilitate prompt notification of project stages and updates:
"Buildertrend is the perfect construction management software. The features allow for a consistent/accurate tracking of progress, budget and correspondence. The construction manager can keep the client updated on work as it progresses, request sign-offs for change orders/increase of scope and allow for trades to submit bids for specific portions of work with their detailed scope of work attached."
Pricing: Buildertrend prices start from $99.00 per month on a subscription basis, and pricing is dependent on both type and amount of projects carried out in a one year period.
Procore is a collaborative project management software for construction professionals that integrates with other apps such as Box and ProEst to support business functionality, and is also highly optimized for mobile.
Key strength: optimized for mobile
Being able to manage projects while in the field is crucial in the construction industry, and Procore offers a highly functional mobile option. One GetApp reviewer says:
"I have been using Procore and Procore Mobile going on 5 months now. The biggest hurdle for us and PM software is getting subcontractors, vendors, and superintendents to buy-in to new technology. Procore has exceeded our expectations and the ease of use for people of all different backgrounds has made our jobs run much smoother from a communications standpoint."
Of Procore's mobile abilities, other reviewers say:
Pricing: Procore's pricing works on a subscription basis, with unlimited users and data. Contact Procore directly for product demos and pricing quotes.
BIM 360 is a large suite of construction management solutions including BIM 360 Docs for document management, BIM 360 Glue for collaboration and workflow management, and BIM 360 Field for reporting field management activities.
Key strength: drawing functionality
For some in the construction industry, the ability to share sketches and drawings between stakeholders is an integral function of any software solution. Of BIM 360, one reviewer says:
"This is an amazing software that helps a lot in the construction field. This program makes hard copy drawings obsolete and brings to the table a new way of handling documents in the field with a fast and easy update system. Definitely a good asset for any construction site."
Another reviewer lauds how BIM 360 allows them to load large amounts of data and use large document sizes:
"We use BIM 360 for its typical purpose, to share construction drawings and documents with subcontractors. It works well for us because of the large drawing and document size, as well as the speed in which it is available. We routinely load multiple GB of data onto BIM 360 and it is accessible to both our field staff and subcontractors instantaneously."
Meanwhile, one reviewer attributes their improvements in efficiency to BIM 360:
"The ability to review the drawings on site in 3D has massively increased our up front understanding on what needs to be delivered".
Pricing: There is an option to use BIM 360 for free on a single project. For a single user, prices start at $29.00 per month. For bigger teams of 25 and over prices start at $10 per user/per month, and for teams of 100 users and more, prices start at $6 per user/per month.
Smartsheet is well known as a project management and collaboration solution, but it's also popular among the construction industry for its supercharged spreadsheet-based features.
Key strength: task management and collaboration
For some Microsoft Excel veterans, it can be hard to ditch the spreadsheets completely, but Smartsheet cleverly combines its spreadsheets with extra collaborative and task management functionality. One reviewer says:
"Tasks can be assigned to users. Timelines and email notifications keep everyone on track. Files can be uploaded with multiple versions of the upload being visible. You can set up a 'report' based on the master Smartsheet. For example, in the master sheet, assign tasks to individuals. Then create a report for that specific individual.
You can specify that the report only lists items with a certain due date, client name, etc. This function allows you to easily keep employees on task. Once they have completed the task, they can upload documentation, notes, or simply check off that they're done. Once checked, the task comes off their list. The task and data always stay in the master SmartSheet."
Another reviewer in the construction industry notes how his company uses Smartsheet alongside Excel to support web-based sharing:
"Our company has been using Smartsheets for just over 3 years now. We began using it in just one area of our business but after realizing it's value we've expanded it's used to all areas. Excel is a vital part of our business and having a similar product, but with web-based sharing has been great. We use Smartsheets for organizing product ordering and receiving, tracking purchase orders, managing daily schedules, customer resource management, and much more. Smartsheets has become an important tool for our business and we highly recommend it."
Pricing: Smartsheet prices start from $14.00 per month, with a free trial available.
Projectmates is a dedicated project management software for construction professionals, with a wealth of adaptable features and functionality for cost tracking, capital planning, and contract management.
Key strength: customer service support
The value of excellent customer support and service can't be underestimated. This is especially true for those using project management software in the construction industry whose stakeholders are in multiple places, working at different times, and need speedy, professional customer service.
Reviews of Projectmates are brimming with praise of their customer support. One reviewer says:
"From the moment you are introduced to the program, the customer service and technical staff is there to support you. I think that's been the biggest benefit of using this project management program. Instead of searching through user manuals looking for an answer, technical help is a only an email or phone call away. The customer service really does set this program apart from the rest. The program itself has been relatively easy to use, and definitely gets easier as you get used to navigating through the multitude of features designed to help your team members stay organized."
Another reviewer comments on how the Projectmates team actively takes on customer feedback:
"Along the way, Projectmates has continually updated the system and is very interested in user feedback. Often, the user feedback is incorporated in new software releases."
Says another reviewer in the construction industry:
"It has been a very important tool to move from dealing with paper and running all things financial and construction based on a digital platform. It makes keeping up with documents for a specific project much easier than dealing with a local drive system. Their customer support is very responsive and normally follows up with me within the same hour and solves the issue."
Pricing: Contact Projectmates directly for product demos and pricing quotes.
If you want to dig deeper into the nitty gritty of choosing project management tools for your construction business, we have several options to help you with the process:
Already using project management software for your construction business? Let us know what solutions you favor in the comments below.