This article was originally published to the GenieBelt blog on March 14, 2016.
We all know that construction generates a lot of paperwork. This is necessary, mainly, because of the complexity of construction. Oh, okay! We don’t think it is complex, but the rest of the world does! So let’s have a look at what handling the paperwork involves and, for that, I’ll start with what happens on the construction site.
The Site Manager has a 20ft. Office container. In it he has a desk, chart table, loads of filing cabinets and shelves full of lever arch files. His working day is spent with people pestering him for decisions and being out and about keeping an eye on work that is being done that day. Meanwhile paperwork has been flooding into his office, either by post or by being dropped off by visitors. Once most of the tradesmen have left site for the day he will get stuck into trying to deal with all the days’ paperwork and getting it filed away properly so it is available for future reference. This usually takes, and I know ‘cos I’ve been there, a couple of hours!
Now there wasn’t space in the Site Office for the site-based QS, so he has to have a separate Office container - or share a much larger one with the manager. He, too, spends ages sorting and filing his paperwork. Much of it is just a duplicate of what the Site Manager has! The cost of the overtime involved is negligible if they Site Manager and QS are permanent staff, but gets a bit steep if they are Agency workers on an hourly rate. Even if they are permanent, there is a problem that crops up! They want to get home to wife and kids, so perhaps aren’t as meticulous with their filing as they might be!
Something else to be considered about the paperwork is that, when delivered by post it can take 3 days to arrive on site. That means, if there is a drawing change or change of specifications amongst it, there could be 3 days of work to be re-worked!
Much of it has also had copies delivered to head Office and they go through a similar time and money-consuming process to deal with it all. That means, once it is archived for the 6 years, there could well be three copies of everything held there!
Once the project is finished all that paperwork has to be taken to the Head Office and archived for 6 years to keep HMRC happy! Office space and the storage shelving costs money - even if the archives are kept in the basement! Now that is the main contractor and their paperwork problems we’ve had a quick look at. Who else suffers similar problems?
Everyone involved in the project! It starts with the Client, moves on down through their Architect and Consultants and on to the PQS. Once the Main Contractor is appointed it moves on down through every Sub-Contractor!
Now I can’t be bothered doing my sums again, but in a previous Blog I calculated the total cost for labour and storage facilities for all this paperwork on a £5 million project that ran for 6 months. This worked out at a staggering £68,000!
So what would be the state of play if Construction Document Management Software was used for this project?
We’ll assume you go for the very best of them which is, of course, GenieBelt. The monthly cost for their service would be a modest £100 per month. That adds up to the princely sum of £600 for the project! For that price the records are kept on their servers for the requisite 6 years!
What capital expenditure is required to use the software? Zero! Zilch! This is the 21stCentury! Everyone onsite already has a PC, Tablet or Smart Phone with them and that is all that they need to access any information on the software! With it everyone involved in the project instantly knows everything they need to know! It also has the subtle advantage of gelling everyone together as a part of a Team. Because they know everyone is watching, RFI’s, for example, get fast responses!
This seems a bit of a silly question to me, but I got asked, so I’ll make the point here. Any commercially confidential information can still be sent directly to the recipient by “Snail Mail”.
So there you have it! Use Construction Document Management Software and it can save you Thousands!
Use the best of them, GenieBelt, and it can save a total of £67,400!