PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog

Why Subcontractors Need Accurate, Portable and Accessible Data [ebook]

The State of Construction Data Management 

It’s no secret that the construction data management industry favors general contractors (GCs) as many of the software solutions on the market today are built specifically to address their needs. This should come as no surprise given that GCs are often the ones who own the project data. Many times, they are the only ones who collect data in the field and update information throughout the project lifecycle. 

However, this causes an issue for subcontractors who need to stay up to date with what’s going on in the field and document their own progress on the job. Though subcontractors can (and often do) create their own set of manual data, it’s not the most effective way to manage information on the jobsite. Working in silos can cause issues when teams try to communicate with one another, which can lead to costly delays. It is vital that there is a single source of accurate and timely data for all project teams to access.  

The best way for subcontractors to have more control over their data is to own it themselves. Keeping accurate real-time data in a digital data management platform that is accessible by the entire team allows subcontractors to ensure everyone is on the same page and working from the same set of information. 

For insight into how owning data helps subcontractors improve efficiency and productivity, download our newest ebook, “Why Subcontractors Need to Own Their Record Set and Data.” 

subs need to own data

Read on to learn how and why subcontractors need to own data management on construction projects. 

The 3 Pillars of Construction Data Management: Accurate, Portable and Accessible 

When it comes to construction project data, it is only helpful to subcontractors if they can use it to support their work. In order to be valuable to subcontractors, project data needs to be:  

  • Accurate – This means that all data is correct, precise and up to date. The best way to ensure that project data is accurate is to work with a single source of truth for all teams with each group working to add or update data as it is generated. 
  • Portable – Subcontractors need to be able to see and update project information while on the jobsite. Data should be stored in a way that is easy for all involved parties to access and update it on all mobile devices used in the field. 
  • Accessible – In addition to being able to take your data right to the jobsite, you also need to make sure that everyone can access it. When everyone on the team leverages different data management tools, it can be difficult to share data between teams without data loss. 

Accurate, portable and accessible data helps subcontractors ensure that there are no surprises on the jobsite. It improves communication between team members and across teams, helping to avoid miscommunications or errors that are the result of outdated or lack of information. By having the ability to update this data on the jobsite, subcontractors can ensure that their work has been documented. 

Using Data to Protect Profitability and Mitigate Risk 

Subcontractors need consistent access to accurate project data. By documenting their actions on the jobsite, along with any issues or changes they encounter, subcontractors protect themselves from liabilities that can be costly.

Maintaining Profitability 

Subcontractors need to accurately document their work on the jobsite to ensure that they are adequately paid for their time and impact. Tracking data such as hours worked and staff on the jobsite during different phases of the project can help support payment justification. Subcontractors with an easy-to-use data management software can run daily reports to share with GCs, owners or other interested parties to document their impact. 

Another way subcontractors can protect profitability with data is by documenting any vital information about issues on the jobsite and sharing this information with GCs. Recording this data helps subcontractors make sure they are not held responsible for issues that are outside of their control while also providing support for payment of lost hours. Keeping these field notes up-to-date helps subcontractors stay profitable by addressing any issues that affect their work early in the project timeline and documenting problems that can lead to liabilities after closeout.

Reducing Overall Risks

Having access to accurate and timely data can also help subcontractors mitigate risks during the project and after closeout. Being able to go back and track the story of the project is important, especially in the case of any discrepancies or questions regarding changes in the work.  

By tracking their own data, subcontractors can work to diminish the risks involved with undocumented work or manual processes that may require proof for payment.  

Data is also important when helping subcontractors mitigate liabilities involved with maintenance and service contracts. Subcontractors need to be able to show accurate and complete data documenting any change orders throughout the project lifecycle. Without the data to support these project changes, subcontractors may be responsible for significant amounts of work or additional costs.

Using Data to Support Subcontractors

If subcontractors want their data to work for them, they need to ensure that it’s accurate, portable and accessible. For a more in-depth look at why and how subcontractors can better use data to support and protect their business, download our ebook.

subs need to own data

Further Reading:  How Machine Learning Is Making Construction More Human

Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas is a Content Marketing Manager at PlanGrid. He develops PlanGrid’s content strategy and creates assets to educate their customers based on his experience working at Gilbane Building Co. and Truebeck Construction. He has more than six years of marketing experience and a Bachelor's Degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University.