Construction team in discussion; minimize construction project disputes concept

How Centralized Data Helps Trade Contractors Minimize Construction Project Disputes

Disagreements are common in the construction industry, but centralized data can help minimize construction project disputes.

Reducing disputes is crucial; project issues cause significant project delivery delays and cost overruns if they aren’t quickly resolved. One study conducted by global research firm HKA found that construction companies across the globe lost about $48.6 billion to disputes analyzed over the 2018-2020 period in question.

While there are myriad reasons for these disputes, misinformation and confusion are at the center of most of them. That’s why construction trade contractors need to prioritize the centralization of project data.

To prevent and resolve disputes so jobs continue to run as smoothly as possible, all project stakeholders need to have access to accurate, real-time information. The only way to ensure this level of accessibility is to store all project data in one central location.

Centralized Data Gives Everyone Access to the Same Information

“Construction projects are rich in data,” writes Mark Curties, a director at the global business advisory firm FTI Consulting. That abundance can give you insights into the health of your projects, help you track their progress, and make more informed business decisions. In short, the more data the better. 

The problem comes in when data is decentralized. When everyone is consuming different project-related information, they make different assumptions and reach different conclusions about the details and progression of projects. In the end, nobody can be sure who is right and disputes arise.

To minimize the risk of disputes and more quickly resolve those that do arise, all project stakeholders need to have access to the most up-to-date information. That means doing away with binders and spreadsheets as data-gathering tools and instead adopting the right technology. This will move data from different silos based on who owns it to one, centralized location for everyone to access. 

Centralized Data Improves Communication by Reducing Confusion

Miscommunication leads to disputes. 

When project stakeholders fail to communicate accurate information throughout a project, it leads to confusion and conflicts. This is a common problem for construction companies whose data is decentralized. When every team owns their own data, it prevents collaboration because everyone is working with different information which then causes friction on the project. 

Centralized data is key to overcoming miscommunication troubles. 

As the team at BCI Construction explains, “limiting confusion on a job site involves delivering timely, consistent information to all team members that need it.” When you centralize data, you minimize the risk of miscommunication because everyone is working with the same information. There is less room for confusion. Again, adopting the right software is the means for putting an end to miscommunication. 

Construction engineer pausing, head in hand; minimize construction project disputes concept

Construction Project Management Software Helps Trade Contractors Avoid Disputes

The digital tool you need to centralize data and subsequently minimize disputes is construction project management software, like eSUB. The technology helps in two key ways — it streamlines processes for project documentation and it centralizes data. 

The tool makes it easy for everyone to digitally input their project data from any location, ensuring uniformity around data collection and storage. Teams can share working documents and input information that is instantaneously accessible to everyone. This eliminates confusion, facilitates better communication, and encourages more productive collaboration. 

The immediate access to data is particularly critical when you are dealing with a dispute. “Real-time data can help to get everyone on the same page instantaneously,” explains Cas Stillwell at delivery platform Voyage Control.

When all parties can quickly access information, such as daily reports, project logs, timesheets, field notes, drawings, job costs, and communications, disputes can be resolved more quickly. This reduces the risk that a dispute will negatively impact a project’s timeline and budget. 

Additionally, documentation and data are going to be critical to eliminating doubt and strengthening your position if you have to defend yourself in a dispute. When Thermal Construction found themselves in that position, the company was able to quickly access the information it needed to back up its claims and quickly settle the issue.

“Because of the field notes and the different things we had reports for, we had the documentation to prove what happened on the job,” says Thermal Construction co-owner Sheila Myers.

Nobody likes having to deal with disputes, but they are going to arise. To settle them quickly and mitigate their impact on your projects, it’s imperative that everyone have access to real-time data. When project data is centralized, all stakeholders have the same information which eliminates the confusion that leads to disputes.  

To learn more about how software can help you prevent and resolve disputes, schedule a demo of eSUB Cloud today.

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