As COVID-19 lockdowns begin to lift around the world, there are several key challenges the construction industry will face upon returning to site.
Chief amongst these are: the effective management of supply chains, guaranteeing positive cash flow, implementing effective project planning that factors in additional health and safety requirements, working with a diminished pool of subcontractors, and managing projects within budget to saves costs wherever possible.
The task of reopening your business will not be an easy one but—with over 35 years’ experience as a global supplier of construction and engineering solutions—CCS has the expertise and software to ensure your organisation takes control of the costs in order to get you up and running as seamlessly as possible.
Here are some practical tips and ways CCS can help mitigate the potential challenges listed above:
Managing your supply chain
Linking your estimate to your procurement is the first step in managing your supply chain as this will provide you with precise insights into what you need and when you need it.
By using first principles estimating, Candy from CCS can produce a listing of what is needed by resource type, including how much is needed, and—by linking your estimate to a project plan—when the resource is needed.
By managing these individual resources, you are not only able to plan effectively but also limit wastage, over buying which puts strain on your limited cash flow, and the demand for resources that could be in short supply.
Being able to track prices in an online procurement system and using an efficient eRFQ (Electronic Request for Quotation) also enables better buying. The value of this data gives you control over resources according to quantity, rate and overall budget; all linked back to what is allowed in terms of the estimate/tender. This data cannot be underestimated.
An online procurement system with a bespoke workflow gives stakeholders complete control over resources from tender/estimate with total budget visibility (of quantity, rate and amount) throughout the workflow approval process.
Using ‘required delivery dates’ versus the ‘actual delivery date’ in BuildSmart’s Procurement Module, you are empowered with the logistical information needed to manage the delivery of materials to site and to monitor how your supply chain is meeting your requirements. This information is extremely valuable as it allows you to manage and report on these critical dates instantly.
After linking an estimate to your planning, linking time to money and adding some default parameters, a project’s cash flow is automatically generated by Candy.
By assessing the workforce skills of the teams needed to perform site-specific tasks, Candy can provide manpower information and reports down to the hours required per site activity. By linking this data to your project plan, you can then identify when specific skills and resources need to be deployed.
Certification & Inspections
All certification and inspection requirements (for technicians, operators, plant and equipment) must be recorded with expiry dates and reports. The software you use should also be able to issue automated notifications, allowing you to plan and manage your certifications so you remain compliant.
Project planning: Health & Safety
Before returning to work, your project programmes will need to be adjusted to factor in the time disruptions brought about by temporary site closures as well as new health and safety requirements. These new measures will affect both production and your ability to deploy people on-site in a timeous fashion. Fortunately, with Candy’s easy-to-use cost worksheets, the impact of social distancing restrictions can be recalculated at the press of a button.
With subcontractors representing the largest pool of self-employed individuals in the construction sector, it is important to get them back to work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, some may have not survived these economically challenging times.
Upon returning to work, subcontractors—like all resources—should be managed using a single integrated system. With CCS software, linking the subcontractors BOQ (Bill Of Quantities) or package award to the certification process gives you control over awarded rates and quantities with the added value of revealing any variance related to claimed, certified and paid rates and quantities.
Having the ability to manage and report on subcontractors individually, across different projects and business units while focusing on specific tasks, also provides you with valuable information regarding the performance of all your subcontractors.
Every cent counts. When it comes to costs, there is a marked difference between reporting on expenses and managing them, with cost reporting being a reactive process and cost control being proactive.
As you return to work, upstream control is imperative and requires that all costs of a construction project be monitored across labour, materials, plant, subcontractors, indirect costs and overheads. Tracking each of these categories requires an integrated platform that can factor in the individual nuances of each one. For example, materials and subcontractors are not tracked in the same way.
A need for materials begins with a resource requirement derived from a first-principles priced estimate; these are controlled by quantity, rate and overall budget which are dynamically linked to the project requirements. These must also take into account constant and daily changes.
Subcontractors, on the other hand, are controlled and measured against a BOQ and/or a package award, assessed and certified according to work done, while tracking and managing retentions and contra charges.
Utilising a software application that tracks
- what you should have spent
- what you have spent
- what is still to be spent (cost to complete)
will give you a real-time breakdown of both your past, current and future spending. You may not be able to change what has happened, but you can plan effectively for what lies ahead. And, that can make all the difference.
A real-time and accurate cost report will provide a wealth of information to your project and management teams. Giving them a comprehensive view of a project’s status and helping them make informed decisions regarding commercial, financial and operational issues.
As an integrated solution from CCS, Candy and BuildSmart work together to ensure all teams are always on the same page and working with the same results—providing you with a single source of truth.
Built to handle extreme change, CCS can help you drive proactive project management post COVID-19 and beyond. Learn more here.