Losses can be one of the most devastating aspects of working in the construction industry. While no business wants to experience loss, it’s especially painful in construction, because it touches so many different aspects. Losses can be as huge as going over budget or losing a bid, or as “small” as an incorrect number in an estimate.

bearded man with glasses in a grey and pink shirt is on a phone call, looking frustrated, and staring at a Mac laptop

At best, losses can be frustrating, and at worst, they can hurt your company’s bottom line.

These kinds of losses can result in anything from massive financial waste to more practical consequences such as not getting team bonuses, or not having the money to invest in much-needed human and technological resources. That can start snowballing: your reputation as a general contractor might suffer, you don’t get considered for huge projects, it’s harder to attract talent.

Although losses can originate both on and off the job site, an article from construction vendor Levelset notes that one of the biggest sources of loss in construction originates with poor planning and financial control in the office. Disorganized record-keeping and a lackadaisical approach to budget create a waterfall effect of mistakes that are then reflected on the job site.

Obviously, one major lesson around construction loss is that preconstruction plays a critical role. In fact, that reality is exactly why Beck Technology was founded! When we make better decisions earlier in the life a project, we can mitigate and often even eliminate common areas of loss. But while it’s great to take preventative steps to avoid loss, the truth is that missteps are always going to be inevitable. We don’t live in a perfect world, and mistakes will happen. Knowing this, it’s important to ask ourselves: what can we learn from our losses?

There are three significant takeaways we can leave with when faced with failure:

  • Make sure your construction estimating software can handle your project needs
  • Ensure that you have communication channels in place to encourage collaboration
  • Be a part of industry organizations to stay on top of cutting-edge solutions

Make sure your construction estimating software can handle your project needs

As we mentioned above, how you perform in the preconstruction phase of a project will set the foundation for the rest of the project’s lifecycle. It’s an area that traditionally has been overlooked, but that you absolutely can’t afford to underestimate.

If you’ve found too much waste happening in your projects, it’s probably a good sign that you need to check-in and make sure your construction estimating software consists of a system that allows you to remain unified and accurate throughout your preconstruction efforts. Ensuring that construction estimating software is up-to-date helps avoid two major losses: financial and time. You can’t expect success when you’re spending too many hours checking and double-checking numbers, constantly having to push through change order after change order.

two men and a woman wearing hard hats stand on concrete in a half-finished job site, looking at architectural plans,

Mitigating errors in preconstruction can help prevent greater loss on the jobsite.

Investing in an adaptable preconstruction solution also allows you greater data analysis, which can give you incredible insight into why loss happens instead of just observing that it did happen. With the right software, you can even set up estimating templates and work as a team within the same estimate at the same time, further reducing the chance for errors.

Ensure that you have communication channels in place to encourage collaboration

One of the best ways to understand where you went wrong and how you can avoid it next time is by being able to quickly and efficiently speak with not just your team, but with project owners as well. When it comes to your team, communication is absolutely vital. If everyone is operating in a different construction estimating software or doesn’t have access to the most recent estimate versions, it’s going to be difficult to stay aligned and catch problems before they get out of control.

It’s equally as important that you make sure you’re able to easily communicate with project owners. You’ll want to be sure that you can provide visual representations of the data you’re working with so that project owners can truly understand why you’re making certain decisions. This enables them to ask the right questions and helps you both understand where the other is coming from.

Be part of industry organizations to stay on top of cutting-edge solutions

Last but certainly not least, it’s critical to acknowledge that you can’t face loss alone – and that you aren’t the only one who’s going to make mistakes. While the construction industry has historically been competitive and hesitant to offer peer-to-peer guidance, that has rapidly changed over the past few decades, and today collaboration is the buzzword of the day.

If you want to be able to truly learn from your losses, the best place to do so is often at industry conferences and workshops like the annual Advancing Preconstruction conference and the ASPE Summit. And don’t be afraid to join local chapters of these organizations too.

Additionally, seek out online communities too. Beck Technology provides the DESTINI Suite community, which allows anyone – even those who don’t use DESTINI products – to sign up and discuss preconstruction challenges and solutions.

What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from loss?

 

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