5 Easy Ways to Increase Paperwork Efficiency For Your Construction Documentation through Digitization



The construction industry is heavily regulated, which means that nothing can be done before the right person (someone with authority) signs the necessary document. We’re talking about a hazardous industry with equipment, materials, and property worth so much, which is why no one wants to take a risk before they know who’s taking the responsibility.

This is why the construction industry requires so much documentation. 

This documentation needs to be kept safe and made available on demand. 

Now, it’s important that you keep in mind one thing - in the 21st century, paperwork doesn’t involve actual paper. The entirety of the business world has gone digital, and even when there’s a legacy contract to be signed, it’s usually just for ceremonial purposes. A scan or a digital equivalent is kept in a database for safekeeping and quick on-demand availability. 

So, when we say that you need to increase paperwork efficiency, what we’re really implying is that you need to figure out how to find the best available software and how to optimize their use. Here are a few tips to help you out. 

1. Audit the current system

The first thing you need to do is examine your current document management system in order to see what you’re dealing with. Chances are that there are some procedures that are lacking and that can be improved.

Even before you do this, you might want to try and figure out which software you’re using. Most likely, you have a document management system. Now, if you don’t have the system integrated with your communication channels (like Slack), you might want to reexamine your approach. Still, this is most likely not the case. 

Most such software are specially designed for integrations since they’re a crucial part of modern workflow. 

Now, consider the procedures. Sure, your team may already know them completely, but what about newcomers? How much harder will the onboarding become? Just think about it: preparing new employees to work with these tools can be very difficult. By picking a tool that’s beginner-friendlier or more intuitive, you will simplify the process for good. 

Cross-device compatibility is probably the most important thing to focus on. After all, your field teams depend on smartphones and tablets to check up on the information. This is a bond between the construction site and the headquarters, as well as a reason why real-time updates are possible in 2024. 

2. Digitalize everything

Chances are that one of the problems with migrating to the cloud lies in the fact that you have a lot of files printed out, and digitalizing them might be a challenge. Well, this doesn’t have to be the case 

Now, there’s no real problem with this from either regulatory or practical standpoints. If anything, this way, you’ll only make your processes simpler to manage and handle. Just one example of how convenient this is - a digital construction signature is just as legally valid as a wet signature.

This means that once you digitalize everything and migrate to the cloud, you’ll no longer have to wait for the document to arrive at the location. Instead, you’ll be able to sign the document remotely. Not only that, the update will become available to your team in real-time, which will further facilitate the process.

Aside from this, it’s important to stress one thing - about 7.5% of physical documents get lost or misplaced. This is a huge problem that you’ll have to solve one way or another. By digitalizing, you get a simple way out.

Here are some steps for digitizing your construction documentation:

  1. Select the right of Digital Tools: Research available options, including document management systems (DMS), collaboration platforms, and mobile apps tailored for construction documentation. Evaluate features and capabilities, such as scalability, ease of use, and compatibility with organizational needs. Consider integration capabilities to ensure chosen tools can seamlessly integrate with existing systems and processes.
  2. Develop Standardized Workflows: Design digital templates and forms for various types of construction documentation, such as daily reports, RFIs, and change orders. Define clear procedures and approval processes for document creation, review, and distribution. Provide training and support to project teams on using digital tools effectively and adhering to standardized workflows.
  3. Migrate Existing Documents: Scan and digitize paper documents using scanners or document imaging software to convert them into a digital format. Organize and categorize digital documents into a structured hierarchy, including folders, subfolders, and metadata tags, to facilitate easy search and retrieval.
  4. Integrate with Existing Systems: Establish data connections to integrate digital tools with existing project management software, accounting systems, and other relevant platforms. Customize integration settings and data mapping to align with specific project requirements and ensure accurate synchronization of information.
  5. Test and Validate: Conduct pilot testing of digitization initiatives on a smaller scale or select projects to evaluate the effectiveness and usability of digital tools and workflows. Gather feedback from end-users, project managers, and other stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and address any issues or concerns.
  6. Deployment and Training: Roll out digitization initiatives across the organization, ensuring proper communication and training to facilitate adoption. Provide ongoing support, including continuous training, technical assistance, and troubleshooting resources, to help users navigate digital tools and workflows effectively.
  7. Monitoring and Optimization: Monitor performance metrics, such as document retrieval times, error rates, and user satisfaction levels, to measure the impact of digitization efforts. Identify opportunities for optimization based on feedback, usage data, and performance metrics. Implement improvements to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and user experience.

3. Set primary objectives and goals

The next thing you need to focus on are the primary objectives and goals. 

What kind of papers are you going to handle the most? In the construction industry, we’re usually talking about work orders, contracts, and reports. These are required on a daily basis, and it’s important that you keep them in mind while setting up the system.

The reason why this is so important is because this will be the vast majority of your workflow, and if your platforms are capable of handling this, they have the majority covered already. 

Now, record retention is a huge priority when it comes to document handling. This is why it’s so important that you find a way to apply it to all documents that are necessary for compliance purposes. Again, if you do digitalize all your documents, there’s hardly any reason to delete anything. After all, this is taking just a bit of space, especially if you know how to compress files and images without losing quality

4. Centralize and automate

Centralizing data makes your life easier, regardless of whether you’re planning to analyze the data (working on a single database with uniform rules and formats) or to keep it secure. Ensuring that all the protocols and rules are honored is much easier when done with a centralized system. It’s also easier to restrict access to your own team on a need-to-know basis. 

Another thing you need to understand is the importance of deadlines in the construction industry. You’re already on a tight schedule, and there’s nothing that hurts your bottom line more than a delay. A well-oiled system will reduce the traction and make everything run smoother.

Thanks to the modern developments in the blockchain industry, we’ll soon have self-executing contracts to help us out. Before this is adopted to a greater degree, just a system of notifications set in place to tell you when you need to put something in motion will be a vast improvement.

5. Training and Support for Personnel

Providing comprehensive training and ongoing support is crucial for ensuring personnel effectively utilize digital tools and adhere to standardized workflows. This involves offering tailored training sessions to familiarize employees with the features and functionalities of the digital tools implemented for construction documentation. Additionally, ongoing support resources, such as user manuals, FAQs, and helpdesk assistance, should be readily available to address any queries or technical issues that may arise during document creation, review, or collaboration processes. Regular refresher training sessions and updates on new features or enhancements further reinforce learning and ensure continued proficiency with the digital tools, ultimately contributing to increased paperwork efficiency in construction documentation workflows.

Wrap up

Paperwork is essential to the construction industry. There are inspections to be done, work orders to be issued, safety checks to be confirmed, and even costs to be justified. All in all, it’s incredibly important that you figure out the best way to keep all this paperwork tight and tidy. Most importantly, this is not just a one-time thing. It needs to be a system, a system that you’ll be in charge of. So, when it comes to figuring out what’s what, it’s always in your best interest to improve the system, not just focus on improving individual instances.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.