How to choose the right software for document management in construction?
Am I working with the latest version of the document? For many building professionals, this question is of vital importance. In practice, figuring this out results in wasting unnecessary resources and delays. A good document management system for the construction industry ensures that this does not happen to you.
What does a document management system do?
It is always useful to be sure that you are working in the latest version of a document. Especially if you are working with several people in or on the same document. This prevents you from making changes in an old document and then overwriting a newer version.
It is also pleasant to be able to share files easily. For example, when you are working on an assignment with different parties.
Qualitative document management helps you in doing so. With a document management system (DMS), you save documents in one central location. All those involved can access the documents and everyone is sure that they are working with the latest version.
In case of a conflict, you can check whether everything has been checked by the parties involved and whether they have given their approval.
The importance of a document management system in the construction industry
As a project manager in construction, you have to deal with many parties. Structural work, kitchens, sanitary facilities, tiles, floors and electricity are often all provided by different parties. And there is a lot of mutual cooperation happening.
With a good document management system in construction, you give all parties involved access to specific folders and documents and you are able to send large files to one another.
You can also see who uploaded what and when. In case there is a conflict, you can check whether everything has been checked by the parties involved and whether they have given their approval. This prevents ‘yes-no’ discussions and gives you more legal certainty.
Another advantage of document management is that you know for certain that everyone works with the latest version of a document. For example, placing a QR code on a construction drawing is a useful feature of document management in construction. You scan the drawing and immediately see whether you are working with the latest version. If that is not the case, you receive a notification.
The biggest disadvantage of a generic package is that you actually buy an empty shell.
Generic package or sector-specific?
If you want to apply document management in the construction industry, you can choose from various software packages. You can either go for a generic DMS, or for software specifically aimed at construction related projects. The latter has a number of advantages:
- Functionalities and workflows geared to construction projects;
- Specific features for the construction industry that you do not get with generic solutions;
- Better communication and advice: supplier has experience in the construction industry.
The biggest disadvantage of a generic package is that you actually buy an empty shell. You then need an army of consultants and programmers to customize it. It is much easier to directly choose software that has been specially designed for projects in the construction industry and provides all the features you need.
Which functionalities should certainly not be missed in a document management system?
Convinced of the value of a DMS for the construction industry? In your search for the perfect software, make sure that it contains all the functionalities you need. As far as we are concerned, these features are essential:
- Share access to specific folders and files. Both with users and with external parties;
- Accessible from the cloud and from different devices. Also from the construction site;
- Digital stamping of drawings;
- Being able to send repro orders;
- Automatic version management and control;
- Date and time recording of each action;
- Ability to add real-time comments to drawings and documents;
- Automatically share modifications and new files with stakeholders;
- Integrated workflows tailored to construction projects;
- Demonstrably good security. For example, by means of ISO certification.