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Customized Project Reporting that Turns the Lights On

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Not all reports are created equal. While status reports from within your project are necessary and help keep your project on track, higher-view reports that collect data over time across your project portfolio can give you different insights––an invaluable bird’s-eye perspective revealing trends, both good and bad, that may have become inadvertently native to your project approach. 

Are you over-reliant on a particular subcontractor or subcontractors? Are some of your familiar subs consistently underestimating the job? Are your safety code violators consistently the same folks?

A cloud-based construction software solution that allows the easy creation of your own customized reports provides actionable intel on demand, completely tailored to your needs ––the info you need to predict and reduce project risks from the start. These days, a good cloud-based construction software solution features a report engine through which one can build endlessly customizable project report types. 

**Here are 10 recommended construction project reports––both portfolio-spanning, and from single projects––that cut to the chase and work wonders for the decision-making process.

1. Change Events by Type

If your projects are featuring the same types of change events over and over, what can you learn from that? Which changes are being consistently voided and which are being approved? Are certain owners so consistent in their change requests that it might be possible to actually build those behaviors into the bid? Change orders are among the most random-seeming of project phenomena––until you combine several projects and spot the change order trends.   

2. Buyout Percentage

What remains to be paid across your various subcontracts? This report can calculate as a percentage drawn against your commitment, or as a percentage paid out against your commitment, allowing you and the PM to spot any oncoming trouble involving payout to a sub. This report makes you keenly aware of where you stand on these commitments to your subs, particularly in the sometimes chaotic final stages of a job. 

3. Net Change Orders by Contract

A report that starkly compares a project’s change orders against its original contract with the owner can tell you a lot, particularly where trends are revealed. Getting a handle on which types of jobs or which owners bring about a lot of change orders can help you prepare when planning similar projects with the same owners in the future. It’s all about avoiding the element of surprise. 

4. Schedule Impact by Subcontractor

We all know what it means to have the schedule “impacted.” This report collects in plain view all the schedule changes and aligns them to the responsible subs. This is not a punitive exercise, and your sub would be the first to agree. This is simply a way to ensure that projects stay on schedule. Ideally, this report would be run across projects to look for a particular subcontractor who may be consistently off-schedule to some degree. But it could also be run within a single project to see who is best managing their time. 

5. Ball in Court for All Action Items Across Projects

Is there any more descriptive report name than “Ball in Court”? This is a performance report that offers a clear glimpse of an individual’s ability to manage the amount of work on his or her plate. A good cloud-based software reports program will allow a report of this kind to update automatically, based on the defined reporting parameters. This real time, dynamically updated snapshot of individual responsibility is the perfect report to send to your PMs at the beginning of a work week, providing them the overview and clarity that help them keep team members aware of the jobs they’re juggling and where each job stands in the completion spectrum at that moment. 

6. Ball in Court Duration by Individual

How long is a submittal taking to get approved? How long is it taking the design team to respond, on average? This report uses data collected over a given timeframe to peg average response times to individual people and processes. This report can do two very useful things: 1) show you which processes are tending to take longer than they should 2) point out when that delay is “in the court” of the owner’s design team, and not caused by your people onsite.

7. Company-Wide Safety Report

This customized report should answer these questions: 

  • How many safety issues am I averaging per project? 
  • Are there any particular teams or individuals who consistently run afoul of safety mandates?
  • Are the same sorts of violations happening again and again? 
  • Who are the shining stars whose safety practices should be highlighted and used to influence company culture via your tool box talks? 

From a macro standpoint, safety data collected from several projects over time can give you an x-ray into individual safety habits, the positive and the negative, and even indicate how violations trend within the various trades on your job site. Find the violation patterns, address them, and reduce OSHA’s citations. They’ll thank you for saving them paper, and possibly saving lives. 

8. Master Equipment Log

Also known as “where’s all my stuff?” this report brings your scattered hardware into one report, so you can see at a glance where all your machinery is allocated, where there may be unnecessary “bunching” of resources, and what equipment will be coming available as various projects wrap––freeing equipment up for use at your other sites. 

9. Punch List by Contractor

Low bids more or less drive the subcontractor hire, but how about using more detailed metrics to see who is doing quality work, and who is doing subpar work? Are certain subs consistently closing out jobs and not cleaning out their Punch List items? If you aggregate data from several projects over time, what are Punch List response times by sub? Are some subs thrown by a particular kind of project, as reflected in their increased punch list items?

10. Onsite Data Report

This one is all about submittals; a report that shows which subcontractors are expecting to receive which materials and equipment throughout the week. With this info in hand, the superintendent can knowledgeably manage the physical job site space––and also know, without having to check with the sub, when something is delayed. Send this report out at the beginning of the week and everyone will have the necessary data, in real time.  

The construction industry has been collecting data for decades, inadvertently and otherwise. The technological means to make actionable use of all this collected info is a comparatively recent development, and the sea-change in construction has been dramatic. The very much “human-powered” construction sector will continue to work smarter, safer, and more efficiently by leveraging the evolving cloud-based software solutions available. And it all comes down to the humble Report. The Educated Guess has been replaced with fact-driven analysis. It’s about time! 


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