Know What You Need To Know
In the past three posts in this series we outlined several reasons for why an Owner should require some collaborative construction project management software be used on their construction project. Whether it be gaining necessary visibility on a project or providing a platform and a process for the entire team to document, track and manage critical data, owner-focused software is essential for a good project outcome.
So why do owners still feel reluctant to insist on software being used by the team?
First, most owners never think about the assumed risk they have by not collecting the necessary information along the way. The natural tendency is for the owner to assume that the correct information is tracked by all parties and that the information will be provided to them if requested. In most cases this may be true, however if an issue arises on the project, those project stakeholders may circle the wagons and be less than forthcoming if they perceive they may be a party to a legal action.
A recent conversation with an architect illustrated this point brilliantly. When he asked what our software does for the project team and we explained the visibility and long-term retention of the data for the owner, he got extremely animated. He expressed his concern with being required to retain or store documentation beyond what he is "contractually obligated" to retain. He said he gets rid of "everything" that he isn't required to keep by the letter of the contract. "Why would I open myself up to liability?" was his question.
Though we could see his point, the attitude was a bit alarming. It illustrated the reason owners should think seriously about making an owner-focused software a requirement.
What isn't being saved for fear that it might be used against a project stakeholder is the real concern.
The owner really puts themselves at risk If a unified platform is not used for storing all designs, documents and communications. Tracking and managing important construction data and walking away at closeout with a complete and accurate memorialization of all the project data really is important for the owner. What if something does arise post-construction that requires action on a defect, warrant or legal enforcement?
He who has the data wins the day.
Owner-focused software returns control back to the owner. It equips them with a process and approach that can easily be understood and leveraged by the entire construction team. No more excuses that a stakeholder didn't seen an RFI. No reason to miss a Submittal deadline. Absolutely no way you can be operating from the wrong set of drawings. Oh and those inspections, well they can't be overlooked or missed because they are recorded in the project software daily.
Owners should not be afraid to demand that a process like this type of software be used. In fact, if they were to make it a requirement of the contract, everyone will understand the rules to play by. Having a system in place like software lets the entire team know in no uncertain terms what the owner expects and demands. The right construction partners on every level from the project managers to the contractors to the subs, the architects to the engineers, everyone will understand the request and will work to comply if they really want to work on the project.
As we close out this owner-focused series, let us make one last point. Owners are an essential component to every project. No, not just because they are writing the checks, but because it's ultimately their vision and dream that will be built. They should never fear asking for a seat at the table and requiring the team keep them in the information loop. If they experience push back from the team, they need to choose a new team.
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