Going digital can do wonders for civil engineers. Source: Shutterstock

Going digital can do wonders for civil engineers. Source: Shutterstock

Why civil engineers need digital contract and document management

DOCUMENTATION in the construction industry is a critical part of the civil engineers’ job. In the digital age, unfortunately, not many have gone digital.

In some parts of the world, the construction industry is required by law to file documents and bid for tenders digitally, which is why they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to digital contract and document management.

However, for the vast majority in the APAC, contracts & documents in the construction industry are still either paper-based or use only basic digital solutions such as scanning and storage.

This is something that urgently needs to change — not just to ensure engineers keep up with the times but also to avoid errors and mistakes and drive efficiencies that were previously impossible.

Here are five reasons why construction engineers need to start migrating to a reliable digital contract and document management solution:

# 1 | Better overall management of time and resources

The construction business is complicated and requires a number of different teams to work on projects, on-site and in the corporate office.

From staffing and resourcing to financing and civic permissions, the average civil engineer deals with at least 10 teams for every project they look after.

Drafting and using digital contracts and documents to manage all the different rates, plans, and schedules help keep the overall project in check and allow managers to generate reports frequently, at the touch of a button, to understand what’s going to plan and what needs to be reviewed.

# 2 | Smarter ways to track markups and amendments

In the construction business, changes to scope are made quite often depending on permits from municipal bodies, physical characteristics of the project discovered on-site, and many other factors.

Digital contracts and documents, in such an environment, help keep everyone on the same page and ensure that it is easy to not only make the changes but also to convey changes electronically and automatically to relevant teams.

True, recent developments in technology are making it possible to plan construction projects to perfection, but digital recordkeeping and management, especially of contracts and works documents, is probably one of the critical first steps for those going in the high-tech direction in this space.

# 3 | More efficient conflict resolution, even off-site

Conflicts are common in the construction industry, because projects often involve multiple teams simultaneously working on different parts of the project.

In such environments, conflicts slow things down and can send the project off-track, increasing costs significantly.

Using a digital contract and document management solution helps civil engineers get notifications from their teams, on the field and in the office, about any immediate or upcoming conflicts.

Of course, such tools also help resolve conflicts quickly by allowing teams to search relevant documentation and collaborate online to make decisions that avoid cost overruns and ensure the job meets specifications.

It also allows for the creation of a dashboard to help avoid such conflicts in the first place since all team-members typically have access to the same data and the same tools and data to make smart estimates and choices.

# 4 | Better organization of supporting media

Civil engineers use photos and videos for a variety of purposes — from internal process auditing to external works certifications — and this is where an electronic or digital contract and document management solution really helps.

It allows for professionals and their teams to take pictures of the project at various stages, and attach them to relevant documents without risking any risk of loss or damage (as with traditional printed photos and video CDs).

Further, in the future, some specialist software packages might provide AI-powered identification tools to help civil engineers search the gallery of photos and videos without labeling them manually. AI could also help with the creation of 3D models in the future, from photos already in the gallery.

# 5 | Intelligent planning and forecasting

Businesses love digital solutions because it makes it possible to collect data in a structured manner, which ultimately allows for managers to analyze the data and create insights for better future scenarios.

With digital contract and document management in the construction industry, civil engineers could immediately use advanced algorithms and solutions to create interesting forecasts about time, costs, and labor among other things.

These forecasts could potentially help in keeping a stronger check on budgets but also allow the management to plan the project in a way that optimizes costs and quality while maximizing returns.

Sometimes, returns and compensation for construction contracts are also tied to timelines. Using such a digital solution could help ensure the team stays on on-schedule and is able to collect their fee without any penalties.