From chaos to control: how the right software can help you with preconstruction workforce planning

From chaos to control: how the right software can help you with preconstruction workforce planning

Preconstruction workforce planning presents a unique set of challenges for contractors. These challenges are specifically felt by preconstruction managers who have the critical task of coordinating people and tasks before the actual construction begins.

A preconstruction manager’s primary goal is to sort and handle the number of opportunities and projects from your business development team. That means the initial assessment, feasibility, potential risk, and whether or not there are enough people to help manage them all. To do that well, you need clear visibility of available people for the estimates, bids, and budgets needed. If you don’t, it’s borderline impossible to know if the project can even be completed, let alone completed on time.

That’s just dealing with projects and opportunities as they come in. That doesn’t even account for how agile the preconstruction process needs to be once it’s in flight. Tasks are shorter and constantly change, dates shift, and deliverables get pushed back or bumped up.

Effective preconstruction workforce planning can make the difference between a project running smoothly and on schedule or being plagued by chaos, leading to costly delays and inefficiencies.

Traditional methods of preconstruction workforce planning, such as spreadsheets, are prone to errors. These tools are not built specifically for the complexities of preconstruction and fail to provide the necessary visibility and flexibility that preconstruction managers need. 

Addressing these problems is Bridgit Bench’s Precon Module, specifically designed to cater to the needs of preconstruction managers. It’s built to handle shorter tasks that frequently shift, helping your preconstruction team better manage tasks and resources. 

The trouble with workforce planning for preconstruction

Spreadsheets for workforce planning have long been the industry norm, but they’re riddled with problems that can make this approach inefficient and error-prone. A significant challenge is the lack of visibility on team utilization and task assignments.

With so many moving parts in preconstruction, tracking what each team member is doing, how their time is utilized, and which tasks they’re assigned becomes chaotic quickly. The process becomes even more complicated when tasks shift, which they frequently do in preconstruction. Manual spreadsheet updates can lead to errors and inconsistencies, causing disruptions and delays in the planning process. This lack of streamlined tracking can put projects at risk and undermine the efficiency of your workforce.

Lack of flexibility

Moreover, spreadsheet planning (and any other manual method of workforce planning) lacks flexibility. The constant back-and-forth between project sheets and personnel lists to identify available and qualified people can drain time and resources. The absence of a flexible system can stifle responsiveness and hinder your ability to adapt to shifting project timelines.

Also, the user interface severely strains how you can make changes in a spreadsheet. It starts as a blank canvas of possibilities, but the longer you work in a spreadsheet, the more calcified it gets until it’s only legible to one person. The result is that collaboration gets stifled, and information sits in a silo.

Limited visibility and utilization

Visibility is paramount for preconstruction workforce planning. Preconstruction managers need to know what tasks are being worked on, who’s working on them, and how much of their time is being allocated to assigned tasks. The spreadsheet-driven process offers little to no visibility into these critical aspects. 

This lack of insight can lead to underutilization or overloading of team members. Limited visibility can result in overlooked tasks or dependencies, compounding project risks.

How Bridgit Bench addresses preconstruction planning 

Bridgit Bench’s Precon Module is designed to simplify the planning process. Users can easily plan, track, and assign team members to preconstruction tasks in a centralized place. The platform allows users to shift tasks seamlessly as project demands change, reducing the potential for errors and miscommunications. As a result, your team can stay agile and responsive to changing project needs. You’ll also get real-time updates and reminders, enhancing the accuracy of workforce planning and scheduling.

Enhanced flexibility

A hallmark of Bridgit Bench is its flexibility. You’ll have immediate insight into available and qualified personnel for each project. This enables swift and informed decision-making from anywhere in the tool, reducing the need for a constant back-and-forth between different documents and sources of information.

Everyone involved, from project managers to field personnel, can access relevant data, ensuring everyone has the necessary visibility to perform their tasks.

Increased visibility and utilization

Additionally, Bridgit Bench will give you visibility into preconstruction tasks and the individuals assigned to them. You’ll be able to quickly assess the status of tasks and the utilization of different team members. You can generate reports that clearly show utilization rates across the preconstruction team. By knowing this, you’ll see if people are underutilized or if they’re being overworked.

Seamless collaboration with operations

With precon and construction workforce planning in the same tool, operations can have better visibility on how different pursuits are taking shape and how the pipeline ahead of them is developing. This helps ops plan and equip their team for the projects on the horizon. Ops and precon can also collaborate more effectively as projects take shape, building out project roles and allocating people to pursuits as they become more likely to be awarded so the team can accurately forecast if additional resources will be required.

The right workforce planning tool can streamline your team’s operations, enhancing visibility, flexibility, and efficiency. Bridgit Bench’s Precon Module is specifically designed to address these needs, providing a solution that moves beyond the limitations and inefficiencies of spreadsheet-based planning.

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Nemanja Simic headshot

Nemanja Simic

Nem is a content writer at Bridgit. He started his career in business development, where he spoke to contractors daily, providing him with a deep understanding of the problems around workforce planning in the construction industry. Using this insight, Nem developed an approach to provide digestible, data-backed advice to help contractors get the most out of their workforce strategies.

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