The construction industry

Construction is a huge industry in the UK; in 2019, it added £117 billion to the UK economy, making up 6% of the total. 

The sector provides 6.6% of all jobs in the UK, employing more than 1.28 million workers throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Whilst these financial statistics paint a positive picture and suggest there is a lot of money to be made within construction, there are inevitably some issues any construction firm must address in order to succeed.

 

The environment

The construction industry is a massive contributor to global warming, using nearly 5% of all the UK’s power consumption, and producing 40 million tonnes of CO2 a year. 

Further research suggests construction is responsible for 50% of waste going to landfill, 40% of water pollution, and 23% of air pollution. This is a huge environmental footprint.

The “Construction 2025 Strategy” was issued by the government in 2013 to reduce the environmental impact of the industry, aiming to cut greenhouse gas production by 50% from the 1990 figure.

Methods like using hybrid vehicles for transport, improving waste recycling and management, utilising greener construction methods, and even reducing project runtime are all being used throughout the industry to improve environmental compliance.

 

Efficiency

Another huge issue is efficiency. Statistics from 2016 suggest just 25% of projects within the last 3 years came within 10% of their original deadline; even fewer met the deadline. Further, only 31% came within 10% of their original budget.

Large construction projects are even less efficient, taking on average 20% longer and ending up 80% more expensive than predicted.

This is another area targeted by the “Construction 2025” initiative, with the aim to reduce the time taken from inception to project completion by 50%. 

Improved planning methods, experienced staff, and utilising the right technology can all help improve efficiency. 

 

Skills shortages

With 21% of construction workers aged over 55, and only 9% under 24, there is a growing problem with staffing in the construction industry. 

Younger people aren’t being recruited fast enough to keep up with demand, due to their perceptions of the industry or lack of skill-building opportunities such as apprenticeships.

217,000 more construction workers are needed within the next 4 years alone in order to keep up with current requirements. This is made trickier by the new laws on employing European workers that apply since leaving the EU.

 

Brexit

Within the last year, the UK has lost more than a quarter of its EU-born construction workers, with London alone losing 23,000 workers. 

Statistics show a third of EU construction workers have thought about quitting and returning home due to Brexit.

But staffing is just one aspect of construction affected by Brexit. Goods and products from the EU are now subject to additional checks, long delays during transport, and additional import fees. With 64% of building materials imported from the EU, this could have serious consequences.

 

COVID-19

At the start of the pandemic, construction sites closed around the world, having a huge impact on the sector. Furlough and social distancing caused issues with staffing, reducing productivity and slowing build times down by up to 7%

With factories and haulage companies shut around the world, there have been issues with sourcing the equipment and components required. 

Estimates suggest Coronavirus has caused construction output to fall by 25%, affecting both new build construction and maintenance construction.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom as the government has created billions of pounds worth of grants to help support the industry and help get things back to normal.

 

Communication

The Project Management Institute suggests poor communication is responsible for a third of failed construction projects.

Projects that feature highly effective communication are not only more likely to finish on time and meet all their targets, but are much more likely to be completed within their specified budget.

Poor communication can not only cause a host of delays, but can also result in workplace injuries, and issues with stakeholder goals leading to project do-overs.

Popular industry methods to improve communication include:

  • Scheduling regular meetings

  • Adequate training for everyone

  • Encouraging openness

  • Choosing the right communication method

The right technology can help communication immensely; over 70% of contractors believe technology helps improve productivity, scheduling and safety.

construction manager CMS

How can construction CRM software help?

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a type of business management software that ensures excellent communication between construction companies and clients. Not only does it help to manage your customer relationships,  but it helps streamline your whole operation. 

Construction CRM software helps you track project tasks and processes within your organisation, but also with external contractors and clients. A quality CRM tool can be a great way to ensure excellent communication throughout your organisation, improving project outcomes and reducing failure rates.

By using CRM software, construction project management is simpler, with customer, contractor, stakeholder, and all other relationships managed in one really simple system. 

Relationships are not only improved with clients, but staff are more involved throughout all stages of the project. This can help improve working conditions and encourages continuity of staff.

Effective financial forecasting relies on knowledge of all aspects of project generation, creation, and continuation; the right construction management software can help you achieve this. Whilst leaving the EU comes with some problems, by including current international trade and customs information into your operating system, you can plan ahead and minimise disruption to your projects.

With additional features like client tracking, sales pipeline management, and novel project management tools, quality relationship management software can be the single construction management platform you need to improve efficiency. 

 

The main benefits of using construction CRM software

Improved relationships

Whether it be with current or prospective clients, a CRM project management platform allows consistent task completion, high-quality customer service with fast response times, and improves future lead generation.

With options to automate customer responses, ensuring no one goes unanswered, and cloud-based customer databases to facilitate targeted marketing, construction CRM can also help drive sales.

 

Quality teamwork

Poor organisation or communication leads to duplication, missed tasks, and wasted time. If all of your team can communicate and access all the information they need using one CRM-based project management tool, the process becomes streamlined and user friendly.

By allowing external contractors, engineers, and architects access to your CRM-based project management software, you can collaborate even more successfully.

 

Up-to-date knowledge

With information spread across multiple spreadsheets, documents, and locations, it can be difficult to access what you need and to plan accordingly.

A cloud-based construction management software designed to keep all crucial information in one place, that’s frequently updated and thorough, can help immensely with pipeline management.

A good overview of your current projects allows you to plan and accept new jobs, whilst ensuring everything is completed and deadlines are met. Detailed project information also helps you analyse your environmental impact, and allows you to put plans in place on how to improve your company’s carbon footprint.

construction site

Custom vs off-the-shelf construction CRM software

So you’ve decided that CRM software would benefit your business, but are finding it difficult to choose from the options on the market.

The main decision you have to make is whether to opt for a pre-existing pay-per-month product, or to opt for custom CRM software created specifically for your organisation.

Off-the-shelf options like Hubspot CRM may seem initially appealing. They have lower upfront costs compared to custom products, and may even offer an initial free trial to see whether the software is right for you. These business management products are ready to go, with quick installation times and minimal delays before you can get started. 

However, these ready-made software options come as standardised products with few customisation options.

This can be fine for some companies if you are flexible with your requirements., However, you may be left with CRM software that doesn’t include everything you need. 

Alternatively, you may find a software package that has everything you’re looking for, but may also include extra unnecessary features that can be confusing for you and your staff.

Here’s where custom software comes in. By designing your own CRM software, you will get a tailor-made product that meets all your specifications without any unwanted additions. 

Whilst the initial cost may be higher, you will own the product outright without having to pay any ongoing monthly fees, saving you money in the long term.

The initial production time is admittedly longer, but you gain a unique, quality product that fits with your company values and can be expanded as your organisation grows. 

 

Laracle can develop your construction CRM software

Laracle is an award-winning software development company based in the UK that specialises in creating bespoke software products.

None of our software is ever recycled between clients, and is tailor-made to your specifications.

If you’re interested to hear more about what we do and how we can help create your ideal CRM software, contact us today.

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