• BuildCenter Team

How to get progress reports from work crews to the office




Introduction

Construction crews work hard to make progress on their assigned task every single workday. The question is…..how much progress did they make? This question is important when planning out projects and for assigning workers to projects. It often feels like a juggling act trying to get the right workers to the job that needs them the most. Getting good, reliable progress reports on what was accomplished is not alway easy and we can’t always physically check every job to see for ourselves.


In this blog, we’ll discuss various ways to get those critical updates everyday. Some are low tech and some are high tech but all of them will provide the details you need to make better decisions and be more productive.


What is a field progress report and why does it matter?

A field progress report is where the workers or foreman in the field provide the project manager or owner with an update on how much was accomplished for that day. For example, they might be building a fence and they can report that 7 out of 10 sections of fence have been installed. Another example is an electrical company doing rough-in work on a project. The worker may report that the rough in is 50% complete.


How to get field progress reports?

Step one is to get the responsibility of reporting placed on the field crews…..not the office. Requiring the field to do a simple 5 min update every day should not be a burden on them, however it may take some reminding until they develop this as a habit.


Here are different methods of reporting:


1. Phone Calls:

Let’s face it….a simple phone call to each project can get you an update right? Yes, this is the most common way that small construction firms work. They rely on a phone conversation to relay the progress from the forman or worker to the owner/PM. That works if you are small and only have a few projects happening and you don’t forget to make that daily phone call. This method breaks down quickly when there are more projects or the PM get’s so busy they forget to make the phone call. This is why we need a daily routine that is initiated by the field, not the office.


2. Text messages:

This is a common method for small companies. Your workers can send a text message reporting their progress before leaving the job site. You will want to give the crew some direction on what you want them to report and how. For example, reporting % complete is helpful vs. just stating that they “finished roughing in the break room and offices”. This is less helpful since you don’t know what is still remaining. Having them fill out a pre-made paper form and taking a photo of it would be a good upgrade. This form could have questions that you want answered each day. The field crew fills out the form and takes a photo and texts that to the office each day. This can work well as long as they don’t run out of paper forms. Here is an example.


3. Progress Photos:

Having the crews text photos showing the work completed is a great way to visually see the progress. You may see something that reminds you to take action or communicate information to the field.


4. Facetime calls:

Sometimes a text or a phone call is just not enough. With today’s smartphones, facetime is a great way to “look around” when you can’t physically be there. Use this method when you can’t be there and you need to look at specific areas of work.


5. Phone/Tablet App:

Construction apps like buildcenter.com open up a whole new world of possibilities with reporting. Workers would have an app on their phone that allows them to clock in and out of the job. When they are clocking out, they are prompted with questions. They can fill out a simple progress report and add photos of the work completed. This works very well because the workers don’t have to remember to do the reporting…..it reminds them every day when they clock out. Once the information is reported, the office can see the updates via a web browser and then make good decisions about how to proceed with the project.


Summary

The construction industry is evolving like many other industries. This evolution requires better communication and planning. Using methods to report progress to the office or PM will allow for better decision making. Many small and medium construction companies are embracing technology as they see the benefits of getting progress reports consistently.


Improve your daily progress reporting and elevate your business.


Resources

Start a free trial of buildcenter.com today to see how it’s progress reporting can elevate your business.