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Contractor survey highlights trend for operational empowerment

A survey by RedSky IT has found that eight out of 10 of its clients believe that giving surveyors and other operational project staff direct access to critical business data using software is vital if they are to complete contracts on-time, within budget and therefore remain competitive.

The findings come as the industry widely acknowledges a change of mindset, which has seen contractors recognise the need to allow contract managers access to project performance data, an area traditionally the domain of a central accounts team. Getting immediate access to real-time performance data and being able to report on progress on a daily basis empowers staff to ensure projects avoid overruns and therefore maintain profitability. A number of big name contractors are no longer around following their inability to keep track of costs at ground level.

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Frank Hull of Blackpool-based contractor F Parkinson, which saw a 30% growth in turnover using RedSky IT’s Summit Financial software, says: “With so many contracts on the go at once, it is vital to our firm’s livelihood that Quantity Surveyors have up to the minute, correct information at their fingertips. They don’t have to question costs and budgets, as they did previously, and it gives them the confidence to move contracts forward and ensure these run smoothly, on time and on budget."

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And Mike Hughes, Associate Director of Birmingham-based contractor William Sapcote & Sons, which uses RedSky IT’s DEMA system agrees: “We have more than 100 employees and up to 50 projects on the go at any one time. It is crucial that everyone who needs access to data can have it, that they can update this data remotely and in turn keep an eye on the budgets for each project. This means surveyors can check spending against the original costings and take action if things go awry.”

RedSky IT’s Managing Director Mark Chambers said: “We have speculated for some time that there has been a change in the industry mindset over access to data and our survey confirms this. In the competitive & low margin construction industry, it can be easy to lose track of contracts and our clients recognise the very real need for software solutions that ensure the contracts run smoothly by allowing wider access to data.”