How Quantities Determine Success for Construction Project Management

On any construction project, there are four main things every contractor cares about. No matter who you talk to on a construction project management team, they’re concerned about at least one of these aspects at any given time. In this blog, we’ll talk about what those four aspects are, how they can be reduced to one key piece of project information, and how Assemble easily makes this information available throughout the project lifecycle. 

 

The 4 Pillars of Successful Construction Project Management

Those four key pillars of a successful project are cost, quality, safety, and schedule.

Cost is core to meeting the owner’s requirements, being successful and making a profit. Managing costs and being profitable is the imperative for any business, and keeps the proverbial doors open for another day of business. 

Schedule is closely connected to cost and quality. Typically, a contractor has a timeframe to complete the project specified in the contract, and if work isn’t finished within that timeframe, they begin to accrue liquidated damages. If the contract says the project should be completed within 18 months, and for every month past that time work is not complete, the contractor could be liable for lost rent. This makes operating within schedule also critical to operating within budget, and key to keeping down cost. 

Quality is important to both the owner and the contractor, and is also closely connected to cost. For a contractor, quality means “I don’t have to come back and repair things under warranty at my own cost.” Having predictable costs and a well-planned construction schedule also helps to better ensure quality throughout a project. 

Safety is obviously important because you want your workers to be safe everyday. Worker safety is a major issue in the construction industry, where site conditions sometimes leads to worker injury or even death. If someone does get hurt, this can cause problems with your employees, who expect reasonably safe working conditions. It can also affect your ability to insure future projects, because if you’re deemed unsafe you can’t get insurance. 

To any contractor, these four factors are obvious. As you can see, they are also very closely related. If you do cost and schedule well, you typically have good quality. And if you do cost and schedule well with good quality, you often have good construction safety. They are all connected.

And if you dig to the root of these, they revolve around project aspect: quantities.

 

How Quantity Information Is Gathered Today

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On most projects today, quantity information is assembled during the preconstruction phase in what is called quantity take-off. Quantity takeoff is a key part of the construction estimating process, and may be performed by an estimator, quantity surveyor, general contractor, or subcontractor. Typically, an estimator reviews drawings and specifications in order to manually measure quantity information. 

While these processes have advanced in previous years thanks to developments in software, this process is often still a slow and somewhat archaic way of creating quantity information. It requires the quantity surveyor to manually assemble individual data points by navigating the drawings. 

While it’s obvious that when ordering materials, the correct amount should be ordered, mistakes are often made, leading to a range of problems. Ordering too little can lead to project delays, rework if there is a shortage of specific materials, expensive rush-shipping or other unnecessary transport costs, project disruption and more. Material surplus leads to wasted material costs, shipping costs, and disposal costs. 

Gathering quantity information can both be a time-consuming process, as well as lead to manual errors. Incorrect quantity information leads to big disruptions of planned cost and schedule, which we’ve seen are at the core of project success. 

In construction, change is constant and often costly. Needing to stay up to date with design changes to ensure accurate estimates means that you need to go back and redo quantity takeoff manually to account for all the changes. With the manual method, this can be very time consuming and can lead to costly mistakes if not all the changes are accounted for.

However, there is an easier and more accurate way to access project quantities.  

“In construction, change is constant and often costly. Needing to stay up to date with design changes to ensure accurate estimates means that you need to go back and redo quantity takeoff manually to account for all the changes. With the manual method, this can be very time consuming and can lead to costly mistakes if not all the changes are accounted for.”

 

Assemble: Making Quantities Available Throughout the Project

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In Assemble, you can create quantity information automatically with project models. Users can then use those quantities in order to calculate cost and schedule information. For example, users can quickly find how much concrete is needed, then use that in conjunction with the cost of concrete and the number of man-hours needed for installation, to more easily complete the takeoff process. 

Assemble takes a job that might take two days once every month, and turns it into a one-hour extraction using software. And as a model changes, Assemble will update the quantities each time there’s a change. The change can be big or it can be minuscule, but Assemble will highlight the change and tell you the difference. 

As we’ve seen, cost, schedule, quality, and safety are at the core of project success, and quantities are at the core of cost and schedule. Quantities are the cornerstone of a successful construction project. And quantities are Assemble’s superpower. Assemble makes quantities available for everyone on the project, throughout the project. By unlocking quantities and conditioning construction data with Assemble throughout the project, users can more easily ensure a successful project. 

 



 

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