Blog Post

How to Choose the Right Construction Form Builder

Posted by Brett Long

Male engineer at a construction site with a tablet computer

How can a construction form builder keep your building project on schedule? It’s simple. By collecting data from everyone at the construction site, you minimize the likelihood of missing an important detail. Collecting information through paper forms is one approach, but it is tough to keep organized. Using a digital form builder is a better approach. There are several options available, so how do you choose the right one for you?

As you look at different form builder options, we recommend you consider the following questions to create a short list of the best solutions for your organization.

Part 1: Know Your Situation

1. Start With Your Needs: Project Types and Client Demands

Before you download an app or experiment with a form builder, considering your needs is a great first step. Look at the nature of your workforce and projects. If your work team is spread across multiple work sites with different schedules, you will need an easy way to gather data from those sites (nobody wants to drive back to the office at the end of the day!). A form builder should adapt to your needs, not the other way around.

In addition to your internal work needs, look outward: what do your clients need? For example, do your client contracts demand weekly or monthly progress reports? Fulfilling those requirements with paper forms and manual processes adds to your overhead and runs the risk of greater errors. Some clients, such as those in the public sector, may have additional regulatory information needs to consider as well.

2. Know Your Forms and Workflows

You don’t create a construction form just for fun. These forms are components in a larger workflow. For instance, your workflow may require weekly progress reports to measure performance. In that case, one person on site may gather the data and then send it for review and approval to another person. The capacity to move a construction form through your company’s workflow is essential to maintaining productivity.

Tip: It may feel overwhelming to identify every possible workflow in your company. Instead, start small: focus on the top three most important workflow activities.

Part 2: Select Your Construction Form Builder

After going through part 1, you will have notes on your situation and workflows. Now it is time to start “kicking the tires” on a few construction form builder tools. You may want to run a pilot program for the new solution to see how it would function for your organization before fully committing.

1. Does the form builder support your mobile workforce?

Aside from occasional meetings and planning, construction work is all about being in the field. Driving back to the office to deal with forms will cost you precious time you can’t afford to lose. Save time on your construction siteby using a form builder tool that works on mobile devices.

Supporting mobile devices at work is no longer optional. 90% of companies support using corporate apps on personal smartphones. It’s time to bring your construction forms into the digital era.

Evaluation Question: Will the form builder be easy to use in the field on smartphones or tablets?

2. Does the form builder give you flexibility to change?

Years ago, you may have created your first few construction forms to gather data about health and safety issues. Today, you may need to gather additional data to track costs and employee satisfaction. As your needs change, it’s best to work with a construction form builder where you can easily change and adjust your forms.

Evaluation question: Does the construction form builder make it easy to adjust the design and content of your forms?

3. How will the form builder be used by the head office and staff in the field?

Coordinating employees in a growing company without micromanagement is a fine line that managers must walk. Managers need up-to-date information to answer client questions, make staffing decisions and manage operations. How can we make that process as painless as possible? A user-friendly experience for management needs to be considered as part of the picture.

Tip: Look for a provider that has been put to the test. The International Red Cross uses Device Magic to collect data in its field operations.

Evaluation question: Is the form builder easy for managers to use? To evaluate this feature, recruit two people for testing. Ask one person to play the role of a person filling in a construction form. Ask the other person to receive the form and work on it. This approach will simulate your working environment.

Learn more about what a mobile forms solution can do for your construction company.

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