Eliminating Time Tracking Errors in Construction Projects

Most people don’t realize this, but construction projects are extremely time-sensitive. Like in many other businesses, firms adhere to various deadliness and restrictions. By improving time tracking and eliminating common errors, you will not only become more efficient, but you can reduce the project’s costs.

With automated construction time tracking, you can see how many hours each of your employees have worked on the project. The software also monitors equipment utilization. So, given the importance of time tracking, we want to elaborate on the topic a bit further and help you improve your workflow.

Main Challenges of Construction Time Tracking

Due to complexity of the process, it’s very hard to determine when a project will be over. Unfortunately, knowing the timeliness is vital not only for builders, but also their clients. Errors, in particular, are especially detrimental as they affect everything from decision-making to execution.

Manual Entries

During a project, employees execute numerous tasks of smaller or greater importance. While time tracking has always been important, many companies didn’t pay enough attention to it. They would use paper time cards to monitor employees. At the end of the day, they would gather all this paper and input it into a sheet.

The manual entry was always grueling. Worst thing yet is that it relied on employees to accurately track their involvement. Illegible writing, typos, and time stealing affected reporting. We also had to consider data lagging, as it sometimes took several days for employees to submit their time cards.

“Buddy Punching”

The most common form of misuse was buddy punching, where other employees would stamp their friends’ cards while they were out of work. The issue would become noticeable when managers assessed the amount of work performed against the number of work hours.

Even if a site manager knew what his team did, they couldn’t find the culprit. This made an even bigger mess as they would have to punish the entire team for one person’s misdeeds. Of course, this wasn’t the only issue firms had to deal with. They also had to pay attention to other forms of data misrepresentation that could occur at work.

No Real-Time Updates

As mentioned, the lack of real-time updates was a major issue for accurate tracking. Not only were the results delayed, but there were situations where someone’s work hours weren’t considered whatsoever.

If the staff submitted their sheets at the end of the week, management would notice discrepancies and other issues after a week. As a result, they would be too late tweaking their strategies. They would work for several days before noticing there was an issue at the site.

Scaling and Mobility Issues

The first systems were reliant on paper time cards. Things got a bit better with the introduction of computers, although the issues weren’t completely eliminated. Desktop PCs would make things smoother, but they wouldn’t be able to track multiple locations. There were also situations where staff couldn’t submit their data due to limited connectivity.

With the latest SaaS solutions, companies can track each person regardless of their location and other external factors. They could input data into the system and share it with managers as soon as the internet becomes available. While the lack of real-time tracking would still be an issue, the teams would at least avoid data inaccuracies.

Subcontractor Tracking

A completely new set of issues comes with the introduction of subcontractors into the team. These external providers have their own ways of tracking time. So, when they integrate their input with employer’s base data, the data becomes siloed. On top of that, they might use different tools and formats which further complicates the issue.

Another major issue has to do with billing. External providers charge based on the project completion, not necessarily work hours. As such, they might not even use a track tracking system, unlike your firm. This makes it harder to perform any kind of monitoring and analysis and assess productivity.

Improving Time Tracking

While time tracking in the construction business comes with a plethora of challenges, most of them can be remedied nowadays.

Digital Tracking

Paper tracking has become obsolete for quite some time. Modern construction brands rely on automated software to increase their efficiency and accuracy. Besides offering real-time support, these systems streamline data from numerous sources and perform instant calculations.

Digital solutions allow employees to input their data from the field, via apps, eliminating the need for traditional entry and reducing the chance of errors. While there are still ways to cheat the system, the usual time stealing tricks were almost eliminated.

Additional Training

Without training, it doesn’t matter what kind of a new fancy time-tracking system you introduce. Through education, your workers learn how to use these apps and why they are important for the entire company. You should also introduce policies and sanctions if some of the employees go against these rules.

Use of Categories

By using categories and codes, you increase the accuracy of the time-tracking process. Your employees and managers should track each project separately. In fact, they should monitor how much time they’ve spent on specific phases and tasks so they can figure out what the norm is.

When you learn how long it takes an average person to complete a task, you can set a bar that all staff members should adhere to. The use of categories is especially great for detecting bottlenecks and areas your employees struggle with.

Regular Monitoring

Reviewing timesheets and introducing constant monitoring will help you detect any inaccuracies before they cause issues. Check timesheets each week at the same time and compare them to the company’s policies. Ensure that each employee has properly inputted their data (when possible), and address any data errors.

Last Thoughts

Keeping track of employees’ work hours is vital for project analysis. It helps you detect issues, improve productivity, and spot lazy workers. With proper policies and automated software, you can simplify this process and ensure maximum accuracy.

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