What's missing in today's popular Construction Document Management Software

The success of a construction project depends on effective communication and efficient collaboration between all teams involved. If the project manager, architect, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors are using disparate, disconnected systems to manage and log the progress of their work items, it creates information silos. It is vital for the timely completion of the project that teams share project progress to keep all stakeholders up to date.

The Problem with Paper-based Document Management

When construction crews rely on manual, paper-based workflows, there is a serious risk of the project running off course. Critical information such as changes in plans, and designs et al need to be communicated to the right stakeholders without delay. Imagine if structural engineers and contractors continue with the construction when the building design has changed! The longer it takes for the updated documents to reach these teams, the greater will be the cost of a rip-and-replace, resulting in significant delays to the project timelines.

Why Do Construction Businesses Need Document Management Software?

Considering the vast amounts of data that are generated in a construction project, coupled with the collaboration challenges due to teams working on distributed project sites, construction projects have a pressing need for a robust document management solution. 


A cloud-based document management software can help efficiently manage the high volume of data and documents produced throughout a construction project. It also simplifies coordination between all the stakeholders involved in the construction project.

Here are some of the most widely used construction document management tools:

  • Kyro
  • Procore
  • BuilderTrend
  • AutoDesk Docs
  • Safety Culture
  • Aconex
  • Blue Beam
  • BIM 360

These tools help you manage construction documents like project plans, change orders, RFIs, submittals, plan drawings, etc. We have curated a list of top construction document management software here.

They provide useful features like 

  • Cloud-based centralized document storage and management
  • Version control
  • Digital audit trail
  • Real-time collaboration tools
  • Templates for progress reports
  • Automated workflows
  • Mobile access
  • Integrations with third-party tools like CRM and accounting systems

Shortcomings of Construction Document Management Software

While document management software can resolve several challenges for construction projects, let’s look at some of their shortcomings.

1. Complex User Interface

Construction document management software is notoriously complicated to use. Without a user-friendly interface, these tools present a steep learning curve for most teams and users on a construction project. This could lead to a situation where a document management solution could be implemented for a construction project but goes under-utilized. 

You might be forced to invest additional time and money in training your teams to adopt document management software. This can be a strain on your team’s bandwidth and impact the progress of your construction project.

2. Poor Customer Support

When you and your team run into challenges in navigating and adopting a document management solution, you naturally turn to the vendor’s customer support team to seek assistance in troubleshooting issues. 

Unfortunately, most document management solutions are infamous for their poor customer support. Customers have often complained about slow response rates, inadequate resolution of issues, and limited availability of support resources.

3. High License Costs

Most document management solutions are prohibitively expensive. Some vendors follow a pricing model that throws up hidden expenses after your purchase - such as costs for additional storage space. 

The overall license costs put document management solutions out of reach for small and medium-sized enterprises. Budget constraints might force them to purchase licenses only for a few users on the team. When only select teams have real-time access to project documents, information silos will persist alongside the risk of costly rework.

4. Limited Mobile Functionalities

Field crews working on remote construction sites need to access project documents from their mobile devices to understand task assignment, updates, and instructions. They need the ability to upload progress reports, photos, RFIs, etc. from their mobile devices to keep all teams updated on the status of work. 

When document management solutions do not provide a mobile app, it restricts quick collaboration between teams, hinders timely access to project documents, and weighs down the efficiency of the entire project.

5. Lack of Integration Capabilities 

Project managers and contractors need access to project designs, crew timesheets, budgets, tenders, bids, invoices, etc. For a document management solution to become a truly central repository of all project-related documents, it needs to integrate with workforce management, financial management, and/or construction ERP software. 

Most DMS platforms do not support a wide range of native integrations with third-party tools. It becomes challenging to fit a DMS into the existing tech stack of a construction company, and exacerbates the problem of teams using disparate systems and working in silos.

6. Poor Customization Capabilities 

Construction companies execute workflows that are tailor-made to their project practices. However, document management software offers a standardized experience with almost no scope for customization. When construction companies are forced to adapt their workflows to suit the way the DMS functions, teams become resistant to adopting the DMS platform. This friction adversely impacts the overall efficiency and user satisfaction of the construction project.

7. Security Risks & Vulnerabilities 

Security is not the strongest suit for DMS platforms. Construction project documents can contain financial and legal information about the project. Without adequate security measures, a DMS can be prone to unauthorized access and data breaches that compromise sensitive project data. Ramifications of security breaches can be far reaching for a construction company - from loss of business, loss of reputation, to penalties for failure to comply with security regulations!

8. Access Control

Similar to the point above, it is important for companies to have security even within their organization. Admins need to provide document access only to those who need to see those documents. For example, field crew members who get the work done on site need to have access to drawings and plans, but should not have access to contract related documents.

9. Ability to redline documents for better collaboration

Many DMS, while allowing users to store and edit documents on-the-fly, do not allow for redlining on drawings. This could be a very useful feature which users on the site could use to send detailed updates and information back to the office, complete with accurate annotations and redlining drawn to scale. 

Conclusion

Implementing a digital document management system should be one of the top priorities for construction companies. According to a study, ‘bad data’ (inaccurate, incomplete, inaccessible, inconsistent or untimely data) cost the construction industry nearly $1.85 trillion. By implementing a construction document management software with a comprehensive feature set, and onboarding all teams and users on to the platform, businesses can: 

  • Break down information silos between your project teams
  • Ensure all stakeholders have access to the most up to date project documents
  • Provide complete visibility into project status for all stakeholders
  • Enable real-time communication and collaboration between teams
  • Facilitate on-time completion and delivery of construction projects

By carrying out a thorough evaluation of features and capabilities, and comparing the pros and cons of document management software available in the market, construction companies can choose a tool that checks all the right boxes for their project use cases. Here is a detailed set of FAQs to help you choose the right construction document management software.

To evaluate KYRO’s construction document management software, click here.

June 17, 2024

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