Construction Management

What is Construction Management?

What is Construction Management?

Construction Management Helps You:

  • Manage the Scope of a Project
  • Plan Out an Entire Construction Project
  • Maintain a Safe Job Site
  • Execute a Plan/Scope of Work

Construction management is a professional service of overseeing a construction project from conception to completion. Typically the purview of a construction manager (CM), also known as a project manager (PM), involves the effective management and direction of various aspects of a build, such as:

  • Planning
  • Scheduling
  • Budgeting
  • Safety standards and regulations
  • Quality assurance

Manage the Scope of a Project

At its most basic, a construction project’s scope is an agreed-upon list of key guidelines that see a construction project through to completion. The more planning and guidelines you establish early in a project’s life cycle, the lower the chance for cost and time overruns later.

The scope of work’s primary purpose is to keep a project organized and chaos-free. Construction managers often leverage construction management software to hammer out the fine details and create an ironclad scope.

For example, most modern platforms include features that focus on boosting and organizing communication. Document management features, especially in cloud-based systems, allow users to quickly access, edit, share and backup vital project documentation. BIM capabilities let project members edit models and drawings cooperatively and on the fly while others tweak or accept them.

Construction management software includes a variety of features that make scope creation easier:

Plan Out an Entire Construction Project

Effective planning is integral to delivering a project on time and on (or under) budget, and a construction management software solution can help optimize things even further.

A construction project goes through seven phases before reaching completion:


The project’s owners gather financing while the construction manager conducts feasibility studies to determine the viability and possible setbacks of the project.


Engineers, architects and other design professionals create schematics, designs and models for every structural component. Construction management solutions with BIM capabilities can be especially beneficial during this phase.


The CM oversees the project’s legal needs and creates detailed timelines for the entire build. This phase is where scheduling tools are indispensable, allowing CMs to filter schedules by job site, providing a helpful layer of visibility.

During this phase, the CM also builds a comprehensive budget, which is integral to planning a successful construction project. However, without software, human error can cause significant hiccups. No matter how experienced the person, calculation errors can happen, setting a project back on valuable time and resources. Automating manual input and budget calculation cuts costs and saves time.


The general contractor awards contracts to the winning bids while the construction manager secures the necessary equipment and materials. Preventative maintenance features can schedule maintenance for vehicles, parts and equipment as projects go on to preempt any issues with the final product.


The main building phase where all stakeholders need to work harmoniously to ensure a timely and cost-effective build. The various communication features of construction management software ensure everyone is on the same page amidst scheduling and design changes. At the same time, built-in customizable checklists guarantee the completion of every critical task.


The construction manager tests all systems for functionality and quality. Most construction management systems include punch lists, which provide an overview of final repairs requiring completion before turning the structure over to the owner.

Plus, by maintaining a dashboard that team members and contractors can easily access, CMs have a visible place to post important checklists without worrying about them getting lost in the shuffle.

CMs will also tally up the costs and measure them against the budget laid out in the scope of work. Luckily, a software solution automates many of the final reports’ calculations.


The construction manager does a final walkthrough with the owner before handing over all documents and assets. Document management features and audit trails ensure that critical paperwork and information aren’t forgotten or undelivered. As an added benefit, when presenting the finished product as a whole, photos can be taken and uploaded to presentations for a professional, final look.

Remember that there are no absolute start and stop points for the different phases. Often, some will overlap depending on the progress of certain teams and as setbacks, like change orders, arise.

Maintain a Safe Job Site

Customer satisfaction and staying under budget are important indicators of a successfully managed project, but a safe work environment is vital, as construction is one of the most dangerous professions. Protecting your team and yourself from hazardous work conditions and other disputes is a big job. Fortunately, there are a few helpful construction management features users can leverage to simplify the process.

Many systems contain the ability to create custom safety checklists that CMs can sculpt to fit the unique needs of their job sites. If all members sign off on a stringent safety checklist when deciding the last details of the scope, there can be no confusion about job site safety policy.

Obviously, there are other on- and off-site safety issues that could arise, but construction management can help tackle them through the following features:

  • Safety Checklists
  • Incident Reporting and Management
  • Safety Compliance Tracking
  • Inspection Management

Execute a Plan/Scope of Work

Planning the perfect project is one thing, but executing that plan requires spinning a lot of plates at once. As mentioned earlier, construction management software provides various tools to assist CMs in tackling a build.

Data visibility is particularly critical, as information will constantly flow from the job site to the contractors and construction managers as the project progresses. Daily logs, progress dashboards and reports with up-to-the-minute data allow CMs to examine critical aspects of the project in real-time, like profitability, team performance and actual build timeline.

Construction management is vital to maintaining organization in a larger project once the construction phase begins. By adopting a platform to help manage the constant variables, users can avoid costly issues that would otherwise spring up.

For example, real-time inventory management features keep managers in the loop, alerting them to low supply levels. They can even re-order if supplies fall below a certain threshold.

Outside of these examples, a construction management suite contains more features focused on a clean execution:

  • Field and Communication Management
  • Access to Plans via Mobile Interface
  • GPS Tracking
  • Work in Progress (WIP) Reports
  • Equipment Management
  • Fleet Management
  • Subcontractor/Subcontract Management


What Does a Construction Manager Do?

Broadly speaking, everything we discussed here and a whole lot more. CMs work as an extension of the project’s owner, managing workers and the job site in a way that provides the most financial and qualitative benefits.

Construction managers work with architects, engineers, designers, general contractors, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, government agencies and any other person or entity that has a hand in completing a project.

Is Construction Management a Hard Career?

Short answer: It can be.

Long answer: It depends entirely on what you’re looking for in a career. Construction management typically requires a bachelor’s degree or a mix of experience and certifications. CMs spend most of their time operating out of a field office on the job site and may need to work long hours to meet deadlines and handle issues as they arise.

However, if you excel at directing teams and want to work in the construction industry, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better job. Plus, by investing in construction management software, you can leverage real-time data and automate tasks to tackle the challenges and stresses associated with managing a project.

How Do I Select a Construction Management System?

Selecting the perfect construction management system is daunting, but you can narrow your selections by considering a few factors. Before shopping, take a few moments to think about the size of your operation, if you’re looking for an on-premise or cloud-based deployment and what your budget can handle.

If you’re unsure where to start, check out our in-depth comparison report to learn more about available options and help you find the right solution for your business!

Have a question about which software vendor is right for you? We’d love to help! Reach out to our team for individualized recommendations by messaging or via phone at 855-850-3850.

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Construction management articles are written and edited by:

Zachary Totah

Zachary Totah

Content Manager

As SelectHub’s Content Manager, Zachary Totah leads a team of more than 35 writers and editors in their quest to provide content that helps software buyers find the right system for their company.

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Ryan McElroy

Ryan McElroy

Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst

Ryan McElroy is a Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst at SelectHub who writes and edits content on medical, construction, CMMS and supply chain management software.

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Amrita Chakraborty

Amrita Chakraborty

Technical Content Writer

Amrita is a Technical Content Writer and Market Analyst at SelectHub. She writes content for categories such as inventory management and procurement.

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The Best Web-Based Construction Management Software

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November 20, 2023

Construction management can be a chaotic field to work in, especially if you are the one doing the managing. Older analog methods of monitoring the many spinning plates involved in a construction project are fading from use as complexity on job sites rises. Web-based construction management software has recently taken the spotlight as a cure for many of the pain points involved in construction management.

Managing processes like bidding, scope of work creation, and maintaining a healthy client relationship are exhausting without a construction management software suite.

Hunter LoweThe Best Web-Based Construction Management Software
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A Guide To Construction Management Scope And Leveraging Software

November 17, 2023

Firstly, congratulations on your excellent decision-making skills! The fact that you are searching for construction management software, as well as scope, means you already have the first variables of a winning formula in place. Proper software and an airtight construction management scope of work are vital for tackling large construction projects. And if you choose your construction management software correctly, it can also help you define your scope.

Hunter LoweA Guide To Construction Management Scope And Leveraging Software
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What Is Building Information Modeling (BIM)? A Comprehensive Guide

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November 14, 2023
Digital technologies completely overhaul how architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) companies approach projects. Rarely are builds the sole responsibility of a single entity, instead requiring the input and coordination of multiple professionals and teams. BIM software and practices break down communication barriers, improve collaboration and efficiently plan a project.

Gerrad FreiWhat Is Building Information Modeling (BIM)? A Comprehensive Guide
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Need A Construction Management Degree? A Comprehensive Guide

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November 2, 2023

Are you considering a construction management career? Say no more. This article covers the most popular colleges with construction management degree programs. We’ll also dive into expenses, best career options and benefits.

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Construction Management Degree Cover

Table of Contents

Top Colleges

Here’s a list of the best colleges with the ideal construction management degree programs according to popularity.

Top Construction Management Degree Colleges

1. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

  • 240 Williamson Hall 231 Pillsbury Dr. S.E. Minneapolis MN 55455-0213
  • Tuition: Commuter– $24, 118; Resident Dorm/Apartment: $32, 904 Non-Resident Dorm/Apartment: $54, 318

This College of Continuing & Professional Studies program helps you learn how to build greener, more robust, safer and more beautiful buildings, highways, schools and stadiums.

This program offers teachings about the latest construction technology, estimating project costs, writing in-depth specification contracts, supervising construction projects from start to finish and more.

2. Virginia Tech

  • Blacksburg, VA 24061-0002
  • Tuition: In-State – $32,274 on campus and $31,622 off campus; Out-Of-State – $52,758 on campus and $52,106 off campus

The construction engineering and management program offers skills in decision and optimization methods for resource management and allocation for socially responsible, sustainable, safe and ethical practices.

Top courses include CEM 2104 – Intro to CEM, CEM 4445/4446 – The Capstone Experience and CEM 3074 – Rwanda Project 2019.

3. Clemson University

  • 105 Sikes Hall Box 345124 Clemson, SC 29634-5124
  • Tuition: $28,596 In-State; $51,558 Out-Of-State

Classes in the construction science and management program emphasize modern construction industry practices and protocols for structures, contract documents, estimating, materials, project management and more.

4. New York University

  • 50 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012
  • Tuition: $90,658 On/Off-Campus; $72,752 Commuter

Gain your Master’s of Science or minor in Construction Management to manage small and large projects, from technology and finance to leadership, building information modeling and more.

5. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

  • 1 Forestry Drive Syracuse, NY 13210
  • Tuition: $29,276 – Resident Plan A On-Campus Housing; $40, 236 – Non-Resident Plan A On-Campus Housing

Gain a B.S., M.S. or M.P.S. in construction management with hands-on, team-centric and technological courses to prepare you for project leadership. Discover construction materials and operations, building design guidelines and management skills.

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6. University of Oklahoma

  • 660 Parrington Oval, Norman, OK 73019-0390
  • Tuition: $4,655 for Residents; $12,939 for Non-Residents

Construction science students have interests in designing, planning, management, decision and management. This program helps graduates harmonize builders, machinery and materials to guarantee projects that meet deadlines and stay under budget.

7. Michigan Technological University

  • 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI-49931
  • Tuition: $33,278 Michigan Residents; $55,238 Non-Michigan Residents

This B.S. construction management program has accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE). Courses include accounting, best business practices and scheduling assignments.

Work with small classrooms for better mentoring and individualized attention.

8. University of Colorado – Denver

  • 1201 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80204
  • Tuition: $11,502 Resident; $28, 830 Non-Resident

Earn your construction management degree or minor from this university’s Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) department. Students gain industry knowledge from advisory boards, guest speakers, field trips, student clubs, internships and more.

9. Dordt University

  • 700 7th Street NE Sioux Center, IA 51250
  • Tuition: $47,390

Take this Christian university’s program to take charge of projects and see them through. You’ll also obtain numerous internship opportunities. Some careers to earn with this construction management degree include field engineer, site engineer and more.

10. John Brown University

  • 2000 W. University St., Siloam Springs, AR 72761
  • Tuition: $29, 488

Earn your construction management degree with this Christian university’s program construction software proficiency to design, assign, estimate and supervise projects. Learn from full-time and adjunct faculty with overall construction experience.

Honorable Mentions

Here are 11 more noteworthy colleges to earn your construction management degree from:

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How Much Will This Degree Cost?

Numerous factors affect a college’s tuition. Do you want to attend a four-year university? Do you want to enroll in a private or a public college? Are you considering in-state or out-of-state options?

Let’s review some of these critical considerations in more detail and evaluate how much it costs to earn a construction management degree.

Degree Cost Factors

Public vs. Private

On the whole, public schools cost less than their private counterparts. Public institutions have a diverse student population, allowing you to learn about different perspectives and backgrounds.

Private colleges, on the other hand, require more tuition but offer smaller, more intimate class sizes to facilitate learning.

Moreover, private education can provide a far more tailored and focused curriculum in your preferred field of study but can make it more difficult to transfer credits should you wish to change programs or schools.

Online vs. In-Person

In the case of in-person and online classes, each has pros and cons. Some schools allow you to learn asynchronously, letting you complete coursework on your schedule to continue working on the job site, gaining experience and collecting a paycheck.

Online programs also allow for a more flexible lifestyle than traditional in-person learning. You can watch lectures and complete assignments when it’s best for you. There’s also less commute stress because you can learn virtually anywhere.

Online courses also allow you to connect with students of different backgrounds in national or global areas for broader diversity. However, some online programs require occasional in-person classes or training sessions.

In-person courses can also provide an ideal environment. Face-to-face interaction can improve your network, help you make new friends and gain professional mentors to advance your career outlook after graduation.

In-State vs. Out-Of-State

As you can see from most of our top college picks that in-state students pay significantly less than out-of-state students. Attending an in-state college can save you thousands of dollars. You can also save on excess fuel and other travel expenses.

However, the schools in your home state may not have the same prestige or networking opportunities as those in other states. Before committing to a university, research if out-of-state tuition assistance programs exist to help reduce tuition costs.

There are other options to avoid these expensive tuition fees:

  • Applying for tuition reciprocity agreements
  • Using federal student aid
  • Applying for external scholarships
  • And more!

Expenses Beyond Tuition

Though tuition most significantly impacts the price of a construction management degree, other overall cost factors include:

  • Housing, food, fuel and other cost-of-living expenses.
  • Prevalence or lack of public transportation.
  • Books, supplies and other classroom expenditures.
  • Employment opportunities both on and off campus.

Also, when shortlisting universities, research possible financial aid packages. These bundles can include institutional or third-party tuition assistance programs, scholarships, grants and student loan options.

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Career Options

Earning this degree type opens the door to several career paths, from project engineers to managers, inspectors and more.

Construction Management Careers

Project Engineer

Project engineers plan, forecast, schedule and manage a construction project’s technical and engineering tasks from beginning to end.

This position keeps projects on schedule, performs ongoing progress reports and acquires the right staff, materials and equipment. They also find the ideal answers to troubleshoot arising issues.


Construction estimators provide financial quotes and forecasts for specific projects. They typically have experience in engineering and architecture so that they can determine particular building materials for each project.

Estimators typically work closely with engineers, architects, vendors and more for commercial or residential customers.

Construction Inspector

A construction inspector evaluates streets, highways and buildings to confirm that they meet building codes and regulations.

An inspector ensures your buildings are safe. Without inspectors, buildings, highways and other structures could pose hazards.

Like the Three Little Pigs story, the straw and stick houses didn’t match the big bad wolf’s powerful lungs. The third pig could have had inspector qualities because he built his house of bricks to avoid predators.

Other Careers

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Primary Benefits

There are several advantages to earning a construction management degree, including job stability, competitive salary and leadership skill improvements.

Benefits of a Construction Management Degree

Better Job Stability

Everyone needs new construction or renovation projects for commercial or residential areas. This profession has jobs to last a lifetime because everyone needs secure buildings to work or reside in.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics thinks construction is a stable and lucrative profession. These are the industries with the highest construction management employment rates:

  • Nonresidential Building Construction ~76,000 employees
  • Residential Building Construction ~52,000 employees
  • Building Equipment Contractors ~35,000 employees

You can even start your own business and get hired as an independent contractor.

Robust Work Flexibility and Autonomy

Dealing with a career in construction management means you know how to take charge and run a smooth ship to finish projects promptly. In other words, you know how to supervise people and meet project deadlines.

You also have an entrepreneurial spirit with drive, curiosity and creativity to start and finish projects. Like entrepreneurs, construction managers can also set flexible working schedules that meet their needs.

Competitive Salaries

Those with construction management degrees make high-end salaries. However, like most professions, you’ll have to gain more experience to receive higher profits.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives a rundown of salaries for numerous construction manager industries:

  • Nonresidential Building Construction: $117,480 average mean wage
  • Residential Building Construction: $98,230 average mean wage
  • Foundation, Structure and Building Exterior Contractors: $104,220 average mean wage

Refined Leadership Skills

Managing others, making vital decisions and leading a team to success are the essential skills of an effective construction manager. This degree helps you learn different practices and how to work with different personalities to complete a goal.

Leading others takes time and confidence. If you lack self-confidence, it’ll be mighty tricky managing others. You have to know there’s a leader inside you, and obtaining this degree means pulling that leader out of you.

If you have doubts or lack self-esteem, a construction management degree isn’t your best career path.

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Next Steps

It’s not a cakewalk traveling toward a construction management degree. This education can provide job stability, fruitful profits and a sense of work flexibility. However, you need a leadership mentality and motivation to lead others to success in creating safe structures.

Khaleel HayesNeed A Construction Management Degree? A Comprehensive Guide
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What Is A Transmittal? A Comprehensive Guide

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October 26, 2023
Delivering a construction project requires exchanging thousands of designs, contracts, ROIs, samples and other documents between multiple departments and stakeholders. Transmittals document the flow of information, tracking when, where and to whom information changed hands, protecting you from litigation and payment delays.

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Construction Bidding Process: A Comprehensive Guide

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October 26, 2023
Step into the world of construction bidding, where understanding the construction bidding process is akin to choosing the right spell from Harry Potter’s spellbook. Just as wizards face challenges in mastering their craft, you might find it difficult to navigate bidding processes. So, are you ready to demystify bidding complexities together?

Riya JambleConstruction Bidding Process: A Comprehensive Guide
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Construction Trends: Industry, Technology and Market Landscape In 2023

October 18, 2023
“To boldly go where no one has gone before.” That famous line from Star Trek about venturing into new territory fits the rapid changes happening in the construction industry, particularly construction trends related to the overall landscape and construction management software.

Pragya SinghConstruction Trends: Industry, Technology and Market Landscape In 2023
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Construction Estimating And Bidding: A Comprehensive Guide

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October 17, 2023
Seatbelts? Check! Date and time? Set! Let’s travel back in time and rectify estimating and bidding mistakes. Unfortunately, time travel is only possible in sci-fi movies. For now, estimating tools and bidding solutions can save the day. If you’re a contractor trying to understand the differences between the two, you’ve come to the right place!

Riya JambleConstruction Estimating And Bidding: A Comprehensive Guide
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What Is A Daily Construction Report? A Comprehensive Guide

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October 10, 2023
In the fast-paced world of construction, success hinges on effective scheduling and seamless project management. Every minute counts, and staying ahead of the game requires a strategic approach. That’s where the construction daily report and construction scheduling software enter the scene. Ready to unlock their full potential?

Riya JambleWhat Is A Daily Construction Report? A Comprehensive Guide
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Construction Management Software Requirements Checklist

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October 9, 2023
As projects increase in complexity and scope, managing a construction development can feel like a monumental undertaking. Construction management software takes that behemoth of a task and divides it into more attainable segments with tools to help you take on each one. But before buying, it’s essential to draft a construction management checklist to ensure you select the right platform.

Gerrad FreiConstruction Management Software Requirements Checklist
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The Best Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

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If you are part of the construction industry, you’ve most likely come across BIM software (Building Information Modeling) before, with its value in the world of construction management software becoming more apparent each day. In fact, a recent study by Dodge Data and Analytics shows how it is taking the market by storm.

Hunter LoweThe Best Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software
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Construction Bidding Requirements Checklist

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September 27, 2023
Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the best bidding product of them all? We wish life could be like a fairytale. Swirl your wand and swoosh; solutions would magically appear. Unfortunately, it’s not. As a contractor, your plate’s always full of jobs. And vetting bids is one of the most crucial tasks of them all. Thanks to emerging construction trends, we can be at ease and let the software do the job for us. Technology can do the work for you, but you need to do your homework beforehand. The first step is to list construction bidding requirements if you want to find the best construction bidding software.

Riya JambleConstruction Bidding Requirements Checklist
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Commercial Construction Management: A Comprehensive Guide

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From medical centers to schools, roads to bridges, shopping malls to apartment complexes, commercial construction developments have an enormous impact on day-to-day life. However, building such large and complex structures is incredibly complicated. Implementing commercial construction management solutions and techniques is critical to a smooth process and successful delivery.

Gerrad FreiCommercial Construction Management: A Comprehensive Guide
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Top BIM Capabilities And Features

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Construction projects are becoming increasingly complex, with multiple personnel, departments and firms needing to work harmoniously to prevent time and cost overruns. By integrating construction management software with BIM capabilities into the process, teams create a detailed roadmap that allows for clearer communication, streamlined workflows and better decision-making for all parties throughout the life of a project.

Gerrad FreiTop BIM Capabilities And Features
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The Best Free Construction Scheduling Software

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Looking for a way to manage your construction projects more efficiently without breaking the bank? Consider using free construction scheduling software. But if you type “construction scheduling software free” into Google’s search box, you’ll find dozens of construction scheduling software available and could end up confused. Check out the best five options below!

Riya JambleThe Best Free Construction Scheduling Software
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Construction Scheduling Requirements Checklist

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August 23, 2023
Have you ever witnessed projects running without schedules? It’s like a nightmare for construction executives. Unplanned projects get messy and cause wastage of resources, resulting in budget overruns. These problems are like the villains trying to ruin your beloved site. Construction scheduling software can be your superhero. It can fight those problems valiantly. But what’s that essential thing you need to do before investing in a product? You should prepare a list of construction scheduling requirements! That will help you understand the features required for your project needs.

Riya JambleConstruction Scheduling Requirements Checklist
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