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Top 3 Construction Management Software: Comparison of CoConstruct, STACK and PlanGrid

Category: B2B News
What is the top construction management software?
The top construction management software is CoConstruct, a powerful tool that can help contractors coordinate communications and projects while keeping a handle on costs. Its unique features can benefit projects of any size and types, resulting in its popularity among both businesses and professionals. Key features include warranties and punch lists, job site activity tracking and communications.

Are you a contractor struggling to meet your construction project goals? Or maybe you’re having a hard time tracking your progress and managing your tasks, resulting in complications that adversely affect your completion dates and delivery. These are but some of the complications that construction firms face, before a building, a bridge or even a house sees completion. These problems can be avoided through sound construction management and the use of automation tools — construction management software to be exact.

Construction management platforms have everything you need to effectively manage your construction projects, offering you benefits that are meant to give your business that needed a boost to grow. Construction management software benefits include cost control, prompt and accurate project delivery, data sharing, document control and better management, to name a few.  They work a lot like top project management solutions, the only difference is confined to the fact that they are tweaked for construction projects.

To make things even clearer for you, we have listed the top 3 construction management software currently in the market. We’ll give you an idea of how they work by discussing their capabilities. You’ll also get a pretty good idea if they’ll fit your business as you will learn of the benefits that these tools offer by presenting detailed comparisons of their key features.

Top 3 construction management tools

What are the top 3 construction management systems?

Modern construction businesses entrust most of their vital operations to sophisticated on-premise and cloud hosted solutions, which not only help estimate and execute products, but also control costs, schedule jobs, and aid communication. This is probably the reason why 75% of construction firms store their information in the cloud, a common feature of most construction management solutions. However, there is also the problem of many companies reluctance to use software, resulting in lost productivity, with an estimated 35% of construction professionals spend around 14 hours on non-productive activities per week. Worse, without software to consolidate team communication, keeping everyone in the loop is a major problem. Did you know that many projects would have succeeded had there been effective communication in place?

A smart construction system likewise enhances productivity in a variety of ways, coordinating projects from beginning-to-end, sourcing project leads, estimating architecture, design, and building costs, and most of all – assessing the risk of each and every deal. The introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence also plays a role in this growing popularity of construction management software. AI, in fact, is seen to boost the sector’s profits by 71% through the year 2035.

Before we delve into the comparison of features, let’s meet our top 3 construction solutions first and get the big picture of what they’re capable of.

1. CoConstruct

CoConstruct is a leading home builder & remodeler suite for businesses and sole professionals, designed to coordinate projects and communication and control all costs and related financials. In its role of a unified digitized building & planning solution, CoConstruct prides itself with unparalleled versatility and a number of unique features that keep modern businesses on track with industry advancements. As expected, CoConstruct is also a master of configuration flexibility and is, thus, enabled to ‘do its magic’ around simple terrace makeovers and huge corporate projects. Once we give it a closer look, CoConstruct will likely reveal the exact same features you are looking for.

The vendor also offers a great free demo that will show you all the key features of the software in action. You can easily sign up for CoConstruct free demo here.

CoConstruct

This award is given to the best product in our construction software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.

CoConstruct won our Best Construction Software of 2018

Our score
9.2
User satisfaction
100%

CoConstruct’s functionality revolves around three essential modules: Coordinate, Communicate, and Control. The first module is, in fact, a project management menu adjusted to construction administration, and lets you create smart to-do lists and track the progress of your job site activity. This is but a part of the tool’s project management benefits. What is unique about this module is the variety of successful bidding features, in particular, the strong warranties and punchlists which will easily give you a competitive edge in the industry. The Communicate module is entirely devoted to team collaboration, making it possible to gather the knowledge of all team members and submit well-informed, quality proposals. Last, but not least, the CoConstruct Control module keeps a sharp eye on finances and expenses, manages your budget and forecasts project costs, and integrates easily with a number of popular accounting applications.

Key Features of CoConstruct

  1. Put activities in order, and help you understand all files, specs, and prices related to each project.
  2. Schedule and manage daily tasks using an easy drag-and-drop mechanism
  3. Employ quick editing to allow agents to build specs in seconds, and to avoid costly mistakes.
  4. Create successful bids in minutes by letting all specs and estimate data flow inside them without you having to enter it manually.
  5. Provide you with engaging, pre-made proposal templates
  6. Give access to unique warranties and punchlists
  7. Improve communication in and out of the team
  8. Put in place end-to-end finance control and enable consistent invoicing by connecting to Xero and QuickBooks
  9. Deliver professional marketing materials (custom videos, PP presentations, etc.) to promote your work
  10. Transfer construction management on any mobile device

2. STACK

Second on our list is web-based estimating tool STACK. It’s a construction management platform that can handle any project size, basically making the process of estimation much simpler. The tool speeds up the project proposal creation, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in estimation time. Now that’s a lot, giving you more time to address more pressing matters. A cloud-based system, STACK provides you with instant access to your projects from virtually anywhere at any given time.

You can easily sign up for STACK free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

The software is designed to come up with both material quantity/quality and pricing estimates. It is highly-suitable for contractors offering services such as home building, landscaping, general contracting, masonry, electrical plumbing and HVAC, to name a few. Using STACK, all relevant parties are provided with accurate estimates as the app supports collaboration through its file sharing feature. It is also easy to use as it comes with a template that can be customized for use in creating project proposals.

Key Features of STACK

  1. Auto-count feature ensures material quantity and quality estimates.
  2. It has a custom assembly formula editor that lets you speed up the estimation process.
  3. Project blueprints can be quickly generated by the system with its on-screen takeoff functionality.
  4. It has a construction library that can help you plan your projects. This feature houses pre-built templates and plans that can be customized to fit your needs.
  5. Being a mobile-optimized system, the solution can be accessed anywhere at any given time.
  6. Its integrations with plans and images from Google Earth while you can copy quantities directly from Excel.

3. PlanGrid

PlanGrid is another popular blueprint app for construction businesses that made its way to the top of most prominent CM classifications. Arranged and distributed as a multi-functional productivity suite, PlanGrid fills in many gaps in a usual working day of a construction agent, as it connects field, trailer, and office works with up-to-date blueprints, markups, punchlists, and RFIs. You can rely on it to plan, monitor, and execute projects in a variety of industries (civic, commercial, healthcare, industrial, education, and more), and produce accurate PDF reports on all your activities.

The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for PlanGrid free trial here.

PlanGrid is also an excellent choice for large teams in need of a single administrative console, as managers are given a special hierarchy scheme of roles and permissions to decide who can access information, and what he can do with it. In a fashion similar to CoConstruct, PlanGrid has built a number of important external partnership, and will hence let you rely on third-party applications to manage all aspects of your construction business. The system, however, lacks much of the bidding preparation capacity of our list’s leader, as it focuses primarily on clients’ projects that have already been arranged.

Key Features of PlanGrid

  1. Act as a unified RFI (request for information) solution that takes care of the whole lifecycle of an RFI.
  2. Let you manage thousands of licenses with its admin console while project data is securely saved
  3. Enable automatic version control, which makes it possible for you to keep your team updated with all project data
  4. Let you use punch lists to capture photos, locations, and notes from the field
  5. Simplify issue tracking and take charge of risk management
  6. Enhance collaboration on project plans, specs, photos, RFIs, and punchlists
  7. Integrate with leading accounting, finance management, and CRM solutions

CoConstruct vs. Stack vs. PlanGrid

Comparison of Construction Management Features

Comparing the compactness of each construction management kit, we’d give a slight advantage to CoConstruct as an end-to-end project management suite oriented towards diverse businesses. The planning-to-submission system doesn’t focus on technicalities, but enables a streamlined connection between your office and field agents, and manages each and every aspect of your projects’ accomplishment, with finances included. The system is also a unique provider in the industry to help you prepare successful projects, bid independently and up to your own rules, and make your brand more visible in relevant environments.

Bids & Estimates

CoConstruct uses a drag-and-drop mechanism to create bids and enter estimations at once and within minutes, as all specs and estimate data will flow inside them without you having to enter it manually. Plus, they will be stored and updated directly in your database, so that you will avoid expensive mistakes and unnecessary delays. This also means that you can submit a bid independently, and without waiting for trades to make their move. To facilitate the process even more, CoConstruct will supply you with warranties and punch lists, as well as a fully featured marketing & branding kit.

Meanwhile, PlanGrid is designed as a request-for-information and blueprint application for contractors and designers, and which accomplished most of its functions during planning and execution. The system is very visual and uses the highest technology to put construction plans into action. Users will also be allowed to use punch lists to capture photos, locations, and notes from the field, and share those from the very same dashboard.

Visibility

STACK’s on-screen takeoff, meanwhile, makes any construction project’s blueprint accessible, with all variables–number of doors, amoung of concrete, etc.–subject to customization options. It also offers total visibility over everything that a project needs, able to list all materials in precise quantity and quality. Estimates are also generated by the system, which can readily be viewed through reports. To make project planning much easier, the tool comes with a construction library, which houses pre-defined reports and plans. A database of all construction materials needed can be used as a reference when drafting proposals. These features make STACK a worthy competitor to Coconstruct, giving it a run for its money.

Usability

In terms of usability, it’s a toe-to-toe battle among all three platforms as each one is highly-intuitive and does not require long learning curves. But of course, CoConstruct remains as the most beginner-friendly option.

Financial Controls

When it comes to financial controls, CoConstruct has the advantage of owning a separate budgeting & accounting plan, and maintaining a streamlined connection with QuickBooks that helps you bill and invoice your clients. The system allows you to forecast project costs, track change orders and expenses, and streamline bidding with single-entry estimations.

Collaboration & Communication

If interested to enhance collaboration within your working environment, you won’t go wrong with any of these systems. They are teamwork-friendly, and all of them specialize in making communication easier, (with CoConstruct being the one that does so within and outside of your team, for external contributors and partners). The systems trigger mobile notifications on recent updates, gives contributors the chance to exchange files and opinions and monitor the progress of different projects, and to have their tasks assigned within an online, modifiable schedule.

STACK, on the other hand, is a web-based estimating tool suitable for all manners of construction projects. Estimation is made simple, with the system doing all the heavy-lifting for you. However, its support of collaboration is also something to be excited about, allowing team members to share files and be able to stay in the loop at all times. Creating project proposals is also a breeze as the system has pre-built templates for this process.

CoConstruct makes it easy to approve/decline a project proposal.

Comparison of Integrations & Mobile optimization

All three systems rely heavily on their accounting partners’ armory to enrich project management with end-to-end financial controls. CoConstruct, for instance, connects automatically to Xero and QuickBooks accounts, while STACK has an auto-count tool that can help you account for the materials that you use. PlanGrid, on the other hand, comes with an open API architecture for developers to build custom integrations.

To manage easily the work of your field agents, you will receive native Android and iOS apps and a fully optimized mobile version in all three cases.

Comparison of Pricing packages

The pricing schemes of our construction management leaders are very diverse, shifting from fixed enterprise pricing plans to custom-tailored packages that correspond to the client’s exact needs and requirements.

CoConstruct and PlanGrid, for instance, offer moderate monthly payment plans designed to cater to clients from different market tiers, and which differ from each other depending on their features and access to customer support.

CoConstruct is made affordable to both SMBs and construction enterprises, given that it comes with a basic construction package priced evenly for all users ($99/month), while larger businesses are invited to contact sales support for an individual quote. The decisive criteria in the case will be the list of features they are about to build, and the modules they wish to include within their CoConstruct package.

Of the three, STACK maybe a bit pricey for SMBs as it is being offered in three annual payment plans, starting at $999/user per year. However, this is but proper as these packages entail enterprise features that most large contractors require. The good news is small players can still use the software, which also comes with a free plan. If you’re interested in experiencing its features yourself, all you have to do is sign up for a free account.

The only system of the three with a fixed pricing scheme is PlanGrid, where packages are adjusted to the needs of small, medium, or large businesses. You can choose any of the Nailgun, Dozer, or Crane packages, and pay an amount between $39 and $119 a month. Features are basically the same in all packages, but they support a different number of sheets (550, 5000, or unlimited).

Comparison of Customer Support

With CoConstruct, you will have 24/7 live chat access to a team of knowledgeable agents, and you will also be able to submit inquiries via phone and email, or using their online ticketing system. The company also offers a robust database of tutorials and training materials, so that you can learn independently how to optimize the power of this system.

STACK, meanwhile, offers more robust support, which can be accessed by email, phone, training or live support. Similarly, a team of competent agents is always on standby to address issues and concerns users may have with the platform. In the same manner, PlanGrid makes it possible to contact agents via live chat, phone, and email, but doesn’t have a ticketing system in place.

You can also learn more or reach all of the companies through their social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). In all three cases, access to customer support will not be limited by the pricing scheme you’ve chosen.

Technology Trends in Construction Management Software

Despite the numerous capabilities that construction management software already possess, technological advances in the category continue to thrive, resulting in even better functionalities. A testament to this is the fact that members of the construction sector have increased technology investment by 30% in 2018. The following are but some of the latest construction tech trends to look forward to this year.

Increased Use of Collaboration Systems

Collaboration tools will play a key role in the development of new construction software. The technology will serve as the central framework of the whole construction process, allowing team members to oversee the entire process–from planning to delivery.

Cloud and Mobile Technology

Cloud and mobile technology continue to make waves in construction management. They give users the flexibility to access systems from anywhere at any given time, helping businesses keep up with the competition. Not only that, but cloud-based platforms are also much cheaper than their on-premise counterparts.

Growth of Business Information Modeling

Building Information Modeling technology is seen to continue to be among the hottest trends in the construction sector. They have the potential to change the way construction projects are designed and developed. The construction process stands to get that needed accuracy while sustainability and safety are also improved.

More Uses for GPS

While not really a new technology, GPS tracking solutions have been finding their way into construction management, helping users in processes like data collection, equipment recovery, fleet management, and surveying.

And there you have it, our list of the top 3 construction management software as agreed upon by our experts. Each one has its own unique selling point so it’s up to you to choose what you think is right for your business. Construction management software is indeed a boon for any contractor, but as you have learned, our top platforms are the best in the bunch. You can make a list of your requirements in such a tool and then go about selecting one. You have lots of choices as top construction management systems abound in the market. However, you can also go for our top tool, which you already know has all the features needed to help your construction business grow. And what better way to know more about the tool than experiencing its benefits firsthand. You can easily sign up for CoConstruct free demo here.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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