8 Real-Time Collaboration Tools for Construction Projects

The importance of real-time team collaboration in industries like construction or creative projects can’t be overstated. It ensures all team members are on the same page, prevents siloed workflows, and ultimately results in faster project completion. 

With businesses increasingly moving toward hybrid and remote work, online collaboration tools have become essential for effective workplace functionality. However, many large and small businesses often go overboard and invest in too many of them, overwhelming teams and making task completion more challenging. For smooth collaboration, you need a single real-time collaboration software solution that meets all or most of your needs. 

Lucky for you, we have just the right options. Here, we explore eight of the best real-time collaboration tools for construction projects. 

Key features to look for in real-time collaboration tools

Choosing the right team collaboration software from the many options available isn’t easy. Why? All tools market themselves as “the best in the market.” And, if you don’t know how to assess each one, you might fall into several traps before finding the right fit. To prevent this, we’ve compiled a list of critical features to look for when assessing team collaboration tools. The features include:

Live editing and document collaboration

Want to foster a dynamic and collaborative environment? Look for live editing and document collaboration features in all your potential collaboration tools. This way, remote teams can simultaneously work on the same documents and see what other team members contribute. 

Live editing and collaboration can come in handy when reviewing and revising construction documents like drawings and blueprints, as all stakeholders can seamlessly add their input to your project. 

If you want to brainstorm, create visual workflows, or work on documents like drawings together, look for visual collaboration tools that provide a centralized workspace or whiteboard for efficient real-time teamwork. 

Real-time communication

Did you know construction companies waste roughly five hours per week looking up project-related information? This is five hours that could be better spent on activities that add value to your project. 

How do you save time? Ensure everyone accesses pertinent information in real time, regardless of their location. When assessing potential collaboration tools, look for one with real-time communication features for efficient discussions. The features could be anything from instant messaging to video conferencing, depending on your needs. 

File sharing and annotation tools

Teams handle many construction documents throughout a project’s lifecycle, from contracts to drawings and daily reports. These documents are in various formats, including PDF, .doc, .xsl, .jpeg, DWG, AutoCAD and Revit file extensions, and more. For effective collaboration, you need a tool that allows you to upload a wide variety of formats and convert them into editable files. This way, you can effectively share ideas, even with remote teams. 

Also, ensure the tool you choose allows annotations for seamless feedback. Features to look for include text highlighting capabilities, call outs, text boxes, and drawing tools. 

Task management and assigning

This is a must-have feature for any business. A task management feature allows you to organize your work, delegate responsibilities, and track their progress, facilitating transparency and accountability. It also streamlines project workflows by ensuring all team members work toward collective goals. There’s little to no risk of misunderstandings regarding who is supposed to do what and when if you can create to-do lists for all stakeholders. 

Mobile accessibility

Can you imagine having to turn on your computer or laptop whenever there’s new communication regarding your project? This is exhausting and inefficient, as it can hinder real-time collaboration. On a construction site, few people have access to a laptop — and even fewer have access to a desktop. 

Mobile accessibility is more than just a nice-to-have quality — it’s a must-have feature for real-time collaboration. It allows team members to stay connected and contribute to projects, even when on the move, as people carry their mobile devices everywhere. 

The best real-time collaboration tools for construction projects

Checking whether all potential collaboration tools have the above-discussed features is time-consuming. Luckily, you don’t have to assess the hundreds of collaboration apps and tools available; we’ve shortlisted some of the best online collaboration tools for construction projects below.

1. ActiveDraft

ActiveDraft is a document collaboration software built to meet the needs of teams of all sizes in the construction industry. Its intuitive and user-friendly interface makes it easy for everyone, including project managers, general contractors, architects, engineers, builders, designers, superintendents, and construction teams, to leverage it throughout projects’ life cycles. 

The tool streamlines workflows by providing a centralized platform that allows visual collaboration, minimizing the risk of errors and reworks. It also helps teams stay up-to-date with the latest project information through real-time updates and promotes transparency and accountability by showing all document changes. 

Key features

  • Seamless document sharing and editing
  • Advanced file conversions 
  • Markup and annotation tools for seamless feedback 
  • Task management feature that allows you to create, organize, assign, and track tasks for your entire team 
  • Real-time updates and email notifications for all document changes and feedback 
  • Project dashboard to facilitate seamless project planning and management 

Pricing: Get started with the free Started plan. 

2. Autodesk Construction Cloud

Autodesk Construction Cloud is a construction management software with various products, including Autodesk Docs, Autodesk Takeoff, and BIM Collaborate. The software has been built to facilitate seamless project management and document collaboration — office and field teams can work together on everything from contracts to daily reports. This cloud-based tool caters to project owners, specialty contractors, and general contractors. 

Key features 

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) technology to allow teams to search for information seamlessly 
  • Centralized collaboration platform for streamlined communication 
  • Seamless document, photo, and video uploads to enable information sharing 

Pricing: The platform offers customized quotes based on a team’s needs and chosen product.  

3. Fieldwire

Fieldwire is one of the most popular project management tools for construction teams. It caters to teams of different sizes and a wide range of construction professionals, from architects to general contractors. Using the tool, project managers can coordinate tasks among their teams and share information in real time. 

Key features 

  • Kanban boards and Gantt charts for easy project scheduling 
  • Timesheets for efficient employee and time tracking 
  • Task management feature to streamline project coordination
  • Open RESTful API (application program interface) for workflow automation (Note: This feature is only available to Enterprise customers and Pro/Business/Business Plus clients who add API access to their plans) 

Pricing: Fieldwire has a free version with basic features like task management and paid versions (Pro, Business, and Business Plus) at $39, $59, and $79 per month.

4. Buildertrend

Buildertrend is a comprehensive project management software that streamlines many construction tasks, such as client communication, project planning, and financial tracking. The cloud-based tool caters to various professionals, including residential builders, architects, and general contractors. It also streamlines communication between these professionals, vendors, clients, and trade partners. 

Key features 

  • Gantt-like charts for effective scheduling
  • Client portal to facilitate a smooth flow of information between construction teams and clients 
  • Android and iOS mobile apps that mirror the browser-based platform’s features to foster collaboration beyond the office 

Pricing: Buildertrend offers Essential, Advanced, and Complete packages at $499, $799, and $1,099 monthly. However, users can get these packages for $199, $499, and $799 for the first month. 

5. CoConstruct

CoConstruct is a Buildertrend company that caters to the needs of a more specific client base. The construction management software helps remodelers and home builders coordinate their projects at all phases as well as manage their finances and clients effectively. Through the platform, teams can collaborate on everything from change orders to warranties and project finances. 

Key features 

  • Streamlined project planning system for easy project creation 
  • Project manager feature that lets individuals track to-do lists, assign tasks, and evaluate progress 
  • Mobile app to facilitate collaboration regardless of teams’ locations 

Pricing: Available upon request. 

6. TouchPlan

TouchPlan is an intelligent construction planning platform built for specialty and general contractors. The tool allows real-time collaboration between construction teams, promotes job site safety, and helps companies stay on schedule and within budget. With inadequate planning being one of the main reasons construction projects become unsuccessful, this software is worth considering if you’re stuck in the project planning phase. 

Key features 

  • Team participation history feature to help track team members’ input 
  • Allows unlimited users, enabling companies to involve all relevant stakeholders 
  • Responsive customer support to help tackle collaboration issues 
  • Integrations with Zoom and Jitsi to help teams collaborate through video calls

Pricing: TouchPlan offers a seven-day free trial to allow users to test its features before committing to paid versions. Potential clients can then contact the team for pricing details. 

7. Oracle Aconex

Oracle Aconex is a construction management tool built to help manage end-to-end processes and facilitate seamless collaboration among mid-sized companies’ project managers, architects, designers, and field managers. The cloud-based tool streamlines communication, facilitates seamless project coordination, and offers better control for construction teams. 

Key features 

  • Unlimited cloud storage, allowing seamless document sharing 
  • Strict version controls to ensure everyone is working on the same document and minimize the risk of errors 
  • Unalterable audit trail to minimize disputes and promote accountability 

Pricing: Available upon request. 

8. Raken

Raken is a field management app that promotes seamless collaboration between field and office teams. The tool allows field workers to submit safety checklists and daily reports, giving office teams a visual of everything happening in the field. It serves a broad market, including general contractors, specialty contractors, small and mid-sized businesses, and enterprises. 

Key features 

  • Allows integrations with tools like Google Drive, Quickbooks, and EarthCam, promoting seamless information sharing across teams 
  • Daily field reporting modules to promote better workflow management and keep office teams informed of everyday progress 
  • RFI (request for information) tracking for fast responses and clarity over issues that may arise throughout a project’s lifecycle 
  • Automated reports to help office teams assess project performance 

Pricing: Available upon request. 

Boost your construction project collaboration with ActiveDraft

Collaboration is crucial to a project’s success, as it ensures all stakeholders are on the same page. This can prevent delays, reduce disputes, and help teams stay within budget by minimizing reworks. As you’ve seen from this post, there are many collaboration tools from which to choose. Select one based on your needs for optimal satisfaction and results. 

ActiveDraft is a top choice for small and mid-sized construction teams as it offers all the tools required for effective collaboration. Through the platform, you get markup and annotation tools to help you brainstorm and share ideas, task management features to help you track stakeholders’ responsibilities and progress, and more!

Ready to give your construction project collaboration a boost with ActiveDraft? Get started for free today!

Jeff Mack is the Head of Marketing at ActiveDraft, where he is responsible for developing the brand and telling the ActiveDraft story.

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