Architectural, engineering, and construction professionals have a long list of actionable items that must be completed before final project delivery. This includes the initial concept and project planning, preliminary and final drawings, bill-of-materials and procurement, and the final field erection or systems installation. While the technical aspects of these professionals are taught in classroom settings, often the management of an architectural or engineering business must be gleaned by trial-and-error or in the field.

The best project management software for landscape architects and other construction consultants will remove much of the complexity involved with planning and delivering the final blueprints for a home, building, or other structure.

AEC project management software is a centralized place to track project tasks, timelines, budgets, employee time, client billing, and vendor accounts payable. It should also offer the ability to keep track of work-in-progress and problems or issues that come up on a project that will demand your attention at a later date. Having all this information at your fingertips, even while sitting in your client's office, can make your firm look more polished, professional, and prepared.

Architecture project management tools should also keep the lead architect or engineer informed on whether the project is within budget and on schedule - in real time. There should also exist the ability to assign hierarchy status to different tasks. Some activities are mission critical, while others simply need your attention for the purpose of assigning that task to a drafter or designer.

BigTime offers project management for architecture and engineering firms that is specifically designed for the way these professionals conduct business. It focuses on the most important features needed to manage and track construction projects which are - overall projects, specific workflows, budget, invoicing, and employee time tracking.

Free Project Management Software For Architects

When considering free project management software for architects, you should also consider what's at stake if the free software crashes just before a critical deadline, or worse yet, if your data is somehow lost, stolen, or corrupted. All these scenarios could and have occurred with business owners who chose an open source or free project management program.

Often, free software will contain only very basic features, and as developers lose interest and pursue more profitable endeavors, you are left with a skeleton program that lacks technical support. And typically, the original developers stop updating their free software platforms. So, as operating systems are revised, the free project management software becomes obsolete or limited in what it can achieve.

Most engineering and architectural firms already have a Microsoft Office package, so why not also use the Microsoft project management software included with that bundle? Well, Microsoft project is a generic project management tool, and is not built specifically for the way that AEC firms conduct business. Also, the Microsoft Project on its own is very expensive and is notorious for being difficult to navigate and hard to learn.

Compare this with BigTime Project Management, which is not free but offers a free trial period for you and your staff to test drive before you make a commitment.

Even though BigTime is sophisticated and includes some very useful features, it was built to be easy to learn and simple to navigate. This is key for engineers, architects, and general contractors that want to focus on their core business and not on how to manipulate a program to generate reports. BigTime project reports are intuitive and include report templates that get you analyzing and tracking your project with useful reporting that allows your team to make better decisions.

Practice Management Software For Architects

Professional practice management software for architects needs to be relevant to the way architects plan each phase of a new project. Similar to the way a dental practitioner would need the right type of office management software that supports a small medical practice. In contrast, architects need practice management software for architects that supports the 5 phases in which AEC projects are structured:

  1. Preliminary or conceptual design
  2. Schematic design
  3. Floor plan design development
  4. Construction drawings
  5. Final in-field tasks and as-built drawings

BigTime practice management software for consultants was created specifically for the way professional consultants and small-to-medium sized business owners work. Not only can you make detailed plans of how the project will progress, you can also attach budget limits to certain tasks to help keep you and your team within budget constraints.

Also, any project management software for architects and engineers may need to integrate with existing document management software for architects that keeps track of the large amount of drawings in a final package including exterior renderings, interior detailed floor plans, and exterior elevation views. BigTime is designed to help your business stay on track of projects and within budget - both of which are key to building a successful AEC firm.

Architecture Management Software

The best project management software for architects will result in more profit from each and every project. Why? Because you and your staff spend less time on repetitive administrative tasks such as payroll and accounts receivable/payable. But, even more important, is that architecture management software organizes your projects in such a way that actionable items are completed on time, which keeps the entire project running smoothly and within budget.

When these companies use architecture document management software, it can reduce duplicate efforts, especially on non-billable tasks that can eat up manhours and profits. Other tools that should be in software for architect projects are Gantt charts. When Gantt charts are incorporated within architecture management software, the following project activities can be visualized:

  • Visualize the critical path that the project is expected to take
  • Create a breakdown of work into smaller, assignable tasks
  • Track project progress from beginning to end
  • See what work is scheduled and on what specific days.
  • Project start dates, end dates and milestones are in view

With all the information contained in your architecture management software app, the forecasting of project timelines and deliverables are more accurate. Project management for architects books can help professionals better learn how to manage these projects, but the software is key to putting that knowledge into practice.

When both project and resource scheduling exist side-by-side, you get a complete view of in-office activities and field work. And, stakeholders appreciate status updates that give your company a good reputation for managing big projects using effective scheduling. When stakeholders are impressed, your company can experience repeat and referral business that can take your AEC firm to top Google listings for local architectural firms.

Software Architecture Project Example

BigTime is a great software architecture project example for small to medium-sized architectural, engineering, and construction firms. It allows you to manage your projects in real time and with real data. So, when you meet with stakeholders for a project status update or information sharing meeting, you walk in with current project information right at their fingertips.

And, what are some examples gleaned from a project solution architecture document example:

  • Ability to easily see project scope at each phase of project
  • Early warning signs of material shortages or procurement issues
  • Visualize design bottlenecks that may affect delivery schedule
  • Time-effective ways to manage designers and drafters
  • Data that supports budget overruns and design change decisions

These are just a few examples of crisis situations which occur on just about every architectural project. But, instead of creating a budget, time, or manpower crisis, the data gleaned from project management software gives you foresight, so you can avoid slowdowns and work-arounds.

Project management software can also be used as an agenda for team meetings. BigTime allows sharing of project data, analytics, and reports to each team member's or client's mobile devices. Engineering review meetings are more productive when everyone has access to the same project information.