The fact of life about running a construction-related firm is that adherence to regulations, laws and specifications is a gargantuan challenge. With violations often resulting in enormous fines and serious punishments (a case in point is the current ramifications of using polyethylene core-filled panels currently affecting firms in Melbourne), companies are placed in a position where they walk on tiptoes or risk putting their operations in hot water.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is responsible for monitoring all builders and infrastructure organisations to ensure that they abide by the Building Code. Through site visits, inspections, compliance audits and education and advice sessions, the ABCC is able to closely observe contractors. The purpose being to uphold a specific quality and safety level, where non-compliant firms may find themselves impacted in ways which transcend fines alone, including, but not limited to, the exclusion from submitting expressions of interest and tendering for or being awarded Commonwealth-funded building work during the period of exclusion.
For larger businesses, such sanctions can critically impact business cash flow in the short term and due to reputation damage, profitability into the long term. Thus, irrespective of whether you are talking manpower and contractor relations, tax and payment compliance or workplace health and safety procedures, you need to be proactive in establishing lawful and compliant practices throughout your organisation.
How Difficult is it to be Compliant?
Ask many people involved in the process and they will tell you that successful compliance is not an impossible mission, though it can be an overwhelming task if not approached correctly. There is the conundrum of the head office trying to implement a change, only for those in the field to see it as too onerous — thus not doing much to implement the documented procedures. Due to the complexities involved in managing projects, field teams may feel their time should be mostly spent resolving project-related concerns rather than focussing on the minutia of obeying nuances in industry-specific laws. It takes a firm hand and senior champions to get things moving in the right direction.
And even if your company has satisfied all the necessary accounting procedures, quality assurance controls and safety measures, auditors will still come in and rigorously check on all your documents, reports and processes. If they raise any flags, your compliance will still be in question.
So, the trick lies in having champions who will promote the cause of compliance and a robust construction management application which enables all to abide by the protocols set in place by management without it being seen as an arduous task.
Utilising Integrated Construction Software or SaaS Solutions on Your Compliance Journey
Ultimately, you have the liberty of determining how to go set about achieving regulatory compliance. That said, our experience shows the merits on investing in tools that will make it all easier. We have developed purpose-built construction site management software (well truth be told it is a SaaS framework), designed to help you conquer compliance challenges with the added advantage of site-specific reporting and other features.
Above and beyond helping you develop protocols, purpose-built solutions can help you with compliance in two key ways:
- Streamline digital processes: Modern solutions are designed to make work faster, easier and improve standardisation. These features enable users to enforce and eliminate errors that can affect compliance-related requirements.
- Improve communication: People in the office and on the field can easily communicate with others through one interface. Clarification can be documented and recorded to ensure compliance and accuracy.
But most importantly…
An automated tool will help you prevent the inaccuracies and inconsistencies brought about by traditional paper-based management systems.
The move into the new millennium was meant to usher in a paper-free society, yet that has not been the case. As recently as the last few years, paper-based reports have still been the mainstay of compliance. The pitfalls however, have led to the rise of digital solutions, with the foremost reasons being error rates with version control and accuracy issues of paper-based versions.
Looking into the Future
All the frustrations and mistakes associated with the traditional reporting method can be alleviated through the implementation of the right software solution. It is inevitable that paper-based documentation will — for the foreseeable future — be a large part of the process, yet the advantages of digitised construction platforms will see an increasing number of firms make the switch. If not for the simplicity they offer, then for the advantages they afford administrative and compliance teams.
So, think on this, if you want to continue to grow your construction business and get ahead of the curve, invest in technology now that will propel toward advanced regulatory compliance. At Viewpoint we have the expertise to help you understand your options and advise on what you need so feel free to get in touch today.