Paper Forms or Digital Forms: Which Are Better for Construction?

Posted by on Sep 6, 2018 11:31:50 AM
Brett Long
construction hard hats hanging at construction site

Construction supervisors are under tremendous pressure at work. Management and clients are pushing to meet deadlines. Employees need guidance, reminders to use their safety equipment, and training. But that’s not all. You probably also need to pitch in from time to time when somebody calls in sick.

With all these daily pressures, it's easy to fall for the lie of just working more hours every day to get through everything on your list.

That’s not the only way to succeed in construction. To get ahead without burning yourself out, you need to think about systems. That includes looking for ways to gain productivity and quality without personally inspecting each nail and wall. When you use forms the right way, your construction supervision workload will become lighter, and you'll hit more deadlines.

Why Forms Matter in Construction

You probably didn’t roll out of bed this morning thinking about ways to improve your forms, but think about how many forms you’ve filled out at work in the past year. Depending on the size of your company, it could be in the thousands.

How Forms Help (or Hurt) Construction Efficiency

The forms you use to run a construction business are critical to keeping projects running smoothly. You have forms to record and report safety inspections. There are forms to gather data on subcontractor performance. You might even use forms to gather data on staff performance.

By using a form instead of scattered notes, management has an organized database to reference in making decisions.

What happens when forms are disorganized, incomplete, or full of errors? It’s like driving a cement truck with your eyes closed. You don’t have accurate information to make decisions. That means more rework, more complaints from clients, and a higher chance of onsite injuries. Now, what are your options to supervise better with forms?

Traditional Paper Forms: Pros and Cons for Construction

Paper forms are the traditional way to gather information in the construction industry. You walk into the office, grab a few copies of your standard forms, and head off to the construction site.

Paper forms do have some advantages. For one, they’re familiar. You can write fast and add notes in the margins. Unlike with electronics, you don’t have to worry about paper forms losing power.

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However, when you look closely, there are significant disadvantages to paper forms for construction supervisors. Think back to the last job site you visited. Was there mud? Was there dirt? Construction is a messy business! That means you're likely to soil the forms, which makes them hard to read (or you have to waste time rewriting a smudged form when you get back to the office). Furthermore, there's no easy way to attach supplemental information to a paper form, such as photos.

What happens when the head office receives a paper form from a construction supervisor? The first concern is making sure the piece of paper arrives at the office on time and in readable condition. That’s a tough challenge if you're working far from your head office.

The second problem is that some poor administrative assistant is probably going to have to retype everything on the form onto a computer. It’s not a very productive way to run an organization.

The Timesaving Benefits of Digital Forms in Construction

Suppose your construction company begins to use digital forms instead of paper forms.

The benefits of digital forms are substantial. Using digital forms make your daily work as a construction supervisor much easier to manage. Instead of struggling to describe a problem at the job site, you can enter a few details on a digital form and include a few pictures.

After you send the form to the head office, they'll be able to review the form quickly and make decisions. That means you can get overtime, new materials, and other changes approved faster.

Finally, you no longer have to worry about information being lost due to smudges, or having to drop off a paper form at the end of a day.

Did You Know?

According to consulting firm McKinsey, construction is one of the least digitized industries. If you make the move to digitize your forms, you'll quickly become an industry leader.

Making a Smart Choice for Your Construction Workflow

When it comes to administration, you have two choices for forms. You can choose to stay in the past with paper forms and all the delays and rework they bring. Or, you can move ahead with digital forms. Choose the right solution for your construction company that will make moving to mobile easy and increase productivity in the head office and in the field.


You've got better things to do than paperwork. See what mobile forms can do for you.

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Topics: Construction, Mobile Forms