How bespoke management systems drive efficiency and enable regulatory compliance

Kelly Wheeler

Kelly Wheeler

Senior Project and Programme Manager

Investment in digitally innovative solutions is critical for the modern construction industry. While the US construction market has no shortage of off-the-shelf project management information systems (PMIS) designed to unlock digital benefits, bespoke, customisable systems are necessary to ensure compliance to legislation shaping project and programme delivery at a local level and better decision-making.

In the rapidly evolving industry of construction, it’s not just about bricks and beams – it’s about the tools and technologies that drive success. As a result of COVID-19, thanks to industry innovation, teams were pushed to find new ways to deliver public- and privately-funded projects. Now the industry is primed for an equally innovative solution to information systems, driven by their project management teams. 

Bespoke project management information systems: public versus private  

A PMIS built for public- versus privately-funded projects has significantly different performance measures and regulatory compliance needs. While project management scopes are often the same, client core deliverables vary greatly, and project success is often contingent on having a PMIS that works for a specific organisations.  

For public clients in the US, customising a PMIS to comply with local legislation is often required.  

Our Oregon team has developed a PMIS to mitigate Oregon-specific public procurement requirements, record retention and accessibility regulations (ORS 279C.525 and OAR 137-047-0560), which are two of the most common infractions in Oregon legislation. A customised PMIS allows clients to monitor contract values, ensuring they align with procurement law thresholds and that documentation also complies with public record retention and accessibility requirements.  

The success criteria for a custom PMIS for a private client is different. 

Teams often span multiple states and time zones, and with stakeholders frequently in different locations, systems need to be designed for mobile collaboration and governance. This means providing a concise, efficient and informed decision-making tool, while ensuring a user-friendly solution for collaboration across multiple companies.  

Our team designed a PMIS that provides high-level dashboards and live information on all critical issues and allows owners to action any items. The approval process provides all required information for owner sign-off in one automated form that relays information back to the team immediately.  

Building an integrated system for project success  

Although there are clear differences between building a bespoke PMIS for both public and private clients, five key components are common across both sectors: 

1. Compliance at the core 

In today's construction arena, compliance is non-negotiable. A PMIS needs to integrate mitigation methods, such as procurement rule thresholds, and meet Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). Unwaveringly committing to legal integrity helps set projects up for success and build client’s trust for future projects. 

2. Meeting the net-zero challenge 

Carbon reduction is a central driver for clients across the construction sector. Having a PMIS that includes a fully digital document control system and approval process provides a sustainable approach for more long-term solutions, including tracking supply chain performance against key net-zero targets.  

Good data is imperative in driving decarbonisation initiatives. 

Equally important, but often overlooked, is the need for alignment between corporate commitments, net-zero strategy and measurement of ground-level activities. The implementation of a PMIS presents a clear opportunity to standardise and create a tangible link between strategy and action.   

3. Accessibility from anywhere

Providing accessible systems from anywhere is essential for business continuity. A PMIS should be accessible from anywhere while providing regular backups to prevent data loss.  

The PMIS must be based on a collaborative approach and device-agnostic access that enables project managers to work seamlessly, including from the field. It needs to easily share things like photos, updates and notifications, and allow for document markups to ensure that everyone stays on the same page. 

4. Fiscally driven

The precise tracking of funds is pivotal in construction projects. A PMIS needs to provide clear and easily traceable accounting, document access, approval pathways and project reporting throughout the project's lifecycle. It also needs to be at a sustainable price point without requiring the need for costly external licenses for each user. 

5. Simplicity amidst complexity 

Many current systems hinder our project management best practices. Your PMIS should be designed with a user-centric perspective and should continually provide added value to organisations and projects.  

Investing in innovation  

A PMIS, along with other digital tools and technologies, provide opportunities for innovation across the industry, as well as the chance to: 

  • improve efficiency  
  • provide better decision-making 
  • drive net-zero targets  
  • build private and public client’s trust.  

Those companies that take the leap to invest in bespoke systems to support complex programme delivery in both public and private sectors will reap the rewards.  

For further information contact:

Kelly Wheeler

Kelly Wheeler
Senior Project and Programme Manager