The United States is home to a host of construction achievements in the past century.
For example, the Golden Gate Bridge, built between 1933 and 1937, spans 1.7 miles and qualifies as one of the seven Wonders of the Modern World. The Empire State Building joins the suspension bridge on this list as the tallest in the world from 1931 to 1970.
The U.S. is also home to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is strong enough to support 71 million pounds, the Astrodome (the first domed sports stadium), and the Bank of America Tower in Manhattan, the first skyscraper in the world to achieve Platinum Leed Certification.
These AEC achievements represents not only incredible advances in architecture, but also construction project management. All of these builds cross multiple years, and their very completion (let alone timely completion) is an underappreciated feat of American industry.
But these “modern wonders” aren’t alone in project complexity. Malls, apartment complexes, dams, stadiums, hospitals, schools, and other large, sophisticated builds take years to complete. Even a “simple,” standardized McDonald’s takes, at minimum, four months to complete.
Before and during the time it takes to complete one of these huge projects, construction managers have to manage the following
And all of this needs to be done in conjunction to produce a quality project on time and on budget.
How the heck do they do it all?
Advanced construction management software; the kind of software that’s specifically made to deal with the above four pillars of enterprise-level commercial and civil construction.
While there are a ton of construction management software options (275 and counting!), very few are designed to handle the stressors of multi-year projects. When looking at the best construction project management software for large construction firms, the list quickly distilled to these three options. They are listed alphabetically and not in the order of preference.
According to Capterra’s own research, Aconex is the #1 most popular construction management software option. Why is that? To start, Aconex provides end-to-end construction project management, from bidding to workflow to asset handover. For enterprise construction companies, project managers will appreciate its powerful document management capabilities and construction-specific templates. Aconex is explicitly made for large, complex construction projects, and is a solid investment for multinational corporations.
- Available in most of the world’s common languages: Chinese, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- Customizable on the company and project level.
- Has the rare praise of being both feature-rich and easy-to-learn.
- No limits on file sharing.
- Outstanding search engine for managing materials and tasks.
- Login process is tedious and required for each use.
- No free trial.
- No open API; few integration options.
- Not available as an on-premise solution.
Conclusion: Aconex is an excellent investment for multinational businesses working in infrastructure and commercial construction.
From perusing CMiC’s website, this option may seem like it’s lacking in features. Why would an enterprise-level construction company invest in a construction management solution that only offers financials, project management, project planning, and content management? But when introduced to the whole of CMiC, users quickly discover that CMiC is an integrated solution that can take care of the company from human capital management to asset management to document control and search to site management. There are few features that CMiC is missing; it’s meant to be the complete solution for enterprise construction companies, and, for those who can afford it, it comes pretty darned close.
- Available in the cloud, in a private cloud, or on-premise.
- Complete advanced features; like owning ten different construction-specific software solutions in one.
- Designed for portfolio management.
- Detailed reports covering: ROI, resource management, bid processes, and long-range financial forecasting.
- Excellent customer support.
- Even when familiar with the product, the user interface is not straightforward or intuitive.
- Has display inconsistencies across different browsers.
- Long, tiresome training process.
- No free trial.
Conclusion: CMiC requires the entirety of the business—from sales to project management to accounting—to work within the system. If your company can take the time to use this totally integrated system, it can be a massive asset to every part of your large construction firm.
e-Builder Enterprise is more niche than the other advanced construction management software options on this list. Made for healthcare, education (K-12 and higher education), commercial real estate, and government projects, e-Builder Enterprise is intentionally specialized and has no interest in expanding to other construction sectors. However, for the industries it does serve, e-Builder offers specialized workflow templates, compliance checks, and a lean system that gets projects done within specified time frames and budgets. Notable clients include INOVA, Kaiser Permanente, Chicago Transit Authority, University of Chicago, and Facebook.
- Above-and-beyond customer service.
- Plenty of integrations with common enterprise-level software, like Oracle, SAP, and SharePoint
- Rich business intelligence reports.
- Straightforward, searchable document management.
- Streamlined construction-specific accounting functionality.
- Implementation can take longer than six months depending on the size of your business and number of intended users.
- Workflows are difficult to customize project-to-project.
- Some in-depth financial reporting features are hidden behind an unnecessary paywall.
- Not available on-premise.
Conclusion: For construction firms specialized in healthcare, education, commercial real estate, and government projects, trust e-Builder to serve your industry and your company well.
While Aconex, CMiC, and e-Builder are all advanced, enterprise-level construction software solutions that stand out among their peers, there is still plenty of competition. For example, ComputerEase, HeavyWorks, and Newforma are increasingly popular with construction professionals and are agile enough to implement updates that may eventually land them on this list.
Which enterprise construction management software do you use? Have you heard of or worked with any of the options listed above? Do you think the analysis is correct? Let me know in the comments below!
And if enterprise construction management software is too much for your smaller construction company, check out Capterra’s construction management software directory to find the best solution for your growing company.
Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.