Lumber Toolkit
November 9, 2023
min read

Construction Timesheets And Their Challenges

November 9, 2023
min read
Time Tracking

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In any construction project, time management is instrumental in ensuring both efficiency and profitability. Construction timesheets is an important tool used to track and manage time on construction site.

What are Construction Timesheets?

Construction timesheets are documents that record and track the hours worked by employees and contractors on building projects. They include information such as work hours, tasks, pay rates, and signatures, serving as essential tools for payroll management, project tracking, compliance with labor laws, documentation, and accountability in the construction industry.

Timesheets have a rich history dating back to centuries. The usage of timesheets in the construction industry has its roots in the broader evolution of labor time tracking. While monitoring work hours can be traced back to the 18th century, the systematic use of timesheets in construction gained prominence during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coinciding with the construction boom of that era. The need for accurate labor cost calculations increased, especially as construction projects grew in complexity and scale, driving the development of formal timekeeping systems in the industry. The rise of labor unions and labor laws further emphasized the importance of precise records to ensure fair compensation for construction workers.

While timesheets have been used from ancient times to measure a worker’s productivity, they are not without their challenges and issues. In this blog, we will analyze these challenges in detail and provide solutions.

Challenges in Construction Timesheets

Believe it or not, there are still many construction companies that use paper time cards or timesheets to log their crew’s time. There are many reasons for this. We will first discuss the challenges that paper timecards pose.

Challenge #1:  Inconsistency in collecting data

First among the challenges is that workers often fail to record their working hours accurately. Firstly they might forget to clock in when they begin work.  Secondly, they may clock in but then forget to clock out. Most often, the foreperson or manager might collect the timesheets or log the hours on their behalf, resulting in inaccuracy and errors.

Challenge #2: Inefficient data collection and paperwork

Traditional timesheets involve excessive paperwork that can be both time-consuming and inefficient. Manual entry of hours worked, overtime, and absence can drain valuable management time and often lead to errors. This can be labor-intensive, especially if your firm has a lean team.

Challenge #3: Time-consuming approval processes

The approval process can also be a significant obstacle in timesheet management. Verifying and approving timesheets manually not only consumes a lot of time but also often leads to delays in processing payments, impacting employee morale.

Challenge #4: Illegible Handwriting

Timesheets filled out manually are prone to human errors. Illegible handwriting is a headache that most back-office executives have to contend with. This results in recording wrong information regarding hours worked, worker classification or even getting the name wrong while manually typing. These inaccuracies can result in under or overpayments, leading to disagreements or legal issues.

Paper Timesheets

Challenge #5: Buddy Punching

Buddy punching is a real problem in most construction sites where one worker clocks in or out on behalf of another, thereby falsely recording their presence at the site. In construction, where accurate time and attendance tracking is crucial for project management and labor cost control, buddy punching can have significant implications. It can result in incorrect labor cost calculations, overpayment, or underpayment of wages. It can lead to project delays if workers are not on-site when they are recorded as working.

Many construction firms have ditched paper timesheets and switched to digital time tracking applications to overcome these challenges, but even these are not without their share of challenges.

Challenges in Digital Time Tracking Applications

Challenge #1: Internet Coverage in Remote Areas

Construction firms often purchase expensive time tracking software, onboard their employees and crew, and provide them with training to use it, only to find that it can’t work in remote locations where mobile data is patchy. The crew goes back to tracking time using paper timesheets, and the challenges given above continue to haunt them.

Challenge #2: User Hesitancy Due to Language Barriers

Based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is found that 30% of the construction workforce comprises Hispanic individuals. However, when these workers are required to complete timesheets in English, they often encounter difficulties due to language barriers in construction and rely on others for assistance, potentially leading to errors and inaccuracies in the records.

Challenge #3: Not integrated with Payroll

While investing in technology, construction firms must pause and analyze what features they are getting. There are numerous time tracking applications in the market, but selecting those that can integrate with their existing Payroll would be a smart thing. Unfortunately, 90% of popular time tracking applications do not integrate with the payroll systems that they use. That said, many construction companies still use legacy payroll systems that they invested in many decades ago. The bottom line is that in the end, despite using a robust time tracking application in their sites, due to a lack of payroll integration, the back office executives are forced to do manual data entry.

Challenge #4: Complicated Interface

Complicated interfaces with numerous options and features can prevent construction workers from using the application due to user hesitancy. They need a no-nonsense application that is easy to use with a simple interface.

Challenge #5: Construction Compliance & Generic Applications

Construction is a heavily regulated industry, and construction firms must comply with many mandated laws related to wage calculation and construction compliance. That's why construction companies that invest in generic time tracking applications need help to use them because they are not purpose-built for the construction industry. They cannot alert the users about mandated breaks or overtime charges unless extensive customization is done.

Now that we have presented the challenges that exist in manual time tracking and digital time tracking, the solution is relatively simple. Construction firms must move away from manual time tracking and adopt digital time tracking that is purpose-built for the construction industry.

Enter Lumber Time Tracking.

Lumber time tracking might be the only solution to overcome all the challenges we have listed here. Here are five features that make Lumber Time Tracking an Ideal Application for Construction Firms

  1. Purpose-built for the Construction industry
  2. Supports Spanish language and allows timesheet submission in Spanish
  3. Works offline, allowing users to clock in and out even in areas where the Internet is patchy.
  4. Integrates with all popular payroll solutions used by construction companies
  5. Easy color code clock-in and out interface that is simple to use.
Lumber Time Tracking

For construction firms today, investing in an efficient timesheet management system is a necessity and not a luxury. Adopting time tracking applications like Lumber will increase productivity and reduce time wasted on administrative tasks, leading to significant cost savings.

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