Using Dropbox in construction and why it doesn’t work for construction document management


There are many reasons why we feel that it’s not the best idea to try and use generic software when there are specific software packages out there built for your industry.

Construction definitely has some very specific requirements and challenges when it comes to document management control. At BuilderStorm, we have attempted to take into account many of the common issues and have come up with an extremely flexible and reliable Document Management system.

It is possible to use other generic pieces of software to support your document needs. However, in our experience, there are typically lots of unforeseen issues that are not necessarily obvious when first signing up and attempting to roll it out.

We are not saying that only our software is perfect, but we pride ourselves on ensuring that every client receives as much support as they need to enable them to get the best out of our solution.

Thinking of using Dropbox in construction? Here are just a few things to consider:

  • Users complain about slow support and lack of built-in editing.
  • It’s strictly a cloud service, with no support for on the premises or hybrid implementations. Depending on your requirements, this may not suit your organisation where you need on-site training to get up to speed with the software depending on your staff’s technical experience.
  • The lack of specific tabs makes it difficult to locate your files. Other software solutions typically have other means of accessing and filtering files and the folder structure is not necessarily the best solution for that.
  • Collaboration: you can add notes and such to a document, but you cannot edit the file in real time.
  • Lack of folder locking support
  • If more than one person edits a document at the same time, it saves two versions rather than superseding existing versions, that would normally keep a clear audit trail.
  • Lack of proper mobile access/support.
  • Dropbox not syncing – this is probably one of the most annoying problems and affects confidence in Dropbox. This is an especially important feature when you need to be 100% confident that you have pushed changes you have made live or need to be sure that you have the most up to date version. This can be one of the most common problems facing construction companies; an out of date drawing or company document can cost your company a lot of money if this isn’t the case.
  • The website going down – Dropbox is a cloud-based service and allows millions of users to use its service at any one time. This can sometimes cause significant problems with their web servers and, in some instances, the website will go down where services are affected.
  • Dropbox files missing – in some instances, users may find that some files are missing. Normally this can be resolved as Dropbox retains a log of the move of the file as well as any deletions but this does not necessarily happen instantly and can be a problem when needing to access some important files.
  • Install problems – sometimes, users will face problems when installing the Dropbox software since it has to support a huge number of different operating systems and versions, where bugs are invariably introduced. This isn’t great when you may have some of your users using different systems and it’s hard to predict when this mail may not be an issue.
  • Just not working – sometimes you may have to reinstall Dropbox or pause your antivirus. These have been reported to sometimes having an issue with its performance. Some users have reported constant crashes and files or folders disappearing from the screen with the syncing not working. In these cases, there is nothing you can really do other than trying to restart the software, reinstall Dropbox or even, in some cases, restore your Windows system as a last resort.
  • Inability to log in – sometimes you may have to reset your Dropbox password in order to log in. We’re not sure if this is an intermittent issue or a security measure.

If you want to find out some of the benefits of BuilderStorm’s document management software, please get in touch or book a demo.