Although communication may not be one of the first things that come to mind when starting out on a construction project, communication is just as important as the actual building materials that go into a project. The process, schedule, budget and design of any building depends on proper communication.
In any instance where I’ve come across a significant issue on a project it’s been because communication has failed. From installing the wrong product (company not communicating upward what product they were using) to an inproper detail (not reviewing and communicating the detail far enough in advance) communication has always been the issue.
So how can you avoid issues with communication on your project. We’ve established five different steps that you can implement both individually and as a team to ensure the project communicates properly.
STEP 1 – Develop Workflows and Organisation Charts
Understand peoples and companies roles within a process is important. Does the architect need to sign off on every submittal? who is responsible for writing RFI’s? What is the process for approving a design concept?
Take each process on a job and develop a workflow which outlines responsibilities. This way, if something falls apart, the contributing party can be held accountable, and, more importantly the problem can be resolved and avoided.
STEP 2 – Appoint Individuals Responsible for Managing the Team
As an owner it’s important to appoint people or firms which specialise in normalising communication on a project. Whether you assign a project manager to represent you the owner, or hire a construction management firm there are people who specialise in organising and communicating with trades and consultants. These people can make your life easier and make the process go much smoother.
STEP 3 – Implement Technology that Makes Communicating Easier
There are a lot of platforms that are on offer that help to open up communication on a project and to ensure everyone has access to it. For more information on various technologies to assist with your need refer to our technology in construction article.
Step 4 – Email Isn’t Always the Best Form of Communication
You know that superintendent on your jobsite that always says that the days of fax and landline was a better time. Well he may not be entirely wrong. Despite all of the different technologies we have at our finger tips today nothing beats a phone call or coffee. Technology takes away the personal connection you can develop with someone.
Remember, relationships are important, hearing a person out is important. Speaking with someone can go along way to try to make time for it whenever you can.
STEP 5 – Create a Culture of Collaboration
No one person will make a project be a success. instead a project is a group of people collaborating to achieve a common goal. Holding people accountable is important, but ensuring people are working together is more important. No one benefits from people not talking to each other so create a culture promoting it.
Communication in construction is just as important as a schedule, budget or design. Not communicating can lead to a failure at all levels in the project so make sure it is open and consistent throughout the lifecycle of the project to ensure success.