Communication is one of the most important factors in the construction industry. It can be the difference between a project becoming a success or a major disaster. Good communication can help keep the flow of a project running smoothly. Miscommunication can have a negative impact on several elements of a project including its timeline, its budget, the quality of the end result, and even people's safety. Here are some ways to improve communication on your next construction project.
1. Clear Process & Chain of Command
What is the chain of command and process you use to communicate with clients as well as each other for a project? If there are changes or issues, how will you inform each other? Whether it is by emails, daily meetings, a digital platform, or conference calls, everyone should be very clear on how you will be updating and communicating with each other. Enforce that they all need to stick with it.
2. Devices & Technology
It is important to use up-to-date digital solutions such as a BIM model (Building Information Modeling)--where there's one digital system that all members of the team can easily access regardless of the type of device you are using.
3. Repeat & Reinforce the Message
Convey a message in different ways to ensure better understanding. You can give a verbal update in a meeting and follow it up with a written within your digital files or emails. If possible, try adding pictures into your file with notes, as it helps clarify the same message two different ways.
4. Encourage Feedback
Be open to input from your team and you'll get better engagement. This allows them to feel more invested in the success of the project. Be sure you give the space and time allowed for the feedback so you can listen and be sure it is understood.
5. Continued Education
Schedule continuous training on new software, apps, equipment, and project management practices that will help keep your team working at their best. This will also ensure that everyone is trained to use programs the same way so there is a uniformity that will help will process flow.
6. Hire the Qualified
Select a crew that is qualified to communicate well and train them on your communication protocol so they can follow it. Make sure they are equipped with the right tools and internet connection needed to follow your communication process.
7. Be Upfront
Always keep your crew and the client informed of issues -- no matter how small. Clients can sometimes be very sensitive about even the smallest of changes, so don't prolong updating them. Holding back information is not a good idea.
There are a number of new amazing programs out there that help make communicating much easier for construction companies. For example, Mike Carson Construction uses Buildertrend, which allows all of our members to log in and access any active project. The most important thing to remember about communication, however, is that it must be a priority!
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