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Communication Management in Construction (3 Things That Actually Work)
Struggling with communication management in construction projects? Here are 3 things that actually work to improve it...
You lay out a clear plan for your project, only to watch it quickly go off track and over budget due to communication issues.
There is nothing more frustrating than having a contracted team turn up to work only to find they cannot execute their tasks due to a miscommunication on where the project is up to.
You then have to reorganise that job, pay them for another day's labour, and readjust the rest of the project.
Not to mention the confusion that comes with not understanding what’s actually happening on your jobsite.
By now you know how important communication is, but sometimes it feels like a mystery to understand how to start improving it.
After working with some of the largest main contractors in the industry, we’ve found that there amongst all the advice, there are 3 things that actually make a tangible difference when it comes to better communication. This article will explore these in more detail (we saved the best for last).
What's wrong with the way most people approach communication in construction?
On a project, you have sometimes hundreds of different parties onsite. They all have the same shared goal of delivering the project, but they all think and work in their own individual ways. This results in a fragmented project delivery process.
Advice that encourages simply becoming a better listener or making communication on-site more ‘concise’ is likely to fall flat because we’re dealing with processes that are fundamentally broken.
Most people try to alter their behaviour in order to bring about an improvement but if your processes aren’t addressed, this won’t have an impact.
To fix communication on your project, you have to first fix your processes and then a change in behaviour will follow.
3 ways to improve project communication in construction
#3. Integrated project delivery
One of the most effective ways you can improve your communication management on your construction projects is to implement a clear communication strategy at the contractual stage through integrated project delivery (IPD).
IPD is a combination of the ideas in integrated practice and lean construction with the aim of reducing waste and increasing productivity.
It focuses on maximising collaboration by integrating people, systems and business structures into every aspect of the project, including design, fabrication, and construction.
A key aspect of this involves changing the structure of incentives to encourage all parties involved on your project to work as one team rather than working in silos.
So rather than paying a subcontractor based on completing their own individual tasks on time, you pay them based on common goals.
For example, on a residential project, you may create the milestone of completing a particular apartment unit or floor and pay your dry liner, electrician and plumber once this shared goal has been reached, versus paying them once their individual tasks have been carried out.
Building this holistic way of working into your contractural phase greatly incentivise each team to work closely with each other and communicate outside of their silos to allow information to flow freely.
#2. Agile approaches
Another option is to improve communication in your construction projects is to take the last planner approach.
With this agile approach, you set up a system where the trades have the last say on what the next steps of a project are.
This will often involve daily stand-ups where your trades report on progress so everyone understands the work that will need to be carried out for the day.
You could opt to take the input of each leading tradesperson to understand what the appropriate next steps may be which they would then communicate to their teams.
By enabling the people who are actually working on the field to help you to understand what needs to happen next you can streamline communication and significantly reduce the chances of errors, delays and messy trade handovers caused by poor collaboration.
This option can be very effective, but only when you have the right communication tools in place to keep up with the constantly changing plans. The Sablono app is perfect in this instance, as once a change is made, it automatically updates all the important stakeholders with the new information.
#1. Using digital construction tools
Digital tools like Whatsapp on-site can be useful for communication but will only have a limited impact because it is still disconnected from your actual jobsite.
As a main contractor, it’s your job to bring in a method on your project to facilitate communication, you can’t leave this down to your trades.
Implementing digital platforms that foster trust, transparency and collaboration is THE most effective and simplest way to begin improving communication on your construction projects.
This is because it gets to the heart of the issue - transforming processes by providing transparent information.
The right digital tool can help you stay in the know on a fast-moving ever-changing job site. Of course, there are lots of digital tools out there, but not all will be equally effective for improving communication on your construction projects.
When it comes to adopting a digital tool to improve communication, you should look for the following capabilities:
- Real-time information.
- Centralised system that connects your construction supply chain.
- Transparent status reporting that is immediately accessible to everyone.
Sablono for communication (the simple and easy way)
Sablono fulfils the above criteria and so much more, that’s why we’re trusted by some of the biggest names in the construction industry.
Need to provide a real-time update on where the project is up to and communicate to your team about how the plan needs to change? Simply send updates to whoever needs them at the push of a button in the Sablono app.
Want to make sure trades are where they need to be, when they need to be there? Streamline trade handovers with Sablono’s time availability stamps which notify the next trade when the task is available for them to complete.
Or maybe you’re tired of unreported obstructions and quality issues causing delays. Issues can be quickly reported in the app with quality control automatically built into your workflows through quality checksheets and images attached to each activity.
And because all your data is connected in Sablono, you won’t have to worry about your changes to one part of your project will impact another - with Sablono your entire construction supply chain is connected so your dashboards are automatically updated.
- A single source of truth. The Sablono tool offers a digital audit trail for greater peace of mind and protection for all parties involved. In construction, people think in silos, but with Sablono, everything is connected. Move from fragmented to connected.
- A centralised system. Transparency in construction doesn't just happen on-site. Coordinating is everything. Sablono offers a single place for workflows and all the other essential information.
- Simple trade handovers. Assign roles, responsibilities and deadlines to your trades within the system.
- Scalability. Sablono is perfect for any sized project, and still just as effective on large, complex projects.
- Granular project insights. Sablono provides access to an unprecedented level of detail on a project to give greater clarity and visibility than was ever possible before.
- Transformation. Sablono gets to the core of the issues that are faced in construction to transform the entire construction execution phase versus simply managing one element of this. That includes building trust between contractors, reducing stress, and eradicating silos.
- Standardisation. Sablono offers you the ability to standardise repetitive workflows so that you can get the job done faster with fewer errors.
- Collaboration. Sablono is the perfect tool to connect the supply chain and people. With Sablono, you can see multiple projects at once, and it creates a fully connected construction workflow.
- Faster digital task management. Sablono digitises manual processes including manually checking things, writing notes, and manual quality assessment, charts, schedules, and coordinating trades.
Communication management in construction: Final Thoughts
As you can see, improving communication in construction is not an easy task, but it is achievable with the right approach.
Without transparent information, communication will always be in the dark, Sablono gives everyone on your project the information they need, when they need it.
If you want to explore how digital technology can help improve communication on your projects, book a demo of Sablono today.