When it comes to business, communication is the lifeline for smooth operation and efficiency.
Like many other industries, the construction industry hinges on how well you communicate and coordinate all the moving parts. From the construction manager, owner and design team to all the subcontractors on a project, there could be hundreds – or thousands – of people involved from start to finish.
This exemplifies why communication is essential to a smooth and successful construction project.
Setting The Stage For Success
One of the biggest goals in construction is keeping the project on schedule and under budget. Proper and efficient means of communication throughout the course of a project are crucial to completing projects on time and within budget. Therefore, it is necessary to lay the foundation for good communication from the very beginning.
Communication during the preconstruction phase helps sets the stage of success. A smooth project starts out with establishing and organizing the means and methods of communication early on.
At W.M. Jordan Company, we accomplish this by identifying communication chains of command and conducting regular preconstruction meetings with the owner, architects, engineers and subcontractors. Subcontractor and pre-bid meetings are critical for discussing logistics and conveying information, such as schedules and project expectations.
During the owner, architect and engineer meetings we discuss project expectations, budget, schedules, hot topics and the owner’s critical points. We also use these meetings to address constructability review and value analysis. To maximize productivity in these meetings, all members of the team must engage in transparent communication throughout the construction process.
Constructability review facilitates feedback from the entire team through an independent review of all building components to find the most efficient, cost-effective building solutions.
Following this review, the team discusses clarifications and proposed resolutions in order to develop the most appropriate solution to benefit the project. We use value analysis following each estimate and validation approval. Our communication and input during the value review sessions is critical to providing options for the owner and design team to make informed, value-based decisions that benefit the project.
Construction Is A Collaborative Process
The key to any successful collaboration is good communication. During the design and preconstruction stage, this encompasses not only communicating with each other in person, in meetings, on the phone and through email, but also by actively listening and supporting the collaborative process. This includes meaningful participation, thoughtful consideration of obstacles and suggestions, and avoiding the minutia in order to see the bigger picture.
By engaging in clear and efficient communication, all parties involved can valuably participate in the process. This approach also encourages innovative solutions and viable design alternatives that could avoid unnecessary and potentially costly expenditures down the road.
Additionally, we utilize a communication portal and document sharing system to facilitate open lines of communication with key stakeholders. Established at project kickoff, this secured system keeps all of the project team members informed about the schedule, meeting minutes, status of RFIs, submittal coordination and a variety of other important project information.
During the construction phase, we continue to coordinate with the owner, architect, engineers and subcontractors. Communication with subcontractors during this stage is vital to minimizing delays and keeping the project moving forward. This also includes clear communication between subcontractors to coordinate ongoing work.
Mandatory weekly subcontractor meetings help keep everyone in the loop regarding schedule, project expectations and safety. This enables smoother resolutions of any obstacles, if or when they arise. Toward the end of the project, we have weekly foreman meetings to communicate and discuss short-term goals that need to be accomplished to stay on schedule.
Communication during construction also goes beyond traditional modes of communication. Clear communication, such as visible signage and warnings of potential hazards is integral to project safety.
Clear and concise communication is the cornerstone of successful project delivery. How you communicate can prevent costly remedies, misinterpretations, project delays and accidents onsite. While email and text messages are easy and convenient, it’s important to acknowledge that, depending on the purpose, the most efficient means of communication is often the old-fashioned way – in person or over the phone.
Through our solid communication methods and strategies, W.M. Jordan is able to overcome obstacles and successfully mitigate any challenges we encounter.
Rob Beale is Vice President at W. M. Jordan Company, leading the company’s efforts in the Carolinas region. Rob opened the company’s Wilmington, NC office in 2012 with only five employees. Six years and two office expansions later, he has grown his staff to 34, with a regional revenue of $85 million in 2017.