Every construction project has specific goals, which can only be achieved when stakeholders collaborate. Gone are the days when teams focused on fulfilling their own responsibilities and avoided minding other teams’ work until defects or snags occurred. Today’s construction is more inclusive, transparent, and collaborative. Contractors are finally renouncing legacy systems and embracing innovation to meet shared goals.
Collaboration is a higher form of teamwork. It’s not just about performing assigned tasks and taking ownership of one’s work. It’s also about maintaining constant communication and being open to constructive criticisms and differing opinions for the sake of the project. The goal of collaboration in construction is to work together to find the best solutions to achieve the project’s goals faster while maximising resources and reducing overall costs.
Challenges to collaboration in construction
Getting stakeholders and labourers to work together is easier said than done. It takes excellent construction project management to encourage team collaboration and turn it into a culture observed across the board. To achieve this, a construction project manager must break through communication barriers and other challenges. Here are some of the issues that hinder collaboration in construction:
- Different goals and priorities – Construction projects involve multiple stakeholders, each with their own goals and priorities, which can sometimes conflict.
- Communication barriers – Language and cultural differences, technical jargon, and unclear project goals and objectives can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.
- Lack of trust – The lack of transparency and accountability makes it difficult to establish and maintain trust within a construction company, which impacts collaborative relationships.
- Limited resources – Limited resources, such as time, budget, and personnel, often lead to competition, which is the opposite of collaboration.
- Resistance to change – Some stakeholders hold on to legacy systems, resisting changes in processes, procedures, and organisational structures necessitated by collaboration.
- Fragmented information – Collaboration is difficult to achieve when data and documents are scattered in different systems. A single platform for communication and data storage can resolve this problem.
- Geographic dispersion – There can be time zone differences and logistical issues when a construction project involves stakeholders from different geographical locations.
Addressing these challenges requires a proactive approach, clear communication, and the willingness to listen and understand the needs of others. Advanced communication tools for construction are a big help for this campaign. This is why many contractors are now investing in construction project management software, such as PlanRadar, to aid in improving communication for construction productivity and collaboration.
How collaboration leads to a successful construction project
Everyone knows collaboration is critical in any long-term and complex project. Construction projects are no exception. But how exactly does it impact each stage of the project cycle? And why should construction companies invest in construction management software and other advanced solutions that can improve stakeholder collaboration?
Collaboration enables stakeholders to communicate effectively with each other, share information, and clarify their roles and responsibilities. This helps reduce misunderstandings, avoid conflicts, and promote a better understanding of the project requirements. Improving communication in construction is even more manageable with construction project management software in place.
Increasing operational efficiency
Collaboration helps streamline processes, reduce waste, and increase productivity. This helps complete the project on time, within budget, and with better quality. There will barely be a need for defect management as collaboration enhances quality control and quality assurance.
It helps solve more challenging problems
Collaboration promotes a collective approach to problem-solving. When stakeholders work together, they can identify problems early on, develop solutions, and implement them quickly. Most of today’s construction companies are already using a centralised document management system and building information modelling (BIM) to allow access to data from multiple systems.
The adage “two heads are better than one” can’t be further from the truth when gauging what collaboration does to a construction project. Not only does it help polish plans and identify potential issues early, but it also enables stakeholders to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the table. This can lead to innovative solutions, better designs, and more efficient construction methods.
Elevating construction site safety
With all teams checking on one another and understanding their shared responsibility for the project’s success, potential hazards and risks can be identified much faster. It’s also easier to develop appropriate measures to mitigate them. With the construction site safer than ever, workers can perform their roles will less anxiety, which translates to better work quality and higher productivity.
How to break communication barriers in construction
Communication is a primary ingredient of solid and well-maintained collaboration in construction. It is how stakeholders understand each other, accept and provide new ideas, and diligently fulfill their tasks. Unfortunately, not all office and field managers have the knack for communicating. This is made worse by communication barriers, such as cultural differences, technical jargon, and lack of clarity in project goals and objectives. Thankfully, there are ways to achieve effective communication in construction.
- Use clear and concise language: Technical jargon can be difficult for people outside the industry to understand. Use language that everyone at the construction site can digest. Avoid using technical terms when talking to labourers, and always be ready to explain when necessary.
- Implement training programs: While it may seem unfitting for the nature of the construction business, training workers to communicate and comprehend more effectively can help prevent mistakes and increase productivity onsite.
- Foster a culture of openness: Encourage workers to speak up and ask questions when they don’t understand something. This can help prevent misunderstandings and promote clear communication. Many construction defects and snags result from miscommunication or the lack of confidence to seek clarification from field engineers and architects.
- Use visual aids: This is one of the most effective ways to communicate information. Visual aids such as drawings, diagrams, and videos can help convey complex ideas and technical concepts in a way that is easy to understand.
- Establish regular communication channels: Set up meetings, reports, and email updates to keep all stakeholders informed about project progress and any issues that may arise.
- Hire interpreters or translators: If language differences are a barrier, hire interpreters or translators to facilitate communication between workers who speak different languages.
Construction project managers must be excellent communicators, as conveying instructions, policies, and decisions are part of their responsibilities. Communication skills can be developed through continuous exposure to situations involving explaining or exchanging ideas.
Collaboration is a non-negotiable component of a construction project’s implementation. It is critical in every aspect and phase of the project, from planning and procurement to walk-through inspections and turnover. Construction project managers and other site officers must develop excellent communication skills to supervise projects better. Difficulty understanding others and conveying thoughts can be a stumbling block for the entire team, slowing down progress and causing significant losses to the company. Construction companies are now utilising project management software to enable managers, including those with little experience, to perform their roles more efficiently. This software provides a platform and features that make collaboration easy for all stakeholders.