What happens when you have poor communication on a construction jobsite? Confusion, mistakes, rework, and delays. Poor communication alone costs the industry an estimated $17 Billion a year and a chunk of that is coming out of your company’s pocket. How can we improve construction jobsite communication? Here’s a hint: it’s not more emails.
Share Information More Effectively
The way most project teams communicate with each other is a mess. The sheer volume of emails, texts, phone calls, Facetime calls, and meetings overwhelm everyone. Important information easily gets lost in the chaos. More than a quarter of all rework is caused by poor communication—questions aren’t answered, the team doesn’t collaborate effectively, and information isn’t shared.
One way to deal with this is to keep project data and communication in one spot that’s accessible for everyone who needs it. That doesn’t mean a simple document management system. It’s the communication around the document system that matters. One centralized spot where everyone can easily find data and get questions answered is ideal.
Make Points of Contact Clear and Accessible
Who’s the right person to ask? Sometimes, that’s not clear. Fieldchat recommends publishing a contact list of every person in a supervisory, leadership, architectural, consulting, or engineering role for the project. This helps cut down on searching for the information you need to go to the right person. It also cuts down on bottlenecks and information overload.
Having to go back and patch together information to solve a problem, answer a question, or solve a dispute takes a lot of time. And, you can’t always find everything you need. When you document everything—conditions, materials, reports, and conversations, it saves time and shuts down a lot of issues. Anyone can go back into the record, if necessary, to refresh their understanding.
Bring Everyone on Board
Everyone working on a project needs to be communicating about what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. The AGC recently shared that the best, most profitable construction projects make good communication a high priority. Frequent, timely communication cuts unprofitable work delays resulting from RFIs, change orders, late inspections, material issues, and more.
Encourage and Expect Professional, Clear Communication
Construction jobsites are notoriously stressful. They’re physically dangerous, time-crunched, pressurized dances to make sure all of the thousands of parts, pieces, and people work together to get it done. The best-performing construction teams make a strong effort to stay calm and positive in all their communications with each other. Leaders need to set the example and expect everyone on the project to maintain respectful, cooperative attitudes. Clear communication helps to make that happen.
Choose the Right Construction Communication Tool
The truth is that it’s almost impossible to make radical changes in communication with the same tools you’ve always used. What you’re using now (emails, phone calls, texts, Facetime) just isn’t getting the job done. Just like we updated administrative tasks with QuickBooks and Justworks, we need to update our communication methods, too. Construction technology is the way we need to do this.