Clear and direct communication is a staple of success in any industry, but it is especially needed in the field of construction. Completing a project, regardless of the size, often involves many moving parts and individuals who work in different fields. Organization of these various parts is key in construction, and a good system for communication is a must in order to avoid missed deadlines, unhappy clients, and unnecessary drama.
Before the project begins, it is important to establish what the communication expectations are from the top down. Your general contractor should discuss when and what updates should be communicated with the owner/s of the project, and this should be worked into the contract from the beginning.
A mutually agreed upon communication timeline helps keep everyone informed and happy, as well as protected. By abiding by clearly written contractual agreements, everyone knows what to expect.
Chain of Command
One of the best things you can do for your projects is to have a clearly defined chain of command for communication. Consider all of the people that are involved in one construction project: owners, investors, architects, contractors, superintendents, sub contractors, and more.
All of these individuals can have dozens of people working under them at once on the same project, so establishing a chain of command is the best way to avoid a multitude of unnecessary phone calls, emails, and more.
With the advent of the internet, many effective modes of communication are available to almost everyone at all times. While this can make communication in general very easy and convenient, it also sets up a wide range of challenges when multiple people are working together on a joined project.
With so many avenues of communication, it can actually become difficult to keep everyone and everything organized. This is why establishing a specified format for communication is key in being effective as a project manager. Set up guidelines for everyone involved. For instance, create a shared google document for job updates and have subcontractors update their section daily, or communicate who should always be cc’d on project related emails.
There are also many apps and types of software designed specifically for construction management that are great for keeping track of everything from time sheets and city permits to due dates for specific parts of a project. Regardless of what method you choose, it is important to have a format set up and ready for all involved parties to use, along with specified expectations for their use.
Always Be Clear
In the construction world, ambiguity can be quite costly. When communicating, whether it be with the owners of a property, city employee, or subcontractor, it is crucial that everything be said in a thorough and concise manner. It is easy to feel rushed when on the job, but very clear instructions are crucial.
Along with that, it is also important that the opportunity for asking questions and gaining clarity are available as well. This is an important aspect of good leadership as it helps keep everyone completely on track to get their job done well and in a timely manner.