Not too long ago, when a group of construction executives and industry experts were asked in a survey what they thought some of the construction industry's biggest problems were, at the top of the list was communication. What kinds of communication, exactly? Between CEOs and shareholders? Architects and clients? Superintendents and foremen? Well, everybody really, said those surveyed. And they felt these construction site communication problems affected every aspect of construction work, from contracts, to scheduling, to deliveries, to safety, to dealing with subcontractors. Knowing the source of a problem is an important first step in fixing it. In the words of the Captain from Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got here is failure to communicate". Knowing this, how should we in the construction industry move forward to fix it?
1. Who's In Charge Here?It's important that project managers establish a clear chain of command at the start of every project, and make sure that this is documented in writing. By establishing this chain early, not only do employees and clients alike know where to go for instructions and information, schedule changes and site problems are reported to the parties best able to deal with such issues, avoiding delays and other complications.
2. It's All Perfectly ClearThat "all staff" memo from the office might be perfectly understandable to the superintendent. But what about the site's foreman and workers? To insure a smoothly running site, superintendents need to take the time to make sure that all subordinates, whether a firm employee or a subcontractor, fully understands all site protocol, practices, and any schedules that pertain directly to them. Superintendents in turn need to be good listeners, which actively involves paying attention to and understanding what's being said. The best way to achieve this is by creating a comfortable work environment, where everyone can speak and ask questions freely.
3. Construction SoftwarePaperwork has been an important part of communication in the construction industry for hundreds of years, but paper is bulky, fragile, and prone to water, insect, and fire damage. Handwritten documentation, for reasons ranging from bad penmanship to weather, often has an adverse effect on written communications as well. But with the rise of software designed specifically for construction tasks, written communication in construction is far more legible and effective. The Raken application for daily reporting, for example, allows employees the ability to complete and submit multiple types of reports using mobile devices, meaning that such reporting can be done from almost any location. And because these construction daily reports can be reviewed and collaborated on in real time, firms using Raken are assured of reports written and received quickly and efficiently, meaning an end to a failure to communicate. Our Raken app aims to improve the construction industry communication
Check out this blog for 5 ways to further improve construction jobsite communication!