As the years progress and projects become more complex, construction industry inefficiencies have become more evident. As managing construction has continued to transform through the years, the solutions have also been innovative. One of the up-and-coming methods that is revolutionizing the industry is collaborative construction management.
A Collaborative Culture in Construction
In order to make a collaborative environment in construction, one must enhance the connection to ensure visibility and aligned understanding regarding the project.
Whether you are an architect, engineer, consultant, or project manager, you should all collaborate your workflows to establish a single source of truth that serves as a central platform for making decisions and taking action. Having access to the same cloud-based information in real time simplifies the construction process and makes communication with team members and other project stakeholders more productive.
Connecting multiple stakeholders as early as the project’s planning stage improves understanding and allows effective decision-making that enhances design and construction operations. When all stakeholders are aligned and connected, it leads to higher-level performance and reduces risks for all the team members. When collaboration is solid, team members are engaged and willing to contribute their maximum knowledge and resources toward the project’s overall success.
But before we discuss how to implement a collaborative culture in construction, we must first be able to identify what hinders it
What are the Hindrances in Collaboration in Construction?
Getting stakeholders and workers to work together is a challenging task, no matter the scale of the construction project. It takes excellent construction crew management to encourage team collaboration and turn it into a work culture that is aligned in all aspects. To achieve this, a project manager must break through communication walls and other hindrances. Here are some of the issues that challenge collaboration in construction:
- Communication Barriers – Language and racial differences, construction jargon, and undefined project goals and scope can lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings.
- Varying Goals and Objectives – Managing construction projects involves multiple stakeholders, each with their own goals and objectives, which can sometimes conflict.
- Lack of Accountability – The lack of accountability and transparency makes it difficult to cultivate and maintain trust within a team, which impacts the collaboration of relationships.
- Resistance to Innovation – Some construction stakeholders hold on to traditional systems, resisting changes in procedures, processes, and organizational structures needed by collaboration.
- Limited Inventory – Limited resources, such as budget, time, and workforce, often lead to worker competition, which is the direct opposite of collaboration that we are striving for.
- Geographic Dispersion – There can be logistical issues and time zone differences when a project involves stakeholders from various geographical locations.
- Incomplete information – Collaboration is hard to achieve when data and information are scattered in multiple systems. A single platform for all communication and information storage can resolve this problem.
How Your Collaborative Construction Management Can Benefit Your Company
1. Team Alignment
Collaboration allows better construction crew management and alignment that creates a common understanding of the project details. Collaboration helps align team members, stakeholders, and subcontractors so that everyone can fully understand what needs to be done and how specific task or activity affects the rest of the team’s workflow. Collaboration at its best allows different professionals out of the field to integrate their visions with the practicality of the contractors and other field team members.
2. Access to Project Data
Collaboration enables access to project information and data – enhancing the accuracy of activities and reducing delays and inefficiencies. Many construction members and stakeholders work in parallel in the different stages of construction phases. In some cases, they lack access to critical information and are forced to spend too much time looking for project information needed for decision-making. If there is no date available, there will be no insights either. Missing insights during construction operations can lead to duplicated work, reworks, errors, misunderstandings, and wasted money and time. These inefficiencies cost a lot for the overall project.
Collaboration is the solution to this, as it gives you access to information and the capability to share insights to make decisions faster with other stakeholders. Bringing each professional together reduces costly surprises. For instance, an on-time collaborative review can help you identify conflicting construction design problems before operations begin. Collaborating also reduces costly rework, often resulting from poor planning and communication.
3. Strengthens Accountability and Transparency
Collaboration increases workers’ engagement as well as their level of accountability. If tasks are assigned to certain team members working in a collaborative environment, they want to succeed and not let their teammates down. They have this motivation that they can achieve their shared project goals hand-in-hand. When team members do their work enthusiastically, it boosts their professional confidence and commitment. When all project members collaborate, work smoothly, and communicate efficiently, the optimal project result can be achieved while strengthening construction crew management.
4. Streamlined and Smarter Decision-Making
Collaboration allows smarter and faster decision-making. Too few companies in the construction industry are empowered to access the data required for improving the workflow and the project in general. Collaboration is the first step in enabling all construction members to access relevant data and understand the big picture – including project deadlines, schedules, budget, and resource needs. Information is power, especially in construction where lack thereof can cause millions. Having access to it – and collaborating with other crew members – enables each individual or team to understand and discuss the details with all stakeholders fully. Through this, they can have a final say and influence on the design and production plan as the project unfolds.
5. Enhances General Safety
Collaboration increases the safety level of the project. Construction companies are used to heavy time demands and sequencing tasks when working in teams. Safety risks can increase if these tasks are planned per team and are not aligned with other stakeholders or trades. A critical step toward improving safety on site is to broaden the understanding of the project and improve the relationship between various stakeholders.
Collaboration enables the project management team and stakeholders to clearly discuss safety compliance, conflicting jobs onsite, and safety risks. Unclear communication about safety-related issues lessens uncertainty and clarifies the expectations of all parties. By getting people together with the same information, all the construction players can mitigate risks and solve safety problems as a team at an early stage.
What are Tips that Can Strengthen Team Collaboration?
Communication is a primary requirement of solid collaboration in construction management. It is how project stakeholders understand ideas, accept and provide new suggestions, and diligently fulfill their respective tasks. Unfortunately, not all field and office managers have the knack for soft skills when everyone speaks in technical terms. This is made worse by communication barriers, such as technical jargon, cultural differences, and lack of clarity on the goals and objectives of the project. Fortunately, there are ways to achieve communication in construction effectively.
1. Speak in clear and concise language: Construction technical jargon can be challenging for people outside the industry to understand. Always use language that everyone in your construction site can digest. Avoid using technical language when talking to workers; always be ready to explain patiently when necessary.
2. Cultivate a culture of openness: Encourage laborers to speak their minds and ask questions when they don’t understand a certain thing. This can help prevent miscommunication and promote strong collaboration. Many construction snags and defects result from miscommunication or the need for more confidence to ask field engineers and managers for clarification.
3. Conduct training programs: While it may seem out-of-place for the nature of the construction business, training construction workers to communicate and understand more effectively can help prevent costly mistakes and increase workforce productivity onsite.
4. Use a regular communication channel: Set up meetings, reporting, and project updates to keep all project stakeholders informed about the progress and any issues that may potentially arise.
5. Employ translators or interpreters: If language differences on site become a barrier, hire translators or interpreters to facilitate communication between crew members who speak varied languages.
6. Use visual aids: This is one of the most effective ways to communicate something on construction sites. Visual aids such as diagrams, drawings, and videos can help translate complex ideas and technical construction concepts in a way that is easy to digest.
We can conclude from all that we discussed that a fully integrated collaborative platform is the solution to better communication, workflow, and crew schedule management.
Collaborative cloud-based platforms outperform spreadsheets, Gannt charts, and calendars regarding project scheduling. That’s because Construction crew dispatch software, like Pro Crew Schedule, connects the entire team on one centralized platform from project planning to completion.
No more assumptions and figuring out as the project unfolds. Building a schedule collaboratively means stakeholders have all the information they need to contribute their input and insights in real-time while adjusting to the demands in a shared timeline.
See how the power of collaboration can secure your future in the construction industry with Pro Crew Schedule.