Communication in construction: have you got the right processes in place?

Published: December 3, 2019
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Completing any construction project on time and on budget is a challenge. Plans change, the unexpected occurs and you have to think on your feet. Ensuring everything stays on track no matter what comes your way requires clear communication and knowledge management from the very start.

This entails communication between designers, engineers, subcontractors and clients. Ultimately it will prevent you from wasting time and money and reduce the number of snagging problems.

It’s important to note that following established communication protocols isn’t just a matter of ensuring effective project management and delivery, it’s also a contractual requirement when it comes to communication between you and your clients. It cannot be overstated that for changes to be appropriately instructed and valued, these protocols must be strictly adhered to.

In this blog, we won’t be addressing communications between you and your clients but instead will focus on internal communications within your team.

Nailing down your processes

From design through to construction, there are seemingly countless issues that need to be clearly communicated to the right people at the right time. To help focus your communication processes, here are the essential points you need to discuss and plan before you embark on the design and construction phases of your project.

The design phase

While you get things set up for construction to begin, there are 8 key questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How often do you need to schedule meetings with clients and the different members of your team or other key individuals involved in the build?
  • What methods will you use to transfer drawings?
  • What is your approach for the use and control of amended or unconfirmed drawings?
  • How will you grade, report and track defects?
  • Who should accept and check deliveries of materials to the site?
  • Do you need to employ a Clerk of Works, supervisor or gate person?
    1. what will be the extent of their authority when it comes to instructing your workers?
    2. what will their communication responsibilities and methods be?
  • Who will you appoint as the single points of contact for suppliers, design offices and subcontractors?
  • Do you need a supervisor on-site for each trade?

The construction phase

When construction begins, plans will start to change and communication becomes even more important. Make sure you:

  • start things off with a kick-off meeting led by your project manager. This gives everyone on the project the chance to meet and enables you to clearly lay out the modes and channels of communication to be used going forward.
  • provide technical advice and best practice guidance in an easily accessible manner to site-based staff. This will prove invaluable should your project involve particularly difficult detailing and the members of your team assigned to this are inexperienced or the product or material is new to the market.
  • set out how upwards feedback through your formal management structure will work. For example, how will on-site workers report back to the site office on an incorrect drawing? how will the site office report back to the head office to request corrected drawings from the designers?
  • arrange trade coordination meetings so everyone works effectively in sync.
  • update your detailed programme in response to any and all changes.

The future of communication

The sheer volume of communication outlined above may seem daunting but it is increasingly easier to manage thanks to the digitalisation of the construction industry. On-site wifi combined with digital planning software makes simpler work of keeping everyone informed and keeping channels of communication open.

At Multiproject, your construction consultants, we’ve embraced digital technology and the latest methodologies in the construction industry to help our clients complete more projects on time and on budget. For expert support and advice on your project, from estimating and quantity surveying to contract management, get in touch with our experienced team today.