10 Ideas to improve communication in the construction industry
Anybody familiar with construction will agree: communication can either be a major issue or a key to success throughout the construction process.
Miscommunication can affect the construction industry in several areas, with a variety of negative consequences on the overall construction process and results. It can negatively impact the project’s timetable, the quality of the end-result, the legal aspect, the set budget and even people’s safety (1).
Misunderstandings can happen simply because of unclear handwriting, different jargon or misused terms, or incomplete drawings and documents. Diversity enriches most construction sites, but cultural and language differences can also lead confusion and mistakes. Even two people speaking the same language can have a hard time communicating due to different semantics and interpretation (2). With all these variables possibly affecting your outcome, you might actually see how pen and paper or outdated technology are simply not good enough.
- Devices and Technology. It is important to use up-to-date project management softwares to communicate to all devices.
- Reinforce. Convey messages in different ways to ensure better understanding.
- Chain of command. Establish clear lines of communication and chain of command for messages and information.
- Clear and concise. Correct written communication, avoid slang, keep it direct, simple and legible.
- Quality and upgrades. Use document software that tracks revisions in all stages of the project and with all stakeholders.
- Continuous training. Organize continuous training on new equipment, software, apps, safety features and regulations and best project management practices both on- and off-site.
- Encourage feedback. Whether we’re talking about architects, contractors, or construction workers, all stakeholder’s feedback matters. Make sure the feedback is understood both ways and follow-up on it.
- Connections. Ensure the proper connections and functioning networks are available even in very remote sites.
- Qualified crew. Selecting qualified contractors and workers makes communication easier and effective for the whole team.
- Bilingualism. Identify if second or third languages are necessary and how it will be used specifically in safety and logistics.
Paying attention to these few points should help avoid some of the most common mistakes that happen because of poor communication. When a team manages to exchange concepts and ideas clearly and effectively, it just makes things run a whole lot smoother.