Construction projects almost always require internal and external stakeholders to communicate and collaborate. Creating effective communication channels between business silos can help construction companies avoid misunderstandings, reduce rework, and increase productivity on and off project sites.
However, these channels of communication are not always built, despite the need for information sharing for administrative reasons, such as compliance and insurance. Here’s why information silos between offices and on-site workers continue to be a communication challenge for construction companies.
The biggest challenge construction companies face when considering communication methods for project stakeholders is the different approaches each stakeholder takes to communication. Contractors and subcontractors might prefer chat applications due to their mobile-friendly nature and office staff might prefer email due to its prevalence in the office environment.
This leads to information being spread over multiple platforms, channels, and threads. Industry research also found that almost a quarter of employees consider email communication a barrier to productivity, with 18% saying that maintaining relationships across business silos can be a challenging obstacle to overcome.
Another communication challenge construction companies must overcome is changing complicated compliance rules that have to be followed. Without effective communication channels, these rules are often not shared and explained in time, creating compliance gaps and frustration between on-site and office staff. Even if the appropriate rules are communicated to every stakeholder in a timely manner, outdated communication channels fail to provide business leaders the visibility necessary to confirm and report compliance where needed.
Construction business leaders are always concerned about their ability to complete a project on time and under budget. They consider a wide variety of factors that could impact a project’s cost and completion timeline. However, the impact of communication is usually underestimated in these considerations. Industry research has shown that 29% of employees attribute project failures to poor communication.
Construction project requirements change all the time, with material shortages and changing client demands being some of the driving factors of these changes. This is why effective communication channels must be built between business silos. Any miscommunication concerning these changes can force companies to rework existing parts of the project, causing timelines and budgets to be stretched even further.
The past couple of years has reiterated the need for business leaders to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances to cause disruptions within their business. Insurance plans are often a big part of this preparation. However, for insurance to be an effective layer of protection against business mishaps, construction leaders must first ensure that their entire practice remains compliant with industry standards and rules. Poor communication channels make it difficult for business leaders to confirm this and it creates information gaps that may violate insurance policy terms and conditions.
The first step in achieving productive and effective communication is making sure that each team member has all the information they need. If information is spread across multiple communication channels, it is difficult for team members to access contextual information that might be important to the conversation.
Construction technology that includes a fully integrated data-sharing platform allows teams to consolidate all relevant information on a single platform, giving team members an easy place to store, collect, analyze, and share data without the need for complicated text or email chains. This also gives business leaders a convenient place to view their operations in a holistic way and without missing information.
Even if systems to share information are implemented, business leaders must make sure these systems are easy to access for on-site staff and office staff, each of whom has their own unique needs that a communication system must meet. Office staff are usually happy to access software via a variety of methods, whether it is through the web, an application on their computer, or a mobile application.
On-site staff, however, are usually limited to mobile devices and the on-the-go nature of their jobs means it is essential that cloud-based systems can be accessed from anywhere. Cloud-based software also enables office staff who are working remotely to communicate as effectively as they would in the office.
Once the communication channels have been established, employees and business leaders can reach each other and share project information easily. A consistent system encourages team members to share information and updates in a timely fashion. Having formal information sharing processes can go a long way to reduce the ambiguity presented by unclear rules and to establish a fixed set of rules across the project.
Ultimately, it is clear that effective communication is key to any successful construction business. Having effective communication channels that span construction project sites and offices can help improve productivity, reduce rework, and encourage collaboration across business silos. Fully integrated software also allows construction teams to do this while establishing clear and consistent information-sharing processes.
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Tom Stemm is the CEO/Founder of Ryvit. He was inspired to build Ryvit when several of his clients in the construction industry had asked for some custom integration development work. At the time, Tom was part of the founding team at GadellNet (a fast-growing IT consulting firm in St. Louis, MO), and they realized that there was a significant gap in the construction tech industry – namely that, while tech purchases were high, the adoption rate of those solutions throughout all stakeholders was still lagging. After a very diligent launch process, Ryvit was born to address the rampant problem of a disintegrated tech stack in the construction technology space. Tom continues to lead a team of integration developers, application enthusiasts, customer heroes, and sales superstars on a mission to eliminate duplicate data entry and rampant data errors from the construction technology world.