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Collaboration in construction projects
EBANKOME projects do not only consist of ecological materials, energy efficiency, consideration of social factors, etc., but also of long-lasting and socially sustainable cooperation in planning and construction. This not only creates a stable basis for the project but ultimately leads to a successful construction project. Within the framework of an interdisciplinary working group of the EBANKOME the connection between the lived project culture and the economic success
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Construction is a complex industry
Projects include diverse disciplines, intricate systems, and huge amounts of data. The success of a project depends on how coordinated this digital information is. From architects to subcontractors, if each stage is not working cohesively then the project will suffer and lose profitability.
Collaboration is crucial to deliver a project on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Read on to explore best practices for building collaboration in your construction business.
Collaboration is a method that the construction industry has historically struggled to adopt, but one that has been consistently demonstrated to greatly benefit the industry as a whole.
Collaborating on a project from the initial stages brings numerous benefits, including reducing time delays and the need for contingency funds. The appointed design team, contractors, manufacturers and installers all working collaboratively means designs, issues, priorities and construction methods are all agreed upon in the initial stages and fully understood by all parties.
While the theory of collaboration can seem abstract, it is a very real requirement for successful projects. If co-dependent elements of a project are executed in silos with no communication or coordination, projects can hit stumbling blocks.
For example, if the installer of the framing solution on a project has not communicated with the main contractor as to when they are required onsite, the project can either be delayed as the installer is not ready or alternatively they’ll turn up onsite but not be able to gain access and begin the installation, resulting in wasted days and money.
Similarly, if the framing manufacturer and installer have not cooperated and communicated, the project could be delivered before it’s required, taking up valuable space onsite, or be delayed – again resulting in lost days.
Collaboration should begin in the early planning stages of a project. Bringing in the major players on a project, owner, architect, engineers, general contractor, and key subcontractors can lead to better design and decision-making. These stakeholders should have some say and input on scheduling, coordination, materials, etc. during the design phase. It starts everyone on the same page and sets the tone for the project.
It’s important to rely on the expertise and knowledge base of the entire project team which can result in true innovation in approaching the project. A well-integrated team will lead to better project performance and reduce risks for all involved. Part of the collaboration process can include allocating risks to the parties best equipped to deal with them.
Collaboration goes hand in hand with good communication and keeping everyone together on the same page. It revolves around trusting all parties and valuing their input as integral members of the team. This can be accomplished by having a good communication plan in place.
It’s important to determine a chain of command for communication on a construction project. These are typically spelled out in the contract documents and usually require the owner and general contractor to communicate with each other through the architect. The architect is responsible for communicating with its consultants and the general contractor is responsible for communicating information to the suppliers and subcontractors. The superintendent on a project is typically the main point of contact for the general contractor
In order to establish strong collaboration, you must start at the top. The leadership team needs to facilitate collaboration. They need to be able to control and drive collaboration, handle issues that arise, and drive the project through to completion.
Project managers, construction superintendents, the design team, and the rest of the core leadership are in charge of working together and driving collaboration. They should be meeting on a regular basis to discuss progress and monitor how well the various teams are working together to see the project through to completion. They also need to look at ways to improve collaboration and make adjustments as needed.
Integrated Software Solutions
Technology has had a significant impact on improving communication and facilitating stronger collaboration over the last few years in construction. Everything from smartphones and tablets to Building Information Modeling (BIM) and cloud-based project management software has made it easier to manage construction projects.
Collaboration is critical to successfully move a project from estimating to the field. Software solutions can be a major asset to drive consistency and facilitate collaboration. When team members have access to the same information in real-time, it streamlines the process and makes conversations more productive.
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