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Why is communication important in the construction industry?

Thursday , March 30, 2023
6 minutes read
Why is communication important in the construction industry?

Communication is a critical component of the construction industry, and its importance cannot be overstated. In any construction project, numerous stakeholders are involved, including clients, contractors, subcontractors, architects, and engineers. Each stakeholder has unique requirements and expectations, and effective communication is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal. AECIS - a project management platform that can help you do that. This article will explore why communication is essential and how digital transformation affects communication in the construction industry.

1. Communication in the construction industry

Communication in the construction industry refers to exchanging information and ideas between stakeholders, including contractors, project managers, architects, engineers, clients, and other relevant parties involved in a construction project. Effective communication is crucial in the construction industry because it ensures that everyone involved in the project is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

  • The role of communication in the construction industry

Clear and open communication is essential in the construction industry. It enables project teams to collaborate effectively, anticipate and manage risks, and deliver high-quality projects within the given timelines and budgets. When open and transparent communication channels, project stakeholders can discuss issues or concerns and work together to find solutions. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Effective communication is also essential for establishing and maintaining stakeholder trust and accountability. When project teams communicate openly and honestly, they build trust with each other and project owners, which is crucial for ensuring the project is completed successfully. In addition, by being accountable and transparent, project teams can demonstrate their commitment to delivering the project on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.

On the other hand, failure to communicate effectively can have severe consequences for construction projects. Misunderstandings, delays, and errors can occur if project stakeholders do not speak clearly. This can lead to costly rework, missed deadlines, and increased project costs.

In summary, communication plays a vital role in the success of construction projects. Clear and open communication enables project teams to collaborate effectively, anticipate and manage risks, and deliver high-quality projects within the given timelines and budgets. It also helps to establish and maintain trust and accountability among stakeholders. Conversely, poor communication can have severe consequences for construction projects, making it essential to prioritize communication and ensure that communication channels are open and transparent.

2. What does the construction landscape look like?

To better align your communication style with the construction industry, it's essential to grasp the current landscape. This knowledge can help you tailor your approach accordingly.

  • 82% of owners desire more collaboration with contractors, regardless of whether you work remotely or on-site.
  • $17.5 trillion is predicted for global construction spending by 2030.
  • Over 50% of engineering and construction professionals report one or more underperforming projects in the previous year. Don't underperform at this rate by communicating more clearly and in real-time with your colleagues and clients. One single miscommunication can throw a wrench in the project's outcome.
  • Owners attribute poor contractor performance as the leading cause of project underperformance, with 69% stating so. To hold contractors accountable, provide regular feedback, and seek performance insights.
  • Larger projects often exceed budget and take 20% longer to complete than initially planned. To avoid these problems, transparency about expectations upfront is critical.

Whether you work for a commercial or residential construction firm or operate as a specialist contractor, these essential statistics can aid you in future conversations.

3. How does digital transformation affect communication in the construction industry?

Digital transformation has dramatically impacted communication in the construction industry, especially with the emergence of project management platforms. These platforms have revolutionized how teams communicate and collaborate, making it easier for project managers to oversee complex projects and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals.

Project management platforms provide a centralized hub for all project-related information, allowing real-time updates and collaboration between team members. Project managers can use these platforms to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress, providing a clear overview of the project's status at any time. This leads to faster decision-making and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication or errors.

Moreover, project management platforms allow for seamless communication across project teams, even when they are not physically present on the job site. For instance, team members can use these platforms to share documents, exchange messages, and provide updates on their work progress, leading to better coordination and more efficient workflows.

In addition to improving communication and collaboration, project management platforms enable project managers to identify potential issues and take corrective action before they become significant problems. For instance, project managers can use the platform's analytics and reporting features to identify areas of the project that may be falling behind schedule and take proactive measures to address them.

AECIS - a project management platform that helps you do that. This platform, for instance, allows project teams to share project data, track progress, and communicate about the project's status in real-time, facilitating decision-making and problem-solving.

4. Three tips for successful digital transformation?

Change can be intimidating for employees – especially when it involves their day-to-day operations and workflow. Many will be concerned about learning new systems, while others may feel technology is replacing them. Your team must be fully on board for a digital transformation to succeed; they should clearly understand why things are changing and how it will benefit them.

According to CNBC, in 2018, several major companies, such as Ford and GE, poured $1.3 trillion into digital transformation. But unfortunately, roughly 70% of their investment was wasted after many initiatives failed. Two key reasons these companies did not succeed were poor change management and a lack of communication. Managers should have conveyed why this change was essential and given staff appropriate support during the transition. Because of this, these companies could not utilize their new tools, and their investments could have been better.

Here are three tips for successful digital transformation:

  • Make a clear plan

Dirk Van Dongen, Senior Advisor to Proton.ai and retired National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) CEO, discussed in an interview the importance of digital transformation for distributors and how to manage this change. He highlighted that businesses face numerous supply chain disruptions, including geopolitical issues. Therefore, companies must develop a clear plan to overcome these challenges and communicate them effectively to their team.

According to Van Dongen, creating an innovative plan with clear goals and measurable results is a daunting strategic challenge. However, it is crucial to stay competitive in the industry. He also emphasized that more than implementing best practices alone is needed to thrive in a changing world. Companies must innovate, but they need to understand what innovation means practically.

To successfully implement a digital transformation, it is crucial to ensure that staff understands where the company is heading and how the transition will affect them. Employees who see that the change will benefit them instead of complicating or replacing their jobs will be more engaged and willing to learn.

  • Promote open communication

When introducing a digital transformation to your team, you must carefully plan how to communicate your goals to them. There must be multiple emails or meetings to get everyone on board with the changes. You must ensure your message is educating and engaging to prevent your team from ignoring or forgetting about it.

As you prepare your message and strategy, keep these three things in mind: learning style, workflow, and delivery. People learn differently, so adapt your message to reach visual learners, hands-on learners, and others. Also, consider your team's workflow and adjust your messaging to make it relevant to them. Use different delivery methods, such as in-person meetings, digital messages, and interactive projects, to ensure your message reaches everyone. Finally, it's essential to foster a culture of open communication between management and team members, where employees can share their concerns and ask questions as they learn and adapt to the changes brought by digitalization.

  • Understand this Process Takes Time

It is essential to realize that the digital transformation process requires time and is gradual. Therefore, it is not merely a project but a continuous process that your business must undergo as the global business environment shifts toward digitalization.

A survey conducted by MIT revealed that while 93% of employees feel that digital transformation is necessary for their organization, only 36% of CEOs have shared their vision for it.

The success of your digital transformation heavily relies on your team, and you must communicate your goals and help them understand what to expect. This process may be gradual initially, but by promoting a culture of communication and understanding, your employees will have the necessary tools to adapt to any changes.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, effective communication is essential for the success of any business, especially in the construction industry. A project management platform like AECIS will significantly improve industry communication, providing various tools for collaboration, reducing miscommunication, and increasing efficiency.

However, more than implementing digital transformation is needed to enhance communication. Companies must focus on creating a culture of effective communication with the help of new technology.

By embracing digital platforms and fostering a communication culture, construction companies can optimize their operations, reduce costs, improve safety, and increase customer satisfaction.

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