How to Improve Communication in Construction

Yves Frinault imageYves Frinault  •  

In today's time-crunched business environment, sharing information quickly and efficiently among project team members has never been more crucial. In the field, that's often the difference between a good and a great construction crew.

In my last post, I talked about how smartphones let everyone on a project — from foremen to field engineers — easily capture precise, media-rich information. But once you have it, what do you do with it?

Without effective sharing, information becomes fragmented and lost in "silos": your phone photo album, your computer inbox or a whiteboard in the trailer. It makes it very hard to track anything down and you end up extracting very little value from it.

Traditional "smart push" sharing — emailing project update photos to the office or having a foreman call a sub about a change order — requires knowing precisely who needs what and how best to reach those individuals at any given moment.

This requires frequent meetings or touch points to ensure everyone knows who's on the team, what roles each person plays and what they need to know. And that's a problem because today, everyone is moving so fast, it's hard to keep up!

To run your project at peak efficiency, you need to adopt a "smart pull" broadcast model, where key information is, by default, shared in a central location and made openly accessible to everyone on the project. Office staff and job site crews. Architects and engineers. Project supers and subs.

This "smart pull" approach — having individual members go in and retrieve the information that they need — eliminates the need to guess who needs what information, and figure out how best to connect with them. This model simply puts essential data at everyone's fingertips, instantly and reliably. Then, you can easily fine-tune who has read-only access just to keep them in the loop — and who gets full read-write privileges to ensure they help drive the conversation.

Using a construction app like Fieldwire on your smartphone is the best way to make this happen. Complexity can kill sharing solutions faster than you can dream them up. Smartphones are easy for everyone, and with Fieldwire you can count on people using them to not only record but also efficiently share the information that serves as the lifeblood of your business — keeping you on schedule and under budget.

In the end, be open with information on your project and only worry about limiting access to it on a case by case basis. Ensuring that those who need the data have it always yields bigger benefits than hoarding it somewhere — slowing everything down in the process.

construction sharing

In next week's post, "How proper organizing and tracking helps get things done," we'll examine the final piece of the puzzle in using better communication to run your site.

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