Having a better construction communication plan on every site is a must for every business. Beyond the acceptable bare minimum, clear communication onsite can make or break projects and dictate how successful they can be.
Successful guidance from planning to construction requires a detailed plan and communication. It’s not as simple as barking out orders to your team and expecting them to do it in a flash. Here are 6 tips for creating a better construction communication plan for your site project.
Identify Your Stakeholders
Identifying those who may be affected by your project is the first step in creating any plan. Whether you’re building a house or a high-rise structure, there are already plenty of people that need to work with your team and share decision-making responsibilities.
Some stakeholders (or clients) are customers, some are contractors, and others are third parties. For example, a design and build contractor may select an architect and engineer, who are the third-party stakeholders.
Identify the stakeholders as early as possible, and discuss with them the project requirements. Identify who should be informed about the progress of the project. Use remote collaboration tools to connect with stakeholders and consistently get their input when needed.
Maintain A Baseline
As you start your project, you need first to establish the baseline, which is the default that everyone needs to move back to when it comes to communication. Without it, your construction project and all of its subsequent tasks will be difficult to complete.
This baseline includes your initial plans, including permits, design, and even construction plans. By maintaining this baseline, you’ll know exactly what needs to be said and/or done and when. You can better prevent miscommunications and ensure a better project flow.
A communication baseline should also have a record of all project-related information. It should include everyone that needs to communicate with your team and record all changes and agreed-upon adjustments. This will help identify who’s involved, what’s being shared, when team members voiced it, and who said or wrote it.
Maintaining this baseline is crucial, not just for tracking the project’s progress but also for identifying any future deviations.
Track Your Progress
With a clear baseline, you can easily track progress. But, monitoring progress is just the first step. You won’t know if everyone is on the same page from a day-to-day standpoint. You may assume everyone is on the same page, but a project timeline and a communication plan will tell you otherwise.
You also need to know how well your team is performing. Tracking progress becomes easy when you have the right tools. You can use project management software to create, track, and share information.
A project timeline will also help you see where you might be falling behind and who’s responsible for that. Backlogs and delays are common problems in any construction project, so keeping track of them will help you prevent that.
Your construction communication plan should also have clear expectations. What’s expected of you and your team? A clear statement of project expectations prevents misunderstandings and delays and can help promote better project flow.
Beyond that, however, you should also set some realistic expectations. Determine your project timeline and stick to it. Tell your team, clients, and other stakeholders when they’ll be informed and when they’ll be contacted.
However, you also need to be flexible. This is particularly important if you’re dealing with changing project scope or if your team needs additional time or resources. Set clear expectations and have a fallback plan if things don’t go as planned.
The answer is always to underpromise and overdeliver. While there should be a baseline standard of practice, you don’t want to make your stakeholders think you underestimated how complex the construction project will be.
Use A Communication Protocol
A communication protocol refers to rules and regulations that moderate how communication lines are used. It’s a code of conduct that you and your team should follow. While specific regulations may vary depending on your project, a generic communication protocol should include clear guidelines about when, how, and where to communicate.
Communication protocols are essential because they help set expectations. For example, a construction project will most likely involve multiple stakeholders. A clear communication protocol will define roles and responsibilities, including how and when stakeholders will be informed and updated.
It can also include guidelines for information exchange and permission-based communication. It can also define how you’ll communicate with your clients, contractors, and other third-party stakeholders. A clear communication protocol will save you time and will prevent miscommunications.
A working communication protocol, together with setting a solid baseline, can help your project run without a lot of changing information. Even if you don’t oversee the project hour by hour, your employees will know what to do and keep their productivity in check.
Be an Active Listener
Without the proper communication tools, a project can easily get derailed. A communication plan is only effective if everyone follows it. So, whether you’re talking to your team or a client, always listen.
Active listening is one of the most critical elements of any successful construction communication plan. If you’re listening to your team and clients, you’ll know exactly what they need and how to provide it.
Understand what your team or client is trying to tell you. Don’t let your emotions get in the way. Try to see the situation from their perspective. Try to put yourself in their shoes.
When you’re an active listener, you’ll be able to clarify anything that’s misunderstood. You’ll be able to avoid miscommunications, and you’ll be able to address issues before they escalate.
Without actively listening, however, your team may get frustrated. When this happens, they may be tempted to just tell you what they want without really listening to what’s being asked. This can easily lead to miscommunication.
You can avoid this by simply listening to your team and clients. Your team will appreciate that, and your communications will be more relevant, clear, and comprehensive.
The Bottom Line
In the construction industry, where success depends on teamwork, clear communication is necessary. A poor communication plan leads to project delays, missed deadlines, and unsatisfied clients, and you can’t afford that.
You want to be proactive and use our construction communication plan to establish clear communication channels and guidelines.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a better construction communication plan for your project. This will allow everyone – from your team to clients – to understand how the project will go.
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