How to Create Successful Collaborative Construction

Working together is a part of everyday life in the business world; it’s necessary to be able to work cohesively with your team to succeed. But we’re all familiar with the feeling of everyone on your team not being on the same page. It can get frustrating, especially in a workplace environment where it feels like you’re putting in more work than others on your team. 

The construction industry is chock-full of team-based projects; the nature of working with individual subcontractors means that collaboration is one of the most critical aspects of successful construction projects. 

Keep reading for a complete guide on how to create successful collaboration in your construction projects: 

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What is Collaborative Construction? 

Collaborative construction means that everyone on the job site is working synergistically to complete a project on time and within scope. Collaborative construction stems from streamlined, straightforward communication between all the subs which make up the puzzle pieces of a construction project.

Having an open stream of communication between all workers on the job site is key to a project’s success, and collaboration helps make this a reality. In construction, there are a numerous amount of different specialized subcontractors involved in achieving a final project. Collaboration from the planning phase to close out can have a significant impact on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of a project.

Additionally, construction projects are notoriously difficult to organize, as each piece builds on the last. Any delays can have a domino effect on the outcome and timeline of the entire project. An organized construction manager can effectively balance several responsibilities at once and can keep on top of all of them simultaneously. Many managers are focusing on collaborative construction by using modern tools such as project management software instead of spreadsheets and other tools to assist them in daily management activities such as timekeeping, daily reports, and change orders.

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Benefits of Collaborative Construction

It’s important to remain transparent with your team when trying to foster collaboration between subcontractors. Having an open streamline of communication allows all workers on the job site to stay in the loop to any changes or updates to the project, ultimately reducing delays and increasing overall project satisfaction. When done correctly, collaborative construction can have a multitude of benefits, including: 

-Timely project delivery

-Higher profit margins

-Improving brand reputation

-Improved client retention

-Decrease in the amount of rework required

-Higher percentage of projects completed on time and within scope

-Higher customer satisfaction

-Better internal communication

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Using construction management software can hugely aid in fostering collaborative construction. Construction project management software is getting increasingly more advanced and easy to integrate on the job site via mobile app. The back office is now connected to the field.  Many project management solutions are bundling scheduling, project management, and timekeeping to better serve construction companies.

Project management software can also help keep projects organized and streamline the construction process, helping eliminate inefficiencies. 

Additionally, consistent communication can help clarify the role each worker plays and minimize the chance of delay or rework. By using project management software, a project manager can communicate important information with workers, including optimal start times, the flow of tasks, or any changes to the scope of the project instantly across the entire job site.

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Challenges of Collaborative Construction

It’s no secret that construction is an extremely fragmented industry. Because of the nature of having contracted workers, it can be extremely easy to fall into the trap of inhibiting clear communication between subcontractors. However, this often leads to delays and budget overruns. 

Additionally, the razor-thin margins of the construction industry mean that subcontractors often compete with one another to earn a share of the profit, rather than working synergistically to create a collaborative construction environment. 

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How to Create Successful Collaborative Construction

1. Change project delivery methods

Many contractors are choosing to use construction management software to help streamline communication and collaboration on the job site. By doing this, trade contractors can maintain consistent communication and quickly and efficiently remedy any errors or delays occurring, preventing a domino effect that delays the project as a whole. 

There are countless solutions to help ease the transition from paper to digital. Using tools like mobile workforce management at construction sites are particularly useful to help organize and optimize daily workflow. 

Architect, Owner, Contractor
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2. Hold people accountable

A genuinely successful construction manager understands the synergistic benefits of working as a team. Project managers are not meant to load all responsibilities onto their plate at once, but rather understand which tasks to delegate to members of their team. The goal is to complete the work efficiently and effectively, and one person can not do it all. 

3. Welcome challenges

Transforming into a collaborative construction company can be tricky– it’s a fact that people don’t like change, and new problems can arise from switching to a collaboration-based construction firm. 

It’s crucial to identify and respond to potential issues to minimize problems that can come with people switching to collaborative construction. 

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4. Communicate

Communication skills are a necessity in almost any job–but especially for a construction manager. Working with several different stakeholders at once requires a construction manager to have clear, practical, and concise communication–one of the most essential construction management skills.  

 Consistent communication can help clarify the role each worker plays and minimize the chance of delay or rework. By using project management software, a construction manager can communicate important information with workers, including optimal start times, the flow of tasks, or any changes to the scope of the project instantly across the entire job site.

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Final Thoughts

Creating successful collaboration in a construction project can sometimes be difficult, but the payoff is always worth the investment. Collaborative construction begins with streamlined, straightforward communication from the top-down, starting with project managers and trickling down to impact front line workers on a job site. Although it may sometimes be frustrating to implement a policy of collaborative construction, it’s clear that the benefits outweigh the costs.