Communication in the construction industry is crucial to achieving a successful process from initiation to completion. Good communication within your team improves team working skills, leading to an optimistic collaboration and result in a positive project journey for the clients.
If communication fails within your team, not only can it significantly cause delays and problems in the project, but it may also result in damage to property, equipment, or worst, injury and death to members of your crew. So what are the best ways you can do to establish strong communication with your team?
Read this blog to discover seven essential communication skills you and your team should have. We also break down the consequences of miscommunication that you must be aware of.
Consequences of Miscommunication
Communication failures occur in construction every single time. A study found that thirty-six percent of workers were in an unsafe circumstance due to poor communication. The study also reported the following:
- 80% felt highly stressed due to a lack of effective communication within the team.
- 63% are prepared to quit because of frustration with the way the employers communicate with the team.
- 36% do not know where to look for the information they need to complete the work.
Miscommunication errors are not just inconvenient, but they are expensive. In fact, the miscommunication issues cost the construction industry $177 billion every year. The higher costs directly result from the time spent on some tasks like resolving conflicts and looking for project information. Good thing that these issues can be resolved right away. In fact, effective communication is a skill that can be practiced, taught, and honed continuously within your team.
Communication Skills You and Your Team Must Have
1. Avoiding Jargon
Jargon refers to industry-specific terms or words that are difficult for those who are outside of the industry. The construction sector is no stranger to jargon, so lessening your usage of these industry-specific terms can significantly improve communication and keep everybody on the same page.
Real-time communication without jargon is always preferable in terms of keeping everybody participates in the same loop. If everybody is on the same page, any mistakes can be avoided.
2. Encourage General Communication Skills
Most office-type professions require workers to have soft interpersonal skills. It shows how most of these companies in such industries hosted regular communication training in their respective workplace. While this setup is less likely standard in sectors like construction, imposing structured communication training can be a smart move on your part, especially when you are aiming to develop the communication skills of your construction crew.
Some of the most crucial communication skills include:
- Drawing clearly
- Writing clearly
- Avoiding jargon
- Active listening
- Taking accurate measurements
Whether your worker is an entry-level employee, you can suggest team-building exercises to practice these skills further onsite and help strengthen team morale. There are various online resources to help your construction team perform the activities on their own.
Here are some online resources you and your team can explore:
3. Establish a Clear Chain of Command
Having a clear and definitive chain of command on the construction site creates efficiency and accountability, standardizes communication, and eliminates confusion. The hierarchy on the worksite must be laid out in the initial contract documents and should include:
- Project owners
- Crew members like architects, engineers, builders, tradesmen, etc.
Common Construction Onsite Roles
In addition, the following worksite positions are very common in construction:
- Estimator – Estimates project costs.
- Construction site manager – Ensures the construction site is running efficiently and safely. They check the construction inventory list regularly too.
- Architect – Designs and oversees the construction project to cater to the needs of the clients.
- Supervisor – Runs the construction site, serving as an intermediary between field workers and management.
- Construction worker – Does all the physical labor and constantly communicates with the team.
- Engineer – Specialists who make sure the teams do their tasks correctly.
- Construction foreman – Head of works on the field and responsible for ensuring deadlines are met efficiently
- Electrician – Ensures the energy needs of the buildings are met by installing electrical and wiring infrastructure.
Common Hierarchy in Construction Company
The construction company has a different hierarchy compare to the construction site. While the top of the chain of command on site is the site manager, the company’s organizational structure is basically topped by the company’s CEO.
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – He is the top executive solely focused on generating more businesses and growing the company.
- Managing Director – Runs the daily operations and handles/supervises the management team.
- Project Director – Heads particular projects and makes sure things are done cost-effectively and safely during construction.
- Quality Manager – Uses data to ensure the work is being done and the project meets the company’s standards and industry.
- Design Team – Puts together a feasible plan for the construction, including aesthetic and structural aspects.
- Financial Team – Maintains the cash flow and tracks the project budgets.
- Legal Manager – Ensures all the legal requirements of the project are being met.
- Project Supervisor – Supervises workers on the ground accordingly and makes sure work is done safely onsite.
- Project Coordinator – Coordinates the everyday execution of the job and helps monitor the project for quality and safety.
Your company’s hierarchy might not be precisely this, but the common idea of a broader outcome focus at the highest level flows down to workers’ particular tasks.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Construction tech is continuously improving the construction industry, particularly when it comes to communication. Many innovators have developed construction-focused applications for these techs that are already shaping the industry by speeding up construction processes and eliminating safety hazards.
Here are a few examples of how construction techs are visibly improving communication in construction:
- Construction scheduling software – This software tool designed for project management improves communication and other aspects of the business.
- Drones – This tech can accomplish tasks like project inspections and site mapping in a fraction of time.
- BIM – Building Information modeling software is another construction trend that is improving communication in construction. BIM software integrates 3D modeling tech to provide faster project updates to offsite stakeholders.
- Wearable AI – Allows the construction team to have eyes on the ground regardless of being physically far from the project sites. This cuts down the time spent explaining a project since the crew members can see it firsthand.
Despite the fact that these construction techs might seem costly, they can significantly save you money by improving time and cost-efficiency. However, the goal is not to buy every new piece of tech to hit the market. Instead, stay updated and informed on industry trends and techs so you can figure out what tools can most likely improve your team’s overall productivity and communication.
5. Maintain Quality Checks for Communication
Anyone in your team is undoubtedly familiar with quality checks, as they appear in just about any area onsite. Whether it is doing a final safety check before signing off or checking equipment function before starting the work, and construction professionals know a job is not done until a quality check has been implemented and passed.
Make sure to performed quality checks on your team’s communication. Carry out construction crew management as it is also deemed necessary. It’s crucial to supervise every one of your crew and require them to maintain proper communication documentation. They also need to schedule some regular checks to maintain these processes are followed.
6. Constantly Train on New Construction Equipment and Processes
Some primary compliance mandates that all construction worksites should meet equipment and processes training for all members of your team. Ongoing training is critical for both efficiency and safety at the worksite. If you are the project manager, ensure that your teams constantly update their training and reviewing equipment manuals. This is to refresh old knowledge and to keep up with the latest developments.
A competent project manager should also undergo the same training, making sure he is briefed extensively on the specifics of what they need and what the crews are doing. Speaking of new equipment and tools used onsite, a modern software solution with powerful features is one of the essential solutions they need.
Construction inventory software is the answer and the perfect tool for you and your team. It is designed to track inventory, including all of its details (price, quantity, location, etc.), for a less annoying and more intuitive way to stay top of your equipment and construction supplies.
7. Learn How to Be a Better Listener
Being a clear speaker and writer is only half the job of being an excellent communicator. Active listening is just as essential as conveying your message and is not as simple as you might think. Active listing is defined as the capacity to focus and comprehend the message and respond thoughtfully to anything the speakers say.
Practice active listening together with your team with the following strategies:
- Ask direct questions – Ask questions directly to get specific details
- Paraphrase the main points – This confirms that the workers understand the speaker’s main point. They can also ask for some clarifications.
- Maintain eye contact to confirm you and your team is listening non-verbally.
Use Subcontractor Scheduling Software for Better Communication Flexibility
One of the most profound advantages of project management software solutions significantly improves internal and external communication. This software solution makes it easy for you to monitor updates, import contacts, and connect seamlessly with any crew member on your team.
Basically, this software tool improves and streamlines every single part of regular communication. Everyone can access some important project details and other information or updates wherever you and your team are.
A cutting-edge solution like Pro Crew Schedule saves you time and money. Also, it provides much-needed communication flexibility, especially on this type of work that is always in motion.
It may not be as apparent as technical skills like equipment operations and drywall installation. Yet, interpersonal communication is a critical skill for all crew members to possess and continuously practice. When everyone communicates and collaborates effectively, projects run smoother and can be completed within budget and schedule.