Collaboration in Construction The Challenges, Advantages, and Steps to Success
Collaboration in Construction The Challenges, Advantages, and Steps to Success

Collaboration in Construction: The Challenges, Advantages, and Steps to Success

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Generally, “collaboration in construction” means that teams work together towards one project goal or objective. As a result, every team member has direct access to the main plans and goals of a project at any given day and any given time, without having to rely on slogs or gatekeepers to remote offices just to get the information they need.

When construction collaboration is strong, team members pool their knowledge and resources to prioritize reaching shared goals dictated by the budget and timeline of the entire process rather than their individual goals. This, of course, ultimately, is the ideal way to managing construction.

What Are The Challenges of Collaboration in Construction?

Traditionally, construction is considered a divided industry. It’s not that teams are chosen not to work cohesively; many of the challenges of collaboration have to do with the dysfunctional system of the construction industry itself. 

Construction is a very competitive industry, and each project stakeholder wants the most significant part of the project outcome. As a result, team members are frequently more motivated to meet short-term individual goals instead of the project’s long-term end goal.

The majority of contracts, especially if teams work with traditional delivery methods such as the design-bid-build method, identify how to work on individual aspects of the job but don’t explore how it ties together. This dilemma gives team members different and often scattered perspectives that foster opposing solutions.

Inequality, poor communication, incompleteness, and litigation hardly ever lead to great partnerships. Still, many companies suffer from the status quo because they are daunted by the side effects of drifting away from the system and 100% committing to collaboration and construction.

Some of the common obstacles to construction collaboration include the following:

• Overcoming the transitioning difficulties and associated with getting started in a new system

  • Possibly a higher costs upfront, though collaboration efforts eventually lead to lower costs 
  • Changing job site and office culture, and initial inner resistance from some team members

The real question now becomes: are you willing to lose resources such as time, workforce, and money buy-in for the rest of your company’s lifespan, simply because change is difficult?

In case you need a little more push, let’s look at the significant benefits you can expect from enhancing collaboration to increase your interest.

What Are The Benefits of Incorporating Collaboration In Construction?

Fostering construction and collaboration should be implemented from day one, with each team member on the same page. Giving everyone clear job role descriptions, managing tasks are easier, and making it obvious how those tasks contribute to the whole creates an appreciation for and reliance on other members, contractors, and stakeholders rather than oppositions and misunderstanding.

As a result, this leads to:

  • Reduces wasted three major resources– manpower, money, and time
  • More satisfied clients and project stakeholders
  • Better company reputation
  • More repeated clients and referrals
  • Fewer construction punch list and rework
  • On-time project delivery schedule
  • Projects stays on budget
  • Higher ROI or return of investment

What Is A Successful Collaboration in Construction Industry?

Successful collaboration stems from streamlined workflows. Every member of the construction team knows their role, knows who or where to get the information they need, feels safe completing their responsibilities, and allows others to finish theirs.

To be more specific, collaborative construction does the following:

1. Boost Internal Trust

Trust is generally the foundation of good team collaboration. In its absence, individuals and companies tend to prioritize their individual tasks and goals, which are often at the expense of others. As we’ve said before, this type of trust gap is one of the most common reasons for cost overrun.

2. Easy and Convenient

Collaboration should not be extraneous from the team’s regular job duties; it won’t happen if it’s hard to do. Contrarily, successful collaboration is easy. It allows members of the team to collaborate at the same time, naturally. Seamless collaboration is usually the result of an intelligent application of approaches and tools, again discussed below.

3. Inclusive, not Exclusive

Real collaboration should be grounded on inclusivity. Most of the research and thought leadership in today’s time shows that inclusivity is a better strategy for growth than exclusivity, which frequently leads to stagnation. Typically, this is referring to diversity with regards to background, age, ethnicity, and experience. However, inclusivity is also important when it comes to access to information. When information is strictly controlled, no one is well-served.

4. Depends on Roles and Responsibilities

In addition to bridging all team members, for collaboration to be a success, there have to be clear roles and responsibilities established. Everyone should know which duties they are responsible for, and workflows and systems should be set up to where each person involved knows the subsequent chain of command.

5. Foster High-Quality Communication

It’s vital to understand that communication is the key to collaboration. 

Intelligent, successful construction companies avoid this by setting up cloud-based, easily accessible construction scheduling software that makes it easy to upload and download files and documents, view them in real-time, make necessary updates, request information, ask and answer questions, interact with the platform off of WiFi and in a remote setting, and more. But, of course, at every step of the way, communication must be prioritized.

How To Start a Collaborative Culture Today?

 

Below, we’ll discuss some of the best strategies for building and maintaining a thriving collaborative construction culture. 

1. Shift from Traditional to Modern Delivery Methods

Forget the traditional delivery methods and consider modern ones such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) partnered with Lean Construction– which takes the bird’s-eye view of any project–to provide much better results.

2. Create More Inclusive Contracts

Provide a contract that specifies the drawbacks for everyone in the event of failure.

3. Embrace Team Diversity

You will have difficulty creating collaboration in construction if you do not recognize and embrace diversity. That means Understand that your team is composed of diverse generations and backgrounds, multilingual and multicultural and populations, and those who adapt to alternative identities and lifestyle choices.

4. Remember That Your Team Are Humans, Not Robots

Show team appreciation and reward intentionality and initiative. Social activities never hurt anyone, as they encourage both teamwork and cohesiveness. Teams who want to spend time together would also want to work together, plain and simple.

How to Set Up Your Construction Team for Collaborative Delivery Success?

 

The construction industry is a relationship-based one. From office employees to subcontractors, everyone needs to feel reassured in each other’s abilities to get the job done. For collaborative construction teams, building trust from the start is critical.

Based on research, teams with a high level of trust have fewer missed schedules, lower turnover rates, and more repeat clients than their counterparts. They’re also more transparent, more consistent, and more willing to share information openly, all of which are important to the success of collaborative delivery. 

The question is, how do you build trust in construction? First and foremost, you have to define what trust looks like for your crew. Basically, there are two types of trust in business:

1. Project Trust: is the trust between at least two companies that usually occurs during a construction project.  

2. Organizational trust: is the trust between key individuals in an organization, such as among professionals, colleagues, or between employees and supervisors and managers.

With these definitions in mind, let’s take a quick look at the actionable steps for building trust for the team for better construction crew management. Get a clear perspective of how much your teams trust each other and the other companies or contractors you work with. You can get this information on an annual basis through surveys and evaluations. Employees can assign a rating to: 

  • Internal group trust levels
  • Project trust levels with other companies or contractors
  • How often others meet each member’s expectations
  • How easily they can earn trust from other members of the team

The next thing to do is to minimize uncertainty. Uncertainty is considered the biggest challenge to developing and maintaining trust in groups, regardless of the industry involved. Teams that are uncertain about the project they’re handling or the data they are using won’t be empowered enough to make strategic decisions for the success of the company. Organizations that prioritize sharing information and transparency are more likely to generate smart decisions than those that hoard information from each other;

  • Communicate, clearly, and directly
  • Encourage active participation and suggestion sharing
  • Ensure transparency with project data 
  • Teaching project management construction to new members  
  • Define job roles, responsibilities, and associated expectations
  • Be consistent in work operations
  • Provide regular performance feedback effectively and thoughtfully 

Last but not least, remember to take responsibility. When problems occur, it’s often too convenient to shift the blame to other people. Teams that take accountability seriously and look for ways to improve after a crisis are more likely to develop and maintain trust in the long run. 

Start Establishing Seamless Collaboration in Construction Today

 

When you start to consider what makes construction projects successful, delivery methods are often usually the common thing that comes to mind. However, empowering teams to succeed is just as essential. As the construction industry transition to a technology-first approach, the focus has changed from silos to collaborative processes and workflows. A vital part of generating the best results from these effective models is creating a high-performing team.

Manage construction projects better with collaborative delivery methods to achieve cost savings, meet schedules, and ultimately— build your team’s trust.

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