For any construction project to be successful, you need collaboration between multiple stakeholders. Effective collaboration ensures that everyone is working towards a common goal. Collaboration also allows you to save on time and costs while adding value and reducing errors during any given project.
On paper, collaboration sounds convenient and easy to achieve. But in reality, stakeholders have different goals, plans, and working processes that may cause conflict or delays. For example, an interior designer may be looking to install luxurious furnishings that end up limiting the resources a structural engineer has available. Balancing between multiple aspects of the same project can be tricky. Furthermore, differing goals on the construction site may result in negative competition and the use of too many resources.
Collaboration allows you to consider the workflows of all stakeholders so you can coordinate efforts and channel them towards a common goal.
Collaboration refers to the process of working together to achieve a common goal. In the construction industry, collaboration ensures that all resources, communication, and workflows are striving towards the same objective at all times.
When coordinating the activities of subcontractors, third-party vendors, clients, and general contractors, you may find that each entity has its own goals and intentions. For example, an electrical engineer may be looking to cut costs by installing dated systems within your commercial building. On the other hand, your plumbing contractor may be focused on installing the latest fixtures to build their brand. These two conflicting goals may result in a high cost and low-quality project.
Collaboration ensures that all parties are on the same page. Through careful planning, sharing information in good time, and mediation, you can develop a collaborative environment that ensures your project is successful.
There are several reasons why collaboration during a construction project can be difficult. Because subcontractors have different job requirements, they may be blind to the larger scope of your project. This means that establishing trust, improving performance, and promoting innovation can be much harder to accomplish.
Many companies like to work within their own niche. Some contractors may be resistant to changing their workflows for your specific project- and this may result in poor communication, longer timelines, and a drop in performance. Achieving collaboration requires careful planning, strong leadership, and emphasising a common goal.
For you to say that your construction project is being carried out in a collaborative environment, you'll need more than just proper timelines and job responsibilities.
Strong relationships, trust, and respect are all critical when it comes to collaboration. It takes time and effort to develop these qualities within a busy working environment. But with the steps below, you can begin to channel all activities towards a common goal.
Collaboration starts early, even before the first blueprint is designed. When planning a project, you should bring in all the major stakeholders and seek input from key decision-makers. For example, the project owner, architect, engineers, and contractors should be kept in the loop when selecting a site or developing blueprints for an upcoming structure. They should also have a say when it comes to selecting materials and designing the schedule for your project.
Every construction project is a teamwork effort that combines the expertise of multiple stakeholders. This is why starting early will help you develop the best plan for your upcoming project.
Collaboration must start from the top. The management teams of different companies will set the tone by consulting each other, developing open communication channels, and solving problems as they arise.
Strong leadership lays the groundwork for a collaborative environment across the multiple stakeholders involved in your construction project. For example, by setting regular meetings and progress reports, engineers, contractors, interior designers, and material suppliers will all be on the same page when it comes to completing a project.
Collaboration is all about being mindful of other people's situation. You need to put yourself in the shoes of your subcontractors, engineers, or other third party vendors when setting deadlines and costs for projects. For example, putting unrealistic timelines for electrical work may cause your electrical contractor to rush the project and produce lower quality work. Pay attention to the concerns of your contractors and make decisions that consider everyone's current situation. You should also use mediation to negotiate common ground where critical decisions can be made.
Collaboration in construction can result in many different benefits. You'll be able to deliver projects on time and under budget, build a better reputation, waste fewer resources, and enjoy higher margins. With the steps outlined above, you'll be on the path to achieving a truly collaborative environment.
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