Conference Room Table - Communication

Communication and Relationships: The Key to Project Success

How to keep your construction project on time and on budget

Would you ever say to your contractor that you would like your project to run behind schedule and over budget?  I bet the answer is NO!  And not just for you, but for all answering this question.  Luckily for you, there are various steps that you can take to limit the chances of this occurring.  Now, there are some things in construction that we often just don’t have control over, but there are more things that we do.  If you have a team in place that can effectively communicate and successfully navigate the construction process, the chances of your project meeting its completion date and staying on budget increase.

You might be asking, how can I do this?  The answer is communication and relationships!  Success and failures of commercial construction projects are often defined by relationships and communication.  Both are present in all areas of life and both are necessary for successful completion of your construction project.  Establishing a relationship prior to the construction process is the foremost thing to do.  Not only is it important for you to establish a relationship with your contractor early-on, it is also important for your contractor to have good working relationships with subcontractors, municipalities and architects.  This can determine the flow of your project.

Communication is also key!  Prior to and during the course of construction it’s all about communication, when you have successful communication you and your contractor have an understanding.  When your contractor understands your needs and expectations, then they can lead the construction team effectively.  This will reduce confusion and prevent the construction process from slowing down.  As your space is being built, you may decide that some changes are necessary.  For instance, the fixtures that were specified on the drawings may not provide enough light or you may need to add additional electrical outlets as you didn’t account for the new water cooler.  Whatever the situation or complexity of your project, you and your construction manager should decide how how best to handle these items.

The relationship and communication level between you and your contractor may also depend on the type of contract you’ve entered into.  It can determine the amount of involvement you will have during the construction process.  You may want to be the point of contact for both your general contractor and architect.  This  means your general contractor and architect will both work directly with you and you will be heavily involved in every aspect of construction.  Or you may decide that you only want one point of contact, your general contractor.  In this case your design/build general contractor will be the liaison between the architect and you, reducing the time you spend involved in the construction process.

Prior to construction, you and your contractor should decide the following:

  • How often do you expect communication to occur?
  • How do you prefer to communicate?  For example, weekly meetings, teleconference, email, etc.
  • What is your project timeline?
  • If changes occur, how would you like to handle them?
  • How much interaction or involvement do you want to have during the construction process?
  • What type of contract is best for you?

We pride ourselves on our relationships with customers, subcontractors, municipalities and more.  We have found that our most successful projects are when we’ve developed a strong relationship and understanding with our customer prior to the construction phase.  This strong relationship guides our progress from municipality approval to completion, overcoming challenges that may arise throughout the course of construction.  Communication and relationships can make or break your experience, therefore, involve your construction manager early in the planning stage.

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