Good communication is the foundation of all successful projects. Alternatively, when communication fails, it can have dire consequences. As one study found, “Ineffective communications is the primary contributor to project failure one-third of the time, and had a negative impact on project success more than half the time.”
In construction, communication is essential for streamlined processes and on-time, on-budget project completion. Without it, companies and projects experience:
- Errors and rework
- Delays and rising costs
- Potential disputes and litigation
Nevertheless, maintaining streamlined communications is easier said than done. With so many people involved in a project paired with an endless amount of changes, information is frequently lost in the shuffle.
For a company like Dome Construction, specializing in high-end tenant improvement work in downtown San Francisco, communication is everything. That’s why Superintendent at Dome Construction, Kaitlin Prendergast and her right-hand woman, Assistant Project Manager Chrissy Ford, knew they needed a solution to address the lack of coordination and data that pains the industry.
“The biggest time suck is when you don’t have the information when you need it,” says Chrissy.
“Maybe it will take you one to two hours to track it down, which is pulling you away from all the responsibilities you already have on your plate, so your plate just keeps stacking up. The best thing to avoid that is having everyone on the same page.”
When Kaitlin first got to Dome, she insisted that projects needed to be run off of PlanGrid. As she said, “We need something that our foremen can use that’s easy, straightforward and the information is right in front of you.”
Once PlanGrid stepped in to smooth the way toward better communication and more seamless management, projects at Dome took on a whole new shape. Watch what happened in our latest video:
What Constant Communication Looks Like in Construction
On projects, teams struggle to communicate due to the complexity of the work and the number of changes and updates needed. With paper and other manual forms of communication, even email, changes continuously get lost, creating fragmented and missing information that leads to mistakes and rework.
Today’s construction teams need cloud-based software to ensure they have the most up to date information. As boots in the field, this is something Kaitlin takes very seriously.
“When we’re in the field, I’m clouding something, I’m screenshotting it, I’m sending it to Chrissy, I’m running around back and forth and can upload the information once she gets it, to PlanGrid,” she explains.
“All of our subs are also using PlanGrid, so they’re getting information as soon as I am.”
This elimination of gaps in knowledge–from field to office, office to field–makes an enormous difference when it comes to the efficiency and productivity of Dome Construction.
Construction Software: A Facilitator of Communication, Not a Replacement
That’s not to say the software takes care of everything. With better technology, Kaitlin, Chrissy and other team members are active participants in the distribution of project information.
“Every morning at 7:30 I sit down with all of our foremen, and we go through what’s hot for today and tomorrow,” Kaitlin explains of their process. “To keep everyone on track, there’s constant communication. If there’s not that communication, I don’t know how you keep up with changes.”
Without constant communication, it is impossible to keep up with changes in construction. “From the field aspect, PlanGrid is above and beyond from what else I’ve seen,” Kaitlin adds.
Interested in improving communication and collaboration for your construction company? Read our blog, “The Ultimate Guide to Building Collaboration in Construction,” to learn how.