When it comes to construction projects, rarely do any go exactly as planned – from weather interruptions, to supply chain mishaps to employee/vendor drama – there are a myriad of things that can and will go wrong.
With deep experience in the construction business, I learned the number one rule for reducing risk associated with the anticipated pitfalls and ensuring the customer remains satisfied is COMMUNICATION.
As with any successful business model, having solid systems and project planning in place to minimize risk is the place to start if you are constantly putting out the proverbial fire in your firm and with your customers. As we live in a litigious society, the goal is to reduce the opportunity for a lawsuit to occur.
Keep the Communication Open and Flowing
- Ensure all team members are on the same page. Communication within your team is critical as it reduces costly mistakes and ensures everyone has a common goal. Solid policies, processes, and procedures help everyone know exactly what they need to do and what’s expected of them – leaving zero grey areas. If a new problem or issue arises, address it once and adjust the processes to incorporate the new procedure. The CEO needs to clearly communicate the company culture to the middle management who in turn communicates that to the site teams.
- Understand the process is linear. The success of one stage of your project is often dependent on the completion of the previous stage. It’s imperative that there are systems in place, so everyone knows where all the teams are as far as timelines. This also allows communication back to the client as to overall project completion projections.
- Slow Down and Assess. Without fail, accidents and mistakes will happen when teams feel the pressure to meet a deadline that is unrealistic. Top firms do what’s right for the team and for the client versus only focusing on the bottom line. This goes back to the project planning, being realistic about potential roadblocks and being proactive versus reactive. Project leaders/foremen need to be in constant communication with upper leadership to know where the line is as far as budget. In many cases, a penny saved is not a dollar earned.
- Subs and the right team. Subcontractors are a vital part of the project planning process and ensuring they have sufficient talent on their teams to complete their portion of the project is vital to staying on track. This goes back again to solid systems in place – vetting the subs, ensuring they are well insured, have solid hiring, screening and safety training protocols in place – this will save your project a lot of time, money and energy. It should go without saying: Well run team=high customer satisfaction.
- Constantly be in communication with your customers. Depending on the client and the project and where you are in the process this could be hourly, daily, weekly or once a month. Every situation and every client is different. At minimum, you should have this built into your customer engagement process and have an upfront agreement with them on how often you give them updates. Some may want more…some less. Your job is to ensure the customer is 100% confident that they are getting what they are paying for. They don’t need to know all the dirty details of every setback – they just need to know that you are aware of the situation and you’ll take care of it. Behind schedule? Let them know why, and your best guestimate as to when you’ll be back on track. Honesty is indeed the best policy.
Best in class construction firms have open communication as one of their core values – both internally with their team and externally with their clients. They also build solid systems and project planning workflows that benefit their company and their customers. Those processes help reduce litigation risk and increase their customer satisfaction net promotor score which ultimately improves the firm’s growth potential and bottom line.
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.