Various companies are collaborating on construction projects. These companies include:
- General contractor
- Structural engineers
- MEP engineers
Directly or indirectly, teams and so many individuals with diverse areas of specialization are involved in the construction project. Every team requires to share data and communicate with other teams in order to keep forward. Construction projects follow a chain of communication from one person to the next, from one team to another team. So all the companies, teams, and individuals involved need to access real-time information about the project they’re working on. It is a very long chain of processes and tasks that need to be clear and precise in order to make right and accurate decisions and make progress rapidly. Different individuals in various roles carry out these types of processes. Accordingly, the efficiency and effectiveness of the construction process strongly depend on the quality of communication. Efficient communication would enable teams to share knowledge about the project and make progress towards the successful completion of the project.
If there are any miscommunications or incorrect information in the chains of communication between the teams of the project, sometimes the entire construction project will be thrown off track.
The lack of effective and clear communication between the architecture team and building team, within project teams, and between project manager and contractors could be a great threat to the success of the project. Also, losing innovations and better technical solutions which could be used are inevitable. On top of that, it affects decision-making negatively, and also the possibility of incorrect completion of projects increases.
According to an interview with experts on the practice of communication in construction, they mentioned one of the main consequences of poor communication is a waste of time. For instance, errors from the early stages have to be addressed later, which costs a lot. Moreover, making modifications and adjustments, including replanning and rebuilding in the latter stages of the building process, usually costs extra money and is also time-consuming. Improved communication would probably lead to fewer delays and lower expenses.
Data Communication problems in construction projects
We have become more familiar with the importance of communication in construction projects, but effective communication is not that straightforward. What makes communication in construction projects difficult?
As mentioned above, team members need to share information and knowledge. In construction projects, a vast amount of information is created that can exceed 100 thousand pages. This information is printed or saved as electronic files such as Word, Excel, PDF, and DWG documents. Sharing this amount of data is clearly not easy, and often, project team members do not have access to the latest updates.
Project team members may not work at the same location. Nowadays, it’s common practice for a project’s owner, construction manager, GC, and subcontractors to be located in different cities or even countries. Consequently, it would not be easy to set up in-person meetings. This is another issue that causes trouble in communication.
Different teams take part in the construction project at different times. Some teams have to reach some milestones so that the other teams get to start their part in the construction project. Another example is that one company participates in the project at the early stages while another company comes into play later when the project is close to completion.
Another issue that teams would face during data communication is that sometimes receiving information from other firms may take hours or even days which causes delays and additional costs. Even after collecting the information, employees need to spend more time inputting data into computer systems making the process labor-intensive, error-prone, and frustrating.
In brief, data communication issues in construction projects are as follow:
- A lot of different teams and companies collaborate on a construction project
- A large number of individuals are working at these companies
- A significant amount of information is produced in each project
- Project participants usually work at different locations
- Project participants are involved in various stages of the project at different times.
Technology enhances data communication in construction projects
Technology has improved the quality of life in so many ways. Technologies can also be an asset for impacting data communication in projects positively. It can address and organize the issues we were facing in data communication. The troubles of data communication can be solved by technologies to a good extent by BIM companies.
The building information model (BIM) helps involved teams design, construct, and manage building projects more efficiently and effectively. To manage BIM, teams rely on BIM management software to track changes, collaborate, communicate around the model, and benefit from clash detection services.
To store and manage BIM information, a cloud-based solution is recommended. A cloud-based solution utilizes a common data environment to store and manage BIM information. BIM management software collects historical data such as changes and revisions along with real-time data. Having access to a common data environment facilitates data communication and leads to easier BIM services management. It also simplifies collaboration, document sharing, task assignments, deadline reminders, and status updates.
Here are the general benefits of using technology in construction projects:
- Saving time and reducing data entry errors
- Improving roadmap
- Enhancing safety
- Providing access to real-time updates
In summary, all the teams involved in the project required to have the ability to communicate easily throughout the whole process. The lack of effective and clear communication causes so many problems that waste enormous amounts of time and money, causing over schedule or over budget—considering the issues that make data communication difficult, putting data communication and collaboration systems in place from the beginning of the project is necessary. To solve the problems of data communication, technology serves to help simplify communication, such as BIM management software. However, communication technologies are far from optimal. They are yet developing to be more facilitating for teams from diverse backgrounds to collaborate with convenience.
For more information, please see The problem of communication in construction