Industrial contracting projects usually require the coordination of multiple trades, such as electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians. But building the environment of trust and accountability necessary for working together can be difficult
Every team on a project has the same goal: the completion of the job on time and within budget. Effective collaboration is the key to orchestrating a successful project and keeping teams on track.
Bring Teams in Early
Even though project plans and details are fixed when they’re let out for bid, every contractor has a particular process and method they apply. The same is true with the skilled trades. And just as the project benefits when contractors bring their knowledge into the design and planning phase, receiving input from the trades can help identify and avoid problems that can negatively affect project execution.
Set Clear Goals
While you might think that having plans in hand would be enough to ensure a successful project, that’s not always the case. Two people looking at the same plan set can have very different visions of how things should be done. Regular team meetings from the start can help ensure everyone is on the same page and working from the same interpretation of what needs to happen. Define goals that clearly state what constitutes success both for the project and individual teams.
Monitor and Control
The monitoring and control process in industrial contracting helps identify problems and allows you to make needed adjustments. When these occur, be sure to reevaluate and update the project plan as necessary and communicate changes to all teams. Using digital construction tools, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, provides detailed project monitoring, makes project information accessible to all stakeholders and evolves to reflect changes in design or as-built in real time. A stringent monitoring and control process is one of the best ways to avoid costly errors and rework.
Individual trades do not exist in a vacuum. For this reason, it is extremely important that project progress be communicated regularly and clearly. Especially when changes are made to the project. Think of the way a spreadsheet with formulas works: whenever a change is made in one section, every affected section is updated to reflect that change. Your trades teams need to know what’s happening to fit their work with others.
Talk About the Project as a Whole
Reminding team members of what they are working towards, and their role in its completion, can be an effective tool for motivation. Seeing the big picture helps everyone stay focused and committed to reaching the goal.
The work of every team is dependent on the successful work of every other. It’s important to communicate performance expectations and hold teams accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities.
When you have multiple trades and companies involved in an industrial construction project, the possibility of conflict will inevitably exist. With that given, let’s look at ways to deal with conflicts when they occur.
Project scheduling is often a source of conflict. The sequencing of work typically requires that one trade wait for completion of another trade’s activities before they can begin working. It may be a good idea to discuss scheduling with each of the trades working on your project so everyone can anticipate when they will be able to begin their part. When delays happen, be sure to communicate the information to all affected parties so they can adjust their team’s scheduling.
Be involved. There is no such thing as a small conflict. Project managers should take part in resolving issues, even if those involved are left to work out the problem themselves.
Know what’s going on. Conflicts can result from a variety of issues, from differing interpretations of plans to poor communications. It’s important to find out the root of the problem and then listen to those involved. Actively listening demonstrates your commitment to all involved in resolving the problem.
Keep the project in focus. Conflicts that devolve into feelings can quickly wreck a timeline, so keep the discussion on a professional level and avoid allowing personalities to rule. Resist the impulse to find who’s to blame; concentrate instead on the best way to resolve the conflict and get the project back on track.
Collaboration is crucial for achieving successful outcomes in industrial contracting projects. It requires effective communication, mutual respect and a shared commitment to the project’s goals. By embracing these principles, individuals and teams can work together seamlessly, overcome challenges and deliver high-quality results.
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