Talking Shop: Communicating with Contractors
1 hour 5 minutes
Explore the importance of effective communications, identifying appropriate communication methods, and make smart communication decisions.
In one of the most memorable lines from the 1967 Paul Newman movie classic ‘Cool Hand Luke’, the prison warden says, ‘What we’ve got here is … failure to communicate,’ as justification for having clubbed, chained, and shackled prisoner, Luke Jackson, in the head with a baton. While the consequences are usually not as violent, failing to communicate effectively on a construction project can result in misunderstandings, mistakes, and mistrust that leave its participants feeling much as Luke must have in that memorable scene. Project success depends upon effective communications. Contractors need to communicate frequently with owners, architects, engineers, subcontractors, suppliers, and others to keep a project moving forward. Such communications can range from corroborating design, modeling, and sustainability objectives, negotiating changes, justifying claims, or sequencing and coordinating the work on the project. Construction projects have long suffered from ineffective communications. Technology like smartphones, tablets, building information modeling, drones, robotics, and the proliferation of optical devices have made the ability to communicate easier, faster, and more accessible than ever before. However, the ability to communicate has not resulted in more effective communications. If anything, technology, expediency, and our way of life have caused the effectiveness of communications on construction projects to trend downward. It does not need to be this way. Good, effective communications during construction projects are achievable without sacrificing technology, expediency, or our way of life.
• You will be able to describe effective strategies for making smart communication decisions.
• You will be able to explain the importance of effective communications.
• You will be able to identify the differences between documentation and communication and why it matters.
• You will be able to recognize the elements of good communications.