8 Ways to Increase Collaboration on Construction Projects


Construction projects are becoming increasingly complex with more moving parts than ever. And with today’s modern world of supply chain disruptions and worker shortages, construction management is only getting more difficult.

That’s why housing professionals like yourself need to invest time and effort in construction collaboration. But good collaboration can be tricky, requiring a delicate balance of planning, communication, and commitment.

Ready to see how you can leverage collaborative construction management to grow your business?

In this 5 minute read, we’ll show you how.

Let’s start with the benefits of promoting construction collaboration on your projects.

Benefits of Collaboration in Construction

Sadly, traditional construction projects tend to be more adversarial than collaborative. Usually, each team (design, engineering, electrical, plumbing, safety, etc.) ends up competing with each other over budgets, timelines, and workspace. And subcontractors get caught in the middle.

But a collaborative construction environment is a refreshing change.

Instead of everybody being at odds, teams, employees, and contractors work together towards a common goal that benefits everyone. There’s clear and open communication between management and workers. And everyone knows what’s expected of them and how it contributes to the entire project.

When that happens, the upside is huge. You’ll see…

  • Less Wasted Time
  • Fewer Mistakes and Rework
  • Lower Budgets
  • Less Wasted Materials and Manpower
  • More Responsible Employees
  • On-Time Project Deliveries
  • Happier Clients
  • Reduced Employee Turnover
  • Better Long-Term Business

Wouldn’t you love to have a more efficient workplace, more responsible employees, and happier clients?

You don’t have anything to lose from promoting increased collaboration on your projects. So head to the next section for 8 ways you can do that.

8 Steps to Improve Construction Collaboration

Creating a collaborative workplace is tricky. So here are some tips you can implement on your next project.

Include major stakeholders early in the process

It’s important to get key people on board from the start. So right away, get together with the major players (owners, engineers, architects, the general contractor, main subcontractors, etc.) to get their input on design, scheduling, supplies, and planning.

That type of collaborative planning leads to better decisions from the get-go. It also makes it easier for key players and their teams to support the project.

Imagine if the owners and architects set the project timeline without consulting the general contractor. Will the contractor feel motivated to collaborate if he wasn’t consulted on what he feels is an unreasonable timeline for completion? Not likely.

So remember to get everybody on board during the early planning stages.

Get buy-in from leadership

Solid collaboration starts at the top. A lack of collaboration among management will be reflected in the rest of the team. So leadership needs to be the first to support the collaborative mindset.

A great way to do that is with open communication. Schedule regular meetings with core leadership members — project managers, foremen, architects, and engineers. In those meetings, review progress and work together to address any issues that come up.

Establish workflows

Some view collaboration as little more than just passing out schedules with to-do lists to everyone involved. While that can help workers understand which tasks they’re assigned, it doesn’t help them see the big picture.

That’s where workflows come in.

Increase collaboration by establishing and sharing project workflows. That enables each worker to see how their specific tasks contribute to the overall project.

When each worker understands how their tasks affect other teams, it increases their appreciation for what others have to accomplish. That, in turn, leads to less of an adversarial environment and instead promotes one of cooperation.

3D rendering of a Federal house designed with Cedreo
3D render of a craftsman house designed with Cedreo

Promote collaboration at the contract-level

Most construction projects default to adversarial punitive contracts. In these contracts, each party fiercely protects their own interests and lays out the punishments if others don’t hold up their end of the deal. While some aspects of those contracts may be necessary, look for ways to use the contracts to promote collaboration.

One of the best ways to do that is to, instead of focusing on punishments, design win-win incentives into the contract. And look for ways to align those incentives with operational milestones that add value to the project.

For example… you could build incentives into the contract that would reward contractors for reducing costs, limiting reworks, or completing milestones early. Others reward workers for ideas that help improve designs or lower costs. There could even be incentives for safe work practices.

Identify communication channels

According to some estimates, 30% of the work done on construction sites is rework. And according to another report, 26% of rework was due “to poor communication between team members”. That means good communication could save the construction industry billions of dollars every year.

So work to create clear lines of communication between the different layers of your organization. When you do that, everyone will feel like their opinion counts. This engenders a spirit of teamwork and collaboration.

So make sure you identify ways…

  • Workers can offer suggestions or express concerns
  • Foremen can communicate with architects
  • Management can communicate with workers

Promote feedback and accountability

When people understand exactly what’s expected of them and have the means to offer feedback, they’ll be motivated to collaborate.

The first step is to clearly explain what people need to do. That’s easier said than done. In fact, according to one survey, 66% of employees didn’t understand the specifics of what they were asked to do.

So once again, clear communication is key.

  • Use several methods (both written and visual) to explain tasks
  • Set clear deadlines and smaller milestones that are easy to track
  • Check their understanding by having them explain it back to you
  • Answer any questions
  • Check their progress from time to time — not to micro-manage, but to coach and offer support

People also take more responsibility for their work if they’re able to offer feedback. So encourage active dialogue. Ask others for suggestions and try to implement them when possible.

And when workers see management asking for and implementing feedback, it will be easier for them to accept feedback from management.

Centralize project data

Decide on a centralized place where you organize all your product data — plans, product specs, schedules, communications, etc. Usually, the best choice is some type of cloud storage program where you can access documents anywhere there’s internet.

When you organize all the project info in one place, it’s easier for all team members to find what they need and make better decisions. It also makes it easier for project management to distribute important information to several different stakeholders at once.

Use collaborative technology

Despite all the modern collaboration technology, construction is still one of the least digitized sectors (followed only by agriculture and hunting).

That doesn’t have to be true in your case. Smart construction firms use cloud-based technology to streamline collaboration and bring teams together.

One great example of that is Cedreo home design software. Team members can access its cloud-based software anywhere they have internet access.

Plus, Cedreo’s Enterprise plan is engineered specifically to promote construction collaboration throughout the entire project. Team members can access, view, edit, and share designs in the cloud in real-time.

That means…

  • No more emailing plans back and forth and losing track of the latest edits.
  • No more waiting days to show clients updated plans based on their feedback.
  • No more needing all team members to be tied to their office computers.

See how Cedreo can help improve your team’s construction collaboration. With a FREE trial, you’ve got nothing to lose. Sign up now!

Create a More Collaborative Culture

Implement the 8 steps above and you’re on your way to creating a more collaborative culture in your construction company. Do that and you’ll start seeing benefits right away.

Get ready to notice that…

  • Your employees are happier and take more pride in their work
  • There are fewer mistakes caused by miscommunications
  • You start completing projects under budget and ahead of schedule

So remember to…

  • Get everybody on board from the early stages of the planning process
  • Help those in leadership roles learn about collaborative construction management
  • Promote accountability and cooperation at every level, from contracts to worker feedback to management communication
  • Make good use of collaborative technology to centralize project data and streamline communication

*One of the best ways to increase construction collaboration throughout the project is to use a cloud-based design program like Cedreo that’s been engineered for streamlined communication.

With Cedreo you can:

  • Create residential home designs in hours not days
  • Implement changes anywhere you have internet
  • Promote team collaboration with cloud-based tools everyone can access
  • Export plans that are easy to share with team members, contractors, and clients

Start your FREE trial today and see how Cedreo takes your team collaboration to the next level.