A construction job site is a unique workplace where people with different skills and competencies work together to execute the project successfully. Unless there is streamlined communication and coordination between these people, projects would run into delays and cost overruns. Companies should identify different roles involved on a construction job site and establish internal communication practices to reduce operating costs and improve customer and employee satisfaction.
A few commonly seen roles and positions on a construction job site are project managers, architects, service engineers, site supervisors, subcontractors (electricians, plumbers, and more), construction expeditors, and construction workers.
The project manager holds the responsibility of overseeing the project from start to finish. Large-scale and complex projects may have multiple project managers. The role of the project manager includes planning, budgeting, scheduling, controlling, and overseeing the progress of the project.
Since project managers are accountable for the success and failure of projects, they need to receive real-time updates from all corners of the project and make appropriate decisions. They’re also the primary point of contact for all communications related to the project. They are expected to maintain communication with all stakeholders involved in the project.
An estimator is the one who analyses the scope of the work to estimate the costs that may be associated with the project. The estimator may consider the requirements such as raw materials, labor, and subcontracts while estimating the project cost.
In most cases, estimators use sophisticated estimation software that helps coming-up with the project costs accurately. Estimators may interact with site supervisors, suppliers, and project managers to generate cost estimates for various tasks involved in the project and keep those estimates up-to-date as the project goes on.
Architects and Architectural Technologists
Architects take the responsibility of designing creative building plans based on clients’ needs. The architects’ role in the construction project is sometimes short-lived. They enter into the project during the initial stages to gather requirements from the project owner or project manager and leave after delivering designs that meet the requirements.
Architectural technologists, on the other hand, take care of the technical aspects of the design. They may assist the project manager in the following aspects:
- Choosing the best materials for construction
- Conducting feasibility studies and risk assessments
- Making amendments to building designs using Computer-aided Design Applications (CAD)
- Collating documents to get permissions and approvals
- Inspecting construction sites in regular intervals to assess progress and quality of the work
Architectural technologists may need to be in the communication loop until the project is completed. A streamlined communication and project visibility enables architectural technologists to visit sites at the right time to assess the quality of work and give valuable recommendations to the project manager.
An architect can sometimes later act as the technologist, and even when they’re separate roles the two may be coworkers from the same firm. Communication between the two can continue throughout the project.
Service Engineers or Site Engineers
Service engineers are an observant and important part of the job site responsible for a holistic view of the project. This means keeping an eye on local regulations and ensuring the building has sufficient lighting ventilation, cooling, water systems, heating, and more. An experienced service engineer may give valuable suggestions on the designs of the building. Service engineers act as a bridge between subcontractors like plumbers or electricians and project managers.
The service engineer keeps the project manager in the communication loop and updates him with the status of electrical, mechanical, and telecoms aspects of new construction.
Site supervisors act as intermediaries between daily laborers and the project manager or the construction owner. Stakeholders like clients, suppliers, and workers may like to communicate with the site supervisor if the project manager is not available at the site. The site supervisor holds the responsibility to tackle the conflicts that may arise between stakeholders.
Communication tools play a vital role in enhancing the effectiveness of tasks performed by a supervisor because they act as the first point-of-contact for daily labor and delivers work status reports to the project manager on a daily basis.
The construction project cannot be completed without the involvement of subcontractors like electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Depending on the scope of the work, the project manager hires individuals or teams to carry out specialized tasks.
The most difficult job at the construction site is to facilitate coordination between subcontracting teams. Unless companies have communication tools that enable all subcontracting teams to receive real-time updates and notifications on the status and progress of work, the scheduling would go haywire and mistakes would be made.
Companies want to complete construction projects on time. The delay leads to cost overruns and project failures. A construction expeditor plays a vital role in completing the project on time.
They manage the supply chain effectively and streamlines the flow of material from suppliers to the project. A construction expeditor knows about the materials and equipment needed for the project and ensures timely delivery of them at the job site. Complete visibility on the status of the project enables the construction expeditor to better organize and deliver materials on time. Expeditors need to keep constant communication with the project manager and site supervisor and suppliers to execute his day-to-day work effectively.
Construction workers are the people who get their hands dirty to make the vision of the project a reality. Their role is to follow design specifications to construct the new building. Construction workers each individually have different skills and competencies. Whilst some construction workers operate heavy machinery, some might work more with their hands, and so on.
The project manager and site supervisor expect construction workers to effectively follow construction requirements in addition to executing the physical tasks.
The construction industry needs communication tools that work on the job site, not just in an office. These tools may need to transfer relevant information to the right team members at the right time.
For instance, all project team members need to see the updated information on the project construction status by the site supervisor on a regular basis. Furthermore, a communication tool should isolate conversations based on their nature and send notifications only to relevant teams or team members. It should enable the project owner to determine who should see what information about the project.
Visibility of project progress to all teams involved in the project is vital for impeccable scheduling. An industrial-strength communication tool like HIVOT can bring project communication into one place and increase the visibility of details to those who need to see them.
Overall, the construction job site is a complex working environment that engages numerous people with diverse skills and competencies. They need to work in coordination to complete the project within the scheduled timeline.
The role of superior internal communication is critical in enhancing operating efficiencies and reducing conflicts between teams. Construction companies should implement communication tools that facilitate mobile integration and bring all project-related communication to a central place.