The State of Communication in the Construction Industry

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Do you know that communication breakdown is the reason for project failures over 33% of the time? Poor communication in the construction industry is one of the top reasons for delays and cost overruns in projects. The construction industry loses to the tune of $177 billion every year due to internal miscommunication, unavailability of project data, reworks, and employee conflicts. All these issues can be resolved if there is an industrial-strength communication platform that streamlines project and team communication. 

Communication in the construction industry is lacking for various reasons:

  • Employees work remotely, far away from corporate headquarters
  • More part-time and contract workers
  • Language and cultural barriers
  • Information shared is highly complex and technical
  • A lack of deeper integration of digital technologies 
  • Inefficient internal communication channels or methods

Mobile Devices and Applications for Communication 

The construction industry is still highly dependent on spreadsheets. Workers use spreadsheets for estimations, accounting, project management, bid management, and project scheduling. Though the recent years saw an overall decrease in spreadsheet dependency, replacing spreadsheets with apps or software is going to be a long journey for companies. 

Smartphones, laptops, and tablets are widely used for work purposes on daily basis. According to JBKnowledge’s 2020 Construction Technology Report, 92% of the construction industry uses smartphones daily for work purposes, followed by 83% laptops and 65% tablets. For instance, 63% of the companies use mobile devices for multiple purposes, including creating & viewing project documents, viewing BIM models, entering time for payroll, and installation drawings. More than 63% of workers use a minimum of three mobile apps related to the construction industry. 22% of workers use six or more apps for construction.

Daily reporting remains the dominant use case for mobile applications. Procore, Bluebeam (Revu), and PlanGrid are three widely used applications for daily reporting with a market share of 42%, 37%, and 25% respectively. Workers are also using Procore, Bluebeam, and PlanGrid for capturing & managing photos, managing plans, and managing safety. 

28% of the industry uses mobile applications to view BIM files. Mobile applications such as Bluebeam, Revit, BIM 360 Docs, Navisworks, BIM 360 Glue, and A360 are popular for viewing BIM files. Drone usage has significantly increased for surveying and inspection purposes. The applications like DJI Go, Drone Deploy, and Pix4D are helping workers to deploy and control drones. 

In addition to these mobile applications, workers also use emails, messaging apps like Whatsapp, and mobile phones for communication. Emails are particularly common for communicating authorized and official information to the jobsite. Human Resource teams and project teams use emails excessively to send all sorts of information. However, the major concern is that some emails are sent out to everyone in the company, wasting attention and causing accountability loss. 

Mobile Integration to Streamline Communication

It is good to use mobile applications, but how about their integration? How effective are these apps working independently of one another? Are mobile integrations a good idea? Do companies purchase software that does not facilitate mobile integration? These are the common questions that arise after looking at the statistics related to the usage of mobile devices and mobile applications in the construction industry. 

Mobile applications are effective in working independently of one another. However, using an excess of 6 work-related mobile applications and gathering information from each of them would be exhausting for employees. 48% of the construction companies say that they look for mobile integrations while purchasing software. Despite the need for mobile integrations, only 5% of companies have reported that all their mobile applications are integrated. The lack of mobile integration is leading to double work, lost information, miscommunication, and workplace conflicts. Without integration, mobile applications may not contribute to streamlining communication and increasing operational efficiencies. 

There is a Need for Industrial-Strength Communication Platform

The construction industry needs a platform that consolidates all stakeholders involved in a project with flexible communication threads and streamlines the communication. It should communicate relevant information to the right project team members at the right time, removing the need for guesswork in finding the information. Blasting all sorts of communication to all team members would result in accountability issues. A communication platform like Hivot isolates conversations based on various predetermined parameters and enables the project manager to control who receives what messages. This not only increases accountability but also eliminates the need for guesswork. 

Various teams, including the design team, the plumbing team, and the electrical team, work on a single construction project. All these teams should receive real-time updates and notifications on the status and progress of work. The biggest advantage of Hivot is that it would bring the entire project communication flow from all project teams into one place and increase the visibility of project status. For instance, the electric team will have complete visibility on the progress of plumbing work and the tentative dates of when the plumbing team hands over the site to the electric team. The visibility results in impeccable project scheduling and eliminates project delays. 

Team members are wasting a lot of time searching for project data. They need a comprehensive platform that facilitates powerful search to find the information they want with a single mouse click. The communication platform should also allow teams to tag information for easy reference and retrieval. Mobile integration is the need of the hour for the construction industry. The communication platforms should integrate all mobile applications and bring time-sensitive project notifications from all trusted applications in line with the team communication. An industrial-strength communication platform like Hivot integrates mobile applications like Procore and presents relevant information to the right people for making informed decisions.

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