August 17, 2017 / By Dave Settles, Vice President, Account Management

Eliminate Surprises — Four Ways Communication can be Your Key to Project Success

Unless it involves closing out under budget or ahead of schedule, no one likes surprises on a construction project.

For a project to run smoothly, meticulous planning, lining up the right team and the right resources, and good communication is imperative.

These four tips could make your next project run more smoothly and even save you money.

1. Communication should begin early

Bringing the contractor to the table before design gets underway always adds value to a project. As a team, the contractor and architect can pool their experience and insight to set realistic budgets and schedules based on the owner’s goals. Early dialogue also enables the contractor to identify and resolve potential issues that could impact the project during construction.

Listening to owners from the outset is also key to good communication.

“We make it a priority to define our customers’ expectations for how we communicate before every project gets underway,” says Dave Settles, Vice President of Account Management at Miller-Valentine Group. “That way we can tailor how we share information to meet their needs and preferences.”

2.  Communication should be frequent

It’s common sense that good communication is essential to avoid surprises. But project teams need to have a framework in place that supports regular briefings. Otherwise, critical issues can fall between the cracks—increasing the risk of schedule delays and cost overruns.

“To ensure the integrity of our work, we have a clearly defined process for frequent communication that brings to light potential issues and solutions on the spot,” says Settles. “For example, on Miller-Valentine projects, foremen meet daily to discuss needs and challenges. These daily huddles roll up into weekly meetings between supervisors, the project manager, the owner, and the architect. During these meetings, the team reviews the schedule, budget, and logistics. The team also defines a 60-day look-ahead for what needs to be accomplished within the next two months.

3.  Communication should be transparent

There are plenty of reasons why a construction project may keep an owner awake at night. Wondering about the project’s status shouldn’t be one of them.

Settles agrees, “To uphold accountability on every project, we provide our customers with a weekly, written confirmation of progress. We also provide 24×7 access to the project with ProCore, our project management system. Customers can log in to ProCore from any device with internet access to review job updates, photos, change orders, the budget, and even drawings.”

4.  Communication should be easy

Above all, communication should be streamlined. Owners shouldn’t have to wonder who they need to call when they have a question or a concern.

“At Miller-Valentine, our project managers serve as a single point of contact. Our clients always know who to turn to when they need us,” says Settles.

Want to learn more about how Miller-Valentine’s time-tested strategies for communication translate into project success? Contact Dave Settles at 937.297-9353.