Typically, an expansion project involves many different parties. Because of the number of participants, communication can be a challenge. That means you need efficient and clear communication to keep the project running smoothly during this period.
Employing the right technology can help you achieve this goal. While construction workers often use the best long range two way radio so they are able to communicate to each other day-to-day, communication and reporting also has to be present higher up in the chain among project managers. Consider using the communications technology listed below to keep facility managers, engineers, architects, contractors and other interested parties on the same page during your next expansion.
Construction Project Management Software
Using the right construction project management (CPM) software will streamline your communications, save you time and ensure that all parties are well-informed. A CPM program serves as a central location from which to manage all of your communication, planning and financial information.
You can use CPM software to coordinate schedules, keep track of to-dos and track jobsite activity. You can also use it to manage bidding, proposals, mid-project client communication, cost estimates and budgets.
You could potentially use standard project management software that is not specific to construction so long as you understand the methodology and understand you may not have the same features.
Each CPM works on a particular methodology of project management. Some might work with taskflow, others might work with OKR, or Objectives & Key Results. Several construction and improvement companies use the latter as it is often optimized towards completing short-term goals which can be used in the context of construction. Profit.co is one of the best resources for learning about OKRs if you wish to know more about this kind of methodology. Whichever project management software you choose, it is important you understand the weaknesses and strengths of the solution when applied to your construction project.
Because project management systems often run on the cloud, stakeholders can access them from anywhere and from any device. Whether you’re on a computer in the office or on a tablet in the field, you have access to the same information.
Building Information Modeling
Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology is more than just a 3-D modeling software. It combines information from various aspects of a project into one comprehensive system that anyone can access.
Architects, engineers, construction site managers and other workers can input information into the software. Through BIM, anyone can access this project information. Using a shared, data-driven system helps ensure that it stays accurate and helps integrate the many processes of an expansion project.
BIM is valuable for any type of project, but it’s especially useful for larger, more complex projects that involve extensive collaboration and precise design needs. One such project was the Martin Army Community Hospital, a 744,000-square-foot hospital and clinic in Fort Benning, Ga. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracted with engineering firm AECOM and other companies on the undertaking.
“This project is unique in terms of the scope and complexity and the level of collaboration necessary to meet the delivery challenges,” said Michael Sheehan, project manager for AECOM’s Design Planning practice in North America. “Our Revit models reflect not only constant communication between the civil and site survey teams but also a close collaboration with Turner’s consultants – MEP, Telecom, Parking Garage and other design assistant contractors – in several offices across the country.”
Communication between project managers off site and workers in the field has always presented challenges. In the past, clipboards, digital cameras and voice recorders were crucial to progress reporting. While these methods might convey the right information, the communication delay might make it difficult for managers to act on it.
Today, you can handle progress and activity reporting through apps that enable you to communicate in real-time. Many of these apps have speech-to-text, automatic formatting and integrated cameras that make reporting a much faster and more organized process.
The involvement of so many different parties through the many phases of an expansion project makes communication a challenge. Using the right technology can help you address these difficulties. Establishing a communication plan with as many interested parties as possible early in the project process can also help enhance collaboration, avoid misunderstandings and result in a more efficient and successful expansion.