How the Construction Industry is Revolutionizing Its Collaboration Processes

In our increasingly connected world, effective “collaboration” becomes more critical to businesses everywhere. But what does collaboration mean for the construction industry? General contractors, sub-contractors, architects, construction managers, and everyone involved in projects are learning that sharing more information with more stakeholders earlier in the construction process leads to projects being completed earlier and under-budget. Here are some ways that companies in the construction industry are collaborating to improve project outcomes.

Joint Venture Projects

A joint-venture partnership is a commercial project partnership that is established by two (or more) separate firms with the purposes of pooling resources to complete a specific project that may not be achievable for the included firms outside of the partnership.

How do you work together in a joint-venture agreement?

The key benefit of joint ventures is the pooling of resources and strengths from multiple firms to bid on larger scale projects. But it’s critical to enter a joint-venture agreement with a clear plan for collaboration with your partner firm. When you’re working with an external team, set clear communication expectations (e.g. frequency, forms of communication, communications to use, etc.) from the start to make the collaboration a smooth process.

More Resources
From Construction Business OwnerFour Reasons Joint Ventures Work
From Construction TodayThe Benefits of Joint Ventures

Using Connected Technology

The fact of the matter is: you just can’t collaborate effectively without clear and comprehensive communication. Part of clear communication is establishing expectations from the start of a project. But it is also important to take advantage of the technological world we live in today. There are many digital tools designed specifically for the AEC industry, or even specifically construction. Using connected tools designed for communication and project collaboration can make communication more transparent between all the project stakeholders so important information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

BIM and construction management tools—like Autodesk’s BIM360 platform—connect information from all the stakeholders and contributors into one place that is accessible by everyone involved.

In the News
From Construction Dive: BIM beats paper: How digital construction data management is becoming status quo

Lean Construction

According to the Lean Construction Institute, “construction labor efficiency and productivity have decreased, while all other non-farming labor efficiency has doubled or more since the 1960s. Currently, 70% of projects are over budget and delivered late.” Those numbers are glaring. But the goal of Lean Construction is to turn the construction industry around by focusing on shared knowledge and goals of all the stakeholders to minimize wasted time and resources.

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What does Lean have to do with collaboration?

The basis of Lean Construction is using collaborative relationships to better reach the goals of construction projects. Some key ideas in Lean Construction include: establishing clear goals from the customer’s perspective, understanding and evaluating all the steps needed to reach the end goals, and creating a smooth flow of information and materials through the construction process. Each of those requires consistent collaboration between designers, contractors, sub-contractors, and owners for successful projects to be completed on-time and on-budget.

Success Story

Learn how the University of Maryland team used Lean methods to complete the Physical Sciences Complex on time, after a total redesign and after the foundation had been laid.

The Collaboration Chronicles: University of Maryland, Physical Sciences Complex

Get Educated
Who wouldn’t want to complete a project early, or under budget, or both? The AGC’s Lean Construction Education Program recognizes the power of Lean Construction for all the stakeholders in a construction project and provides contractors the opportunity to learn how to build lean. You can also learn more about earning your CM-Lean credential through the AGC.

Have you experienced improved project outcomes through new collaboration methods? Share what you’ve learned in the comments!

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