Miscommunication is often the underlying cause of many problems throughout the construction lifecycle, from causing delays and rework to more serious problems like workplace injuries. The reasons behind miscommunication can vary, but some of the most common are receiving information at the wrong time, failure to act on or execute job changes by not responding to or understanding work instructions, and lack of clarity and transparency of instructions due to working from different information sources. If crews can put strategies in place to prevent these issues, then communication will be stronger, which mitigates risk on the jobsite. 


Timing plays a huge role in effective communication. When you receive information dictates how you can react to it. For example, contractors need to know about delays and material shortages as soon as they happen to adjust schedules and tasks to keep the job on schedule. And workers need to be kept in the loop on changes to their schedules and assigned jobs to ensure they are well prepared to complete their tasks safely and to meet the revised work programs.

It is also critical that risks and safety hazards are assessed, identified, and reported immediately to ensure a safer working environment. Because information and communication happen across a wide range of employees and locations for any given project, construction companies must find ways to relay information in real time. Technologies with features like cloud based mobile apps, document and form workflows and real-time notifications help keep workers informed in the field and assist in managing the daily operational business.


According to Autodesk, lack of response to work instructions or requests is one of the top-cited reasons for miscommunication in the construction industry. Failure to act or execute on a job request can lead to rework, wasted time or safety violations. 

It is critical that jobsite managers and supervisors be available to their crew, actively surveying the jobsite, to stay informed on progress and accurately relay information to the team. However, as liaisons to the office, they must also remain in contact with offsite stakeholders. Technology with mobile capabilities can grant managers the freedom they need to manage a jobsite without sacrificing access to important data and communication with the office.


Data is a frontline defense against miscommunication. It can be a reference for workers to answer questions independently and a sort of job-related fact-checker when there are questions about what has been completed and what needs to be done. In short, data creates informed teams who can collaborate together efficiently. However, these functions only work if everyone is looking at the same data. 


Even with the clearest communications possible, there will always be questions and a need for clarification. It is imperative that companies establish best practices and methods for real-time communication to ensure that planning and execution of construction projects are in line with what’s currently happening in the field. Adopting technology with mobile capabilities is the prevailing best practice for achieving this and improves productivity. 

About the Author:

Fred Haynes has more than two and a half decades of experience in the civil and mining industry. He is currently a solution engineer at Assignar, a cloud-based construction operations platform. For more, visit www.assignar.com.

Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2022
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