Construction is about solving problems. The stakeholders on a project need to get to know the people behind the roles so they can successfully solve those problems together. It takes a team to build a building. 

There are many different cultures within the construction industry. For the stability of a company and successful completion of a project, it’s important to navigate the vantage points to effectively communicate with each other.

There is a human feature of construction that needs to connect with the technology feature and the physically built feature. The next big steps for the industry as a whole involve blending those features.

Construction is highly technical and quantifiable. We learn about its logistics, scheduling, budgeting, and other technical pieces. Although communication is a key component in the construction process – in fact in many industries – many people who enter the workforce have not been taught how to foster that. Instead, it comes down to personal development for workers to learn the finer points of communication and how teams can leverage it to work together and improve productivity.

Unfortunately, the construction industry has become increasingly transactional. In fact, there are attorneys who concentrate their practice on construction transactions. As with many things in life, money adds a layer of complexity that gets in the way of positive relationships. The lack of good relationships in construction has impeded establishment of human connections. Many projects, especially large ones, have become combative and litigious. When poor communication results in unclear scopes of work, companies end up fighting about responsibility, errors and money.

There is predominantly a lack of trust at many levels in construction: owners don’t trust contractors; contractors don’t trust subcontractors; employees don’t trust employers. As the relationships in construction have become a matter of “us versus them,” it has been difficult to embrace a collaborative mindset borne out of trust. Another complication is that part of communication is non-verbal – our body language. Although remote online meeting tools have made project meetings more convenient, they have also made communication more difficult because participants cannot read each other’s body language.

Nonetheless, to meet the demand that is being placed upon the industry to build more and faster, we need to foster relationships we can rely on. We need to make human connections and get to know each other as people. People within the industry need to reestablish a foundation of trust and respect. That needs to include owners, contractors, subcontractors, employers, and employees. Since you spend so much time with the people you work with, you might as well work toward having amicable relationships. You may not end up best friends, but everyone can find some common ground they can relate on. At the end of the workday, everyone is a person, not just a cog in a machine. Take time to get to know the person behind the job.

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 165 with guest Angelo Suntres of EllisDon "he Most Important Factor in Successful Projects"​

Tune in to episode 165 of Bridging the Gap Podcast and learn the advice guest Angelo Suntres offers about developing relationships in construction. 

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