Partner Content and Technical

How to remedy fragmentation in construction

Image: Dreamstime/Grogor Atanasov

Better collaboration and communication could help construction projects run more smoothly and efficiently but the industry remains fragmented. In association with

Why is construction still so fragmented?

Despite rising demand and volume of construction projects, extraordinary waste still plagues the industry. In 2019, spending on construction projects in the US totaled more than $1.4 trillion, with about 30% going to waste as a result of delays, duplicative work, unplanned changes, and loss of materials.

To reduce inefficiencies and, subsequently, waste, project managers first need to increase cohesion across the various stages of a project and bridge the communication gaps that lead to oversights.

Even simple or routine construction projects include several distinct stages, each of which contains its own set of objectives, requirements, and stakeholders. While certain workers — such as project managers and contractors — are involved in every stage, most stakeholders perform specific duties within only one or two stages. Unless project managers can foster alignment across all project stakeholders throughout each stage, gaps and inefficiencies are inevitable.

Cost of poor integration

Construction projects can be broken down into pre-construction, construction, and post-construction work, each of which contains different stages. Every stage includes its own set of goals, standards, and timelines.

But since most stakeholders only work within one stage, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. For example, builders in the construction stage were most likely not included in earlier conversations about design or materials that took place during the planning stage. Instead, they often begin work after receiving specific instructions and information that pertains only to their role. That means if there’s a mistake in the instructions they receive, they won’t have the ability to recognize it before building is already underway.

This fragmented approach creates wide gaps between the different stages of a project, which make oversights, communication breakdowns, and mistakes inevitable. As a result, delays and budget overruns generate thousands or millions of dollars in waste.

Project management solutions unlock efficiency and reduce waste

Teams need a common language to bridge the gaps that lead to inefficiencies and confusion. They need a wider and clearer lens into the project beyond their individual tasks and the stage or stages they work within. They need to see the big picture.

Digital project management solutions such as eliminate fragmentation between project stages and open new channels of communication to help construction teams increase cohesion, boost efficiency, and reduce waste.

With the ability to visualize projects from end to end in different ways (such as Gantt, calendar, timeline, or the traditional itemized task board), it is easier to see how the deliverables of each stage contribute to the project’s outcome. Moreover, easy-to-miss nuances in project timelines, such as dependencies, are clearly visible and easier to account for.

Greater clarity into progress on specific tasks, distinct stages as well as the entire project timeline also help cultivate higher levels of personal accountability and pave the way for cross-team collaboration. By empowering individuals, unlocks project-wide efficiency and speed.

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