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The Value of Collaboration in Your Construction Project

Collaboration, understanding, and consistency are critical in moving a project from bidding to successful onsite execution. The best way to ensure this is by using a truly constructible model.
The first step in enhancing collaboration is to ensure complete visibility and a shared understanding of the project. This can best be done by providing access to constructible models that connect the right people to the right data at the right time. Everyone should understand both the project's big picture and the specific parts of the many different jobs that need to be done. 

Whether you’re an architect, engineer, detailer, fabricator, or project manager, you should all connect your workflows and establish a single source of truth that serves as a base for making decisions and taking action. When everyone has access to the same model-based information in real-time, it streamlines the construction process and makes conversations with team members and other stakeholders more productive.

Connecting different stakeholders at an early stage of the project enhances understanding and enables effective decision-making that improves design and construction. When all stakeholders are aligned, connected, and collaborating, it leads to better project performance and reduces risks for all the people involved. When collaboration is strong, project team members are engaged and willing to contribute their resources and knowledge towards achieving the goals together.

Construction is a fragmented and very competitive industry

The construction industry is a heterogeneous and fragmented sector that depends on team members with various professions and expertise. This can make collaboration a challenge. Information silos between the different project stakeholders have historically been an issue in the industry. Unfortunately, this way of working is still predominant, as there were no clear alternatives until opportunities for digital transformation emerged in recent years.

When a construction project is executed with a silo mentality, it results in an uncoordinated process. Due to schedule pressures and undocumented changes, the design work can end up with ambiguities that translate into errors and omissions in the construction documentation. This can lead to errors in quantities and pricing, or can generate expensive fixing and rework. 

Another difficulty in the industry is its high competitiveness. Suppose a team is forced to compete to guarantee its profitability, and even to ensure its next contract. Project stakeholders are often more interested in getting their part done and moving on to the next project, instead of achieving their long-term goals. Delays, conflicts, and disputes often damage any possibility to collaborate in this competitive environment.

How your construction project benefits from collaboration

Collaboration enables team alignment and creates a shared understanding of the construction project. Collaboration helps to align different team members, partners and subcontractors so that everyone can understand what needs to be done, and how each specific task or job affects the rest of the workflow. Collaboration at its best enables different design professionals to blend their visions with the practicality of the fabricators, contractors and other field-team members. 

Collaboration facilitates access to information and insights – enhancing the accuracy of construction work and reducing inefficiencies and delays. Many team players and stakeholders work in parallel during the different stages of a construction project. Sometimes they lack access to critical information and need to spend too much time searching for answers. If there is no information available, there will be no insights either. Lacking the insights from a truly constructible model can lead to duplicated work, errors, misunderstandings and wasted time. These inefficiencies cost money. Collaboration is the antidote to this, allowing you to access information and share insights in order to make decisions with other stakeholders. Bringing each trade together reduces costly surprises. For example, an on-time collaborative review can help you to spot conflicting construction issues before construction begins. Collaborating also reduces rework, which is often the result of poor planning and miscommunication.

Collaboration increases accountability and workers' engagement. If tasks are assigned to team members working in a collaborative culture, they want to succeed and not let others down. They feel that they can achieve their shared goal together. When team members do their work successfully, it boosts their confidence and commitment. When all parties on a project collaborate, communicate efficiently and work smoothly together, the optimal result can be achieved.

Collaboration enables more educated decision-making. Too few participants in the construction industry are currently empowered to access the data required for improving both the process and the project. Collaboration is the first step in enabling all team members to access relevant information and understand the big picture – including project schedules, deadlines, the budget, and even equipment needs. Information is power. Having access to it – and collaborating with other team members – allows each individual or team to understand and discuss the details with different stakeholders. In this way they can have a say and influence the design and production plan. 

Collaboration improves safety: Construction companies face heavy time demands and tough sequencing tasks when working in silos. If these tasks are planned separately and are not aligned with other project stakeholders, safety risks can increase. An essential step toward improving safety on site is to increase understanding of the project and improve the working relationship between different stakeholders. Collaboration enables project leaders and stakeholders to have a clear conversation about safety compliance, conflicting activities onsite, and safety risks. Unambiguous communication about safety-related issues reduces uncertainty and clarifies expectations. By getting people together, all the main construction players can mitigate risks and solve problems as a team at an early stage. 

Image: Hotel Gradienten by Litana ir Ko, UAB

How does a constructible model enhance collaboration?

In construction, the use of a truly constructible model significantly facilitates closer collaboration. It serves as a digital twin of the project, offering a complete visualization with the level of detail and accuracy required for enhancing understanding and reducing ambiguity. It provides the right people with the right data at the right time.

The constructible model allows you to see all the aesthetics-related details. It also enables you and other stakeholders to align in execution, constructability, and even budget and sustainability matters. When you can see the whole picture in an instant, there's no need to gather documents, make multiple calls, or track down team members in the field. When all parties work in sync by looking at the model and the automated data it generates, then executing is straightforward.

Truly constructible models enable wider and earlier reviews for better-coordinated trades and subcontractors. They help you detect clashes and identify constructability issues before construction begins. A model also allows you to reduce the amount of rework, and avoid last-minute changes and unforeseen issues.

By enabling everyone across the design, build and operate workflow to easily share, review, coordinate and comment on models, drawings and project documents in real-time, you can reduce risk, maximize efficiency and increase profits.
When the visual capabilities and level of detail provided by a constructible model are used as a base for discussion and fruitful conversation among stakeholders, construction processes are streamlined and inefficiencies are eliminated – providing a clear path forward. This way of working also satisfies any budget concerns, as executives, customers and project owners can be confident that their budget is only being used for necessary operations.

Image: Hotel Gradienten by Litana ir Ko, UAB

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