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Building success: why collaboration is key in construction

Success in any company depends on employees working together. However, collaboration is harder to achieve in industries like retail and construction, where projects are fast-paced and complex. Building and fit out projects have numerous moving parts and require teams to work closely and seamlessly to complete tasks on time and within budget.

To help your company run more efficient projects, let’s delve into why collaboration is key in construction and explore how smarter information management can drive better outcomes.

What are the consequences of poor collaboration?

Before we discuss the benefits of collaborative working, it’s essential to acknowledge the full impact of poor collaboration across building work and fit outs. Less than a third of construction projects are completed within 10% of their original budget, KPMG research has found, while construction projects in the UK alone are losing up to £13 billion due to poor communication.

Collaboration problems can create several issues that will impact both your reputation and your bottom line, such as:

  • Delays in project progress: when teams aren’t using the same property data or working to the same standards, it’s easy for mistakes to occur that result in tasks needing to be redone.
  • Frustrated staff: sometimes miscommunication and unreliable documentation result in errors or disconnected working processes. This can be very frustrating for project team members, affecting their productivity and morale.
  • Increased costs: we’ve talked about the time and productivity impact of poor collaboration, but there is a financial impact too. Reworks are costly, and major errors can result in extra resources being drafted in to complete the project on time.
  • Quality control issues: it is difficult to maintain high standards of workmanship if teams aren’t working closely together. Poor collaboration can even lead to non-compliance issues with construction and retail fit out projects.

Can greater collaboration drive better project outcomes?

While the cost of poor collaboration is high, the good news is that the benefits of improving project communications are also significant. Ensuring all stakeholders are using the same property data will allow your company to:

  • Align goals: all team members work towards common objectives, integrating skills and schedules to complete work on time.
  • Reduce errors: there’s no room for misinterpretation if teams work together from the same documentation to manage build and fit out projects.
  • Enhance productivity: work is more enjoyable and productive when everyone has visibility over essential information and can work collaboratively to progress most efficiently.
  • Increase profit: streamlined documentation and communications are essential to driving project profitability. Better information management has been shown to drive £5.10-£6 of direct labour productivity gains for every £1 invested, and £6.90-£7.40 in direct time, labour and material cost savings.

However, it’s hard to achieve these benefits without centralising essential project information such as asset data, layouts, standards and specifications. That’s why many companies use BIM software or similar information management solutions to drive collaborative working processes.

How can collaborative software support successful projects?

Digitising collaboration through an information management platform can make it easier for teams to work together on construction or retail fit out projects. This is because data is formalised and centralised, providing:

  • A single source of truth: with accurate digital project information, every team member starts and stays on the same page. Document management software gives each stakeholder access to a central database for referencing standards and specifications. Prosper has already used information management software to combine multiple sources of data into one single system for its fast-growing retail client, which can be easily accessed by any relevant person in their business. Read more on how Prosper is achieving digital collaboration for its retail clients.
  • Agile information sharing: choosing a cloud-based information management solution is ideal, as it enables project teams to access information wherever they’re located. For example, site-based teams can review layouts and components as they work, rather than relying on printouts or memory recall.
  • Integration with other project management software: information management technology can integrate with other project management software such as procurement systems, analytics/reporting and cost management to enhance collaborative working processes.
  • Accurate templates for future work: by creating a central data repository, it’s much simpler to replicate collaborative construction or fit out projects in other locations, with other teams – for example, across multiple retail stores. Sainsbury’s has been using IconSystem to manage new store specifications since 2005, storing data for more than 4,200 individual specifications. These specifications and standards are updated daily so accurate information is shared internally and with their contractor base. Learn more about how Sainsbury’s is managing store specifications using IconSystem.

Improve project collaboration with IconSystem

Collaborative working is key to ensuring retail and construction projects run efficiently, profitably and productively – but very few companies can deliver these benefits through manual processes.

Digitising asset and project data through an information management solution like IconSystem provides a single source of truth for teams to help them work in sync. As we’ve already mentioned, IconSystem is already being used by Sainsbury’s, and other industry leaders like Asda and IHG also rely on our software to manage standards and specifications.

If you’re looking to streamline project information and enhance collaboration for construction and retail fit out projects, book a free IconSystem demo.

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