If your construction business is growing right now, first of all – congrats!
You must doing an excellent job on your projects. That’s why customers are taking notice and giving you more work.
But interestingly, more work also brings more challenges.
More construction projects mean you need to hire more people – new engineers, construction supervisors, project managers and buyers in your team.
But they are NEW to your company culture and successful work practices.
So there is always a chance they may deviate from your established work practices – which enabled successful completion of projects in the first place.
With a possibility like that, quality of your construction projects comes into question.
Which then puts a question mark over the reputation, profitability and ultimate growth of your business.
Why is quality so important for construction projects?
If you are working in a growing construction business, you probably already know how important quality control is.
Very likely, it is because of your quality work, that your customers are giving you repeat business – enabling your growth.
On the other hand, if you think of the other end of the spectrum – you will realize the damage caused by poor quality work can be quite serious.
Poor quality work often results in rework, delays and excess costs. On top of that, neglecting quality control on your sites can also put construction team’s safety on the line.
Apart from these immediate setbacks, real damage is done to the reputation of your business in the long run.
Construction businesses usually operate in a competitive market, where margins can be thin. You can succeed in such cases by differentiating your business with highest quality of work.
But how does growth affect project quality
You may have a very good handle on project quality when you operate with a small team, doing smaller projects.
You personally know everyone on the team. Communication between the team members is very direct and well established.
But all of that changes when your business starts to grow. You add new team members, who may or may not readily get used to your established work practices.
Changes in a growing business can –
- Disrupt the standard work practices you have established
- Test the limits of direct (individual level) communication in a growing team
- Reduce your ability to monitor each project in detail
Standardizing construction practices in a growing business
When new people join your team, they are not familiar with your established work practices. That makes quality control a difficult job.
Moreover, different people have different idea of quality. For example – a design engineer’s idea of quality can be very different than what a mason on site thinks about construction quality.
As your team grows in number, it is difficult to ensure everyone is following the same quality goal. It is only possible when they have a uniform understanding of what aspects of construction work determine quality.
The answer lies in formally standardizing your construction work practices.
This can be done by documenting the standard work practices & processes to be followed for different types of activities.
Standard processes will ensure –
- Everyone has the same goal in mind to ensure quality
- Everyone follows the recommended procedures and processes
Standard processes will give you direct control over project quality, rather than leaving it to chance.
Digital workflow tools can be very handy to define and implement standard workflows and processes for your team.
When your team is small it is easy communicate directly with everyone. But as the team starts to grow, communication becomes more and more difficult.
You have to coordinate with more number of people. Multiple communication channels come into picture – emails, messages, calls, WhatsApp, transmittals, submittals etc.
As you take up more work, it may bring in more project stakeholders – consultants, architects, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers. They will in turn have their own preferred communication channels.
But as most of these communication channels are disconnected, it becomes difficult to connect all the dots to make sense of what is going on.
A growing construction business needs a central communication platform where every project team member and every stakeholder can easily connect to exchange project related information.
This communication platform should also bring all different channels together and produce a coherent picture of what is happening in different project activities.
A digital platform which can connect different devices – PCs, tablets, mobile phones, email servers etc. can serve a central platform for communication.
Quality control also requires that any project related issues be immediately highlighted and resolved.
It is easy to do in the small team, where everything is clearly visible to the project manager / quality manager. He can then intervene in case of any issues to set things straight.
In a larger team, detailed visibility of project activities becomes difficult.
But on the other hand – if any issue doesn’t get highlighted, it won’t get fixed. Eventually it will grow into a larger threat to project quality.
But when your team follows well defined processes and communicates on a central platform, it is possible to derive insights into how work is progressing.
Even then, monitoring ALL of the project work data can be overwhelming.
Instead you should track certain parameters linked to project quality, which will help you identify any potential issues before it is too late.
If you have used digital tools for standard project workflows and communication, it is easy to connect the data from both of them digitally – to understand how a project is progressing.
When your business grows and your team grows in number, it becomes a challenge to ensure quality work in your projects.
This challenge can be answered by –
- Standardized work practices
- Central communication platform
- Consolidated monitoring of all activities
Moreover, it is easier to achieve all of these three things if you use a suitable digital tool.