7 Essential Project Communication Tools: Video Series

Project Builder

Communication Tool 6: Managing and Monitoring Work

Share this article:


Next Video: Communication Tool 7: Quality Control

Video Transcript

G’day guys and welcome to video six of our seven part series where we’re talking about Communication and the importance of good Communication in your Building Project.

Hi, I’m Mitch from Next Gen Building and over the next couple of minutes we’re going to talk about four different tools or things that you can use to help you manage and monitor your work, and your work progress to make your Project run smoothly.

Alright, so let’s get into it, so number one is a construction program or you may have heard of them referred to as a Gannt chart. It’s a chart that’s in a bar graph layout and it’s in date format so has a start date and end date for each bar. A bar will line up to a task or Sub-Contractor or anything relevant to your program. This allows your Sub-Trades to know when they’ve got to come to Site, when they’ve got to have their part of the Project finished by. You can put hold points in there so you know when the Project or the date gets to that hold point, that portion of the job has to stop and that’s helpful if you’ve got to get Test Certificates or Inspections by your Local Shires, or Inspections by some other interested parties on Site to check out and sign off that that’s done and then once that Certificate’s issued, then the Project can continue on and it’s also good to be able to monitor how the job is flowing and the speed of the progress as well because some of the bigger Commercial Projects will have what they call liquidated damages so if you don’t finish on a particular time you get penalized. So a Construction Program or a Gantt Chart is very helpful in monitoring the speed of the Project.

The second thing is, have regular Site meetings with your Builder or the Person that you’re working with that is the Principal Person. What I mean by that is, we do it weekly, but have a weekly meeting where Yourself and the Builder or Architect (if you have an Architect involved) gets down on Site and you walk through the job and that’s your opportunity where you can highlight concerns, you can talk about changes, discuss a particular finish, how you want that to look? These are the things you can talk about, you’re on site, you’re looking at it and it’s just easier to see it and talk about it right then. The thing about that is whenever you have a Site meeting, make sure that someone and it doesn’t have to be you, it can be someone that’s in that or part of that meeting should be taking minutes because that’s a written record of what was discussed. So if you say, or if the Builder says to you ”alright I’ll get back to you on that” it’s written down so then you can say “well you didn’t get back to me” or you know there’s always that written record.

Number three is Site Instructions. This is another sort of tripping point when it comes to clarity and assumptions. So the scenario might be that you as the Client might go down on Site ad you say to the Electrician “hey, when you’re going, do you mind banging in an extra light for us in this location”. Now what that does is you told the Tradesman, now the Tradesman may not tell the Builder or he might just forget something happens and that message doesn’t get passed onto the Builder. So you’ve assumed that you’ve done your bit, you’ve asked for the extra light but the guy that’s organizing the job, so the Builder he doesn’t know.  So either the job doesn’t get done or the Tradesman does what you’ve asked and the Tradesman puts his bill in with a variation to the Builder and the Builder’s going “what’s going on? I didn’t authorize this?” You are opening a door to a lot of unnecessary potential arguments. So never assume. Always talk to the relevant Stakeholders – normally your Builder or Architect or anyone that’s in a decision making position for your Project.

Finally do Site Inspections yourself. So that’s not always possible, so bigger Commercial Construction Sites don’t actually allow the Client on Site unless it’s a pre-approved meeting and that comes down to OH&S issues, if you are able to get on Site yourself do it as often as you can because it’s a great opportunity to sort of look around in your own time and just take notes of different things if you’re standing and are uncertain of the Project, and you go “Oh, this might look good” you can jot it down and raise it in an email to your Builder. It’s just a good little tool that you can use just to sort of keep the clarity in your Project going. So to summarise all of this, what I’m trying to convey is, the most important thing is just keep really good records. So whether you’re doing the Site Inspection yourself or whether you’re doing a regular Site meeting with your Builder or what-not, just make sure that that is getting recorded properly because you don’t want to be later on down the track, 3 months after the job’s finished 12 months or whatever and something goes wrong, you don’t want to be relying on your memory so you can just flick back, have a look at your notes and it’s all there. So it all might sound a little bit overwhelming but don’t let it get to you. It could be just as simple as just having a dedicated notebook in your ute or your van that you take with you when you do your Site meetings or when you jump into a meeting with your Builder or whoever. Jot down all your notes and it’s there on record because there’s nothing more frustrating than when you get 3 months or 12 months down the road and you try to remember what was said or what was decided, and you don’t want to be relying on your memory. So if it’s written down in your notebook it’s right there and you can go back quickly to references any time you want.  

So to summarise the four things we just talked about :-

  1. Construction program or your Gannt chart
  2. Relevant Site Meetings with your key Stakeholders or your Builder, Architect, whoever is relevant
  3. Proper Site instructions to the correct people
  4. If you are able to undertake regular Site inspections yourself

So if we do all of those four things, what is that going to achieve? A smooth running project and that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve with this seven part series, in the importance of Communication in your Building Project.

So that’s it, thanks for listening, if you have any questions bang them in the comments below.

I’ll do my best to get back to everyone, and if not will see you next week when we do our final video.

Thanks very much for listening and bye for now.

Next Video: Communication Tool 7: Quality Control

« Return to 7 Essential Project Communication Tools: Video Series