What’s the most difficult aspect of ensuring seamless collaboration between all parties involved with a construction project? What steps have you taken to improve collaboration and communication?
I would say communication or lack thereof is very challenging when planning a project or when in the midst of one. As the general contractor, you are the lead and need to have a clear scope of the project, and communicating this to your team and trades is key.
Have one point person to communicate all the aspects of the job to your client. Depending on the size of the project, this could be the general contractor or a designated alternative point person. This is key, as it avoids confusion and miscommunication, and the client knows who they can contact for all their questions and concerns from the onset of the project.
Make sure you have a written contract. A contract protects the general contractor, as well as the homeowner, and it should clearly state the details of the project, budget, materials, timelines, etc. Make sure the client understands the ramifications of any changes, as these usually affect budget/costs and/or timelines, etc.
What are the most important steps you take early on in the construction process to ensure projects are completed safely and on time?
I like to have the project all planned out on paper and in a project management program with some buffer days for the unexpected. The more organized and detailed-oriented you are, the more successful your project will be.
What steps do you take to build a work site culture, which empowers health and safety for all team members?
Safety should be the number one priority for every general contractor, as you are liable. Ensuring the work environments and job sites are safe, free from obstacles, and have clearly marked hazardous areas and materials is key. Also, make sure all your crew is familiar with standard health and safety practices and wear the proper PPE, which includes construction boots, hardhat, safety eyewear, facemasks (respirators), and hearing and eyewear protection.
Besides for your phone, what is one piece of technology you could not work without?
Depending on your needs and how big your business is, you may want to look into a good project management software program. However, I do need to say this: your phone, laptop or tablet can help you become more efficient and organized, but ultimately you need to be skilled, have good business sense and good people management skills. Technology will help streamline your company and projects, but if you don’t have the smarts and common sense, then no amount of technology is going to help you.
Mike Holmes, Host, Holmes Makes It Right [email protected]