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Collaboration in the construction (AECO), 8 ways to boost it

Collaboration in the construction sector means working together to meet project objectives. Learn how to enhance collaborative work

Collaboration is an extremely important aspect in the current AECO sector landscape. Enhancing it means increasing the chances of achieving project objectives on time and within budget. However, finding the right tools that facilitate communication and collaboration in the team is not so easy.

Let’s look at 8 ways to improve collaboration among AECO professionals and how BIM management systems can simplify implementation.

What is collaboration in the construction industry?

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Collaborating within your work colleagues is therefore synonymous with success and greater likelihood of achieving goals.

This is even more true in the AECO industry, where the work of the individual then flows into a single project. Collaboration in the construction sector is therefore essential to avoid misunderstandings and errors and therefore save time and costs. Let’s imagine that architect and structural engineers do not collaborate enough or do not do it through the right tools: when the project is about to end would certainly come out important incongruities. For example, columns and windows may creates conflict or other types of clashes may occur. It is clear that a late correction of this type of interference entails losses in terms of time and costs.

But this is just one of many cases that can occur. Collaboration in the AECO sector enhances the achievement of the objectives already during the work. It allows a fluid exchange of files, documents and information that can be accessed at any time and from any place simply by managing the access and modification permissions.

When collaboration is strong and the right collaborative platforms are used, technology, resources and knowledge come together and prioritize shared goals, dictated by project timelines and budgets.

Cooperation in the AECO sector

Cooperation in the AECO sector

When can we say we have a successful collaboration in the AECO sector?

A successful collaboration in the construction industry involves clear workflows. Each professional knows their role, can give their feedback, can communicate easily with other actors in the construction process and can easily access the design information they need.

More in detail, a solid and successful collaboration:

  • builds trust in employment relationships;
  • is inclusive and allows everyone access to information and documentation in relation to the role played;
  • clearly define roles and responsibilities;
  • grant an open communication on every level.

What are the main advantages of collaboration in the construction sector?

Introducing and enhancing collaboration in the AECO sector brings numerous advantages, but let’s see together which are the main ones:

  • fewer errors and rework;
  • saving time and money;
  • less waste of materials and labour;
  • increasing the level of involvement of workers;
  • punctuality in deliveries;
  • Verify customer satisfaction;
  • increase in business.
Advantages of AECO collaboration

Advantages of AECO collaboration

How to enhance collaboration in the AECO sector?

As we have said, collaboration in the construction sector helps to achieve the project objectives, on time and on budget. However, if you are not used to working in a team and using the right tools, collaboration may not be so easy and immediate. Here are 8 ways to enhance it:

  1. involve all stakeholders from the beginning of the design process: all the main actors of the construction process (engineers, architects, MEP designers, clients, etc.) must be involved from the beginning. This will keep them always up to date and have their opinions on the project and its planning;
  2. establish strong leadership: solid collaboration starts at the top and reflect on the rest of the team. So leadership needs to be the first to support the collaborative mindset if that’s what you want to get from the rest of the team. To do this it will certainly be useful:
    • rely on open and transparent communication;
    • plan regular meetings with members of the leadership – project managers, foremen, architects and engineers;
    • review progress and work together to address all issues that arise;
  3. establish workflows: allows each worker to have an overview of the building process and see how their specific tasks contribute to the overall project;
  4. promote collaboration at contractual level: in the AECO sector where contractors tend to protect their interests and fix delays when a party fails to fulfill its obligations. These aspects must certainly not be lacking by default, but we can also try to promote cooperation at this stage. One way to do this is to promote collaboration in contracts rather than focusing on the consequences in case of any shortcomings. Also a different way is to align those incentives with operational milestones that add value to the project;
  5. identify communication channels: because an high percentage of construction site jobs are actually “reworks” caused by poor communication. It is therefore useful to identify the best channels that put professionals and various operators in a position to communicate freely and easily, for example allowing:
    • employees to offer suggestions or express concerns;
    • the team leaders to communicate with the designers;
    • the management communicating with workers;
  6. promote a feedback and accountability system: when workers understand exactly what to do and have the tools to offer feedback, they will be more motivated to collaborate;
  7. centralize project data: using a cloud to upload all information and design documents is a great way to make them accessible from anywhere and at any time and therefore increase communication and collaboration;
  8. using the right technology: without the right tools, documents and design files are so copious that it is difficult to guarantee access to them to all the operators concerned and facilitate communication. Fortunately, however, there are now IFC editors designed precisely to make the building process multidisciplinary, collaborative and independent of proprietary files.

All you have to do is introduce the BIM management system into your team and see for yourself how easy it is to manage construction projects online, working from any device and collaborating in real time with your colleagues.