Managing change in the construction phase is a critical skill that all professional builders MUST embrace. It’s never easy, but with a few guidelines you can at least smooth off some of the sharp edges.
Communication for the Builder has two distinct paths –
Keeping the client informed of the construction process and
Ensuring your project delivery team (consultants, builder and client) are all moving in the same direction
It is essential to have a communication protocol in place from the start of the job. Communicate at least once a week with your client, even if there isn’t much to say, your client will feel informed and at ease. No news is NOT good news.
Have a formal protocol of communication with and between Builder, Subcontractors, Suppliers and Clients. Ensure everyone knows and adheres to that system. Don’t ignore any breaches to this protocol as this is how small design and buildability issues fester to large problems during construction.
Don’t hide issues from the client, always keep them informed. Potential issues should be a standard topic in your weekly report and let your client know not just what the current issues are, but also what are the related outcomes with regards to time, cost and quality of finish. Clients really hate it when a problem strikes and it’s the first they know about it…they still aren’t happy when it hits but being proactive smooths off some of the sharp edges.
Finally, don’t lay blame (at least not until you have resolved the issue). Look for solutions not problems. Get the change/issue dealt with and keep the project and construction on track.