Role of Communication

1) Which communication barriers affect the project performance in construction projects? Effective communication plays a major role during construction and it helps the construction industry (for the fact any industry) to enhance production and completion of projects within the stipulated period and thereby increasing the chance to complete the project within the budget. Communication is a means by which all stakeholders of the project are linked in order to achieve the central goal. Communication in the large sense of it is used to express facts, ideas, opinions and emotions between two or more people.

It is observed that everybody in an organization is responsible for effective communication irrespective of the role of the person. Communication is said to be effective within the working group in the industry only when the transmitted ideas achieve their desired action or reaction, as the operation involved in the construction industry is a team effort. (i. e. , the client, quantity surveyors, architects, consultants, specialists and the contractors work in a group with the main objective of getting things done through human beings).

Communication can be analyzed as a two way process as information is not only sent but also received, understood and implemented. Through effective communication, the individuals especially in construction firms find it easy and highly productive to work together. Instruction and order are given and they are carried out as expected once they are well understood and acted upon rightly. The working day of every personnel is filled with communication in different ways and forms through orders, directives, information, conversation, requests and rumors.

Effective communication has not been given enough attention in construction firms thereby creating many loop holes in information dissemination. As a result of this poor attitude in the industry, it is found necessary to create solution to such problems and improve productivity in construction firms. For effective communication it is very important for an individual in an organization to have answers for these basic questions. 1. What, where, when, why, and how does my employer expects me to perform? 2.

What, where, when, why, and how does my employer benefit from my work? Some of the major factors that cause ineffective communication are: 1. Poor leadership and management skills. 2. Demotivation and role of incentives. 3. Multiple reporting by an individual. 4. Poor organization structure (Not demarking the line of communication). 5. Poor listening, speaking, writing skills of an individual. When we have the line of communication we mean the channel through which information is transmitted within a construction site or organization from one person to the other.

The operational procedures and other management activities associated with the design, construction and subsequent performance of a project rely a great deal on how information is being transmitted between the various participants of the project team and for this reason, method of communication should not only clarify issues but must also attempt to bring harmony to the entire work process and also foster co-operation between the parties to ensure maximum contribution from members.

Apart from the factors stated above some of the major barriers that effect the communication in construction industry are: 1. Lack of detailed drawings, these may not give full description of the mind of the designer. 2. Improper coordination between design team and execution team. 3. Inexperience of the site engineers will lead to misinterpretation which can cause a lot of damages and changes to the original design. 4. Geographical location where communication can not be easily passed or can not be received.

(Ex: Cannot access internet, email, signal problems for mobile, etc. ) 5. Poor recording of bill of quantities and omission of items or rates. 6. Fear of the authority especially the senior staff can cause one of the junior staffs to make mistakes during a face-to face communication. 7. Wrong interpretation of message received is also a barrier. 8. Nervousness is also a barrier. Mistakes can also occur if the one delivering the message is not composed. 9. Complexity of the job can also be a barrier if the job is not fully understood. 10.

Availability and level of technology can as well be a barrier if the job needs a sort of specialist to carry it out. Hence, by avoiding communication barriers, the project performance can be improved by enhancing the rate of productivity, minimize wastages and reworks and complete the project within stipulated period and budget. The most important thing is we can enhance the customer satisfaction level which in turn results in repeat orders for the organization. 2) Would you quote a few examples of communication problems faced during various stages of a project?

Name of the project: Hotel Park Hyatt, Hyderabad. (Five Star Hotel) End user:Hyatt group. Name of the client: Gayatri Projects Ltd, Hyderabad. Company Name: ETA Engineering Private Limited (ETA Ascon group) Role as a company: HVAC Contractor. Consultant: Pankaj Dharkar Associates. Total contract value: 13 crores. Completion period:8 months. This is one of the most prestigious project of ETA Engineering Private Limited, Hyderabad branch. ETA Engg Pvt Ltd is an organization specialized in designing and execution of MEP works catering to varied sectors.

The job is bagged by ETA by constant development of a good relation with the client Gayatri Projects Ltd over a period of time. The project is very complex in nature and requires a very high level of coordination between all the parties involved. Almost 8 to 10 contracts have been finalized by Gayatri projects for various services. The job is passed on to planning & design team by project sales team of ETA by holding an internal kick off meeting and passing on all the contract documents. Site kick off meeting also followed simultaneously.

All the necessary safety precautions to be taken and the line of communication matrix for various queries and services are clearly elaborated by client to all the contractors. The design consultant for the project is Pankaj Dharkar Associates from Gujarat. Consultant agreed for a visit to site every fortnightly. So getting material and drawing approvals is a major concern not only because of geographical location but also due to the autocratic nature of consultant. The design engineer interacting with the consultant has to be very sensible in understanding the situation and thereby taking it from there.

Also another major concern is the client appointed project manager is well versed with only civil part but not with MEP services of the construction. So making him aware of the situation and getting site clearances is also a major concern. ETA appointed a project manager for the site who is having an experience of 15 years in similar field and also appointed two site engineers. But the major communication problem here happened because the project manager left the organization after 45 days into the project due to a better opportunity.

It is now the responsibility of site engineers and also top management in the organization to make the new project manager feel comfortable and make him aware of the present situation. But this didn’t happen smoothly and the project manager didn’t understand the goals of the project. This in turn had a negative effect on the performance of the project. The new project manager appointed also left after 4 months into the project because of high pressure situation of the project which he is not able to handle due to his health reasons.

This had a negative affect as nobody knows what to be done and this created a huge hole as knowledge transfer of the project did not happen properly from project manager. Ultimately this resulted in client and consultant involving the top management of ETA at every stage of the project. The client demanded a person from top management should monitor the site very closely and he should be present for weekly meetings. Another reason is site kick off meeting was scheduled weekly but the agenda of the meeting is not clearly specified in the communication at various stages of the project.

Also there is no clear minutes of meeting circulated to various parties thus resulting in lack of coordination between various contractors involved in the project. Also due to constant shuffling of project mangers and due to the inability of the site engineers to understand the design clearly there had been an increase in the amount of reworks at site thus increasing the project schedule and also the cost of the project. In addition to this due to the project manager of the site doubling up his role as safety manager, safety precautions are not properly communicated to workers.

Because of this almost after 7 months into the project and after 70% of work is finished, a major fire accident resulted in a damage of Rupees 10 million of property and almost a rework of Rupees 5 million happened thus resulting in overshooting of budget and project time period. The quality standard of the execution also has come down rapidly due to inability of site engineer to communicate the requirements of the project to workers. This resulted in lot of snag points to be attended at the end of the project.