As with most things, construction (new builds or extensions) revolves around great communication. One of the main areas where problems can arise is when communication breaks down between the client and builder. A builder needs to recognise that clients may only have limited building knowledge and experience and can't always convey their requirements effectively. To cater for this knowledge gap, builders will need to ask the right questions and take time to walk every client through the various stages and items required.
This considered approach should be taken throughout the entire building process, including the contract, selections, and timing of construction and building stages. It may also be necessary to discuss why design factors have been included.
Keeping the client updated throughout the building progress is imperative. A weekly update to explain what has been completed and what is due in the coming week is always worthwhile. Any delays due to weather, material supplies etc. also need to be explained and documented. This can be in the form of an email, telephone call or meeting.
It is also the responsibility of the client to inform the builder of any changes they require, whether it’s specifications or the supplying of items.
Keeping an open line of dialogue is also important with trades, suppliers, neighbours and any other associated parties. This is where systems and processes will be invaluable to eliminate any misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Even on the best-run projects disputes can arise. This is when clear communication between all parties is invaluable. Keep talking, keep calm and stick to the facts. Don’t get personal. If you're really struggling, even engaging a mediator is an option.
Once the open lines of communication break down, it becomes expensive for everyone with very few winners. Therefore, when engaging in a construction project, make sure you take the time to keep all the relevant parties informed and keep talking. It will pay off in the long run!