Ensuring better buildings through effective collaboration and knowledge-sharing

The building landscape is changing all the time, but one thing that remains constant is the need to meet superb safety and building quality standards. As a result, contractors, designers and architects must work together to ensure an outstanding result for the end client. John Duffin, Managing Director at Keyfix, reveals the important role that early collaboration plays and why knowledge-sharing and a consistent flow of information can make a huge difference. 

With concerns over the environmental impact of construction ever-increasing, the importance of incorporating build quality and sustainability into the industry is absolutely crucial. 

Indeed, architects, contractors and sub-contractors now have a shared responsibility to design and build environmentally-friendly structures that meet all building quality standards.

As such, it’s incredibly important that architects, contractors and anyone else involved in a project truly works cohesively from start to finish. That could be through the provision of full design drawings, component schedules and location plans, providing CPD and roundtable discussions to ensure everyone is fully informed of best practice, or offering unrivalled support for brickwork contractors, installers and apprentices. 

Effective information sharing makes a huge difference

Construction projects are likely to involve a large number of different disciplines, many of whom may not have worked together before. As a result, it’s necessary to involve full integration and co-ordination of a huge amount of complex systems, information and procedures. 

With Building Information Modelling (BIM) an increasingly influential means of facilitating collaborative working, sharing appropriate information in a suitable format at the right time is crucial. This enables better decisions to be made, not only during the design stage, but also during construction and the operation of built assets. 

During the design stage, architects can educate the contractors and construction teams about not only sustainable design requirements but also required build quality. This will ensure that the building’s sustainability and build quality goals will be met during construction. 

A reduction in rework

Poor communication and collaboration among team members, subcontractors and suppliers can often see projects requiring rework and extensive amendments undertaken later on. While working closely with every member of a project is so important and sounds simple at first, when there are many trades, functions and suppliers competing for priority, collaboration can often be sidelined. 

Collaboration from the very beginning of the project right through to completion means less confusion and requests for information. Furthermore, full transparency can also prevent contractors and sub-contractors duplicating tasks. 

Swift problem-solving

No matter how much planning is involved in a construction project, there is always a chance that anyone involved in the project can face problems or challenges. 

Having regular communication between architects and contractors enables fast problem-solving, ensuring that any challenges during construction are addressed efficiently and accurately. 

Less resource waste

A collaborative effort among all members of a construction project means that everyone has a shared goal. Each individual knows what they need to contribute to achieve it and are given all the relevant information and tools needed to do exactly that. 

Additionally, utilising high quality products and systems that eliminate duplication and avoid complex detailing, while at the same time improving co-ordination between several components and improving the robustness of the finished installation, can mean fewer wasted materials and reduced costs. Furthermore, bottlenecks are reduced and productivity is increased.  

An improvement in efficiency

By getting involved early in the design phase, collaboration and communication between manufacturers and anyone involved in the project can offer clarity regarding how products interact with, or avoid, others. Similarly, the efficient sharing of ideas and knowledge can be ensured.  

When details are openly shared during the initial design and consultation stages, responsible manufacturers can unselfishly de-risk the construction teams by providing solutions which promote best practice and in turn commit all involved to better buildings. 

Quality assurance

Working closely with anyone involved in the construction project enables architects to ensure that best practices are executed as they intended. 

Manufacturers who provide system-based solutions with clear itemised component location plans and marked up drawings ensure that their products are installed as designed and leave no room for on-site interpretation or “on the scaffold” decision making, ultimately improving the efficiency of install and of course the quality of the build.

Not only does this lead to a better outcome in regard to build quality, but it also helps meet all industry standards and performance expectations. Furthermore, the end client receives a building that is built to last. 

Better building quality and buildability

While collaboration can often see people feeling more pressure to perform and not let others down, this can conversely see a boost to productivity. Subsequently, holding members of a project accountable for the work they produce can actually increase their confidence, commitment, and also the quality of their work, too. 

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s imperative that architects and construction teams work hand-in-hand with manufacturers to achieve excellence in design and build quality. Effective collaboration between them can allow for smoother workflows, fast and efficient problem-solving, less resource waste, and better buildability. 

With PBC Today reporting that less than a third of construction projects are completed within 10% of their original budget due to poor communication and collaboration, it’s evident that working together is absolutely vital in achieving building excellence.  

Indeed, through close collaboration, architects, designers and contractors can ensure every project is quoted accurately and delivered exactly on budget, without compromising on building quality and safety standards.