Well the first step in this direction is to do it by face-to-face contact with them, one and all. That way any other interaction is better because you “know” each other. I remember from years ago when I worked in an office, for about two years I was in regular phone contact with a lady. Our long-distance relationship was super; always business then a personal chat! We had almost fallen in love with each other!Then we met in the flesh! My vision of a cute little twenty-something, petite blond girl went out of the window! She was late middle aged, over-weight, wrinkled and greying! Don’t know what she made of me but our phone-relationship was never the same afterwards! Sorry! This is supposed to be about Sub-Contractors!
Well, you’ve met each other, conversed and parted on good terms. If you are working on the same site as each other you could well meet in the flesh every day, of course, and that will be a help as your relationship grows.
In the morning the Postie will arrive on site. You’ll open all the mail and read it. You’ll glean some information from that; design changes, drawing revisions, that kind of thing. You’ll also get e-mails that update you on various things and phone calls. The important phone calls, of course if you are working away from home are from the wife or kids, but that doesn’t count, either. While this is going on make a note of each bit of relevant info that comes in and who you have to communicate it to. Tick each off your list as you’ve dealt with it. Some of the mail you’ll decide to photocopy and hand that over to the Subby it involves. E-mails and phone calls you may make a note of and hand that to the right guy. We can even forward e-mails to people these days. Then you might bump into someone and you can just tell them. Then we have a real time-saver on our sites today; mobile phones! Some information can be passed to subbies that way or it can be used to summon them to your office! No point in you having to go out in the rain to give him a copy of a revised drawing! That’s it for the daily stuff.
Let’s look at Site Meetings. My own opinion is that they are only necessary once a month. The total monetary cost of time wasted is just too high if they are held weekly. If something serious does crop up in between, just phone those Sub-Contractors involved and get them to come to their own two-man meeting on site! During the Site Meeting have your say by all means, but don’t monopolise the discussion. Some of your Sub-Contractors might have important information to communicate to you! Remember communication works two ways! Make sure you are always accessible and approachable to your Subbies! – Unless the office door is closed, of course. Then only a disaster warrants disturbance of your afternoon nap!
So do all that and your communication with your Sub-Contractors had been improved. There are some flaws in it though. The constraints of your time and energy mean that you can only communicate with the Sub-Contractor most involved in any particular subject. To communicate everything to everyone would require Site Meetings that lasted all day, every day coupled with an endless flow of paperwork! Sure, a lot of it many wouldn’t actually need to know, but they would like to simply because it might have some longer-term impact on their own work.
But How is Communication With Your Sub-Contractors Going To Be Improved in 2016?
In 2016 you can have perfect communication with your Sub-Contractors! Sure, you can still chat (in Grunt) about the weather, but all contractual information is going to be made instantly available to every single Sub-Contractor on the job. Much of it won’t be of any great importance to them all, but at least they’ll know. They won’t suffer information over-load because they’ll just have a quick look to see if it is of importance to them, then they won’t bother with it again. They’ll have more time on their hands to actually get some productive work done because they, just like you, won’t have loads of paperwork to sort out, file and store.
The thing that makes this wonderful progress in project communication possible is that, these days everyone on site has a smart phone, tablet or PC. With those they can receive instant communication. In 2016 the technological development your Sub-Contractors will be using to get all this information will be:-