Committees, competitions and communication


It has been another busy month with plenty of work being done on important industry issues.
A number of committees have been formed to help find solutions to the leaky building issues facing our industry — committees that will look closely at assessment, technical and liability issues.

One committee is an in-house RMBF group. The other two are made up of construction sector representatives but are being driven by the RMBF.
Good progress is being made, and outcomes will be conveyed to the appropriate Government departments.

I have also attended a number of House of the Year functions and thoroughly enjoyed them, as well as noting the high standard of projects entered.
We are seeing some fabulous homes, along with very interesting commercial projects as well.
It’s great to see a number of leading commercial builder members use this competition to maximise their marketing opportunities.

It’s all about communication

I cannot stress enough the importance of good communication for a successful building project, and thought I would take this opportunity to share a few basics:
• Maintain an open and transparent relationship with your staff, customers, suppliers and subcontractors. I have found that people generally respond better to problems and challenges if they are made aware of them early.

• Record and confirm key conversations and decisions in writing. Copy this information to the appropriate people and keep copies on file. Ensure these records are dated.
• Set up your own communication record book to use during discussions and site visits. These books can be in duplicate or triplicate so copies can be distributed instantly where necessary.
• Maintain a proactive relationship with your customers. Some builders contact their customers on a regular basis to keep them updated and to check they are okay.

This can help with time management and juggling your diary because you are the one planning meetings/communication opportunities.
• Programme meetings at important stages in the process. A very important, and sometimes overlooked, meeting is a pre-construction meeting. This is intended to allow you to introduce customers to your building team, to cover off outstanding or new issues, to discuss the programme and to go through issues such as health and safety, variation processing and progress payment staging.

Fundamentally, this meeting is to ensure your customers are ready for the building phase and know what to expect throughout.
• Notify variations, along with likely cost implications, as soon as you can. This ensures your customer can make decisions and budget accordingly. It also helps avoid disputes at the end of the project.
• Confirm all your key orders in writing and ensure rates and quantities are indisputable. A simple scope of works is a great help in achieving this.
• Don’t expect people to simply be able to drop things when you want them to. Plan as best you can and give as much notice as you can.

I am still surprised how many people simply call in to a customer’s home wanting to carry out a maintenance job, expecting that they will be there and welcome the intrusion without notice.
By focusing on improving your communication, business will become more enjoyable, and your clients will stay with you for their future building projects.

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