There Is A High Cost to No Communication





The Best Way to Avoid This Is to Communicate


You probably guessed it already, this week’s topic is COMMUNICATION and the all too common lack of it. Because communication is such a big issue, I’ve written about more than any topic, including last week. In that post I wrote about the major reasons construction projects fall apart. Half of them are communication related.

This week we’ll look at those reasons, results and remedies for…

• Misunderstandings due to poor or no communication
• Being blindsided by cost overruns or hidden costs
• Completed projects not being what you wanted or expected
• Not understanding construction terminology


What is communication?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, communication is:
…the exchange of information and the expression of feeling that can result in understanding

We all have our own perceptions and understanding of words, phrases and gestures. I presume I know what you mean, and you do the same thing. This happens with spouses, family and close friends, people we know as well as anyone. If it happens in these relationships, it only makes sense that it will be more likely with strangers.


Reasons people don’t communicate:


  • Takes time – People now expect things instantaneously. We have high speed internet at the tips of our fingers. Photos are developed the moment they’re taken and can be printed instantly via a wireless connection to a printer. We don’t have time to read through a multi-page document explaining our construction project.



  • Overwhelming – Reading through pages and pages of descriptions and explanations of construction legalese is a daunting task. Probably won’t understand half of it. It’ll be easier to just go ahead and start. We’ll figure out the details as we go. I know what I want and I’m sure the contractor does too…NOT!


  • Lost skill – Communication is a two-way process. It requires both giving and receiving, speaking and hearing, writing and reading, expressing and understanding. If we don’t know how to use these skills, we can’t communicate effectively. Good communication requires more than emojis and hashtags.


  • Don’t like conflict – Most people don’t like conflict, but it can be positive. Conflict is always difficult but can lead to growth and change. It indicates commitment and can lead to better outcomes. It allows us to see the other side’s position. We should be willing to discuss disagreements without our feelings being hurt.


Results of poor communication:


  • Project wasn’t what you expected – You have a vision of how your finished project is going to look. You can see it in your mind. When you come home one evening, excited to see what has been done and then…it doesn’t look anything like the picture in your mind. What happened?


  • Cost overruns – You’ve saved and/or borrowed the money you predict you’ll need to do the upcoming construction project. You get an estimate of what it’s going to cost. Sure, it’s more than you expected, but that’s alright it will be worth it in the end, right. Then you get the final bill and it’s a lot more than expected. Now what? Where are you going to find the additional money?


  • Time overruns – The contractor says; “Your project will be done in no time.” “This won’t take too long.” “We’ll be finished by the end of the month.” “This project will only take a few weeks.” This sounds great, but how long is too long, by the end of which month, how many weeks is a few? Trust me, your contractor’s ideas and yours are different.


  • Not knowing what’s going on – As you’re talking with your contractor, he’s telling you how this thingamajig is going to support that doohickey. We use the newest and best gadget to build our gizmos. All the while you are nodding your head as if you know exactly what he’s talking about. When, in reality, you have no clue. Wouldn’t it be worth it to ask some questions?




Poor communication can be solved with more time and intentional effort.


Come back next week to discover the remedy for this communication problem by learning what should be included in builder communication.

What Is It About Communicating That’s Missing?

It’s A Lost Practice That Is Getting More Lost All the Time

Communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or the use of another medium. It’s common for one person to presume when communicating with someone that that person understands what they mean. When, in reality, those receiving it don’t. When we receive a message, it generates a range of things including pictures, perceptions, emotions, etc. Often these aren’t the same for both people.

I think social media messages are lowering the communication bar. The lack of punctuation and proper English in emails, texts, social media posts seem to be increasing. It can be fun to use abbreviations, symbols, slang and acronyms in these conversations. We just need to be careful that we don’t loose the ability to communicate effectively.

A poorly communicated message makes an already overwhelmed customer feel even more overwhelmed.

Communication between the contractor and customer is critical to a positive outcome for both parties. The importance of good communication is key to helping customers accomplish their dreams. It takes time and effort to prepare comprehensive proposals but it’s worth it.

An example of how words mean different things to different people is in last week’s post when I wrote about a “manufactured” home. I received a communication that it was a “modular” home, not manufactured. This is how communication should work. Thank you, Ivy.

Technically it’s both “modular” and “manufactured”.

Modular – Relating to a module. A construction system using units or sections for easy construction. A system that subdivides construction into smaller parts or modules that can be built in one location and moved. Constructed using standardized units or dimensions for flexibility and variety.

ManufacturedMaking something from raw materials by hand or using machinery. The process of making something systematically. Producing a product in a large scale. Built in one location and able to be shipped to the end destination.

Both definitions describe this home and depending on who you talk to the definition is likely to be different.

Historically manufactured housing is connected to the trailer house industry. These homes aren’t attached to a permanent foundation (another one of those words that can be misleading, nothing is permanent when relating to construction). They typically have a steel frame that remains as part of the home’s construction.

Modular homes on the other hand are generally fastened to a concrete foundation and have no steel frame remaining. They are usually constructed using standard construction materials.

When communicating we need to be intentional in our choice of words. We need to be clear about our message. It’s a good idea to repeat that message multiple times in a variety of ways.

The most important part of communication is to ask questions!

When it comes to communicating, listening is twice as important as talking. Why do you think God gave us two ears and one mouth?

As the business owner or professional is it even more important that we communicate clearly. We have (or at least should have) more knowledge, experience and understanding than our client.

Communication is the number one problem between businesses and customers.

Generally, the customer is a novice and have come to us professionals for guidance and direction. This doesn’t mean that we should tell them what they want. Rather, we need to ask questions and listen to the answers. Find out what their dream is and help them accomplish that. We need to guide them through the process from the beginning to the end.

Communicating is a problem on both sides. The customer generally knows what they want but doesn’t know how to explain it or is afraid to ask questions for fear of appearing dumb. The contractor thinks they know what the customer wants but doesn’t bother to clarify and just charges ahead leaving the customer feeling disappointed, disregarded and regretting having done the project at all.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We are working on some ideas to help narrow the chasm between customers and businesses. Let us know in the comments below if you or someone you know has some specific issues regarding communication that needs solved.