A Practical Guide for Building Trust in Construction

A Practical Guide for Building Trust in Construction
Construction
By Holly Hughes-Barnes | 2 minute read

Trust is one of the most important things your construction company will ever build. You need it to be able to raise start-up funds, win clients, partner with subcontractors, and find and keep employees. 

In this article we’ll dive deeper into what trust looks like in the construction industry, discuss common obstacles companies must overcome, and share practical ways to build trust in spite of these challenges.

Defining trust 

Trust is an intangible business asset that’s hard to measure. But at the end of the day, it’s about being able to rely on someone or something.

In a Salford University study, researchers interviewed contractors, subcontractors, owners, and end-users of five different construction projects. They found that three factors influenced trust in construction more than any others:

  • Honest communication
  • Reliability
  • Desirable project outcomes

There are some common obstacles that stand in the way of achieving these important tasks. 

Common challenges of establishing trust in construction

In a Global Construction Survey, only 31% of construction business owners said they came within 10% of their budgets for three years in a row and only 25% came within 10% of their original deadlines. 

It’s no wonder that in the same survey, 69% of project owners blamed contractors when their projects underperformed.

These numbers are a clear indication that there are obstacles in the construction industry that slow down progress and, at the same time, greatly impede trust. Here are some of the most important obstacles:

Poor communication skills

Misunderstandings cause people to lose trust in others. If a customer misunderstands what you say, they may expect you to do something you never intended to do. And when you don’t deliver, they’ll likely get upset—leading to friction in future projects. 

Misunderstandings also create inefficiencies, which cost time and money. That’s why it’s important to be as clear and concise as possible when speaking to the people you work with. 

Generational gaps

The construction industry currently has five generations of workers and stakeholders working together. Baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials make up the bulk of the construction workforce. Each generation brings with it a distinct set of values, strengths, and weaknesses. 

Different generations have different values and ways of communicating. The differences in the way they do things can lead to stereotyping and distrust between the generations.

Slow change 

The construction industry is notoriously slow to change. Many people still balk at new technologies that can improve productivity. But without new technologies, it will be difficult to meet deadlines and produce desirable project outcomes, let alone stay ahead of the competition. 

Practical ways to up your trust game

Here are some practical steps to take to overcome these common industry challenges and become a trusted construction brand:

Communicate clearly

Communicate with purpose and strive to be as clear as possible. Try to understand how other people see you and your company, and give them time and space to ask clarifying questions. When speaking with customers, repeat the important information back to them so they can tell you if you have everything. If giving instructions, ask the other person to repeat them in their own words so you can confirm they understand what you asked them to do. 

Mend the generation gaps

It’s important to find common ground and mutual understanding between generations. The older generation should transfer their construction knowledge to the younger generation, and the younger generation should help the older generation understand and use technology. Reverse mentoring is a way to overcome generational challenges while encouraging crew members to develop healthy working relationships with each other.

Embrace new ways of doing business

New technologies can help you achieve all three of the most important factors for establishing trust in construction. They can help you improve communication, increase productivity, and give you better project outcomes. 

ClockShark is a cloud-based timekeeping and scheduling software for construction and field service companies. The technology replaces paper timesheets and helps companies streamline their business. Crews can access it from anywhere and clock in and out directly from the mobile app. The GPSTrak feature helps you know exactly where your crews are during the workday. The drag-and-drop scheduler means you can schedule your team in minutes, not hours. And crews can use it to keep everyone up-to-date on the jobs they’re working on. Try it free for 14 days to see how much time and money it can save you versus paper timesheets. 

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