The Budgetary Value of Proactive Communication with Stakeholders

Proactive Communications

The Budgetary Value of Proactive Communication with Stakeholders

In many construction projects, multiple stakeholders are involved, creating a complex web of approvals, opinions and needs. Actively communicating with each stakeholder and integrating them in the process is often a job for a dedicated project manager given the amount of moving pieces. Yet, projects don’t always have budget for a “stakeholder manager” — or you as the owner may be filling this role. With time stretched thin, it can be appealing to leave stakeholder communications to regularly scheduled check-ins. After all, inviting more opinions can sometimes muddy the waters, slowing things down due to too many cooks in the kitchen.

However, not actively connecting with your stakeholders can create problems down the road that cost money, time and occasionally good will. There is a true budgetary value to proactive communication, though assigning an actual dollar amount doesn’t paint the full picture. The positive impacts on budget come from time saved, avoiding rework or backtracking, and collaboration that drives new ideas and cheaper alternatives.

Saving time

Communicating upfront can solve numerous problems before they’ve even found footing. Seeking out your various stakeholders, providing updates regularly and keeping things transparent are all tactics that answer questions stakeholders have before they think to ask them. As an owner, your time is precious; seeking out stakeholders proactively will help ensure you aren’t getting last minute phone calls and questions when your focus is needed elsewhere.

In a budget sense, time saved can be immeasurable. As project owner, not having extra time taken up untangling miscommunications with stakeholders can mean better work/life balance. On the actual worksite, keeping all stakeholders in constant communication ensures that your teams and contractors have the needed guidance and direction to keep moving ahead. Proactive communication eliminates some of the unknowns, avoiding down time.

Avoiding rework

Keeping your stakeholders (whether contractors, leaders of different trades or investors) informed can be vital in avoiding rework or backtracking on the project later. Anyone in the world of construction knows how costly and frustrating rework scenarios can be. Frequently, these issues arise because of lack of communication. One trade hasn’t communicated with another, a contractor wasn’t given updated blueprints or an investor wasn’t informed of a deadline. While a certain amount of rework is typically built into construction work, proactive communication can help your team avoid costly errors and fixes.

Avoiding rework can mean thousands of dollars saved in your budget, especially for unexpected issues. As an owner, proactive communication ensures you and your team are good stewards of your investment, and it saves headaches and frustration among stakeholders.

Gathering new ideas

While adding more voices can sometimes muddle things, bringing stakeholders proactively into discussions can actually be productive. A construction project is truly a collaboration and soliciting insight from your stakeholders can give your team ideas that may not have come to the surface otherwise. These ideas can sometimes mean cost savings, too.

For example, say you actively invite your contractors to brainstorm on the best options for a certain appliance your building will need. In a discussion of lifecycle costs, they share with you that they’ve had experience with item XYZ that is more expensive upfront but created big savings down the line. Without this conversation, you may have gone with your initial plan of item ABC: cheaper upfront, but lower long-term ROI.

Proactive communication can help your project run smoothly on the path to success. Working with an Independent Cost Estimator (ICE) is a great way to discover opportunities for stronger communication among stakeholders. Contact our team for more on how an ICE can be an important communication asset for your project.