The construction industry has always been fiercely competitive. It might seem like it became that way only recently, but the truth is that construction has long been a world where trade secrets are often held close to the vest, and phrases like “mentorship” or “partner” are looked at with some degree of suspicion.
This wary approach to any type of collaboration has been especially prevalent in preconstruction, perhaps because preconstruction already tends to get roped off into an island of its own, a reflection of how fragmented the industry as a whole has traditionally been. Aside from the concern about giving too much away to competitors and disconnected teams, collaboration in preconstruction has also suffered due to outdated construction estimating tools. It’s hard enough to collaborate with industry peers or project owners when you’re struggling to get on the same page internally!
Today, however, increased collaboration is being championed not only as the key to more success, but also as a competitive advantage for all general contractors. The challenge now is for preconstruction teams to figure out how to remain competitive and learn from and share with industry peers at the same time.
There are a few steps you can take to achieve this delicate balance.
- Attend more industry events and join industry organizations like the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE)
- Focus first on increasing collaboration internally – with your team and project owners
- Make sure your construction estimating software is up-to-date
Focus first on increasing collaboration internally-with your team and project owners
While remaining plugged in to what’s going on with fellow preconstruction professionals, it’s just as important to ensure that your own team supports a collaborative environment, both with each other and with others outside of your team.
This is especially true when you have a large team. If you can’t easily communicate across offices, if everyone on your team has a different way of building out an estimate, you’re going to waste time and resources. It’s also much more difficult to work seamlessly with project owners if your team can’t present estimates in a way that allows the project owner to understand the thought process behind the numbers.
Attend more industry events and join industry organizations
One of the best ways to stay connected with like-minded preconstruction professionals while not giving away all of your best business secrets is to try and attend that conference or go ahead and join that organization, like ASPE. You’ll be surprised to discover that some of the challenges you’re dealing with – talent retention, integrating preconstruction and field operations, evaluating new construction estimating software – are ones that your peers might have faced before. They can offer valuable insight into the obstacles you’re tackling, and help you avoid making some of the missteps they might have made in the past.
On top of that, staying connected via events and organizations is also an excellent way to stay abreast of emerging trends and technology. Sometimes, what you learn about may not be immediately relevant to your current workflows, but it can help you stay competitive by becoming early adopters.
Make sure your construction estimating software is up-to-date
Last, and perhaps most importantly, make sure your construction estimating software is up-to-date! If your construction estimating software doesn’t offer support or no longer provides updates, you won’t be able to set yourself apart with things like standardized estimates and data visualization dashboards.
A construction estimating software that is adaptable and can grow with you means that you’ll be able to allow for more collaboration while also remaining extremely competitive.
Collaboration IS Your Competitive Advantage
If you’ve felt wary about collaboration before, don’t be. There are dozens of ways to both receive and share industry wisdom without giving away all of your company’s business strategies.
Out of these three steps, what can you start doing today? Leave a comment below with your answer.