Connection Not Collaboration Wins Construction Work

Any construction estimating software can say that a single source of truth will help you and your team—both external and internal—collaborate better. But collaboration without the human connection will affect the quality of work produced.  

Collaboration without connection is possible. Most of us do it every day. And we do it well. However, creating that connection with those you collaborate with will make that job done well, done better. 

Team at Happy Hour

What do we mean by connection? Connection isn’t just talking to others. It is establishing, growing, and maintaining a relationship where each party involved feels heard and valued.  

“Human connection is not an exchange of information.” --Dr. John Delony

Sure, transparency and communication are key aspects to connection but don’t depend on only talking to gain trust in owners and win more work. Begin your relationship with an owner by going in with the mindset that the project isn’t just transactional. Do not approach it as "they tell you what they want, you get the drawings, you deliver a conceptual estimate and then wipe your hands of it". Instead, you’re there to help them by delivering a better building on time and on budget. 

The best way to do that is by learning about your client and their motivations. Gaining their trust through connection is key to success. You’ll be memorable and have that edge over the competition when you connect, not just collaborate with your customers.  

There are 3 ways you can easily do this on your next project:  

  1. Be Intentional with Your Time 

“Your customers are not just a revenue source. They're real people with real lives, full of challenges and triumphs.”- Rachelle S. for LinkedIn 

Douglas Lee, Preconstruction Operations Manager and Vice President at Brasfield & Gorrie makes time to get to know his clients on a personal level and ask questions about their motivations. He points out that trust isn’t something we’re used to in the industry. Building that trust with your stakeholders will set you apart from the competition. Brasfield & Gorrie experienced this firsthand when they embarked on their first integrated project. Douglas says it is harder to be upset and to mislead people when you really know them on a personal level. 

That first time, Douglas says, can be a “paradigm shift.” However, coming together to come up with cool solutions and facing challenges together as a team is what made “construction fun again,” he says. In fact, Douglas still stays in contact with that team monthly.  

 2. Find Ways to Add ValueBrent Instagram Quote Integrated Estimating

Estimators and preconstruction teams are in a unique position. The more informed your decisions are early in the life of the project, the greater impact you have on the finished project.  

Use your preconstruction meetings to ask questions about the owner’s goals and purpose. Besides profit, what do the owners want the ultimate outcome for the project to be? If it’s a school, you can suggest ways to extend libraries and labs, for a hospital, you can find ways to add more beds, or for an office building, suggest where you can enlarge green spaces and add bigger breakrooms.  

If your firm has integrated project delivery opportunities, take them! IPD is naturally collaborative but focusing on the connection, not just the exchange of information allows for you to grow a trusted relationship. Trent Isaacson, Vice President of Preconstruction at Layton Construction, says that when working with clients during an integrated project, you develop relationships in “deep ways,” leading to a great sense of accomplishment in delivering a building that everyone is happy with.  

But you won’t do that without connecting with the owner’s goals.  

3. Act as the Owner’s Consultant 

Stepping into the role of consultant and educating an owner throughout the process will help develop a stronger and more trusted bond that collaboration alone can’t do. You aren’t just selling them a construction project; you are also helping them build a better building.  

With the right tools, you can share in real time where estimate numbers are coming from and base decisions around historical data. Showing owners how you’ve solved challenges in the past, saved costs, and used alternative building materials to create a better project than expected on budget and on time will reassure owners you are prioritizing their success and are acting in their best interest.  

Screenshot of DESTINI Estimator's integration with Microsoft Power BI.

Ray Miller, Vice President of Preconstruction Services at ENR Top 400 Contractors Winter Construction, says that “The reality is estimating and preconstruction isn’t just about cost anymore, it’s about how you deliver your information.” DESTINI Estimator construction estimating software allows you to display real time information to owners in the way they want. He says, “…the ability to be able to break a project into multiple program elements – multiple floors, multiple buildings, however we want to be able to look at the job – it lets us plan ahead and understand what the client’s priorities are, and with the client in the room, easily flip back and forth between different views." 

“Communication is merely an exchange of information, but connection is an exchange of our humanity.” – Sean Stephenson 

At Beck Technology, our mission is to revolutionize the industry…create the future. In that, we want to help make the world a better place and we do that by supporting those in the industry that are building a better future by improving the places where we work, live, heal, and learn.  

Collaboration is just one part of this, but it is the human connection that will truly make the biggest impact. Douglas says, “It’s one of the reasons that we choose to go with Beck Technology. We felt like there was this alignment in values and cultures. The fact that we can have a higher level of relationship. I think our industry is a relationship industry, or it should be. It doesn’t need to be based just on transaction.”  

So, when you think about partnering—be it with an owner or a software vendor—connection, not just collaboration will be the differentiator. And owners will remember that.  



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