Breaking Free from the ‘Blame Game’: Achieve a Culture of Collaboration and Communication

What is the ‘Blame Game’?

The ‘Blame Game’ is a common problem in the construction industry whereby various parties deny responsibility for a projects shortcoming in relation to delays, cost overtures, or quality by assigning accountability elsewhere.

It is a phenomenon that arises due to the interdependent nature of projects within the construction industry and is regularly associated with:

  • Project Owners
  • Contractors
  • Architects
  • Engineers
Three construction workers in construction site

In doing so these stakeholders are seeking to protect their own interests and avoid any damage to their professional reputation in the process.

But why does it happen and how can it be avoided?

Why Does it Happen?

The ‘Blame Game’ can occur due to several factors. The primary of which stems from the large number of stakeholders involved in each project.

The construction industry requires a wide range of high-level skillsets to achieve maximum project results. Therefore, identifying individuals or companies that can execute every element of a job is almost impossible.

Complications and disputes arise from the need for so many intricate processes and constantly moving elements.

These problems include:

Collaboration, engineering and review with people on construction site for project management, buil.

1. A Lack of Clarity and Poor Communication

With so many parties trying to reach their own individual objectives it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that everybody is trying to reach the same goal.

Each stakeholder is acting as an individual entity with only their own interests in mind, because they are unaware or un-interested in the vital requirements of others involved in the project.

As a result, a culture of non-cooperation and poor communication is nurtured.

2. Protection of Self Interest

Beyond each stakeholder and contractor looking to meet with their own deadlines and reach the highest standard of production within their assigned budget, there are also key matters of safety to consider.

Heightened safety requirements can clash with efficiency, while poor planning and risk assessments can only cause to exaggerate this issue.

For example, plans may not consider weather related safety measures in the creation of deadlines and costs. However, these measures can significantly impact construction or worse halt work entirely.

If these elements are not correctly taken into consideration the fallout can be directed at those who have taken the extra care to ensure the safety of their employees and sub-contractors.

3. Insufficient Training and Allocation of Responsibilities

Without proper training and inductions for contractors and stakeholders, there is an unclear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

This causes ambiguity around what is expected and leads to confusion over who is accountable for planned tasks.

When employees are well-informed and cognisant of what is required of them, they are provided the tools and understanding needed to complete projects within the restraints proposed.

More importantly, without correct induction processes the probability of preventable accidents dramatically increases. For example, construction workers who have received adequate safety training are 62% less likely to experience work-related injuries.

Thus, significantly reducing delays and minimising costs associated with insurance claims and medical bills.

4. Monitoring system

Another key source of tension among project stakeholders is who is responsible for maintaining all compliance documents, such as health and safety standards, training certifications, and access control.

The tracking and monitoring of files of this nature can be a full-time job, with many expected to be on-site not having the liberty to manage them effectively.

If inadequate document management is in place, delays will most likely occur due to employees not having the required authorisation to work on site. The subsequent effect causes a shortage of labour which provokes delays that could very easily be mitigated.

The problem once again being ‘Who is to blame?’

What are the Effects of the ‘Blame Game’?

The primary effect of the ‘Blame Game’ is severe project delays and the associated costs that come with them.

These costs can be difficult to quantify and depends entirely on the scale of the job and the industry or sector it entails. In general, the expense of delays falls under three categories:

Direct Costs:

These are overtures that are easily identifiable such as labour expenditure, extended equipment, and material rentals, increased overhead costs, and additional project management expenditure.

Indirect Costs:

These are the associated costs that come as a result of productivity loss, disruption to other planned projects, and potential liquidated damages or contractual penalties for not meeting deadlines. This is not to mention the reputational harm that can occur for not producing what was initially promised.

Legal Dispute Costs:

Project delay, as previously mentioned, can incur contractual financial obligations. In addition to this there are legal fees, and settlement costs not to mention the hardship that comes with complex and prolonged legal battles.

How to Avoid it?

So how can companies and contractors avoid playing the ‘Blame Game’ and disrupting their operations so negatively?

1. Promote Open and Transparent Communication

By establish a clear and easily accessible line of communication among all stakeholders, delays can be avoided before they cause irreparable damage. By having a platform that encourages open dialogue among project participants and promotes a timely resolution, the collective objective can be understand and achieved with ease.

2. Build a Culture of Collaboration

Agreement at construction site

Encouraging a shared goal and establishing collective interests within a work environment, a sense of partnership can be positively grown. This requires a method in which all stakeholder have an active say in the decision making and problem-solving process. Therefore, the only interest that will be focused on will be that of the team and not the individual.

3. Advocate Continuous Learning

Providing the ability for employees to continuously enhance their skills and knowledge will reduce misunderstanding surrounding responsibilities and effectively improve project outcomes. This has the added benefit of learning from previous mishaps in past projects and promoting the ability to incorporate this feedback into future processes. By identifying and addressing systemic issues within an organisation rather than laying blame at the door of others an overall positive mentality is instilled.

4. Centralise all Document Storage

Acquiring a storage system that can not only make all documentation and certification easily accessed by those with permission but also notify relevant parties to their expiration, countless hours of administrative resources can be avoided. This has the added benefit of pre-deciding who has responsibility over compliance standards along with the quick and easy ability to manage them.

How can FlexManager Help?

FlexManager’s award-winning software has multitude of modules designed to mitigate against every element of the ‘Blame Game’.

FlexManager Contractor Management solution can provide the tools needed to assign responsibility where intended and create a centralised storage and communication platform, that will negate any potential delays and financial overtures.

To find out how FlexManager can help your organisation to reach its full potential and maintain reputational excellence get in contact with a member of our team at: sales@flexmanager.com

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