The complexities involved in construction projects mean that there’s always a chance of bottlenecks and problems that need remedial measures. The management, coordination, and planning involved in implementing these remedial steps constitutes change management.
Change management can also be described as the implementation of processes that can incorporate the capacity for flexibility when there is a change in the scope of work, or some corrective action is required.
Construction optioneering platforms like ALICE (https://www.alicetechnologies.com/) help construction businesses facilitate the planning and execution of change management processes. You can simulate the impact of changes to your project to ensure you’ll be better prepared.
After all, the introduction of changes in a project can lead to problems, and the best change management implementation is the one that induces the least amount of friction.
Why is change management needed in construction?
Different needs can arise in the middle of construction projects that may demand change. Here are some situations that call for change management in construction.
- Dealing with architectural design errors
- Poor project management that proves to be costly
- Incomplete information about engineering modalities
- Problems with logistics
- Coordination issues between general contractors, subcontractors, and other stakeholders
- Issues with materials and equipment
- Labor doing low-quality work
- Regulatory red-tapism
- Financial issues
- Project objectives being altered
These scenarios demand effective change management protocols be enacted to ensure the smooth progression of the project.
Types of change management
There are different types of change management that an organization may experience during various phases of the project.
Organizational change is usually brought from the top down, with instruction coming from executives. These changes can include organizational mergers, new HR policies, office relocations, or a change in technology vendors.
Personnel change can happen both at the executive level and at the level of junior staff and labor. The impact of personnel change can be significant on the functioning of a construction company, and as such, it should be managed with due consideration.
These sudden changes are something to watch out for. Construction companies can suffer if they don’t have well-planned change management protocols in place to cope with these abrupt changes, such as a data breach or a natural disaster.
Remedial changes are corrective measures taken to mitigate the adverse effects of an error spotted in business processes.
Transformational changes are carried out to change the way a company operates or how it serves clients. Transformational change can include a digital transformation or a change of structure in the organization to overhaul the way it works.
How to conduct proper change management
The following steps can help you transition changes in your construction organization as needed.
1. Make use of technological tools built specifically for construction
Change management is a process that requires adaptability and flexibility. All stakeholders need to be able to implement the change quickly so that the project is not derailed and costs do not exceed pre-set budgets.
Construction businesses that have streamlined their business processes and communication protocols using digital tools have the capacity to execute change management in a more frictionless manner compared to those companies that work in traditional ways.
Technology has the potential to optimize business processes for the best possible results. In order to stay competitive, it’s of utmost importance to leverage available tools for the best results.
2. Plan specifically for each stage of the project cycle
If you plan for each stage of the project, you’ll be ahead of the game.
For the planning phase, you can come up with a basic project scope that will let you anticipate alterations in different project processes. You should plan in a way that allows room to adapt to changes so that the flow of the project is not hampered.
During the design phase, examine in detail engineering specifications so that if changes have to be made, they can be introduced prior to going all out on the project. This will help you avoid cost overruns and project delays.
Prior to the start of the construction phase, ensure all stakeholders are aware of your change management programs. You should also pay attention to changes the market is prone to exhibit so you can formulate an effective change management strategy.
3. Put in place an effective change order policy
It’s important to have an effective change order policy in place so that different stakeholders can anticipate how the change will be executed.
After all, a change order is a bilateral agreement between different entities involved in carrying out a construction project. The terms of changes should be clearly defined and must be agreed upon bilaterally so that a smooth transition in work processes can be materialized.
It’s a good idea to have a standardized template for change orders that can be used in different scenarios. You can use the template to incorporate details of the change order, encompassing particular requirements such as implementation timeframes, the authority that can initiate the change order, and other relevant information.
You should also develop a communication strategy for the change order. You can preplan a particular chain of events that should take place in certain scenarios before the order is executed.
4. Establishing a culture of change management in your organization
Accepting and adapting to change can be a painstaking process. Studies have shown that more than 70% of organizations suffer failures when going through a transformation.
Failures encountered in responding to changes are mainly due to employee resistance. This issue can be addressed in the construction industry by making it clear to all stakeholders that change is a normal part of the business.
Setting expectations across the board will result in higher acceptability to change, resulting in less friction. Creating a culture of change anticipation in a construction organization is going to help employees adapt to changes more swiftly.
The processes in place to execute the changes should also be communicated to the workforce and contractors in advance so that everything is crystal clear and that change management runs smoothly whenever it’s required.