How to Improve Communication Between Construction Project Managers and Superintendents

The issue and how to fix it

Often, project managers and superintendents in the construction industry feel that they have competing interests when, in fact, they work toward the same goal just from two different angles. There are some ways to help improve the relationship and communication between your project manager and your superintendent for a more unified team experience.

Define project manager and superintendent roles early

To get your project manager and superintendent off to a great start, sit down, once you’ve been awarded the project, to work through a shared vision of the upcoming build. During this time, clearly define the roles and responsibilities. 

  • Your project manager (PM) should be in charge of long-term goals such as schedules, budgets and financials. They should track design changes and overall project progress. 
  • Your superintendent (Super) is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the physical jobsite. They coordinate the site layout, direct equipment, receive deliveries and maintain site safety, quality and morale. They’re also responsible for relaying vital information from the field to the office.

If you take this step, your PM and Super will know from the start where they stand on critical areas of the project, which will prevent confusion and miscommunication down the road. This will avoid the typical conflict between these two key team members.

Regular meetings keep the construction project on track

Commit to regular meetings to maintain the working relationship. Consider weekly or even daily, discussions between the PM and Super (and invite other team members who have information to contribute, such as architects, owners reps and / or subcontractors) to coordinate, plan and solve problems. This can be a great time to anticipate potential hiccups and get Plan B and C worked out. These frequent, productive, proactive problem-solving communications will keep your project on track, schedule and budget.

Use effective communication tools between meetings

Use the phone or a quick text to manage most conversations, but regarding more complex situations, such as handling RFIs or managing change orders, you need a more sophisticated approach. And it helps to have a solid record of those situations to refer to if necessary. A collaborative construction management platform can be a tremendous asset in this area. 

A construction management platform enables your team to work quickly and efficiently using cloud-based servers and mobile access technology for real-time collaboration on crucial project documents, schedules, financials and more. These tools help avoid gray areas and miscommunications between the field (superintendent) and the office (your project manager). This will improve their ability to work together seamlessly toward their shared goal of a successful build.

Reinforce supportive communications with incentives

Teamwork is the name of the game in the construction industry. A successful project depends on team members supporting each other in meeting or exceeding planned project milestones. Your project manager should organize the schedule so your superintendent can have the jobsite ready for the right tasks. Superintendents should ensure the jobsite runs smoothly. Project managers are responsible for adjusting the plan when there are delays.

It’s essential to reinforce and reward a cohesive working relationship to avoid a superintendent vs. project manager mindset. Project owners or managers might offer individual and shared incentives for PMs and Supers tied to completing goals and meeting deadlines. The focus should be the success of the overall project.

To learn more about how RedTeam can help you improve communication between your superintendent and project manager, watch a demo to find out which RedTeam solution is right for you.