Communication Breakdown: Why Communication on a Residential Construction Site is a Must

By Lynn Pearcey, MBA, Copywriter, AIA Contract Documents

April 26, 2023

A lot goes into building a house. Think about it for a second or two. First, you have all the tools, including hammers, shovels, rulers, saws, and mixers, to name a few. No matter what type of home you’re building, each plays a critical role at various points, so having them on hand is a must.

Next, there are the parts and a whole lot of them. You’ll need wood of all lengths and sizes, nails, screws, brick, mortar, sod, glass, and many other pieces to turn a dirt hill into a completed structure. Seeing the result sitting on a lot, all shiny and new, eager to embrace a family who’ll turn that house into a home, brings a sense of fulfillment.

But here’s the reality of it all. The desired result only happens when the most critical tool in the kit, the most irreplaceable part you’ll find on any construction site, is present. That tool and that part sit under one heading: communication. Far-and-away communication is the most critical component of any build. It’s the glue that holds everything in place and is a must-have for any successful residential project for several reasons.

Puts Everyone on the Same Page

 Good site communication puts everyone on the same page and increases efficiency. When all parties talk and move in a fluid, synergistic fashion, the prospects of finishing on time and within budget increase exponentially. Communication on a residential construction site also breeds higher levels of collaboration. Teams collaborate because they trust one another, and every facet, including customers, contractors, and others, benefits when this happens.

Creates a Template for the Future

Every project, even for the same builder, will be different. But one thing is for sure, effective communication will be necessary. Once your team notices how much easier a project flows when this element is present, they’ll embrace it. They’ll embrace it and be more likely to prioritize it for future construction opportunities. This instance of communication prioritization is another win for everyone as it increases efficiency, lowers costs, and the customer gets a higher quality product.

Your Brand is on the Line

Communication on a construction site is about more than delivering a structure that matches the plans and specs. Having strong, open, trustworthy lines of communication is also about protecting the integrity of your brand. Every move you make and conversation that takes place represents an opportunity to add or subtract value from your brand. Customers, including end-users and partners, come into a project watching and listening to see what price you place on this all-important resource. With that, your organization’s message must be one that says communication is a priority.

Tips to Improve Communication

  • Be Clear: Residential construction sites are busy, and sometimes, a person can think they heard one thing, but the one speaking is saying something different. If you’re the communicating party, make sure the message you intend to send is the one that’s heard.
  • Ask Questions: It makes no difference if you’re building a two-bedroom starter home or an opulent mansion; there’s too much at stake to work based on assumptions. Ask questions, request feedback, and create a dialogue to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.
  • Create the Right Atmosphere: Being transparent, asking questions, and giving honest responses comes in the right atmosphere. With that, be sure you’ve created one where team members feel empowered to do both.


Residential construction projects come in all shapes and sizes and represent a pillar of the vibrant, always-present American Dream that so many strive to achieve. The role of the professionals handling the site is invaluable. Through effort and expertise, you can take a rendering and an empty lot and create something from what was nothing once upon a time.

There are a lot of parts and tools to choose from, made by different brands from across the globe. But when it comes to communication, the most crucial part of the construction mix, the only brand you should be interested in having on your site is good, open, and honest.

AIA Document A111™–2021 is intended to be used for a single family residential project when the owner hires a home builder to perform the construction.  Learn more here: A111– 2021, Owner and Home Builder Agreement for Construction of a Single Family Home

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.