Document, Document, Document
The construction industry is a primary driver of the U.S. economy. Yet, at its core, some industry participants can be notoriously slow to change. Take Information Technology (IT) as a prime example. IT has made a substantial impact on many of the disciplines associated with the construction industry including building owners, developers, designers/architects, construction managers, and product manufacturers/vendors. However, many construction contractors—especially small and even some large general contractors as well as trade subcontractors—still run their businesses using the same practices their firms have used for decades.
As is the case for most modern businesses, IT’s impact accelerated dramatically with the proliferation and simultaneous integration of the internet and email into the IT ecosystem. And while the advancements that have impacted the construction industry as a whole since this technology revolution began to mature are many, the process of documentation has been impacted most dramatically. There’s an old saying in the construction business, “If it isn’t written, it didn’t happen.” And individuals and firms in construction that make documentation a high priority are far more likely to be successful long-term than those who do not.
In the increasingly litigious world we are coming to know, it is not enough to operate on handshakes and phone calls. We must document, document, document. And IT technology combined with the always-on connectivity of the internet allows everyone operating in construction (or any industry) to document more easily than ever. So, beware of contractors or subcontractors who don’t thoroughly document the goings on of their professional relationship with you, or you might find out the hard way that they are not as professional as you think.