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2. Open communication and collaboration


Return to December 2020 update


Length: 2.4 min read;  492 words.

Note: The following paragraphs summarize the category of Open communication and collaboration observed in December. More information about the specific category from December (and previous months) can be found in the downloaded report(s).The number in square brackets (e.g., [X]) refers to a reference where the reader can find more infomation about a specific statement.  The references can be found in the References list below, Systematized References page or in the dowloaded report.


The December communication volume and openness returned to pre-pandemic levels. The trend we suggested in May that the industry accepted open communication and collaboration as a new normal is barely visible in December. We estimate that the industry is communicating and collaborating in December less openly than in September (20% representativeness in the selected references - down from 50% in September). Practitioners are cautious and protective of their businesses given the countless challenges, such as further backlog declines, competition, delayed and cancelled projects, further increased cashflow issues, issues with contracting and potential litigations. The number of mentions of this category in the selected references continues to decline (4.6% in December vs. 5.7% in September).

NEXT Coalition has been awarded the Innovator of the Year title by Construction Dive. To help pore through all the new information and platforms, four major contractors, Black & Veatch, DPR, Haskell and McCarthy, came together in May to form the NEXT Coalition. In August, Swinerton joined. The alliance works to pilot, test and tweak technology solutions in the areas of contact tracing, safety oversight and cleaner jobsites. When it comes to safety there is no competition. [297] As we pivoted to a WFH situation, IT leaders were asked to put to practice all the disaster recovery/ business continuity and mobility plans that we had developed over the years. For many IT leaders, this became an opportunity to shine and I was excited to see that many of my peers and their teams successfully responded to the challenge. I was also extremely proud of the relationships many of us had developed over the years and how we all chipped in to help each other, regardless of whether we could also be considered “competitors” on the business side. [271]

Common global standards facilitate open communication and collaboration. For example, the AEC community is discussing the necessity for BIM standards globally to provide open communication. If a stakeholder needs to know a piece of information, the less time they spend hunting for it, the faster they can resolve an issue. If each firm is naming items differently, a stakeholder may go look for information and find the incorrect information. This can lead to delays, bad calls, or more serious project impacts. If you cannot communicate on the same page, you cannot build the same building. [298] The North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB), a wholesale and retail natural gas and power industry forum comprising 300 corporate members, will initially focus its standards development to support cybersecurity and blockchain out of 11 digital technologies it identified that are quickly transforming the energy space. The board emphasized that it will continue to coordinate with entities like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Energy (DOE), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and NERC, and continue to monitor areas identified as “strongly relevant” to processes and transactions that NAESB standards currently address or may address in the future. [299]

See September Category Summary


[297] “Innovator of the Year: NEXT Coalition”, Construction Dive. (accessed Feb. 07, 2021)
[298] “Why contractors need common standards in BIM”, SmartBrief, Sep. 23, 2020. (accessed Jan. 11, 2021)
Monthly Summary: 
AEC and Pandemic: Response and Impact - December 2020 Update