In the January print issue we will present to you the 2014 winners of our annual Polished Concrete Awards. As editor of Concrete Surfaces, I was honored to sit on the panel of judges that evaluated this year’s entries. It did not take long for me to notice a simple but important trend. Many entrants, when talking about the success of their projects, stressed that it all comes down to teamwork and communication. So here are my lessons learned, that I hope you already know, from this year’s crop of entries:

Educating customers can get you more work. A few entrants talked about how they thoroughly educated clients about their products, including taking them to other projects to see first-hand how the flooring holds up to high traffic or other conditions. In at least one case, this led to the client increasing the scope of work to include more polished concrete surfaces.

Get involved at the beginning for ideal slabs. Polishing contractors typically deal with existing slabs, with no control over what was previously done to them. But whenever possible, get involved before the concrete is even placed. Many entrants collaborated with owners, architects, and general contractors, and had input on mix design, finishing methods, and curing methods to ensure slabs were optimized for polishing.

Educate your GC for smooth sailing. Entrants also mentioned how projects went smoothly or met deadlines only because the general contractor took the time to understand the polishing process and ensured that all stakeholders, including other trades, were on the same page.

Never underestimate good communication. Take it upon yourself to facilitate communication between stakeholders including the manufacturer, the distributor, the general contractor, the owner, the project managers, and site supervisors. By spearheading this process, one winner was able to meet a difficult deadline.