Mastering OAC meetings for construction project success

Explore the crucial role of OAC meetings in construction success. Learn how effective communication, decision-making, and risk management in these meetings keep projects on track.

A line of hammers in a construction job site

Bringing a construction project to completion requires a careful balance of progress, communication, and responsibility. The project needs to progress at a steady pace. The construction teams need to discuss challenges and make decisions. The stakeholders need to take ownership of tasks and get them done.

Too much or too little of any of these requirements can steer a project off course. Keeping them in balance is the job of the OAC meeting. OAC meetings ensure there’s enough communication without slowing progress and any issues that arise are quickly resolved. These meetings are critical to delivering a project on time and budget. Here’s how to run effective OAC meetings for your projects.

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These regular meetings are incredibly important for keeping projects on track. But, the average person might not understand the OAC construction meaning behind the acronym, so let’s take a deep look first. 

What does OAC mean in construction?

If you’re wondering, “What does OAC mean in construction,” it stands for “owner-architect-contractor.” This accounts for the main three teams in a typical project.

Regardless of OAC meaning, construction teams use these meetings as regularly scheduled check-ins throughout the life of a construction project. Generally speaking, contractors hold these meetings weekly or bi-weekly, though some may hold them monthly. They can be on a job site, in an office, over video conference, or a combination.

Importance of OAC construction meetings

It is difficult to overstate how important OAC meetings are. These gatherings collect the main decision-makers and problem-solvers and create a forum where they can discuss potential (or actual) issues impacting construction progress. 

OAC meetings also foster better project planning and decision-making. When the general contractor brings an issue to the table, they’re able to get the rest of the team’s input. The meeting can lead to faster resolutions because the owner or their representative can consult the team and give the final word.

Risk management is also a key factor in construction, and as a result, an important aspect of OAC meetings. Teams can discuss potential risks, their severity and likelihood, and any mitigation techniques or protocols to use to minimize impact and project delays.

Another important reason to hold OAC meetings is for documentation. When all of the parties meet, someone records the meeting minutes, which are then shared between all the parties. The meeting minutes can be a useful reference for a variety of tasks, such as dispute resolution, future estimates, and solving challenges on other projects down the road.

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A construction OAC meeting can include more than just an owner, an architect, and a contractor. In reality, they can involve several parties, including the GC, a design team, subcontractors, consultants, owners, and other parties who may have an interest in the project and its design intent.

  • General contractors: The general contractor will typically facilitate meetings. They’re responsible for developing the agenda, providing the forum, and bringing up any issues discovered during project management and crew meetings.
  • Owners: Owners and their representatives bring the decision-making power to the OAC table. They’re able to ask questions that can determine their satisfaction with the project, approve budget and design changes, and ultimately hold the other parties accountable.
  • Architects and engineers: The architects and engineers (also known as the design team) bring valuable insight to OAC meetings. They’re able to answer RFIs, provide important details on specifications and plans, review and approve submittals, and ensure the progress is on par with the design.
  • Project management: Members of the project management team will attend OAC meetings to communicate any challenges they’re facing, assign tasks to their team members, and provide progress and safety reports. 
  • Consultants: A consultant familiar with unique project types, equipment, or design choices may attend OAC meetings so the different parties can ask pertinent questions and keep the project on track.
  • Inspectors: In some cases, an inspector may attend OAC meetings to either answer the team’s questions or to ask questions of their own, particularly when working with complex systems or in sensitive environments.

Picture agendas like train tracks. They help deliver the train from point to point, hitting all of the important stops. But without tracks, the train goes nowhere, and with weak or broken tracks, the train becomes derailed and ends in disaster.

The same applies to OAC meetings. Agendas are necessary to make sure the meeting covers all of the important points and avoids getting off track. It’s important for parties facilitating the OAC meeting to assemble them and give them out before a meeting.

OAC meeting preparation

There’s more to an agenda than simply writing down a list of topics. They need to be prioritized. Challenges that will impact the project the most need to be covered first. This is so:

  1. The tasks deemed most important have enough of the attendees’ attention when they are fresh.
  2. To ensure that there is enough time to cover all of the most important issues, and anything not covered will have a minimal impact on the project.

Outbuild can help contractors make sure the schedule they prepare for the meeting is accurate. The software can provide accurate field information that tells the whole story, ensuring general contractors can bring the latest and clearest information to the table during OAC meeting prep.

The other aspect of preparing for a meeting is sending the agenda to the meeting attendees. This allows the other attendees to prepare, accomplish any tasks necessary beforehand, and gather any documentation or plans they’ll need to make points or answer questions. 

Agendas are part of the equation, but to really streamline an OAC meeting, construction team members need to focus on effective communication. After all, these meetings need to be informative and constructive. The following are some ways to remain effective throughout the meeting.

Stick to the agenda

The agenda is there to keep the meeting on track. It ensures important issues are discussed, avoiding side conversations and distractions. This allows the meeting facilitator to control the flow and improve the meeting’s efficiency.

Keep it short (but frequent)

Shorter meetings are the most effective, as they prevent people’s attention from wandering, avoid frustration, and ensure everyone’s locked in for decision-making. Shorter meetings may require increased frequency, but the time spent will be more efficient. 

Encourage participation

Every group has personalities that push to the front while others try to shrink into the background. But everyone’s opinions matter at OAC meetings, so encourage participation by asking questions or for the opinions of the other participants.

Use visual aids

Visual aids can go a long way when it comes to an OAC meeting, particularly when it comes to explaining complex or niche topics. Owners and their representatives might not be able to visualize things like contractors can. Similarly, designers and architects prefer plans and drawings over conversation, so use visual aids whenever possible.

Use plain language

Avoid jargon or trade language. While it might be second nature to a contractor, using construction jargon can seem like gatekeeping and confuse owners and other parties attending an OAC meeting. Use clear, easily understood language whenever possible. If it’s necessary to get technical, try to use visual aids to help.

Assign tasks

An OAC meeting will reveal tasks that need to be handled. Assign these tasks to the appropriate team members to ensure they’re handled promptly. 


When possible, provide a quick recap at the end to go over the main points covered in the meeting. Mention decisions made, tasks assigned, and other important conversations held. 

Technology can streamline OAC meetings to keep them short yet effective. The right programs will improve communication, understanding, and collaboration.

  • Video conferencing software ensures that everyone can attend regardless of where the project is or where the different parties are located.
  • Project management software helps track project progress, assign tasks, and provide the most up-to-date data.
  • BIM software gives engineers and architects the visual aids they’ll need when discussing design changes, complex systems, and other information.
  • Document management software puts the library of drawings, contract documents, and other important documents at the attendees’ fingertips. Similarly, these databases provide a helpful storage solution for meeting minutes.
  • Scheduling software makes it easy to understand where the project stands, its current progress, and upcoming aspects. These programs ensure that GCs have the most accurate scheduling information available when they compile agendas for their OAC meetings.
  • Management software can also help the team identify any potential challenges, including pending documents or approvals that might cause delays.

Contractors who rely on Outbuild will find that it allows them to track the schedule with the latest information. It will also allow them to review a list of potential roadblocks as well as quickly identify any RFIs or submittal packages that are pending and could delay the project. And, since it integrates with other leading construction management software, it’s an ideal tool for preparing for an OAC construction meeting. 

Tracking the success of OAC meetings is relatively simple. The general contractor should supply all of the meeting attendees with copies of the meeting minutes, complete with decisions made and action item assignments. General contractors and other parties can then track the progress of these action items to ensure the success of future OAC meetings moving forward.

Lee Evans
Tom Scalisi
Content Writer
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