How to Assess and Minimize Impact in Construction
How to Assess and Minimize Impact in Construction

Schedule Delay: 4 Common Types and How to Assess and Minimize Impact in Construction


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Everyone working in the construction trade has become aware that schedule delays are part of the line. Almost eighty-percent of construction businesses today expect delays in some of their projects. According to a study, the ironic part about project delays is that seventy percent of contractors tend to blame poor team/job site coordination for such delays. Although, some claims and disputes are considered as an inventible result of project delays as well.

If you are part of a project and new to project controls, understanding the different schedule delay types that often occur is the right starting place. Let’s take a closer look at the four common types of schedule delays, including how to properly assess them to reduce its impact as the project commences.

What are the Types of Construction Schedule Delays?


There are four main types of scheduling delays, and each affects the project, including the parties involved. The approach to managing or handling them often varies differently. When a delay occurs, it is crucial to identify the type of delay and its impact on the ongoing project. While a circumstance may seem like one-type of delay, it could fall under two or three. Hence, never underestimate how disruptive and complex a delay can be.

1. Excusable delay

Once you identified the impact of delay on the project’s timeline, it is the right time to assign blame (well, not really at all). Rather than jumping straight ahead to blame somebody, it is essential to identify first whether the delay is excusable or not. If the new timeline you created results from something outside of the project scope or control, it is considered justifiable. You cannot hold someone accountable for a specific project’s aspect that they can’t control.

Also, excusable delays can include:

  • Impending or dangerous weather conditions.
  • Hidden property issues.
  • Owner change orders.
  • Errors in the project specs.

If your analysis can determine the delay to be excusable, there must be some allowance and compensation. There must be advanced software solutions like subcontractor scheduling software since it also minimizes delays effectively.

Below are some common examples of excusable delays:

  • Fires, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters
  • Changes commonly initiated by the owners.
  • Labor strikes
  • Omissions and errors in the design docs, specifications, and plans
  • The differing site and concealed conditions
  • Intervention by outside agencies
  • Lack of action by oversight bodies

2. Compensable delays

While you are sorting through the delay, determine if somebody from the team must receive compensation. Compensation usually comes in the form of more money, time, or both. If the delay affects the party and the affected party has nothing to do with why the delay has happened, it is most likely compensable for that particular party. 

And if someone has to wait because the subcontractors responsible for order insulation have made a mistake, that person must receive compensation through a more extended deadline. If that is the case, the delay is considered compensable while the subs are deemed inexcusable. So what is precisely the takeaway here? If a delay is excusable, it is most likely compensable as well. If it is inexcusable, it is probably not compensable. These are two different things.

3. Critical Delays

When identifying the type of delay you are dealing with, the very first thing to consider is if it is a critical delay or not. If the delay affects the project’s scheduled completion date, it is identified as a crucial delay. This type of delay affects the vital milestones on the project. These milestones have the most significant potential to impact the scheduled completion date. 

By its nature, contractors can’t make up for any critical delays. Good thing that the construction management system is deployed. It can reduce the long-term effects until everyone fully absorbs these things going on in the project. The main factor identifying whether the delay is critical or not is if it can affect any of the waypoints. These waypoints are prepared by the Critical Path Method (CPM). If the delay stops or interrupts in reaching any of those CPM milestones, you’re facing a critical delay.

4. Concurrent delays

Concurrent delays and their direct impacts are where most things get mainly cloudy. This type of delay usually occurs when two or more delays occur in one project. The two delays aren’t expected to happen at the same time. Instead, both can happen within a specific window while overlapping each other. Any two concurrent delays can be a defense against delay claims.

You need to think about it this way:

For instance, there are two delays, Delay 1 and Delay 2. They’re both determined as critical delays, so they can significantly affect the scheduled completion date. If Delay 1 occurs and sees an opportunity to be resolved, and then Delay B occurs, then they are different and separate delays. However, if the situation is the other way around where Delay B happens before Delay A sees some resolutions, they are considered concurrent delays.

Concurrent delays can compound the issue, and it might be harder to sort through. Identifying if both or either is excusable or compensable can be challenging. Any form of delays can still be well-managed and dealt with using the best construction management software. Make sure to pick the best one in the market, and there’s only one in there – Pro Crew Schedule.

5 Tips to Reduce the Impact of Construction Delays


Whatever the type of delay you are dealing with, whoever is to blame, remember that a delay should be resolved right away. Hence, it needs immediate resolutions. Handling or dealing with schedule delays the right way can make a significant difference between reducing their impact and making the schedule spiral out of control. Read further below some practical ways to lessen the effects of a delay. 

1. Set realistic expectations

Setting an unrealistic budget and deadline doesn’t do any good in every aspect. While no one will blame you for being on-the-go, setting a deadline will always be challenging to do in the project. When you are running at full speed, the tiniest clip can cost you your footing. Hence, instead of pushing yourself or anyone of your crews at redline, you need to focus more on setting up realistic timelines and easily accomplished goals. Doing so will allow many rooms to absorb slight delays along the way.

2. Watch your lien and notice every deadline

Schedule delays affect the flow of the project, and they can also impact crews, payments to contractors and suppliers on the job. If the project delay causes a payment delay, review the state’s mechanics lien rules. Every state has set deadlines for sending or filing a lien. You might miss the deadlines and could lose one of the most powerful tools in the payment toolbox. 

3. Update the construction contract 

Your contract can either hurt you or help you in the event of schedule delays. Make sure to set it up to support you through including some common excusable delays in the contract. Ensure also to include a force majeure clause since it has a lot of promising advantages. And if there’s one particular thing to avoid in the contract, it is the No Damage for Delay clause. This clause pertains that you might not expect any compensations, excusable or otherwise. 

Also, it would help if you outlined any changes by using change orders. The change order fundamentally acts as the new contract right after some modifications such as a delay.

4. Use Project Management Software

Creating a central channel for communication builds a transparent and collaborative working environment for the whole team. As a result, everybody can work together to address problems and finding a resolution. Advanced software tools have proven to produce significant advantages in a project, resource, and crew management. 

Pro Crew Schedule is the best one available in the market and always has been at the top! Sign up now and get to experience a live demo for free.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at some significant advantages of using this particular software tool.

  • Targets are obtainable –a better timeline is shaped and outlined using the software. Planning every stage is can be done realistically. Hence, all targets are easily accomplished.
  • Incorporate flexibility in your plan– using the software tool, the critical path can be projected correctly as the project commences.
  • Improves the visibility of tasks – with better visibility, the efficiency is improved, making the project outline much clearer.
  • Accessible anytime and anywhere – the software tool has a cloud-based feature, and users can access the app anywhere at any given time.
  • Secure files and documents – seamless online documentation is experienced using this application, and even construction data is highly secured.
  • Time-tracking everything while managing construction projects– everything can be tracked from resources, updates, and crew members. Labor hours are monitored as well.
  • Real-time communication and collaboration – nothing beats this software to create the main channel for everyone to communicate. It makes the team much more collaborative and responsive.

The recent 2020 Construction Outlook Survey in California shows 53% of the construction firms have used online project collaboration software. 

5. Negotiate

It is already an assumption that delays will happen on any project. By accepting the reality, you can ponder more objectively, helping you develop a more creative solution. In some cases, this creative resolution often requires scheduling adjustments, which means changing payment terms and amounts. When you are willing to negotiate over these terms, you can reduce its effects on the project. Hence, solving delay issues much quicker.

Key Takeaways


All delays in construction schedules can significantly impact the projects, whether it be the schedule or the cost, or to the reputation of the people involved. To help distinguish who is at fault, scheduling experts, project managers, and contractors have to invent a whole new strategy that effectively deals with such delays.

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