Construction delays have become a norm in the industry— it’s unfortunately not a surprise anymore. If you have been in the construction scene for a while, I am sure you might have heard endless stories about projects that were delayed for weeks, months, and even years over the expected timeline. One research has also shown that construction delays are now a prevalent dilemma in the industry, as 77% of the megaprojects worldwide are 40% or more behind their target schedule. There are so many individuals and moving parts involved working together to complete a single project in managing construction projects. Considering this, it’s easier to understand that even the littlest change can negatively impact any construction project schedule. Additionally, with details comes penalties and fines, and companies that have accumulated project delays can lose projects, or worse, potential clients.
Even though construction delays are common and even considered as the norm in managing construction, no one benefits from them apart from the significant cons that it is costly. While the common causes of delays may be out of the control of the on-site workers and the office employees, i.e., natural disasters, the season, and the climate, certain types of delays can be controlled to avoid cost overruns project. Controllable factors on a project are not a guarantee against too costly delays but can significantly increase the likelihood of preventing them from happening.
Like many challenges during construction operations, being proactive and preemptive is the best way and proven way to take care of potential project scheduling problems. Setting up proper planning and good communication in advance, along with the right tools and technology, could dramatically reduce risks, and construction delays can be avoided. In a nutshell, adequate planning on the preconstruction phase of the project can help construction companies meet more urgent schedules and give them more control over their schedules.
What Specific Types of Construction Delays Are Most Alarming?
In this blog, we will dive into the most common types of construction delays, additionally, give you helpful tips so you can best avoid them. Generally, the following major areas of delays in construction operations are critical to understanding since they will impact construction projects in different ways.
1. Out of Control Delays
As we have already suggested, some construction delays are totally beyond our control. These are generally classified as excusable or out-of-control delays and include an event like inclement weather on-site and city/county issues that could delay the operations through no fault of the project owner or employers contracted to finish the work. On the other hand, delays under one’s control happen because of poor project planning and other issues such as poor quality of work, faulty tools and equipment, and subcontractors or trade contractors failing to meet the needed deadlines. In summary, these delays could have been completely avoided but weren’t, and all too often, general contractors are blamed for it and need to make the corrective arrangements to make up for the delay.
2. Dangerous Delays
Of all construction delay areas, dangerous and urgently significant delays need the most immediate attention and action. To simply put, critical these delays can stop the project from moving forward and reduces the chances to get work done according to the original construction scheduling. No matter which is at fault for these types of delays, they would inevitably cut down valuable resources, such as time and money. If dangerous delays take place, you’ll indeed be forced to adjust your projected timeline and budget. If you encounter a dangerous delay, you might want to go forward into the operations with a stricter risk assessment to ensure that similar delays will not repeat in the project’s duration and for your future ones.
3. Payable Delays
As the name implies, when compensable or payable delays happen, the project owner will need to pay the contractors accordingly. Usually indicated in the original contract agreement, payable delays include omissions and errors and owner-directed changes or changes of orders. While several different factors can cause these types of delays, getting paid or compensated for them is essential and keeps the relationships between the project owner, contractors, and the rest of the stakeholders civil and fair. Few of these delays may be subject to reconsideration and have to be worked out. Still, if the original project contract is specific in defining the said delays with respective compensation amounts, major disputes can always be avoided.
4. Concurring Delays
When two or more delays happen for a single project simultaneously, they often affect the target project schedule and are identified as concurring delays. Companies that have trouble managing construction delays may find that additional delays are piling up and will have to be managed more aggressively to keep a project moving forward. Some of the concurring delays can be controlled more than others, and it’s critical to understand how one project delay, no matter how insignificant it seems, might impact other aspects of the operations, so they can be addressed urgently when they arise.
Preconstruction and Planning Issues that Can Cause Project Delays
Now that you have a good overview of the different types of delays in a construction project, you can now better anticipate a wide range of issues and setbacks that could arise at any phase in construction. However, the best, most effective way to handle delays is to prepare early in the planning and preconstruction phase adequately. As an old saying goes, prevention is indeed better than solutions.
1. Revisions in the Project Scope
“Scope creep,” and unplanned changes orders frequently happen in the majority of large construction projects. With poor scheduling management, construction projects can be underestimated in so many ways, right from the early planning phases. When scheduling accuracies are present from the very start, it can prove challenging to make the right level of changes and catch to get the project completed when it was initially projected. Always remember that getting the project done in time is not always the most realistic option to go for, and delays that can occur from underestimating scheduling can put your construction company in a negative outlook for future clients and businesses.
2. Building Codes and Regulations
Sometimes, when a project progresses nicely, once the city government gets involved and specific building regulations or restrictions are not followed, expect your project to have huge delays. With a good knowledge of the vast array of regulations from the beginning, your project will become more focused on ensuring that city building codes are met right from the very start. Without understanding the relevant building codes and regulations, cutting corners to speed up the project will delay it twice as much or even longer.
3. Costing and Budgeting Matters
Project financing is another common factor that can be addressed right from the construction planning phase. Generally, having financing lined up and in place before a project even begins can reduce budget issues in the future. However, some projects still stick to only just partial financing. Because of the competitive bidding process in the construction scene today, general contractors will sometimes grab this chance to win a specific project.
Nevertheless, budgetary changes can turn into a severe issue designed around an expected or even a higher budget. Investing in the correct construction budgeting software can help you in planning and reduce potential delays. However, there are still risks that delays can occur due to financing issues if they are not properly addressed throughout a project.
Construction Operation Issues that Can Trigger Delays
Project management for construction is not without its timeline delays, especially in the construction operation phase. Knowing this, it is highly critical to ensure that scheduling changes are properly anticipated early in the planning phase to cut back potential delays. However, it is important to keep in mind that on-site and office management measures in the construction operation phase are still essential in keeping a project on the right track.
1. Overbooking and Labor Shortages
You may have a lot of workers lined to the completion of your project and not have any other pending project that you need to finish simultaneously with. Still, with construction- anything can unexpectedly change by tomorrow. Just like in any industry, people relocate, get sick, file an emergency leave, or resign from the company. Even if you think you have the right amount of workers for a specific project, your workforce can change at any moment’s notice, so overbooking is not an option at all.
2. Inefficient Crew
Apart from labor shortages, if the construction crew you have is not very efficient, you could end up with a big problem. By establishing a proper vetting and qualification system in place right from the bidding phase, you can make better decisions about completing your team, which will also translate to more holistic construction crew management for the whole duration of the project.
Without an up-to-date communication and collaboration platform, it’s easy to get behind on your project schedule. If you’re using systems that don’t reflect changes in schedule in real-time, your project will be wide open for delays, errors, and even rework. Using construction productivity software, like Pro Crew Schedule, helps you collaborate with your crew and keep up to date with the latest project status and overall scheduling. Start your 30 days free trial today!