Managing construction projects is a very unpredictable industry to dive into with the multitude of unforeseen circumstances that can come up— this is why a recovery plan should be set in place. Regardless of the scale of a project, all construction timeline is at risk of running behind schedule, which can potentially threaten the agreed-upon deadlines with the project stakeholders.
Establishing a recovery plan when the planned schedule doesn’t match that of the actual realities on-site is a critical part of the construction planning phase and should not be taken lightly. Instead of blame-assigning and finger-pointing, setting a recovery plan can be a constructive process to go about with your team for more efficient operations.
The 6-Step Construction Recovery Plan Process
1. Recovery Intervention Phase
The first phase in a recovery intervention plan is acknowledging that you need to set up a formal plan. It also starts with answering the question— at what point do you declare the original construction timeline to be no longer possible and trigger the process of establishing a new one? Clearly defining the timeline and performance metrics will easily reflect if a recovery schedule is already needed.
The threshold you can refer to in making a recovery schedule is the project’s baseline schedule. Once the baseline schedule and performance metrics are defined, along with the threshold conditions and agreed-upon recovery steps, all stakeholders can enjoy the safety of clearly identified boundaries and the benefits of solid construction crew management. For instance, if a construction crew fails to complete specific benchmarks by a specified date, the contractor can request a recovery plan.
2. Recovery Assessment Phase
Once it becomes apparent that the project timeline is not feasible anymore, it’s time to enter the recovery assessment phase. In this construction recovery phase, senior project managers will assess the project’s current status and identify all project areas that are at risk of not being finished up to specification. After that, the senior project managers will then determine the underlying causes of why the project is getting behind its intended milestones.
Some of the most common reasons projects may suffer overruns and delays are the following:
- Low vendor performance
- Ineffective communication
- Poorly defined scope of work
- Poorly managed construction crew
- Difficulty sourcing building materials
- Not planning for how one task/activity affects others
3. Recovery Plan Evaluation and Recommendation Phase
For the third phase, the project team will make a list of recovery recommendations from the assessment findings of the senior project managers. Each finding will usually have its resolution proposal that will include the name of the crew who made the proposal, the resolution steps, the budget involved, the impact on the overall project timeline, and the success criteria of the resolution. It’s critical to include a new performance baseline or key performance indicator (KPI) that is still feasible for the general and subcontractors to meet.
The management team will thoroughly review the submitted recovery proposals from various angles, including senior executives, legal counsel, supervisors, and other project managers who are familiar with managing construction projects that are the same as your project. The more prepared and detailed the recovery recommendation is, the more likely the stakeholders will agree on the proposed new course of action.
It is also vital to provide recovery recommendations as quickly as possible. The longer it takes to choose, the further the project will fall even further behind schedule.
4. Recovery Planning Phase
Once you select the recovery proposal, the recovery planning stage can start. This phase is where the timeline is defined, and construction worker schedule are changed to accomplish the work. It’s important to clarify how long the recovery project will commence and the expected milestones that it will cover.
Getting input from the whole project team will help with buy-in from the whole crew. There may be cases when the crew needs to work overtime for a few days to catch up. In this instance, bring temp workers in to join the project permanently to accomplish the needed work. Working collaboratively with the construction team will help keep everyone on the same page and give their best effort to get the construction project back on track.
5. Construction Recovery Plan Execution
Now that the recovery plan is agreed upon, scheduled, and assigned to crews, it’s time to get back to work. Optimistically, with a newfound sense of direction, teams can give their best to get the recovery work done as quickly as they can so all can enjoy being in sync with the big project goals.
Building your team morale is highly important in construction crew management, as crews will often work even harder and maybe make less money for these recovery efforts. Keeping stakeholders updated with accurate and timely progress reports will help keep your team focused and on task. Track work activities closely and rectify punch lists as quickly as you find them. All effort, time, and energy focus on completing the recovery milestones at hand.
It’s also important to plan for how other crews in the field may be affected by the work, as it’s outside the scope of the original project scope. The recovery plan could delay other tasks. Different trades could have access conflicts since there will likely be more people in the field at the same time. This is why coordinating recovery work into the project schedule is critical to integrating with the overarching project schedule.
6. Recovery Closure Phase
Finally, the recovery plan has reached the recovery closure stage if all the previous phases go as planned. The milestones have been finished satisfactorily and signed off by the project owners. Document and account for all financial reconciliations brought by the recovery plan, and the project will then resume normal operations.
In this phase, a formal process of signing off on each participant of the recovery plan is required. Owners and the construction team have likely made concessions to meet the aggressive timeline of this recovery initiative and must be compensated as such. Signing off on each item in the recovery plan will signify the closure of the whole process. Signoff is also a perfect time to list down lessons learned from the happenings to prevent the schedule from running off track in the future.
The Key to A Successful Recovery Plan
All in all, it’s evident in the construction recovery plan process that the most important factor to its success is a reliable construction team.
If general and subcontractors are working downstream due to a disorganized managerial team, miscommunication between field and office, and frequent requests and change orders, they may become less motivated or less productive to commence the project tasks. At the same time, contractors may not be as organized in keeping clean records of their overall performance and list of work completed. If ever they’re drawn into question, they may not be in a position to give a reasonable explanation for why things went south in the first place. Another perspective is that they may not be entirely at fault for delays; their bad metrics could be related to superiors’ mismanagement.
However, project owners are more inclined to be more organized in tracking performance and monitoring timeline metrics. This way, there will be less risk that subcontractors get stuck holding the bill for work they aren’t responsible for in the recovery plan. Higher management needs to take the time to analyze and evaluate to ensure they’re building an environment and culture where construction workers from all walks of life will succeed. If they turn this into reality, everyone will win.
Providing detailed instructions and adapting a construction crew dispatch software are just some ways to give crews with the support they need to do their jobs. With good planning, they may prevent a recovery process altogether. While it’s good to be prepared with contingencies and keep good documentation of everything that happens on-site, taking steps to prevent it in the first place is well worth the effort.
Construction Recovery Plans are a critical part of the construction process that requires careful planning and execution. Following clearly laid out steps will help guide the process and get your team to work together toward a successful resolution for the overall success of the project. With proper planning, recovery plans will efficiently and efficiently get a project back on schedule.
To prevent recovery plans from being needed in the project in the first place, Pro Crew Schedule tracks all resources through its scheduling feature. The schedule includes tasks, timeline, inventory, crew, and equipment. By keeping all the information in one digital platform, Pro Crew Schedule can give you a bird’s eye view of the project status to you can anticipate the future needs of the project.
Construction companies are responsible for building a reasonable culture for contractors to meet their project demands with tight resources. They can do this by leveraging the power of construction scheduling software, such as Pro Crew Schedule.