How Can You Reduce Construction Delays?
A construction delay is an all too common problem within the construction industry.
It's estimated that the construction industry's average project can expect a minimum 20-month delay and an 80% budget overrun.
That means there is plenty of room for improvement in how the industry designs, communicates, and builds.
And, the International Journal of Project Management has reported that there are 28 different causes for a construction delay.
So countless parameters need to be considered when you begin to develop your construction project.
To make matters worse, every delay will come with several severe ramifications to the project's progress.
Here are a few examples of the most significant problems that can occur after a project delay in construction:
- Additional labor wages
- The extra cost for materials and storage
- Legal disputes
- Cash flow issues
- Damage to your reputation
No matter what type of project you have, excessive administrative work and hours of meetings are two of the main factors leading to many construction delays.
And what's worse is that many industry stakeholders just consider this as "part of the job."
This belief is far from accurate because many of these meetings and admin work can be eliminated by digitizing your progress reporting processes.
With that said, below we will discuss several steps that will help you prevent common construction delays.
Table of Contents
- Minimizing Construction Delays and Blockers
- Go Digital With Progress Reporting
- Improve Management Methods
- Reduce Admin Workload
- Plan Ahead
- Establish A Single Source of Truth
- Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities
- What Do You Do To Reduce Delays?
Minimizing Construction Delays and Blockers
There are two main types of problems that prevent jobs from finishing on time.
Those problems are delays and blockers. The best project managers will know how to identify and address each type.
Construction delays happen when things don't go according to plan.
Since construction is often sequential, things will often happen that aren't in your plans.
So if you were planning to pour concrete in a specific two-day window, it could end up raining.
If this happens, your entire project must be pushed back at least two days, and your other contractors have to reschedule.
You can also be delayed if one of your subcontractors doesn't show up on time, if work takes longer than expected, or if a material shipment gets delayed.
Blockers differ from delays because a blocker is a task that must be completed before other tasks can be undertaken.
You might have a mason schedule to lay bricks for your building, but you can't lay bricks until the foundation has been poured.
You have to plan carefully to avoid delays.
You have to know what the blockers are well in advance of your project so they don't become obstacles.
Go Digital With Progress Reporting
It's estimated that people in construction spend 40% of their time waiting for updates, writing reports, or sitting in meetings.
And because of a strong culture of blame, and a lack of trust in contractual relationships, taking the time to write reports will help mitigate the risk of ending up in court, the ultimate delay.
But if you digitize your progress reporting, your teams can stop wasting time in meetings or looking for updates in different tools to compile a single report.
When you enable everyone to report progress in real-time from the field, you allow managers to stay on the same page.
This gives you the ability to create well-informed progress reports in just a few clicks.
Improve Management Methods
Mismanagement is another reason construction jobs are delayed and ultimately fail.
Good managers create project plans that include all the required elements, and they deliver the completed project by the deadline.
Construction managers are there to assign roles and responsibilities and coordinate labor and materials to the job site so jobs are completed on time.
The best construction managers can juggle several aspects of a detailed project plan, all while minimizing delays and removing blockers that will hold up progress.
Time, money, and resources are never wasted when your project is managed correctly.
Reduce Administrative Workload
We've touched on this already, but it's crucial to understand that less admin work equals less time wasted and fewer delays.
Your daily to-do list should not be filled with producing meeting documents, progress reports, briefings, and dashboards.
That's not what anyone signs up for when they choose to start a career in the industrial construction industry.
When you work in construction, you do it because you want to make a difference and deliver successful construction projects on time and budget.
You can make that happen by fighting micromanagement and by adopting a data-driven way of working.
When it comes to avoiding delays in your projects, nothing has a more significant impact than having a detailed project plan.
A project plan that can easily be updated as the project moves forward offers a bird's eye view of the project.
It enables managers to quickly diagnose potential challenges and solve problems before they turn into costly delays.
Unfortunately, many contractors start projects of various sizes without a clear timeline, finalized drawings, or prior communication with critical subcontractors.
That's a big mistake.
Your project plan should be exhaustive and include the details required to complete your project.
It should account for variables in the execution process that could create delays.
A successful plan will also contain contingencies for unforeseen circumstances and create clear guidelines for how your firm should respond to delays.
Why Establish A Single Source of Information?
Working on multiple systems and tools hinders your project's development and opens the door to several misunderstandings.
Each stakeholder can end up having their own version of the truth, making it hard to keep track of almost anything.
This will cause you to eventually get lost in a sea of data, pushing your projects toward costly delays, disputes, and reworks.
This is why a central data repository is a must-have.
Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities
All construction projects have countless employees, contractors, subcontractors, managers, and other personnel directly involved in completing the project.
If anyone doesn't have a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are in the project, it can result in critical tasks being ignored, creating significant project delays.
People must be held accountable by having clear roles and responsibilities.
Establishing these responsibilities is part of an effective project plan and timeline.
Focus on what needs to be done and who will be responsible for doing it and when.
Make sure everyone involved in the project buys in before beginning to ensure adherence to the project plan.
The best way to do this is to get all the key players in a room before the project to talk through it.
And when you do this, always solicit feedback.
If the people involved don't feel like they have any input, they often don't buy into the project.
What Do You Do To Reduce Delays?
These are just a few ways you can reduce and avoid project delays in the industrial construction industry.
What do you do to reduce construction delays?
Dodging project delays requires extensive planning and attention to detail.
If you're about to start a new construction project and want it done right and with minimal delays, contact STEVENS today.
At STEVENS, we have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your construction project is done right the first time.
Click the button below to streamline your industrial construction project.
Check out our other articles: