In the world of construction, delays can feel inevitable—but you can minimize construction project delays by following a few best practices.
Legend has it that the average construction project encounters at least 20 months’ worth of delays. This can lead to extra costs, very unhappy customers, and a big hit to your reputation.
Construction Project Delays
While some delays are unavoidable, such as supply chain disruptions and bad weather, many are preventable. The FraserCon team has over 20 years of experience in construction. During that time, we’ve learned a few valuable lessons in how to minimize delays. Here are our top 6 tips:
Provide accurate estimates for construction projects.
A tip for contractors: Back-of-the-napkin math helps nobody. If you estimate too low, you may end up not being able to pay for supplies—or your crews. Renegotiating takes time and can lead to frustration. Do your due diligence before you throw out a number. Research current prices and trends and talk to your suppliers so you know the landscape before you write your estimate.
If you’re the one hiring contractors, you can do your part too. You should know your budget front and back so you know exactly what you can afford. This can save you the frustration of searching high and low for the right price.
Communicate with everyone involved in your construction project.
Establish a centralized communication hub so everyone knows where to share and find updates. The goal is for all communication to occur in one spot, so you have a consistent record of the plan. If there are any hiccups or unexpected issues, everyone involved can be informed immediately and adjust accordingly.
A centralized communication hub can streamline and speed up approvals, too. Make sure you know who needs to sign off on each step, so you’re not chasing down approvals at the last minute.
Make sure everyone knows the quirks of your job site.
Some job sites have features that can slow down a project if people aren’t expecting them. A few examples include keycard entry systems, a limited number of freight elevators, or a glitch in Google Maps. Everyone involved in the project should know about these things right away so they can make a plan. Otherwise, the project can bottleneck until someone works out a way around the issue—which can take a long time.
Set clear expectations by clarifying scope.
“Scope creep” is not just a buzzword. It’s a very real issue that can cause major slowdowns and frustrations on a construction site. If a customer starts asking more and more of a contractor, a project can grow to be unsustainable. The way to avoid scope creep is to have a very clear discussion about scope—and make a record of it. Create an accurate schedule, too, one that covers the entire project, and share it with everyone. That way, you won’t be on the hook to do more work than was agreed to. The result: Your project can stay on track.
Everyone must know their role and responsibilities.
There should be no confusion about who is in charge—and not in charge—of what. Everyone should know exactly what they’re responsible for, and those roles should be recorded. There are three major benefits here:
You can prevent action steps from getting dropped because no one knew it was their job.
You can prevent people from making decisions they’re not authorized to make.
If you know someone’s exact role, you can replace them faster if they have to leave the project unexpectedly.
Clear roles and responsibilities lead to greater clarity, more accountability, and an efficient project.
Make a plan for construction project delays.
Yes, this is an article about preventing delays, but it would be foolish to claim they never happen. All parties should discuss delays and how to handle them. A few key points to agree on:
- The difference between a preventable delay and an unavoidable delay. For example, a delay due to poor communication is preventable—and you’re accountable for it. A delay due to inclement weather is unavoidable, and it’s no one’s fault.
- Whether or not you still get paid in the event of different types of delay.
- How extra time will be granted—and compensated—in the event of a delay.
With a few good practices and clear records, you can cut way back on construction delays. The result is a happy customer and a solid reputation for good, efficient work.