Unfortunately many construction projects are completed late. In my post ‘Are you working for free on your construction project’ I discussed some reasons why a construction project may be delayed by the client, or for factors outside the control of the contractor. However, there are many reasons that construction projects are delayed which are solely due to the contractor. The costs of these delays were discussed in my post ‘Understanding the real cost of delays to your project’ and are often enormous and damage the construction company’s reputation.
Some reasons construction companies finish projects late include:
1. Having a construction schedule/program which is incorrect because:
a. it doesn’t allow for normal adverse weather events during which construction work cannot happen or when productivity is reduced
b. it doesn’t allow for procurement, design and manufacturing times
c. it hasn’t allowed for interfacing between the different work areas
d. it hasn’t allowed for any client constraints which were included in the contract document such restrictions on working hours, when information will be available and when access is available to work areas
e. it has faulty logic or is simply not feasible
2. Subcontractors that don’t perform and consequently complete their work behind schedule – a proper adjudication and selection of subcontractors can help avoid this Having insufficient resources on the project – a properly resourced schedule which is referred to can help avoid this problem
3. Construction equipment that is unreliable and breaks down
4. Using equipment which is unsuitable for the tasks that they are required to perform
5. Construction materials arriving late – this may because they were ordered late, transport wasn’t organised, poor communication, or no allowance was made for design and fabrication time
6. Having the incorrect type of resources on the project or the wrong mix of resources – again a properly resourced schedule can help
7. Not having the required permits, documents and paperwork in place which delays the start of construction, or possibly means the facility cannot be handed to the client when it’s completed
8. Not communicating the schedule to the relevant parties doing the work, including subcontractors and supervisors
9. Completing work which isn’t on the critical path instead of concentrating on critical path items
10. Poor quality work which has to be redone
11. Not implementing the quality checks and procedures correctly
12. Poor safety resulting in accidents, property damage, or the construction site being shut down
13. Poor planning which results in work areas not being ready
14. Poor productivity
15. Not planning the final completion of the project properly which could result in commissioning or connecting to existing services being incomplete or documentation being outstanding
By striving to eliminate these factors Construction Project Managers should avoid their project joining the list of projects that are completed late, and thus avoid incurring their company extra costs and a poor reputation.
Other relevant and useful articles by the same author include:
‘What you need to know to close out your project successfully’
‘How poor productivity impacts projects’
‘The importance of planning your project’
‘Is the cheapest really the cheapest’
(Paul Netscher is the author of the acclaimed books ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’. Both books are available in paperback and e-book from Amazon and other retail outlets. This article is adapted from information included in these books.)
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The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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