For contractors, it’s costly and disheartening when project milestones aren’t met on time. It’s important to know how to avoid delays in construction so you’re not left scrambling.
Becoming aware of what’s causing delays is essential for eliminating them. Below are seven things you can do to keep your project on schedule.
1. Provide accurate estimates
Budget inaccuracies always come back to bite you. Without the right funding, you can’t purchase the materials you need or pay your crew.
To avoid budget-related delays, do your research when you’re bidding to learn how much the project will cost. During the project, you can use automated workflow software to generates regular updates about whether you’re within budget.
You should also stay aware of overall market trends. Talk with your distributor to find out what you can expect for prices.
2. Manage materials more efficiently
Having the right material in the right place at the right time is key for job site productivity. Each job site is different, though, so you’ll want to consider potential traffic chokepoints before you begin work.
For example, a limited number of loading docks and elevators can create logistical challenges in high-rise buildings. Conquering these obstacles requires close coordination with your distributor. You can take advantage of services like job site boxes and just-in-time deliveries to manage your materials more efficiently.
3. Communicate effectively
Effective communication between the field, the office and the customer can help you avoid delays in construction projects.
Instead of relying on ad hoc communication pathways, establish a communication structure and follow an organized schedule. Then, use mobile app technology to make sure everyone can view up-to-date information about change orders, redesigns and job progress.
4. Review designs thoroughly
If there’s an error in the design phase of a project, it may not show up until execution. Fixing these issues can drastically affect the project timeline.
This is where it becomes crucial to review designs before a project starts and check the specifications. It’s also why design-build projects that bring designers and contractors together from the start of a project are becoming increasingly popular.
5. Streamline approvals
Waiting for approvals can prevent your crew from moving forward on a project. The good news is that these inefficiencies are easily avoidable with structured workflows and automatic notifications.
Often, a person doesn’t realize their approval is holding up an entire process. Providing reviewers with deadlines and letting them know how their review affects the overall project timeline can motivate them to complete approvals faster.
6. Clarify project scope
Unexpected scope changes can happen during construction projects. If the owner changes their mind about a crucial area, the rest of the project can experience major setbacks.
While many of these changes are out of your control, you can encourage the project owner to have a clear vision of the project scope before your crew begins working. If changes do need to be made, make sure realistic timelines are established.
7. Prepare for weather delays
Some delays are beyond anyone’s control. A rainy day can slow construction activity or bring it to a dead halt.
Add flexibility to your schedule so that weather-dependent activities like pouring concrete don’t stall the project. You can also keep water pumps, waterproof gear and other safeguards around the job site to help you begin work faster after inclement weather.
Prefabrication in a climate-controlled facility can also be extremely helpful for reducing the impact of weather delays.
Know how to avoid delays in construction
Construction delays happen, but it’s up to you to do all you can to be proactive. Be mindful of the factors above when approaching your next project.
This article was originally published on August 12, 2019. It was updated and republished on June 1, 2021.