As any construction worker or construction company owner knows, time is money in this industry. The longer it takes to complete a project, the more money that a client will spend on a project. Unfortunately, construction schedule delays can cost the construction company and the client. If a client decides that they don’t want to work with your company anymore due to delays in completing projects, it can cost you over time. Client retention is one of the most important aspects of sustaining your construction business. As a result, you’ll want to think about common causes for expensive construction delays so you can plan for how you might handle them during busy seasons in this industry.
Although some construction schedule delays happen for preventable reasons, others may be inevitable. Since no one can predict the future, there’s no way of knowing whether a project will be completed early or late. All you can do is try your best to do right by your clients. When you anticipate that you may end up completing a project on a later timetable than you initially negotiated, you can give your customers a heads-up and offer solutions for how you intend to handle the issue. When customers know that you have a plan in place to deal with a problem, they know that you’re taking their time and money seriously.
1. Dangerous Working Conditions
One of the most common and unfortunate construction schedule delays is dangerous or unsafe working conditions. When you provide local scaffolding solutions, you know that this industry always comes with a level of risk on the job site. That’s why the industry has regulations regarding protective equipment and other aspects of creating a safe workplace for construction workers. Even if you do your best to create a safe, compliant workplace, some issues are unforeseeable. When an emergency occurs that renders the construction site a dangerous place for workers, it puts a pause on completing the project until the safety concern is addressed.
While this is necessary for ensuring the safety of the workers and avoiding liability concerns as a company, it’s frustrating to pump the brakes on a project due to safety concerns. Still, this kind of delay comes with the territory for construction companies and should be an expected problem at least once in your construction company ownership career. Safety has to come before speedy production.
2. Environmental Hazards
For many construction schedule delays, the issue of environmental hazards is the root cause. In these cases, conducting site remediation may be your best bet for resolving the issue promptly and effectively. When you don’t have a lot of experience in site remediation for environmental hazards, you might not even know what it is. As a-otc.com shares, “Environmental remediation is a critical process to restore the environment by removing contaminants or pollutants from soil, water, and other media. It helps protect the environment and public health by reducing the presence of hazardous substances. If your business faces environmental issues, hiring an environmental remediation company can help you address these problems effectively.” For contaminated construction sites, this process is not optional if you want to create a safe, healthy environment where your workers can do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
3. Inspector-Flagged Structural Problems
Towards the end of constructing a home, one of the more frequent construction schedule delays occurs when home inspectors identify issues with the structural soundness of the home. The purpose of a home inspector’s role and the specifics of what they do can be murky if you’re new to the home inspection process. As wizehire.com explains, “A home inspector completes building inspections before properties are sold to ensure they are up to code and safe to inhabit. They are responsible for evaluating a house’s air conditioning units, electrical wiring, plumbing systems, security systems, and structural components.” For new builds, the completion of the project will be postponed if a home inspector identifies problems with the structure that make the building non-compliant with local or federal codes. What’s more, if a home inspector doesn’t pass the building in the inspection process, it can keep the home from being sold and prevent interested buyers from seeing or purchasing the house.
4. Unexpected Weather Conditions
Since most construction work happens outside, it makes sense that so many construction schedule delays occur because laborers such as concrete contractors can’t complete a job due to inclement weather. While most construction workers go to work in rain, shine, snow, and other weather conditions, some materials are impossible to use unless the weather is right for them. For materials that can’t be wet or equipment that requires clear, non-slippery road conditions, rain, and snow can throw a monkey wrench into the works. When unexpected weather conditions hold you back from completing your project, it can be annoying. It can also cost your company money if you have to cancel all or some of your projects for the day. Still, it’s a fact of life that the construction industry sometimes relies on good or fairly decent weather to run.
5. Storm-Damaged Trees on the Property
To follow up on our point about construction schedule delays occurring due to inclement weather conditions, another frequent cause for delay in construction projects is waiting for tree removal after a storm. When there are trees on the property that have been damaged after a storm, you’ll need to clear them out before you can safely continue with a project if they’re in the way of your worksite. In the case of small trees and saplings, you and your team may be able to remove the trees yourselves. For larger trees, removing the roots and the trees themselves may take a skilled, qualified professional with the proper equipment for the job.
As rhs.org.uk indicates, “Grubbing out by hand or mechanical mini-excavator removes the majority of the root system. Removal is easiest if trees are cut down so that a significant length of the trunk remains to give leverage to help in removal. Landscape contractors are often skilled at stump removal, but you can hire mini-excavators and operators separately.” While hiring professionals for the job can be more costly for the client, it can also ensure that the job is completed properly and safely. This will save time, money, and energy in the long run.
6. Water Damage
If your construction schedule delays are happening because of water damage, it’s time to schedule water damage remediation as soon as possible. According to kiddsservices.com, “The definition of water remediation is to remedy or reverse any damages caused by water. In simpler terms, water remediation is the process of cleaning, drying, sanitizing, and restoring any damages that have been caused by an accumulation of unwanted water in a home or business.” When you’re scheduling water damage remediation, it’s a good idea to ask if the contractors have experience with cleaning up the specific type of water damage you’re facing. Additionally, if the water damage is severe, you may need to plan to budget extra time and money for repairing the damage to structures surrounding the water-damaged area.
7. Supply Chain Issues
Some construction schedule delays occur because of supply chain issues. If you’re a roofer, you’ve probably noticed that supply chain disruptions “have negatively impacted many industries, including the roofing industry. Contractors are feeling the effects with delayed shipments of roofing products, such as adhesives, ISO boards, plates, fasteners, screws, and various roofing membranes,” as buildings.com affirms. While supply chain issues are frustrating, there’s not much that contractors and construction companies can do to hurry the supply chain to meet their needs.
Outside of changing the brands or types of materials, you use to those that are in stock, it’s mostly a waiting game to see when supplies will be back in stock. For this reason, we recommend trying to keep a strong stockpile of the most popular materials you use. If you wait until you’ve used up the last of something, you’re more likely to be hit by supply chain problems and impacted as a business on a financial level. When you’re unable to complete projects on time, you lose out on the money and good rapport that these completed projects bring.
8. Infrastructure Concerns
Another common cause of construction schedule delays is infrastructure concerns. If a homeowner hasn’t stayed on top of home maintenance such as clearing out the sewer line, you’ll need to wait until that’s done to complete certain projects. If you want to be useful, you can point the homeowner to local sewer line cleaning companies so they can get that done as soon as possible. If you’re a homeowner, you should maintain your sewer line on a schedule. For a ballpark of how often this should happen, pugetsoundplumbing.com shares that “You want to avoid any issues which can become quite costly, so knowing when and how often to have your sewer cleaned out is the knowledge you’ll want to retain. A good general rule is to have your home’s sewer lines cleaned out every 18 to 22 months.”
9. Unexpected Equipment Repairs
Many construction schedule delays happen when the equipment breaks down unexpectedly. For example, if you have to pause progress on a project to do well pump repairs, that will affect the projected timeline for completing the project. Although this can be upsetting to the client, it’s difficult to avoid surprises like this. When your equipment breaks down, you’ll want to replace it as soon as you can.
If it takes too long to buy a new piece of equipment, it may be easier to rent it. In the short term, this can also be a cheaper option than buying one. Of course, fixing the equipment can be even less expensive if the repairs aren’t too extensive. When your equipment breaks down, you must stop using it until it’s repaired. While you may want to go full steam ahead on the project, failing to slow down can lead to the equipment becoming even more damaged and it can also lead to injuries for your workers. No one wants to take the time out of a project to repair their equipment, but you don’t have a choice when you have safety standards and quality in the project that you’d like to maintain.
10. Tricky Logistics
For some construction schedule delays, may find that they happen due to silly reasons like not having restroom trailers available for construction workers and management to use. Since workers need a place to relieve themselves, lacking portable toilets can be enough to stall a project for a while until the issue is resolved. On top of that problem, lacking adequate lodging for your workers can make it so that you’re short-staffed. When this happens, you’ll need to navigate the logistical planning side of construction work to ensure that the issue is resolved as quickly as possible. This might mean diverting more funds to housing or accepting that the project will take longer to complete with a smaller team while you wait for available housing.
Additionally, if your team is struggling with turnover or other issues around hiring, you might find that it’s hard to get projects done on time. While customers may be sympathetic to these types of issues, you mustn’t make these problems their problem. Showing clients that you have a level of confidence in addressing the issue and you’re taking concrete steps to resolve it may make them more likely to allow you to take more time to complete the project, even if it inconveniences them.
The last thing you want to do when you have an expensive construction schedule delay is ignore the problem. While you may be tempted to live in denial and pretend that the project could still be completed on time, it’s wisest to accept defeat and adjust your expectations. Construction projects get delayed all the time, so you’re not alone in your issue. Most construction companies give an estimate for the time to complete a project rather than a guarantee since they know that it can be unpredictable. From unexpected weather changes to equipment breaking down, there are a lot of variables that construction companies can’t plan for when they take on a construction project.