When it comes to construction, staying on budget means staying on schedule. However, the construction industry has a lot of moving parts. With so many elements to keep track of, surprises are inevitable. Your ability to remain agile and flexible in the face of the unexpected is critical to your business staying ahead of the curve.
That said, if you want to avoid construction delays, start by recognizing what the most common causes of delays are and learning what you can do to manage them. To ensure your project stays on track, keep an eye out for these five things:
1. Inefficiencies at the jobsite
Successful construction projects rely on different teams functioning at their optimum level to achieve their goals. When one department fails to deliver, though, it causes a domino effect across the whole business that leads to rework and delays. What can you do about this? Make sure that everyone on the jobsite – both employees and subs – is holding the same values and standards that you expect from them. Also invest in tools and/or training to get jobs done in the most efficient way possible.
Subcontractors might not always share the same values and dedication, especially if they’re new to working with you (and, after all, they aren’t employed by you). If you happen to work with a subcontractor that isn’t invested in the project at hand, they might spend too much of their time on breaks or chatting with other team members. Work on building your relationships with your subs so that they begin to trust you, your processes and your values.
Whatever the case, here’s your main fix: invest in your full-time employees and take the time to share your company processes and culture with them. If you want to maintain your standards and quality, you have to ensure that everyone in your team shares the same priorities. Instilling this kind of work ethic with a team you can trust means you can count on them to deliver quality work and hold themselves accountable for their output.
2. Unexpected changes
In this industry, you always have to be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes, even the most well-planned and carefully thought out projects still experience problems. Maybe it’s because a homeowner changed their mind about a decision, or they requested additional work that your company couldn’t say no to. Sometimes it’s due to permits getting held up, or materials happen to be unavailable.
What should you do in these scenarios? Be sure to coach your team to manage expectations. This is a crucial skill for anyone who works in the construction industry to learn, especially project managers. Managing expectations lets your team handle unexpected changes gracefully and ensure that they don’t disrupt workflow and productivity. For example, in cases where new customer requests come in, don’t simply agree and say yes. Let them know that their request will require more time – and possibly more money – on your end, and a deadline extension and budget adjustment might be required.
3. Taking on more than your business can handle
All construction businesses strive to stack their year with projects. But, is there such a thing as too many projects? When your firm takes on more than they can handle, it can lead to overworked crews and low-quality work. As a result, you might end up falling behind on one or more of your current projects, and how’s that going to affect your reputation? Quality inevitably suffers because your employees are trying to get everything done on time, and team morale and motivation might also decline.
While it’s great to be ambitious about business growth, always be mindful of what your business and team are actually capable of. If you lack the manpower, don’t push your team to their limits at the expense of their productivity and quality. Keep a close eye on their workload and your deadlines, and avoid delays by keeping morale high. How? By monitoring everything using a project management software. With the right platform, you can automate schedule shifts and notifications, create custom schedules and track hours with timely reports.
4. Not tracking budgets and resources carefully
It’s not uncommon for construction companies to come across budget issues. Sometimes, it’s caused by something inevitable (see #2, unexpected changes); other times, it’s because you’re unable to keep a close eye on your resources.
There are numerous ways to keep track of project budgets. The best one? Using a project management platform to ensure accurate and real-time updates on a project’s financial health. For example, you can easily integrate your project management solution to your company’s accounting platforms. You can also centralize all financials on a single platform for better transparency and accessibility, as well as automate the payment process to ensure your company can accept and send payments more efficiently.
5. Relying solely on manual processes for administrative tasks
The construction industry is notorious for relying on the tried and tested spreadsheet to get all their administrative work done. While many manual processes work, they’re typically tedious, time-consuming and prone to error. Remember, dodging construction project delays requires exceptional attention to detail. With all the paperwork required to track and monitor the different elements of a project, it’s inevitable that mistakes will occur, which will result in costly rework or delays.
Fortunately, construction management software makes it easier than ever for businesses to complete and automate most administrative tasks. From payment processing to permits, schedule tracking to project reporting, the right construction management platform can do a lot to help minimize errors and boost your team’s efficiency.
Bottom line …
The most common construction challenges are often be avoided with careful planning and forward-thinking. Even the most inevitable causes can be mitigated when you’re aware of what you can do to move forward and minimize its effects on your team’s productivity and efficiency. A great first step is to implement a construction management software that can help you monitor every facet of the project. To learn more, check out what Buildertrend can do for your company.