Today’s construction landscape is marred by time and cost pressures and seemingly ever-decreasing profit margins. Construction cost blow-outs can usually be traced back to one particular issue: delays. The ability to finish a construction project on time can have a significant impact on its cost, and keeping the budget on track means avoiding some of the most common causes for delay. Here, we take a look at some of the key areas for concern when it comes to avoiding common commercial construction delays.
In the commercial construction environment, cost plays an important role for the client. Choosing a builder will often come down to the lowest tender and in an attempt to win a contract at any price, commercial builders may find themselves over-promising with low costs and quick deadlines. However, it is important to manage the expectations of commercial construction clients in order to maintain a sustainable profit margin. Making the client aware of local council planning permissions and permits, and how long these are likely to take, is another key to proposing a realistic timeframe for commencement of works. Often, planning and permits can be a significant factor in delays to construction projects, and are completely out of the hands of both the builder and the client. Making allowances for these delays is critical.
Plan for construction delays and roadblocks
The weather can disrupt any construction project, and should be planned for accordingly. Of course, no one can predict the weather over the length of a construction project, however an appropriate buffer should be applied to account for any possible delays. Furthermore, delays in receiving materials or in contractor obligations can also lead to delays within each stage of the project’s completion, and so forward-planning for these possibilities is integral to maintaining a construction schedule.
Managing subcontractors, architects and engineers
Any construction project requires the management of a number of moving parts. Once the tender has been awarded, plans must be drawn up and approved by the client, their architects and numerous other third parties before the ordering of materials and the appointing of subcontractors can begin. Once subcontractors are appointed, their work must be diligently managed to ensure that no single party is responsible for holding up the construction project or roadblocking subsequent stages of the build. The commercial builder managing the project must be prepared with adequate resources to facilitate communication between each of the parties involved and ensure that no one party is holding up the process.
Planning for long lead times with materials
There is no avoiding the fact that certain materials and components for a commercial construction project will involve long lead times. Planning for these well in advance, and ensuring that those lead times are worked in to the construction schedule so that other stages of the build are not help up by waiting for materials is crucial. Losing a day while waiting for a HVAC unit or elevator installation can cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost productivity, wages and subsequent snowballing of delays.
Even the most experienced commercial builders come up against unforeseen delays which pinch at already tight profit margins. The key to avoiding delays is to plan for any event, and manage external parties diligently. Do you have tips on managing your construction projects and avoiding delays? Join the discussion below.