4 Reasons Why Construction Projects Fail


From client appraisals, neat profits and completing on time and within budget, it sounds easy for a construction project to be a success, right? Wrong!

If not properly managed, a construction project can easily go over budget and the scheduled date for substantial completion can fly by in the blink of an eye. The key contributing factors on why construction projects fail, listed below, should be thought about pre-construction and constantly monitored:

1) Poor Planning

Insufficient/faulty preparation is one of the most common reasons construction projects fail. Planning all starts with the essential items: management strategy, risk assessments, site-specific plans, procurement/delivery schedules, site logistics and creating the perfect construction schedule.

If any of these key items are not detailed enough, are forgotten about or are completed with a half-hearted attitude, poor execution will be guaranteed!

An initial understanding of the plans, specifications, the scope of work and client expectations as well as constant reviewing all make for good planning and if anything is unclear, the planning stage is the time to sort that out! You know what they say… “The more time and effort put into planning the project at the beginning, the better the outcome!”

2) Communication Gap

Sometimes it’s not easy to see the pitfalls in one another’s communication and to really understand the importance of good communication, but it is such a crucial element in delivering a successful construction project.

It is essential that the right information is delivered to the right person(s) at the right time, every time.

When everyone is kept in the loop and up to date with any changes, delays, queries etc, this can avoid a domino effect later down the construction projects timeline as unhappy clients, accidents, delays and high costs can all be prevented.

A strong leadership team is needed to ensure the communication gap is bridged daily, by anticipating and always planning for the next phase and keeping everyone ahead of the game so that when the time arrives, you’re ready.

3) Productivity Issues/Unreliability Issues

Productivity expectations are based on the project schedules created for each construction project. These schedules require careful calculations of man-hours and how many workers are needed to complete each stage of the construction process.

If you have an unreliable workforce (workers don’t show up to get the job done), workers get injured (due to insufficient/broken tools and equipment – another common reason for projects to fail) or even if productivity amongst employees is low, it can easily cause delays and throw your project schedule off kilter. This could then potentially lead you to rethink your strategy by hiring additional workers or to sub out more work which would instantly lower your profit margins.

4) Ignoring Red Flags

As mentioned at the beginning, planning is key. But equally as important is the constant monitoring of your construction project’s progress, statistics, budget and performance as this prevents any unforgiving mistakes.

However straightforward this sounds, constant monitoring and employees failing to report issues/mistakes are usually forgotten in the day-to-day running of a construction project. When these small elements have been neglected, they can quickly snowball into major problems if left unchecked, causing projects to fail.

Just remember, all problems should be prioritised and handled accordingly when they arise (however big/small/relevant or irrelevant they may seem at the time).

All in all, it is of paramount importance that the points mentioned above, as well as optimistic estimation, lack of funding, not accounting for extreme weather, inexperience in the construction industry, labour/materials shortages and natural hazards are all tracked and controlled in order to have a successful construction project from start to finish.


– “Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year.” (Source: Standish Group) – 2016:
– “70% of companies report having at least one failed project in the last year.” – http://www.projectmanagementworks.co.uk/project-failure-statistics/ – 2015

– “Only 64% of projects meet their goals.” – 2015