How to avoid delays during construction projects


Construction projects are often subject to all manner of unpredictable speed bumps and delays. Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll tell you a story about when a project was met with delay due to something unforeseeable or something completely preventable.

To help you avoid delays in construction, we’ve compiled a quick breakdown of the most common types of delay:

Critical delays – A major delay to the project which usually results in a project running over the agreed completion date.

Non-critical delays – These are the most common types of delay suffered by projects. They tend to affect the current work programme rather than hindering the completion date of the project.

Excusable – Often unforeseeable, excusable delays are usually due to bad weather, fires, floods or changes by introduced by the owner of the project or by governmental agencies.

Non-excusable – These are the delays that are within the control of the contractor or project owner. Responsibility may lie with project managers, subcontractors or construction workers as well. Some non-excusable delays can be caused by supplier issues acquiring stock or materials, shortage of labour or even faulty workmanship. The most common non-excusable delays can be due to poor planning during the initial stages of the project.

So, now that we’ve outlined the different types of delay that could hinder a project, let’s look at the most common reasons that projects suffer delays:

Weather conditions

Rain, wind, storms and snow – poor weather conditions are one of the main reasons projects suffer delays; it’s out of your control and can be frustrating. High winds can be hazardous during high rise construction or roofing projects and heavy rain could cause machinery to sink into the soggy ground. Though these sorts of delay can be frustrating, the safety of the project must always remain a priority.

Poor planning

Without a clear and structured plan outlined from the outset, projects can suffer a whole range of setbacks. You want everyone involved in your project to have a clear picture of what they’re expected to do and when. The same can be said for the planning and management of your budget, as funds can end up wasted or misused. You also need to ensure that your resources are attributed correctly to each aspect of the project, otherwise you may find that your resources end up being stretched over multiple areas, leading to more delays.

Unreliable subcontractors

It’s all about having the right person for the job. Making sure your subcontractors are qualified and reliable can save you so much time in the long run. The same principle applies when it comes to numbers as you want to make sure you have the correct number of people for the project. Too many and you may have idle staff populating the site. Too few and your project won’t move ahead at the pace you initially planned it to.

Poor communication

Large projects require hundreds of different people to work together as harmoniously as possible. That’s why good communication is paramount to the smooth running of a project. When you have lots of different companies and contractors attempting to work as a team, it’s important that they have an effective means of communication to help avoid any potential delays.

So, how do you avoid delays?

The hard truth is that you can’t always avoid delays! There will inevitably be speedbumps and setbacks on projects, and to have no delays at all would be truly a blessing. As we outlined above, not all delays will have a major impact on the project. The priority is to minimise as many critical delays as possible alongside mitigating any non-excusable delays that might affect the project. Preventing these types of delay can avert budget problems, and therefore secure accurate profits for the project.

One of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of delay on a project is to adopt a project management software system. This would provide a platform for all parties involved to communicate efficiently and effectively, whilst also collating all your important data in one place. Should a project member need immediate access to a resource at a critical moment, all they need to do is to log on and click a button.

Project management software can seriously boost a team’s capacity to communicate whilst giving you total control over the project so you can focus on completing it on time and within budget.

For more information on how to mitigate the delays on your construction project, don’t hesitate to get in contact.