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Causes of Construction Project Delays

Delays are now accepted as a typical part of the construction process in the industry since it has grown accustomed to them. Delays and cost overruns are now the primary nitty-gritty issues of a building project due to the intricacy required in coordinating and completing a number of jobs at once or one after the other. 

If proper construction project management plans are not incorporated into the project process, the lengthy operating duration, unfavourable conditions, complex working procedures, financial burden, technology functions, etc. all add up to delays. If necessary measures are done in a construction project according to specifications and with only a few minor mistakes, these delays can be minimised or even avoided. 

Today, using project management software that allows for remote project monitoring is one of the finest ways to oversee construction projects. There are numerous construction-related applications on the market, and the majority of them are quite adaptable. 

The following factors are frequently responsible for project delays in the construction sector:

Inadequate Planning

 Ineffective planning results in ineffective execution. Without careful planning, it is impossible to guarantee that project objectives will be fully met or that tasks will be completed within the allotted time frame. Planning entails thoroughly examining and comprehending all of the tasks involved in a construction project, such as the plans, specifications, scope of work, client needs, etc., and organising them in a methodical way to achieve project objectives with the least amount of time and money spent. It also entails planning how to use human and mechanical resources to get the highest possible production. Working with all the stakeholders to lay out the timeline and milestones for the entire construction project is part of proper planning.

Subsequently planning also includes identifying hazards, developing management strategies and site-specific safety plans, creating backup plans, organising procurement procedures, organising site logistics, etc. The construction project will advance more effectively with more time spent on planning. The project will invariably be delayed if these elements are not given careful consideration or are overlooked, whether consciously or unknowingly. In addition to cost increases, this delay may have other unintended effects on the client, the contractors, or the project’s results. 

Project Scope Modification and Change Orders

A construction project’s project scope outlines the goals that must be met in order to deliver a particular set of structural elements or buildings. Poor scope definition at the outset can undoubtedly result in time and expense overruns. A revised cost estimate, add-on methodologies, modified schedules, new procurement plans, assurance plans, safety and risk assessments, etc., can be the result of any modification or change in the project scope at any time during the project. This will ultimately consume more time and resources than the initial estimation.

The phrase “Scope Creep” is used to describe the ongoing modifications and enlargements to the project’s original scope. Scope creep can occur for a number of reasons, including incomplete planning and specifications, poor communication, an unclear scope, improper processing of change orders, a fickle clientele, etc. Change orders and scope creep both involve modifications to plans outside of their initial parameters. The sole distinction is that modification orders also include deletion from the original scope, whereas scope creeps only entail increases to the original scope.

Due to the dynamic nature of building processes, changes in a project’s scope are frequently unavoidable, and accepting this reality may be regarded as necessary in order to properly regulate any changes in the project’s scope. In order to include the stakeholders who will be impacted by these changes in the project lifecycle, it is crucial to proactively integrate and manage any change in the scope of a construction project. The project’s scope should be expressly stated in the contract, and any additions should be politely requested and documented. No new work should be started without the client’s prior consent or without a change order being assigned. Unwanted time delays are certain to occur if sufficient preparation and precaution are not taken while creating the project scope or when changing the scope. Any modification in the project’s scope or the creation of a new change order must be planned for and approved by the client or contractor. 

Ineffective Coordination and Communication

Failing to establish effective communication and coordination among stakeholders is one of the typical errors that cause construction project delays. When there is insufficient communication and coordination between parties to update, analyse, and manage tasks in a sequential and unhindered manner, synchronisation problems will develop. 

A streamlined information flow can be facilitated by creating a communication plan, a communications hierarchy, coordinating document control procedures, and designating a central point of contact. Every communication must be recorded, saved, and given to the appropriate stakeholders in order to resolve any problems that may arise during the project’s execution or in the future.

A major setback that could cause a project’s delay, or worse, its collapse, can be avoided by keeping everyone informed about the project’s progress and any timetable adjustments. Any form of obstruction to the proper flow of coordination or communication across teams and members can result in delays, which will take additional resources and time to complete. 

Conflicts over finances and labour shortages

Conflicts over funds and a lack of labour are two of the main causes of project delays everywhere in the world. If people are not paid as promised or agreed upon, they will not work. This occurs when the client refuses to cover the additional expenses that have arisen as a result of unanticipated cost overruns. Contingencies are constantly prepared for these kinds of problems, but occasionally unanticipated events that were anticipated may occur and prevent the project from moving forward. Until one of the clients or contractors steps forward to find a solution, the situation is absolutely chaotic. Although it is difficult to completely eliminate budget conflicts and the delays they generate, there are things that may be taken to lessen their effects. 

Nowadays, there is an issue with labour shortages, which causes unwelcome but also inevitable project delays. Due to the high level of risk associated with building work, a relatively small portion of the existing population is interested in doing so, and they are even less interested in working on construction sites. Due to accidents, inattention, or a lack of workers, the majority of employees, especially labourers, stay away from building projects. 

Design Problems and Errors

The design process is the first and most crucial stage or phase of any building project. The execution phase is typically when any errors that may have crept into the way the construction project operates as a result of the initial blueprints are found. No matter how thoroughly the design has been examined, it will inevitably be found to be flawed in the middle of the project, which could deal a serious blow to the real project timeframe. Design flaws can cause projects to be delayed for weeks, months, or even years. 

The use of processes and task execution in a project at a later time reveals the design flaws that were initially concealed by erroneous project goals and improper application of procedures to obtain effective results

In order to allow for any additional modifications, investigations, corrections, reviews, etc. at a later stage in the construction project, designs must include provisions and contingencies for the occurrence of any error. Doing so avoids significant time delays and cost overruns. Any type of design problem will ultimately cause a delay in the project’s completion, either because the design needs to be corrected or because a parallel design solution needs to be prepared.

Ineffective Management of the Post-Construction Phase

Project delays resulting from any unanticipated or unknown element that can postpone the project to its final end are undoubtedly undesirable developments. This reason is in addition to the aforementioned five significant difficulties. Improper post-construction management includes slow task closures, claims awaiting client clearance, variation order issues, problems with the release of retention funds and performance guarantees, final payment certificate issues, etc. Since it is the final phase of any building project, contractors frequently disregard it, which could cause delays. 

The project duration can be kept on schedule with proper management of the supply chains and project activities. With the aid of a construction management tool, such as a construction project management software or application, all the aforementioned issues can be resolved.

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