Even the best laid construction plans cannot ensure a job site that is immune to delays. Construction project delays can strike at any time and can be the result of contractor default, acts of the owner, faulty scheduling, or circumstances outside of the control of either party. Most construction contracts include a Determination and Extension of Contract Time Clause, which provides guidelines for requesting changes to the agreed upon schedule. However, significant delay can lead to expensive and time-consuming legal claims, which is an undesirable outcome for all involved. Therefore, a general contractor’s ability to respond to delay swiftly and effectively is perhaps the one greatest asset on any job site.
Effects of Construction Delays
• Timeline acceleration
• Inefficiency as a result of schedule change
• Missed intermediate completion dates leading to delayed project completion
• Liquidated damages
• Increased costs (direct, indirect, as well as impact costs)
• Owner frustration and legal claims
Mitigating the Effects of Construction Delay
Delays of any kind demand a swift response from job site management. Even the smallest setbacks have the potential to spiral into severe stumbling blocks. Effective job site management requires the ability to understand the gravity of these delays, evaluate the extenuating impacts they may have, and readjust the timeline in a responsible manner. Here are some tips for mitigating the effects of construction delay:
With job site experience comes the ability to anticipate where and when delays may crop up. Anticipating potential obstacles is a proactive way of preparing your team – and client – so that everyone can respond with quick, effective action in the case that a delay arises. It removes the shock and panic factor of delay, and as a result allows you to make allowances with a clear mind, unclouded by an emotional response.
Professional construction planning lays out a project’s timeline from start to finish, allowing managers to stay within budget, anticipate potential hazards, and make the necessary timeline adjustments in the moment. Delay allowances – albeit slight – are often built into a CPM timeline, allowing project management teams the necessary wiggle room to accommodate the inconveniences that inevitably arise. Prioritize accurate time estimates, cost estimates, and resource allocation from day one in order to avoid embarking on an unrealistic CPM schedule.
Acceleration refers to the owner or general contractor’s choice to speed up the progress of a project to make up for lost time or accomplish an early completion. Though a knee-jerk reaction may be to accelerate what remains of the timeline in order to recuperate lost time, doing so is likely to put the project outcome in jeopardy. Instead, take the time to formally readjust schedules and accommodate for whatever delay has taken place.
Communicate down the chain of command
If a timeline has been adjusted or expectations have been altered in any way, communicate with team members, subcontractors, and third party vendors so that the new timeline is clearly understood and all are in agreement to move forward with the revised plan. Maintaining a well-informed, multidisciplinary, competent project team is a vital element to ensuring a positive outcome for all involved.
If you’re interested in construction scheduling services or would like a detailed delay analysis to be performed on your construction project, contact us for a no-obligation quote today.