Reasons of Delays in Construction Projects

Stopping Clock Hands To Stop The Time

Ever wondered why so many construction projects are not finished in time?

KPMG* published a survey in 2021 stating that around 70% of worldwide construction projects experience cost overruns and delays. On average a postponed project takes 20% longer to complete. Such unplanned setbacks have a severe impact on the project budget, schedule, overall success, and company reputation. While no specific numbers for Thailand are available, estimations are that USD 1.6 trillion annually could be saved without delays.

To address project delays, the larger players in the construction industry are turning to innovative technology and data-driven solutions to improve project management and mitigate unwanted effects. With the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other tools, construction companies can improve scheduling, resource allocation, and risk management, leading to more successful and efficient projects.

But unplanned setbacks in projects are a significant issue especially faced by smaller and medium-sized companies without having the resources to mitigate unwanted project side effects.

Being fully aware of potential causes of delays enables homeowners to take the right measures to prevent anything from happening to their projects. Kitzee helps you to understand the causes and possible prevention.

Types of Construction Project Delays

  1. Inadequate Planning and Site Management
    Precisely aligning the time planning between a contractor and project owner is essential. That seems obvious but is too often neglected. As construction is along process and involves many professionals, a project manager must plan every step in detail to get the maximum result. A manager will be responsible for all the workers and technicians and the required resources readily available to avoid delays.
    If your contractor is not assigning a project manager, the task should then be completed by the project owner to remain in full control.
  2. Lack of Communication Between Team Members
    Pretty simple: Where there is miscommunication-there will be delays. Whenever a contractor and project owner communicate insufficiently it will have an impact on the timeline. Staying in close contact with regular updates and open feedback prevents disappointment.
  3. Inefficient Material Management
    Shortage or improper supply of materials plays a significant role in construction project delay. Inefficient material management or the desire to buy ‘just in time’ either results in supply shortage or oversupply. The scarcity of materials can negatively impact the construction process, causing lengthy delays and additional costs. Also, other issues are related to reordering the material, such as color inconsistency and size tolerance. Based on their experience the partners must agree on their material management approach. A complete BOQ will be the correct basis for such planning.
  4. Equipment Failure
    Any construction equipment can fail; with especially cheap Chinese tools being often not even suited for commercial use. Preventive maintenance for machinery and tools is essential to eliminate this cause of delays. Project owners can literally see if a contractor is treating their machinery with the necessary care. During every site inspection that should be one of the checkpoints to review machinery conditions.
  5. Poor Weather
    There is no other way to influence this point other than to include weather conditions in the original planning. The seasons in Thailand are pretty much known to everybody and can be considered right from the beginning. Whether it is desirable to work during pouring downfalls in the monsoon season or expecting construction workers to complete their tasks under pressure during the hottest summer month seems equally unrealistic. Without proper precautions, the construction time simply needs to be extended. Exceptionally adverse weather conditions can simply not be planned that way but e.g. floodings are more likely to happen during the rainy season. The best advice here is to plan correctly and constantly keep an eye on the weather forecast.
  6. Project Complexity
    The project complexity is generally related to the scale of the project. What seems more related to larger projects actually plays an important role in every home construction too. The more complex the material selection or the more exotic the design style-the more likely delays can happen. If the project owner only starts to look for suitable supplements during the construction phase a delay is almost certain. Complex projects require more elaborate plans, schedules, and estimations. Before assigning exceptional construction jobs an extended due diligence should take place to ensure that the desired solution is manageable and contractors are fully capable.
  7. Design Variations
    The basic project timeline is based on the project design and specifications. If any faulty designs are only found during the project’s execution the cause will almost certainly be a delay. Attempts to correct any design errors later in the project will result in a delay and a cost overrun during the execution period. The same applies to any design changes or variation requests after the project start. If the initial resource allocation and planning are overthrown, a delay will certainly be the result and all costs, time, and quality estimates will be affected. Both can be avoided by proper planning and mutual agreement by the project partners.
  8. Ineffective Resource Management and Labor Shortages
    The long duration of major construction projects puts any job at risk of unforeseen changes in labor resources. We have seen how a global epidemic could impact many projects. Tracking and managing the people and equipment during such periods can be nearly impossible. Even without such extreme external conditions simple planning errors can cause delays. With a single resource is not in place or on time the result will be a lack of productivity and project delay. The capabilities of the project manager and open communication can help to prevent any negative project impact.
  9. Construction Implementation Failure
    Not only planning but execution is also equally important. Failure to execute a process or job task also causes a delay to the project timeline as it needs more time to redo the work. Implementation failure may be caused by the communication gap, non-skilled workers, or resource availability. One aspect very often unrelated to the contractor is a delay in approvals processes by authorities.
  10. Use of obsolete tools and technologies
    One of the main causes of delays is using obsolete or insufficient project management tools and technologies. Old technology and tools are not efficient enough to complete such large construction projects on the scheduled time. It is important to check the capabilities of a contractor during the selection process.

Many project delays could be prevented. Helping both project owner and contractor. Any negligence will fire back. The strong advice is to focus on all potential causes for delays before a project start.

* Source: “No turning back, An industry ready to transcend, 2021 Global Construction Survey”, Copyright owned by KPMG International

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