Digital construction management tool, PlanRadar Australia, has listed five ways to keep your projects running on time.
When a project is tendered out to a construction company, contractors will provide a price breakdown and an indication of how quickly they’ll be able to get the job done. Once contracts are signed and works start, they often face obstacles resulting in delays.
Nine out of 10 contractors say they see frequent construction delays, according to Nplan research reports. On average, 72 percent of all construction projects wind up running late, and affected projects see their total duration overrun by an average of 38 percent, driving up project costs by an average of 24 percent.
Some delays are inevitable but there’s a risk of construction professionals becoming complacent about delays, and failing to take appropriate action to ensure productivity and efficiency on their worksites. The problem can become self-fulfilling if we simply accept delays, as we stop trying to prevent them. The reality is that construction delays aren’t a law of nature, and we aren’t powerless to prevent (or at least minimise) their impact on our projects and our customers.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
In many cases, supply chain disruptions have made it more difficult to complete projects as quickly as planned. Make sure everyone on your team has visibility into these kinds of bottlenecks so you can give quotes that reflect the reality of the environment you’re operating in, and you can quickly update your customers if matters beyond your control look set to cause delays.
Everyone knows some delays can’t be avoided, so set realistic expectations and be proactive about letting everyone know if problems arise.
2. Use Your Team Effectively
Almost 14 hours a week are wasted on job sites according to a report from PlanGrid and consultancy FMI Corp on tasks such as hunting down project information, resolving conflicts, and dealing with mistakes that require rework — and even if some delays are unavoidable, that kind of non-productivity is preventable. Construction companies need clear systems in place to ensure workers aren’t sitting idle: if a team can’t complete one task due to labor or material shortages, site managers should be able to flexibly reassign them to other work, or even other job sites.
3. Embrace Digital Checklists
Checklists might not sound like a transformative technology — but for many construction companies, they’re a real gamechanger. The key is to look beyond clipboards and crumpled bits of paper, and embrace digital tech that lets stakeholders from across the entire project ecosystem access and update checklists from tablets or smartphones.
Digital lists are less likely to be overlooked by frontline workers, and they also make it possible for project supervisors to have full visibility into what’s getting done. With the right checklists, you can empower workers to manage their own time, while still making sure everyone stays on track.
4. Keep on Communicating
Often, delays and requests for rework happen because key stakeholders don’t communicate properly. Project managers and site staff should hold regular stand-up meetings to track progress and preempt potential problems. Messaging tools may also encourage teams to seek help or advice without disrupting their work, use photos and videos to highlight specific queries or examples, or access blueprints and other information in the moment that it’s needed.
If you’re working across multiple job sites, digital tech can also help managers and teams stay connected, boosting productivity across the board and helping to ensure quality control processes are adhered to.
5. Don’t Forget About Data
Modern worksites are increasingly driven by data, so it’s important to ensure you’re putting systems in place to manage and keep track of the information flowing through your work processes. Data needs to be a force multiplier, not a source of confusion and potential delays.
Make sure your teams have the data they need at their fingertips, using mobile devices or tablets to access plans and information on an as-needed basis. Ideally, use a single connected back-end platform to manage data across your head office and all worksites, keeping managers and jobsite teams on the same page at all times.
Don’t Settle for Second-rate
The bottom line is that yes, construction is a complex business, and yes, delays are sometimes inevitable. But in an industry where so many operators are growing complacent, and treating lengthy delays as simply the way things are done, there’s a real opportunity for contractors that prioritise organisational efficiency to stand out from the pack.
Rapidly increasingly new digital innovations are making it possible to drive efficiencies across the value chain for construction projects of all kinds and sizes — and that, in turn, is making the construction industry a better organised and more professional place for everyone.
In a world of disruptions, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, you can’t control everything. But that’s more reason to take control of the things you do have the power to influence, and to ensure that you aren’t exacerbating inevitable hiccups by allowing preventable missteps to derail your projects.
So don’t resign yourself to long, revenue-sapping delays. With the right technologies, smart processes, and well-trained and motivated workers and managers, it’s possible to keep your projects running on schedule — and to delight your customers and boost your revenues in the process.
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