According to a KPMG Global Construction Survey, over a three year period just 25% of all respondents’ projects came within 10% of their original deadlines. A separate McKinsey & Company study found large projects typically take 20% longer to finish than scheduled. And according to a Construction Industry Institute (CII) study, just 27% of a construction worker’s day on a large project is spent doing direct work.
Delays in construction are incredibly common, with a multitude of causes. While some are a bit outside your control, there’s a lot that can be prevented.
If construction executives, project owners and managers better understand what’s eating up time that could be spent on direct work, they can better prevent delays. So we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common reasons construction companies miss deadlines.
- Weather. Frozen ground, rain, natural disasters and high winds aren’t within companies control, but occur frequently. Starting and sequencing out projects in the right seasons can’t totally prevent damages and delays from unexpected weather, but can help minimize it.
- Finding and setting up equipment. According to the CII, 19% of a typical construction worker’s day on a large project is spent locating and setting up equipment. This often stems from companies not having the right equipment ready on-site when needed and not having equipment tracking in place to locate assets, often sitting unused at other project sites.
- Overbooked crews. On the opposite end of the spectrum from underutilized equipment, many construction companies overbook projects. This means the site is ready, and perhaps one phase of work - like excavation - is complete but the workers needed for the next phase are tied up elsewhere.
- Lack of insight into projects. A significant amount of time at construction companies is wasted in trying to track down project statuses. Only 20% of respondents in a KPMG survey have implemented Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) across all their projects. Just 31% have integrated systems for project reporting, and less than half (48%) say their company has developed a data/technology strategy or road map. Management needs to have insight into project setbacks and issues in real- or near-real-time.
- General waiting. The CII also found 13% of time is spent generally waiting. This can be due to slow decision-making as executives try to uncover site details. It could be due to misquoted jobs where budgets have run out. It could be to delays in material shipments. Overall, it’s often due to inefficient communication and insight and with better data and information, resources can be scheduled more effectively and redeployed as needed.
When paper and phone calls are the main method of tracking deliverables, information is often delayed, which leads to planning and resourcing issues. The good news is that mobile connectivity and digital technology that can track workers, equipment and job sites is proven to help keep projects on track and help construction leaders make smarter resourcing decisions.
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Sources: KPMG: 2017 Global Construction Survey, KPMG: 2016 Global Construction Survey, The Construction Industry Institute: 2010 Guide to Activity Analysis and McKinsey & Company: Imagining construction's digital future