5 Times Poor Project Management Slows Down Construction

Housing construction

Construction downtime is the most common cause of profit loss for both vendors and clients.

Indeed, not only can the project come to a sudden stall as a result, but site managers can find it challenging to secure the resources, agreements, and budget on time to move the construction forward. Indeed, more often than not, unexpected obstacles can affect planning and postpone scheduling, which leads to expensive downtime. 

However, on medium to large construction sites that employ a project manager, timely and strategic planning can make a significant difference and reduce the risk of delayed execution. These are the 5 most common causes of downtime in sites where PM tasks are not prioritised. 

#1. Not planning for the right equipment or resource

Waiting for equipment can put the project on hold for an undetermined amount of time. It can take several days, weeks or even months for suppliers to provide machines or materials on last-minute orders.

Indeed, it is the role of the project manager to not only establish the exact list of what is required on site but also to plan the order so that everything can be delivered when and where it is needed.

Sorting out a concrete boom pump or ordering an extra pallet of insulating bricks doesn’t happen overnight, even with efficient and quick suppliers. Operators, drivers, and security regulations require careful scheduling, which can pause the construction or also lead to undoing previous work. 

#2. Not consolidating plans with other sites 

The future of smart cities lies in synchronised and coordinated activities. Encouraging cooperation and collaboration between businesses, local and national authorities and stakeholders remains a challenge, but it could dramatically improve construction sites.

Indeed, providing building solutions that don’t only focus on a single project but that encompass surrounding projects to reduce disruptions in the city is a no-brainer.

Yet, while it remains an ideal at the scale of a town, it can become common practice across smaller sites. Project managers who collaborate can ensure a fair and efficient division of resources between their sites to reduce downtime and delays.

Additionally, collaborating can also help to cut down cost, especially as standard equipment, skills and strategies can be shared. It’s in the interest of the clients to consider how construction sites can affect each other. 

#3. Not using smart monitoring tools

BIM has become a crucial source of information for AEC stakeholders. From project designers to workers on site, BIM plans act as the sole guidance throughout the construction. However, managing every stage of a complex construction site, according to BIM tools, can be challenging.

Contractors on site can be forced to change their approach as a result miscalculation, lack of resources or even sudden changes in the design. Avoiding costly errors or false progress requires constant monitoring and attention to details. On complex sites, effective communication isn’t enough to prevent mistakes.

Investing in monitoring solutions that can capture progress against BIM plans via photos and videos and help contractors to visualise the model can transform site management. Additionally, supplying AR and VR sets can bring everyone on board and reduce human errors. 

#4. Equipment downtime

When you’re working on a tight schedule, broken or unused equipment is the last thing you expect. Unfortunately, equipment downtime is a surprisingly common issue in the building industry as 3 in 4 construction business owners have experienced equipment breakdown.

Project managers can help to schedule necessary inspection and training time ahead of planning to avoid costly issues. Ideally, you want to be able to trust both machinery and workers on site to perform as expected and when you need them.

However, for small construction businesses, equipment-related decisions can be influenced by short-term budget planning rather than long-term strategies, which is where a qualified PM can make a great deal of difference. 

#5. Failure to budget accordingly

Small construction sites are familiar with budgeting mishaps. Failure to plan for adequate material orders or miscalculations with contractors scheduling can lead to unexpected costs.

On small sites, the construction company needs to liaise with the client to discuss additional fees, which puts the project on hold until the new expenses are approved. Unfortunately, budgeting errors can cause dramatic delays, that could have been avoided by involving a project manager in the planning.

It is unfair for clients to expect construction contractors to run a reliable cost estimation of their time, resources, and equipment. But, as long as small construction sites choose to work on their own, mistakes that would be fixed by a PM, are bound to happen. 

Failure to work with a project manager even on the smallest of construction sites can affect the cost and delay for the construction project. Construction downtime is, unfortunately, a frequent occurrence. It is fair to wonder which long-term improvements dedicated project management could bring to the industry. 

PM Today Contributor
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