Why Construction Projects Fall Behind Schedule (And What Can Be Done About It)


It’s the news no new homeowner or developer wants to hear: “I’m sorry, your construction project has fallen behind schedule. We’re doing the best we can.”

If you happen to live in New York City (where we do a lot of projects ourselves), all you have to do is walk by a few construction sites to know what we’re talking about.  Read the big blue sign that tells you what the building is going to be, then look at the “anticipated completion.”  About 50 percent of the time, you’re already 6 months to one year past that anticipated date. That’s how common it is for construction projects to fall behind schedule—and it’s unfortunately why we can’t offer an ironclad, guaranteed completion date for your development project either.

Why Do Projects Fall Behind?


In some cases (not all), it’s the construction company’s fault. Someone eagerly underestimated the time frame, or the workers they hired are slow,  the office itself might be disorganized, or the work done was subpar and needs to be done over again. (Not at Wellbuilt, though—more on that in a minute.)

However, with any construction project (especially larger ones) there are a wide number of variables that are simply beyond the company’s control. Here are just a few things that can put a site behind schedule through no fault of the company:

·         The weathera string of bad weather days can derail a construction timetable.

·         Material shortagesif the supply chain gets disrupted by weather or other circumstances, it can slow the process.

·         Delays by subcontractors or supplierswe do all we can to use only reliable providers, but on occasion these people and companies experience their own delays, which may or  may not be their fault.

·         Bureaucracysometimes municipalities take their sweet time processing necessary permits, and they’ll penalize you for moving forward without them.

·         Unexpected changessometimes a developer changes his mind about a certain aspect of the project, and everything slows down while the changes are made.

·         Budget shortfallsif funding falls through or gets delayed, the work grinds to a halt.

As you can see just from these few variables, there are many things that can slow down a construction project and cause unexpected delays—none of which are actually caused by the company itself. And the bigger the project, the more variables there are—meaning more that can go wrong.

How Can We Mitigate Construction Delays?


The good news is, we know the potential for delays is inherent in our line of work, and while we can’t control every circumstance, we can lessen the risk of delays by focusing on the things we can control. Here are some of the things we do at Wellbuilt to mitigate delays and help keep things on schedule:

·         We run a tight ship. We have a streamlined process in place that ensures  as much as  possible that we are not the direct cause of construction delays.

·         We hire reliable workers. Our people show up consistently, on time, and work hard.

·         We work with trusted vendors. If a vendor or supplier is late too many times, we stop using them.

·         We are conservative in our estimate.   We anticipate some amount of delay in our completion estimates. We’d rather get done ahead of schedule than behind it.

·         We make up for lost time. When delays happen, we find ways to accelerate the schedule when we do get back to work.

At Wellbuilt, we’ve staked our reputation on our ability to produce reliable results, including staying as close to the construction schedule as humanly possible. To learn more about the scheduling process and to talk about your next development project, call us at 917.475.1207