A construction delay occurs as a result of an unforeseen or unplanned event. Delays can disrupt your work schedule and reduce your return on investment. Delays are more common in construction than you might think. One of the leading causes of setbacks is design errors and misrepresentation realized late into the project.
Because these errors were identified during the construction phase, contractors will spend more time and money rectifying them. Depending on the magnitude of the error, cost overruns can also be realized, which can cause financial constraints and subsequent delays.
In some cases, these delays could have been avoided had there been adequate communication between stakeholders. For example, had the architect inspected the project plan earlier, they may have notified the contractor of a problem earlier on.
Top causes for construction delay
1. Poor scheduling and compliance
As a general contractor, you will be required to create a construction schedule with realistic and achievable milestones. You can either do this manually or use a software solution such as ALICE. It is the first AI-powered construction optioneering platform designed for complex projects.
This software solution does not use historical data to create simulations. Instead, the software works more like a calculator to develop several simulations based on multiple data types, such as the amount of equipment on-site and the number of crew members. AI-powered solutions will help you create practical work schedules and effectively communicate with stakeholders.
2. Budget inaccuracies
Budget inaccuracy can result from several factors, such as underestimating the amount of money required. This can be caused by the contractor not factoring in inflation or an error during the budgeting phase.
3. Labor challenges
According to the Wall Street Journal, There is a labor shortage in the construction industry because millennials are less willing to become construction laborers. As a result, deficiencies have been experienced in more than 48 states. The shortages have resulted in widespread construction delays, and have also increased labor costs.
Another labor challenge experienced at the construction site is labor allocation. Without the right technology, it may become challenging to know who should work where and for how long.
Analyzing Construction Delays
The first step in analyzing a construction delay is to go through the project documents. You do this to identify the likely causes of the delay. When doing an analysis, you need to look for several types of delays. Some of these include:
Non-excusable and excusable delays
A non-excusable delay is a type of delay that can be directly associated with a contractor. For example, if a contractor fails to approve a milestone and everything else comes to a halt, it is non-excusable. Examples of non-excusable delays are:
- Poor work quality
- Non-performance by the contractor
- Lack of equipment
An excusable delay is a delay that the contractor does not cause. An example of an excusable delay is:
- Act of God
- Changes caused by the owner
- Omissions or errors caused by the owner
Critical and non-critical delays
When handling this type of delay, you need to identify non-critical activities and their float. A float is the number of days a construction project can be delayed without affecting the entire project. Floats mainly apply when dealing with non-critical activities. However, critical activities have zero floats because they are required for the project to continue.
Compensable and non-compensable delays
Another critical thing to find out is whether the delay is compensable or not. A compensable delay is when the contractor owes the client money because of their fault. If the delay was not a result of the contractor, then it is a non-compensable delay. Such terms should be well articulated in the contract to avoid disputes.
Another important delay that you need to analyze is concurrent delays. This analysis will help you determine how many days you are behind schedule, as it will come in handy when creating a recovery plan.
Once we have identified and categorized the delay, it is now time to develop a new completion schedule. There are several methods that you can use to create a new plan. The most popular method is the critical path method.
Critical path method
A critical path is used to create construction schedules. For this method to be successful, specific components need to be identified, such as the delayed tasks, dependencies of these tasks, and the estimated duration for each activity. To create a recovery plan, the scheduler must adhere to the following steps:
- Identify delayed activities
- Assign a time frame for each activity
- Rank the activities in a chronological order
Delay analysis methods
Several methods can be used to analyze delay. One of these is the “planned vs built method.” It is a simplistic view of analyzing delays with some errors. For example, the analyst does not identify the cause of the delay or determine the impact of concurrent delays. As a result, the plan tends to have inconsistencies that might affect your recovery plan.
Another method is the “Impact as a planned method.” Here, excusable delays are listed and the extended duration of the project is added to the excusable. The analyst will find the difference between the new and planned completion dates. The difference is the number of days the client owes the contractor to finish the project.
This method also has some errors. For instance:
- It does not factor in a logical way of completing the project
- It does not factor in concurrent excusable delays
- It does not account for inexcusable delays
You can also use the window analysis method instead of the planned method. The analyst will identify the delay based on the original work schedule. The schedule is then divided into windows and assigned tasks and duration. The main problem with this model is that the entire plan would be jeopardized if the original program were erroneous.
There are many analyzing methods you can use. However, an AI-based simulation platform is better because it will scientifically identify risks which will help save costs and time.