Bergman Dacey Goldsmith


Why do construction projects run behind schedule?

A construction project that runs behind schedule -- something that tends to happen fairly often -- can become problematic. It can even lead to a loss of revenue.

For instance, perhaps the building is intended to be a storefront. The owner wants to open in the summer to get the most foot traffic and the best exposure. However, delays mean they can't open until the winter because the construction project doesn't wrap up until the fall.

The new business is now running months behind schedule. Can they afford to pay off business loans with no income? Can they make ends meet? Are they losing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars with every month that goes by without opening?

On top of that, the business now opens in the winter, when tourism is lighter and they may get less foot traffic. This is not the ideal opening time frame, and it wasn't the business plan for a reason. Is the store now losing even more money due to the time of year? Is the launch a failure -- meaning they don't get the exposure they needed at a critical time in the business' life -- that will impact the company for years to come?

The reasons for delays

To better understand why and how this happens, let's take a look at some of the main reasons for these delays:

  • Finding the right equipment for the job.
  • Getting that equipment to the site and getting it set up.
  • Experiencing poor weather conditions.
  • Overbooking the crews so that they cannot work at the proper times.
  • Not having enough workers to complete the job on time.
  • Running out of supplies, parts and materials.
  • Seeing delays at other stages of the supply chain; for instance, the crew may have to pause work even though they are at the site if the tools and materials they need do not arrive on schedule.
  • Making mistakes in budgeting.
  • Waiting to get answers from higher up the command structure.
  • Lacking proper insight into what the project looks like and what it needs to get done on time.

Some of these issues, like the weather, are out of the company's control. However, they can still plan properly to work around potential problems. They can also work to reduce delays based on poor planning, poor budgeting and other such oversights.

Legal options

When things do not go according to plan, it can cause significant financial problems. It's important for all involved to know their legal rights at this stage in a project. This is especially true if the delay violates the terms of the contract.

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