Meeting Construction Deadlines Matters. Let’s Talk About Why.
When it comes to construction projects, there are two questions on the mind of every client. How much? When can you get the work done by?
There are tons of things that go into pricing from material costs, to labor, to the design, but for today, let's discuss the importance of meeting deadlines in construction. Getting a project done when you say you’re going to is one of the most important promises a construction project manager can make. Clients rely on this promise as it can have a major impact on when they can begin or continue normal business operations. But there’s more.
Here are a few more reasons it is so critical.
There’s a saying in the business. “Your best new clients are the ones you already have.”
Often times your clients are going to need construction services more than once. Perhaps it will be the installation of a new HVAC system after you’ve already completed work updating plumbing. Other times clients will count on you for a ground-up build of their new headquarters and somewhere down the road, will learn they need an additional warehouse or office space.
If you’re able to keep your promises and meet important deadlines for a client the first time you work with them, chances are you’re going to be at the top of the list the next time needs arise.
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When a project falls behind, the natural inclination is to do anything possible to get caught back up. Unfortunately, this can require logging more man-hours in a tighter timeframe. This is a problem for a number of reasons.
When workers spend more time on the job site than they are used to, quality tends to suffer due to lack of focus, which can set off a chain reaction. When work is done poorly the first time, it needs to be fixed. The time making corrections can get a project even further off track.
Tight deadlines become safety concerns when in order to save a few hours, workers don’t follow the safety procedures they typically would when the time isn’t tight. Safety always needs to be a top priority, and rushing jeopardizes that.
Saving on Project Costs
Completing a project in the expected time frame is critical to turning a profit. Fall behind on project deadlines and you will likely have to extend general conditions not accounted for in the original budget. In addition to that, subcontractors could also have leverage to negotiate for more money as well if they can prove they aren’t at fault for the construction delays.
On the flip side, if a project is completed in advance, workers can demobilize from the site, final payment can be collected, and the job can be closed out, allowing staff to get to work on other projects.
Meeting deadlines on the job site is critical, but anyone with any experience in this industry knows it can be easier said than done.
To throw another quote at you, it’s often said that the only guarantee in construction is setbacks. The best construction project managers, however, have a knack for minimizing the impact of whatever may come up.
Here are a few ways a project manager can make magic happen on the job site.
If you’ve been in the business for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with construction management software like Procore. Procore can run the entire lifecycle of a project and contains items such as submittals/RFIs, contracts, meeting agendas/minutes, construction financials, quality items such as punch lists, and any other items that are pertinent to the project.
Programs like this allow your team, both internally and with subcontractors to put a feasible construction schedule together that can be delivered to the client. Procore can also highlight and notify of potential delays based on the data input from schedules and if utilized correctly, can even log all pertinent email correspondence and phone calls. It is a great tracking tool and if you aren’t using it or something similar, it can make a world of difference.
Define the Quality of Work Expected
Drawings and specifications can only tell your client so much and when there are discrepancies between the work expected and the work delivered, delays are almost guaranteed. Why? Let’s say you put up 800 linear feet of stonewall only to find out that the grout joints in the stone are too big or the stone is not cut correctly? What if your subcontractor paints 100 rooms in an apartment complex only to find out the quality of the paint was not satisfactory?
The answer: Delays. Long ones.
Both of those scenarios (and countless others) can be avoided by building a mock-up and obtaining agreement from all parties involved. This will allow for smooth flow of construction without having to build things twice.
Communicate. Then Communicate Some More.
This goes back to the fact that in construction, there are countless moving pieces and at times, hundreds of people being counted on to deliver a successful project. This is why you cannot over communicate. While sending weekly schedule and project updates over email to your subcontractors are great, it is important you follow up with team leaders face to face on a regular basis. Simply put, things come up in person that are difficult to communicate over an email thread.
The importance of meeting deadlines seems like a no-brainer, but it’s critical for a firm to sit down and make sure you have procedures in place to deliver on this process.