Published: Jan 29 2021

What Causes Construction Project Delays?

Within the construction industry, project delays are ubiquitous – as commonplace as construction projects themselves. It happens often enough that construction departments in sectors ranging from corporate real estate to healthcare to retail have come to expect it. However, this does not have to be the case.

Organizations that participate in construction projects should be looking at the underlying reasons for construction delays, understanding why and how they occur. So, what causes construction project delays?

Through our research and work with industry-leading companies, we have uncovered five of the most significant reasons for delays:

1. Lowballed Projected Timelines

The project planning process is just as important as project execution. Inaccurate time estimates for how long it will take to complete each task will cripple a construction project timeline. Unfortunately, this happens all too often due to unassuming reasons, like when an experienced project lead estimates the timeline without understanding the full picture or history of previous projects.

With Accruent’s construction project management solution Lucernex, project managers can begin charting project paths and creating timelines from customizable templates or copying the timeline from a previous project. This means that teams can start by taking an objective, realistic look at project history and make more educated decisions, setting the foundation for a successful project.

2. Underestimated Budgets

Budget inaccuracies are the number one cause for project delays, and often times, inaccurate budgets go hand in hand with inaccurate timelines. Completing project tasks on time relies on having enough materials and enough workers in the right place and at the right time. Mismanaged budget planning can defeat a project even before takeoff.

To prevent avoidable cost overruns, organizations need to implement a purpose-built construction project management solution that is designed to help teams manage against these risks, and make sure to choose a vendor that can help you implement leading practices.

3. Crew Scheduling Issues

Unrealistic schedule issues hamper a construction project throughout its duration. On larger projects, this is even more evident. How often do construction professionals hear about crews not knowing when they are supposed to arrive at a task or job site? How often is there not enough labor at a specific location to finish a project on time.

Inaccurate tracking of dependent tasks and a lack of visibility into where workers are on a project leads to poor work scheduling. These are consistent issues that plague construction teams.

A purpose-built construction project management solution will help organizations track dependent tasks and ensure that they stay on the critical path -- i.e., the things that must happen by a specific date or in a particular order for the next task to begin. With Accruent's Lx Projects solution, organizations can schedule automatic notifications within the system itself in situations in which they find themselves falling behind on any specific piece, ensuring that teams show up at the right time and ready to complete the task at hand.

4. Inefficiencies Due to Disparate Systems

One of the most challenging obstacles in completing a project on time is that many solutions users regularly work out of disparate systems, between both construction companies and different departments.

The problem is simple – for many organizations, there are too many solutions to track a limited number of projects. With so many cooks in the kitchen, project inefficiencies are bound to arise and inhibit project competition. One department may be using an in-house or outdated system, while another is stuck working with archaic spreadsheets.

By pivoting to an all-in-one solution and consolidating the software you are using into a single entity, organizations can increase their efficiency from the get-go. No longer will projects or plans have to go through a myriad of incongruent solutions – every piece of information a user needs should be before them. The ease of use will help prevent project delays and raise overall collaboration.

5. Slow Response to Project Changes

Project changes are bound to happen -- it is the nature of the industry and the construction process. However, what can prevent additional unnecessary delays is how well and how quickly teams are able to respond to changes.

To minimize the impact of project changes, organizations should standardize this process to keep up with the often-breakneck pace of construction projects. Our team has created a suggested list of ways to manage events like change orders as part of their best-practice templates. We have worked to streamline the workflow process, allowing users to move through it quickly while minimizing any significant financial impact.

By implementing a solution that can quickly pivot, with features that allow users to automatically updating dependent tasks, organizations take out much of the manual component, effectively minimizing delays.

How a Software System Can Help

Once organizations understand what is causing or contributing to construction project delays, the obvious next question is: what will solve or prevent future delays?

The answer is more straightforward than you might think. Many organizations are stuck in the past, still using spreadsheets when their portfolios have expanded past their capabilities or hastily put together in-house solutions. These are quick fixes, designed to help in the interim. In the long-term, however, they can contribute to further project delays.

By implementing a purpose-built construction project management solution, organizations get designed and tailored system to help their construction teams manage against these risks. Ensure you are choosing a vendor that can help you implement leading practices in order to guarantee project success in the future.

Raising Expectations for Construction Projects

Construction project delays have been treated as the norm within the retail and construction industries for far too long. Too many organizations look at delays as something non-negotiable – a time tested facet of the construction world.

They do not have to be.

Accruent’s construction project management solution, Lx Projects, was crafted by industry professionals with years of experience dealing with these issues. Enough is enough -- it is time to raise the expectations for construction projects. By pivoting to a first-in-class software solution, organizations can take the first step to make project delays and cost overruns a thing of the past.

Ready to learn more? For further information on how you can get ahead of project delays, check out: