Is your construction company characterized by seemingly unending chaos? If your projects and job sites are getting out of hand, you are not alone. There are thousands of construction companies around the world going through the same—but there are steps you can take to remedy the situation. We’ve all been there before, and this insightful piece can help. Let’s jump right into it.
As we all know, typical construction projects are characterized by large numbers of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workforce performing multiple, different tasks at the same time on your job site. It won’t come as a surprise to any construction business that chaos is probable on even the best-managed job sites.
Building sites are highly sensitive to changes. A small change in specifications can cause major ripple effects on the scope, time and costs of the project. All the contract documents in a construction project (ranging from drawings, schedules to bills of quantities) are provisional, based on experiences in previous projects and industry rates. This dynamic nature of construction projects is often the major cause of chaos for general contractors throughout the construction industry.
Internal factors affecting construction projects may include: workers’ strike, delayed processing of payments, rework due to issued instructions, confusion as a result of poor communication channels, unprocessed claims, unnecessary additions to project scope, contractual issues, poor change management, low productivity of task force due to lack of required capacity and skills, property damage, vandalism or theft, and safety issues that could cause bodily injury.
Risk management is made more difficult by influences beyond a small business owner’s control. External factors are more unpredictable and harder to control than internal ones. These include, for example, changes in legislation, government policies, inflation, increase in interest rates and hence cost of funding. External factors are less probable, but if they occur, they have a greater impact on the construction project cost and time.
Chaos on a job site is unavoidable, but this also means it is foreseeable. The difference between a successful and unsuccessful project will be in the contingencies and budgetary allocations put in place to prevent chaos and manage them when they occur.
Effective organization is the ultimate tool for the successful running of every construction project from inception to completion. Project management skills must be mastered by management at every level in all aspects such as scope management, cost management, time management, stakeholder management, change management, risk management, and contract management.
Integrating all channels of communication and centralizing access to project documents using the latest software and in-house management information systems (MIS), will allow all consultants in the construction project to harmonize their operations and therefore minimize errors and confusion.
MIS solutions also ensure there are clear channels of communication and that the developer, the project manager, the consultants, and contractors, are fully aware of all activities on the job site at any given time, inclusive of changes that may affect their inputs and outputs. Video and image inputs also allow for tracking of changes at various stages in the construction project.
The more chaotic the job site, the more risk there is of bodily injury and property damage. With the right liability insurance policies in place, construction contractors have peace of mind that you are protected against accidents that can, and do, happen on busy job sites. Small business owners of construction companies have to anticipate the cost of property damage, bodily injury, and vandalism. A business owners policy covers some of a construction company’s insurance needs. You will also need commercial auto insurance to protect your trucks and equipment insurance. The specific coverage that your construction company will need could include types of insurance coverage like builders risk, general liability, workers compensation.
All construction projects are unique and dynamic, and therefore, all specifications are subject to constant changes tailored to make the project a success. While chaos in construction companies is almost inevitable, there is a need to apply all the above solutions in every stage of the project, particularly the planning stage, to ensure the prevention and risk management of the impact of chaos on the building job site.
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