The Common Causes For Delays in the UK Construction Sector

No matter how hard you try, during a construction project, you need to be prepared for delays outside your control. However, by ensuring that you do all take all the necessary precautions throughout your project, you can limit the length of them. In this exclusive article, we are going to help uncover the common causes of delays in the UK construction sector.

We are going to help you dissect each area of potential concern and discover ways to reduce the chance of long delays for your project. All areas can be adopted, no matter your project size or value. In that case… let’s get started.

To get a better understanding, we can breakdown all the possible delay factors into three main categories. These are:

  • Delays caused by owners of the project
  • Delays caused by contractors
  • Delays by external factors

Delays caused by owners in the UK Construction sector

If you have been operating in the construction industry for some time, you will have come across a delay from an owner. Owners of projects are normally the project leaders, the ones who are instructing the doings and paying out the money. Commonly, delays can occur in this segment due to slow decision-making and sometimes even a lack of funding. These factors have a huge knock-on effect on the system, as some projects will have several stakeholders.

Delays caused by contractors in the UK Construction sector

These types of delays are down to a lack of materials, equipment, staff, site management and even subcontractors. This can be frustrating for all parties, however, as we will touch on in just a short while, there are means and ways to prevent these delays from becoming ongoing. Don’t forget that contractors are the ones that bring the vision or plan to life. Therefore, with many aspects to consider, it is essential to choose the right team to deliver the job.

Delays by external factors in the UK Construction sector

Delays by external factors can bring entire construction projects to a halt. These types of factors are ones you cannot control, no matter how hard you try. Some examples of these can be the weather, regulations, and even construction equipment shortages. If you are undergoing a project right now while reading this, then we’re sure you have experienced all of this by now. Remember that we cannot control any of these factors However, what we can do is plan and budget for them well in advance before work begins.

Even though these three factors house all of the potential delays that you could face on a construction project. There are several specific delays that all, if not most, construction companies will face throughout a project.

Let’s have a closer look at these and discover ways to prevent them from causing any devastating effects on your project.

  • Poorly defined project set out by owners
  • Poor planning and organization
  • Inaccurate budgeting
  • Random acts of God
  • Poor equipment

Poorly defined projects

Contract agreements are typically set out by the owners of a project. These are the stakeholders that are responsible for the financing, planning and selection of contractors to deliver the project. The process of when this is set out is normally called a “scope of work”. During this, large financial decisions will be made, agreements will be drawn out once all stakeholder’s considerations are evaluated.

Defining projects is essential before being able to assign the work to a contractor. Without the what, you cant do the how or who. It is very common that simpler projects can become far more technical and time-consuming than first thought. You should always be prepared for small adjustments, adaption and tactics. After all, no matter how much we plan and prepare, we can never be hundred percent.

Effects of a poorly defined project

Poorly defined projects can lead to a huge amount of confusion, loss of earnings and your project overrunning its budget.

Ways to avoid the effects of poorly defined projects

The effectiveness of projects and their swift competition can come down to your experience. The more projects of a similar nature you have completed, the better understanding you will have. If it is a project that you are addressing for the first time, it could be worth drawing experience from other companies or advancing your knowledge through education. Whichever way you decide, having additional know hoe will allow you to adapt far quicker and reduce your potential delay time.

Some factors that you may want to include in the scope of your project to reduce delays are:

  • Creating summary reviews that are accessible to all parties involved.
  • Draw out deadlines or milestones along with deliverables.
  • Assign written roles and tasks to parties involved.
  • Produce a timeline for tasks to be carried out and by whom.

Poor planning and organization

As part of your scoping out for your project, planning and organisation are a major key element to reducing delays in UK construction. But the planning and organization do not just include the owners of the project. This is key across the board, no matter how big or small part a stakeholder or sub-contractor plays in the final product.

Ensuring every party produces a risk assessment and method statement for their role is crucial. Additionally, during construction projects, it is important to focus heavily on ensuring you have other admin paperwork covered. Examples such as health and safety protocols, timesheets for staff, receipts of purchases and delivery notes etc, should all be stored correctly for when you need to refer to them. It is very common for construction companies to skip these critical areas, leading to unnecessary delays.

Effects of poor planning and organization

Poor planning effectively leads to poor performance. We’re sure you have heard the saying before. But effectively, poor planning will cost you time and money, along with added stress. It is important to take control of all areas of your project and have clear precise order of business with schedules and deadlines.

Ways to avoid the effects of poor planning and organisation

The overall goal when you set out you’re planning and organisation, is to produce the safest and swiftest solution to the project. Do not cut corners and it is worth planning for the worst-case scenario. Set out contingency plans and make sure that all parties involved are aware of the specific tasks they are required to complete. By adopting these methods, you will reduce any delays that may occur due to unforeseen circumstances.

Inaccurate budgeting for projects

Creating budgets is one of the most technical and precise tasks when it comes to construction projects. Constantly having to deal with the changing cost of materials, fuels and labour, sometimes weekly, can make things difficult. Most of the stresses that come with budgeting for a project come from these external factors that you cannot control. What you can be certain of is what you can control. Understanding your requirements, and what your business needs to see itself through the project.

When you can determine your business requirements you can then start to add in the additional supplies. Remember that it is important to obtain as much paperwork from your involved third parties to make an accurate budget. Always, check how when your quotations expire so that you can budget as accurate as possible.

Effects of poor budgeting for projects

There are several effects of poor budgeting for projects starting with the loss of earnings. Going over budget will eat into your profit margins. Underestimating can lead to delays in materials and time required to complete the task at hand. This can harm your reputation as a contractor and lose you future potential business.

Ways to avoid poor budgeting for projects

First and foremost, if you are dealing with vast amounts of materials, getting assistance from a quantity surveyor will help you get an accurate indication of what you require. Knowing your quantities is essential to completion. The last thing you need is delays because of inaccurate measuring.

Secondly, it is worth being very transparent with your client. Explain to them that these are the requirements (labour, materials, equipment) and the budget you can work too. Ensure you have all your paperwork to hand whilst discussing all key elements of the project. Do not be reluctant to ask if there is any play in their budget, but assure them that you can deliver on the cost you have quoted.

Finally, is to estimate absolutely everything in your project. Not just the cost of you doing the job. Include all of your overheads, additions such as mileage, accommodation, trips to suppliers if needed, and additional admin requirements. Absolutely everything! By doing so you are protecting yourself and your business.

Budgeting for random acts of god

Random acts of god, more so known as the good old British weather, is one thing, none of us can predict. If you have been involved in construction for some time, we’re sure that “rain has stopped play” a few times already throughout your careers. So how do you budget for it? Well, in short, you can’t, but you can be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Effects of random acts of god

Random acts of god slow down the progress of a project and in some cases bring it to a complete halt. It is worth discussing your contingency plans with your client beforehand so that they are aware of how you will continue to move forward. Even when it appears to be out of your control. The weather can be a very frustrating element to navigate, however, most clients will be accepting and understand, especially if health and safety is of concern.

Ways to avoid the effects of random acts of god

It is worth taking note of what time of year you will be undergoing the project and list potential issues issue that could come with it.

For example, if you are working in winter, be prepared for harsh cold conditions, therefore you may need specific machinery to keep your project moving forward. If you are undertaking work in the summer, you may need to factor in more staff or subcontractors to generate the required productivity you need, at the same time as factoring in longer, regular breaks for rehydration.

Another way you can avoid the effect of the British weather is being responsible for checking ahead of time forecasts to you can most proper inform decisions based on your findings.

Poor equipment

Poor equipment can be the downfall of a lot of projects. It’s safe to say that a lot of companies who use large plant equipment get tempted by the cheapest price possible. Normally, if the price is too good, there is probably a good reason why it is. The use of poor equipment can be the downfall of many projects, leading to on-site breakdowns and unnecessary added fuel spending. Costing you and your client additional monies.

Finding a suitable supplier can be a long process but will make or break your project. Choosing a supplier that offers reliable, flexible, and well-maintained equipment will reduce the chances of delays in your project.

Effects of poor equipment

Poor equipment can lead to breakdowns, additional stress and loss of time and money. This can have a knock-on effect on your reputation as a contractor, potentially losing future business.

Ways to avoid poor equipment delays in the UK Construction sector

Avoiding poor equipment is far simpler than you may expect. It all starts with vetting your potential supplier. Do not be afraid to visit and view the potential equipment that you could be using. Most suppliers will welcome clients to visit their depots. From here, as contractors, you will get a good understanding of what your prospect is like. What service they supply, how flexible they are, what standard of maintenance they offer, and support that is offered during hire? All these questions can be answered by visiting them. It is also worth discussing your requirements with them to see if they can fulfil your needs, especially if it is a long-term project.

To avoid the most common issues when hiring equipment, you should choose a service that offers low hours, high performance equipment, supported by a knowledgeable in-house team of engineers. This will reduce the chances of your project being delayed by the equipment that you choose. It is also beneficial that your supplier offers a wide range of equipment so that you don’t end up overspending on your budget. Some of whom may specialise in one particular piece of equipment, whereas others may offer a more balanced approach.

Which supplier to choose to avoid delays in the UK Construction sector

If you are looking for a reliable supplier of large plant and tool equipment in the UK. Then maybe our team at WHC Hire Services can assist you. Our highly efficient, and state-of-the-art, low-hours fleet offers world-class performance to our customers. With constant investment into the quality and size of our fleet, we can boost contractors’ productivity and safety all at the same time. Back by an in-house team of engineers offering world-class detailing and maintenance, choosing equipment from WHC will not only guarantee you get the job done, but also get you noticed.

We invite you to visit one of our depots in Tewksbury, Worcester or Chipping Norton to see first-hand what we have to offer before even committing. See our online reviews here! To discover what equipment we have to offer click here is see our online catalogue, or call 01684377977 today to speak to one of our friendly, highly experienced staff about your requirements.

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