Disruptions are a common plight for the Heavy Building Materials industry due to the nature of the business. There are many factors that can disrupt the best laid construction projects and plans — safety issues, jobsite accidents, weather conditions, material availability, labor shortages, delayed permits, unrealistic owner expectations, scheduling issues, and more. The secret to dealing with and overcoming these disruptions is to anticipate them and plan contingencies so that when the inevitable happens, it won’t derail a project and cause significant repercussions.
Some construction delays cannot be avoided. However, the damage they cause can often be mitigated with proper planning, communication, and software solutions. When construction companies are prepared, delays become shorter and less frequent, helping the business stay on track and within the budget.
Here are five tips for avoiding operational disruptions on your jobsite:
- Be proactive.
As a project manager, it’s crucial that you have a safety plan in place to prepare for the worst — an accident on the jobsite. An incident of this nature will bring all operations to a screeching halt, not to mention the life of an employee could be in danger. Knowing how to handle a worse-case scenario and having the proper safety measures in place to prevent an accident from happening can be the difference between meeting a deadline or saving a life, and losing ROI or harming a member of your team.
- Be a stickler with deadlines.
It’s crucial to establish a schedule and hard deadlines for when decisions and tangible progress must be made. Push for decisions and clear plans of execution at weekly Owner Architect Contractor (OAC) meetings. Delaying the decision-making side of construction operations is a surefire way to cause disruptions and loss of ROI. Get this step done early, and stick to what is decided so you can move on to the next item on the jobsite’s to-do list.
- Plan for the weather (as best as you can).
Use historic weather data for the project’s location to plan for weather disruptions and calculate how much time you can expect to have to complete each stage of the construction project. More importantly, have a back-up plan in case the weather isn’t favorable or safe to work in. Do your best to allow some extra days within the deadline period in anticipation of weather delays so goals aren’t missed.
- Establish strong relationships with suppliers.
This is crucial in the event that there is a materials shortage. Having a solid foundation of trust and understanding with suppliers from the beginning of a construction project can offer you insight into a potential problem before it arises. You can’t make the materials magically appear if they aren’t there, but you would have the necessary knowledge to prevent a shortage from becoming a massive issue that completely shuts down a jobsite and react in the most appropriate, efficient way.
- Over communicate.
You can’t have too much communication on a construction jobsite or with team members. To be successful, it’s vital to be transparent and have project visibility with all involved parties. Use project management software tools to post schedules and costs in real time for everyone to see — owners, architects, subcontractors, the whole team.