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5 common construction hiccups and how to avoid them

Five of the most common hiccups faced when managing construction projects and how to go about avoiding them.

January 25, 2019

Let’s face it—construction projects can get messy. Not only in the literal sense, but in the project management sense as well. And even the most seasoned construction professionals are bound to encounter a number of challenges and variables along the way.

Outlined below are five of the most common hiccups faced when managing construction projects and how to go about avoiding them:

1. Lack of a clearly defined and documented Scope of Work: Unsurprisingly, the easiest projects to navigate, estimate and construct are the ones with the most detailed specifications. Whether the project is big or small, documenting a detailed scope of work that was created in collaboration with the owner and signed off on is critical to the project’s success. If any part of the project is unclear, make sure you stop, ask questions in writing and come to an understanding with the owner.

2. Failure to properly develop a schedule: Developing a Schedule of Events is industry standard and essential. Within that Schedule, be sure to define permit pickup dates, the ordering and delivery of any long lead items and if there is any weather contingent work. Everything should be agreed upon before the project starts.

3. Change order mismanagement: When submitting a request for a change order for items that were not included in the original bid, it can be a challenge to obtain the owner’s approval. If the scope of work was not properly identified, in crystal clear language up-front and in writing, be aware of the difficulty in obtaining changing order increases. At the end of the day, you may find yourself responsible for completing a project without the appropriate compensation.

4. Inability to resolve issues in a timely manner: Conflict is commonplace during the course of most projects. Whether it’s between the contractor and the owner, contractor and subcontractors or within the project team itself, it’s normal to want to either avoid the issue, or even worse, lose your cool and be confrontational. When a problem does occur, seek immediate resolution. Unresolved issues create a domino effect. Check your ego at the door and be calm, understanding and cooperative during conflict resolution.

5. Failure to successfully close out the project: When securing your permit at the start of construction, be sure to receive instructions on what it takes to obtain your final certificate of occupancy while there. There is nothing worse than applying for your Certificate of Occupancy and finding out there is a pesky zoning ordinance, which has not been addressed in your plans. Coordination of work and proper succession of completed inspections keep a project moving forward. And conducting weekly meetings to ensure coordination of these inspections and workflow will help you avoid any unwelcome surprises.

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