Top 10 Reasons & Causes of Delay in Construction Projects

According to a survey conducted by KPMG, 70% of construction projects experience cost overruns and delays. In addition, the same study found that 60% of construction projects exceed their planned timelines. These delays and cost overruns can have a significant impact on the project budget, schedule, and overall success.

To address these issues, many construction companies are turning to technology and data-driven solutions to improve project management and mitigate delays and cost overruns. With the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other tools, construction companies can improve scheduling, resource allocation, and risk management, leading to more successful and efficient projects.

Delay In Construction Projects

Delay in construction projects is a significant issue faced by the industry. A delay can be defined as any event that extends the project’s original completion date beyond the expected or planned time. Construction delays can result from various factors such as design changes, unforeseen site conditions, weather conditions, labor shortage and availability, equipment breakdowns, and maintenance, permitting and regulatory issues, communication breakdowns, and contractor and subcontractor disputes.

The impact of delays can be severe, leading to cost overruns, lost revenue, and damage to reputation. According to a report by McKinsey, construction projects often take 20% longer to complete than scheduled, and around 80% of projects experience some delay. These delays can add up to significant costs for the industry, with the same report estimating that the global construction industry could save up to $1.6 trillion annually by reducing project delays and improving productivity.

What are the Types of Construction Project Delays?

Before going deep into the causes of construction project delays, understand the type of construction project delays

  1. Delays resulting from natural causes
  2. Delays that are the fault of the client
  3. Delays that are the fault of the contractor

Causes of Delays in Construction Projects

Knowing the cause of project delay can help build a counter strategy. Here are some most common causes of delay in construction projects.

  1. Inadequate Planning
  2. Lack of Communication Between Team Members
  3. Inefficient Material Management
  4. Equipment Failure
  5. Poor Weather
  6. Project Complexity
  7. Design Variation
  8. Ineffective Resource Management & Labor Challenges
  9. Construction Implementation Failure
  10. Use of obsolete project management tools and technologies.

1. Inadequate Planning and Site Management

Planning help define the goals of a project clearly and impacts its outcome. As construction is a long process and involves the contribution of many professionals, a project manager has to plan everything smoothly to get the maximum result. The project manager is responsible for all the professionals working together and resources readily available to avoid delays.

2. Lack of Communication Between Team Members

Unrelated to the contractor, the client may instruct to stop working because of their design change, unsafe working conditions, or to allow their work, or their contractor’s work, to continue. If the contractor is compliant, they can claim an extension of time unless they can prove that the client (or their representative) was wrong to stop the work.

3. Inefficient Material Management

Shortage or improper supply of materials plays a significant role in construction project delay. Inefficient material management either results in supply shortage or oversupply. The scarcity of materials can negatively impact the construction process, causing lengthy delays and additional costs. Also, other issues are related to reordering the material, such as color inconsistency and size tolerance.

4. Equipment Failure

Construction firms are incorporating technologically advanced equipment for faster completion of work. Such equipment equally increases the importance of maintenance planning for onsite machinery and technology. Equipment failure or improper equipment management directly causes construction delays.

construction equipment failure

5. Poor Weather

The delay caused by poor weather conditions is outside the control of the contractor and project team. This natural delay has a deep impact on project management and delivery. Responsibilities for construction delay due to poor weather depends on project to project and contract to contract. Typically, contractors will be granted an extension of time and, in some cases, loss and expense if construction delays are caused by exceptionally adverse weather.

6. Project Complexity

The project complexity is generally related to the scale of the project. Most mega construction projects (nuclear power stations, skyscrapers, etc.) have a comparatively lengthy execution duration compared to small construction projects.

Consequently, the initial budget proposed/allocated may need to be supplemented because of changes in material prices, exchange rates, and inflation rates.

The construction project might take longer as a result of increased costs and long negotiations.

Complex projects also require complex plans, schedules, and estimations.

7. Design Variation

The blueprint to obtain an accurate representation of the employer’s demand and better technical input for project execution is usually resolved based on the project design and specifications.

During the project’s execution, faulty designs lead to inaccurate or insufficient deliverables.

Faulty design/design variation will lead to the incorrect technique application to achieve successful results. Attempts to correct these design errors later in the project will result in a time delay and a cost overrun during the execution section.

Secondly, if the design is changed at a later stage, all costs, time, and quality estimates will be affected.

8. Ineffective Resource Management & Labor Challenges

The construction project is the long duration careful coordination of a lot of resources toward the timely completion of the project. Tracking and managing the people and equipment can be difficult. When a single resource is not in place or on time will result in a lack of productivity and project delay. It is the main reason why resource management issues cause a delay to the company.

labour challenges

9. Construction Implementation Failure

Here, construction project failure is fine with construction implementation failure. Construction implementation failure includes procedure implementation failure. Not only planning but execution is also equally important. Failure to execute a  process/activity also causes a delay to the project timeline as it needs more time to redo the work. Implementation failure may be caused by the communication gap, non-skilled/less skilled workers, or resource availability.

10. Use of obsolete project management tools and technologies

The expanding size and complexity of the project are still the project manager’s concern. Determining the main causes of delays in large construction projects is difficult and often results in disputes over responsibility. One of the main causes of such delays is using obsolete project management tools and technologies. Old technology and tools are not efficient enough to complete such large construction projects on the scheduled time.

Impact of OpticVyu Technology

OpticVyu is pleased to help hundreds of companies in multiple countries to mitigate the causes of delays in construction projects. OpticVyu has developed a monitoring solution that any type and size of the firm can use to monitor construction projects. The below statements can help you understand how OpticVyu is effective in mitigating the causes of construction project delays:

  1. Pre-construction planning involves surveying land and other activities. Drone mapping and surveying by OpticVyu is the best alternative to old surveying techniques. Also, time-lapse camera monitoring can aid your pre-construction planning with ease, precision, and in economical way.
  2. The communication gap between the project manager, team, and stakeholders directly results in project delay. OpticVyu’s multi-user access, time-lapse & reports sharing option allows the project managers to keep everyone updated on the project’s progress and send details to the team for an update before it is late.
  3. Delays due to inefficient material handling are the common cause and can only be resolved with an effective material management technique or tool. OpticVyu offers free material tracking and management solution with a time-lapse monitoring solution.
  4. Project delays are often associated with a lack of transparency in the interior work. The interior works can be efficiently managed by the OpticVyu 360° Interior Monitoring Solution which enables not only capturing the 360° images & mapping them on layouts but also creating the snag list & task list assigned to respective team members thereby creating a project collaboration center for everyone to act fast & reduce delays.
  5. Poor working conditions like air pollution keep pushing the project schedule dates. Stakeholders only stretch the project deadlines if the delay is non-resolvable (weather conditions). OpticVyu’s Air Quality Detection module provides the proper AQI reports, which you can use as evidence of non-resolvable delays.
  6. BIM integration with the dashboard allows you to compare the project progress with the planned design. It is a helpful tool to define and rectify variations in the actual progress & planned progress.
  7. OpticVyu has also created an AI-based image processing module to minimize safety hazards, track vehicles & see active working durations that eventually reduce project delay.

Causes of Delay in Construction Completion – [Infographic]

Causes of delay in construction infographic

Are you a project owner/project manager? Want to monitor your project site with more ease remotely from your desk? Contact our experts today.

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