What Causes Construction Project Delays & How to Overcome It

Construction projects are endeavors with a specific timeframe. However, there are cases when delays happen due to reasons like weather, equipment failures, human error, and conflicts. Add to that the shortages of materials and manpower that are currently affecting the construction industry the most. These have resulted in extended lead times and inflating prices, which are frustrating and costly for the contractors and clients alike.


Labor & Material Shortage Leads to Construction Delays

A study by the Associated General Contractors of America shows that construction firms are struggling to find workers and get access to building materials at the same time. The supply chain has been disrupted and has not recovered yet. It is evidenced by the time it takes to procure materials—4-6 months for roofing materials and up to a year for the shipments of steel, for instance.

It also doesn’t help that the costs of construction materials are steadily increasing—tariffs are hiking up the material costs and large corporations are unnecessarily adding to scarcity by purchasing raw materials in huge quantities.

In construction, project delays are described as the excess time beyond the completion date as specified in a contract or as agreed upon by the parties involved. To the client, the delay means loss of revenue through lack of production facilities and/or rentable space or the expense of renting a temporary facility. From a contractor’s point of view, it means losses in revenue due to higher overhead expenses, increased labor costs, and pricier materials brought about by inflation.


How to Avoid Construction Delays

The construction process is subject to various, unpredictable factors that could result in delays and revenue losses. While you cannot completely avoid them, there are ways you can reduce the risks of delays with your commercial construction project.

Plan Ahead

Nothing beats having a detailed construction plan when it comes to avoiding project delays. It should provide a bird’s eye view of the project and an exhaustive outline of all the variables necessary to complete the project—timeline, finalized drawings, budget, and contingencies for unforeseen situations that could result in delays. A reliable commercial contractor should discuss with you how they diagnose potential challenges and resolve them before they turn into costly delays.

Budget Accurately

In some cases, budget inaccuracies are caused by the contractors misquoting the project. Other times, they happen when the client runs out of funds. Whatever the case, these could halt the construction project.

Accurate budgeting is key to ensuring the continuous flow of the operation. To avoid budget-related delays, communicate with your contractor how much the project will cost. As a safety measure, set aside an allowance in case of unforeseen expenses.

Communicate Effectively

Having a schedule and enough budget is not enough to complete a construction project on time. You also have to know who is going to do what and when they will be doing it. Sudden changes in plans should also be communicated immediately.

With a lack of communication, mistakes can happen. These may not only result in losses, but disputes, costly delays, and potential rework as well. Assign a point of contact with your contractor whom you can approach for information and real-time updates regarding the project.

Completing a construction project on time is an indicator of a firm’s efficiency and reliability. Before hiring a general contractor, make sure to ask questions that will give you an idea of how they are going to manage your project.


Vulcan Construction is a reliable commercial contractor in Santa Clara, CA, servicing the Bay Area and beyond. For more helpful tips and construction advice, check out our social media pages.


Posted in