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Four Key Causes of Construction Project Inefficiency


Construction projects suffer from four key causes of inefficiency. When a construction project lacks efficiency, the construction project’s cost could easily double or triple, and investors may not wish to invest any more resources in a project.

However, construction project managers can avoid falling behind on deadlines and maximize their efficiency by understanding how each of the following causes of inefficiency can be avoided.

Poor Analysis and Planning Prior to Starting a Construction Project

Before beginning a project, construction managers must review all blueprints, available resources, and costs of such resources. However, this grouping of events includes the analysis of hundreds of different factors, including political, environmental, investor, and regulatory concerns. Furthermore, construction projects can fall behind due to the impact of weather on a construction site, which must be considered in the preparation of deadlines. By performing a thorough analysis of a project before beginning, the project manager can reduce added expenses and improve efficiency.

Unfinished Designs

Although no investor wants to invest monies into an unfinished design, many construction projects may involve innovative, unusual designs, or other parts of a construction project may require custom fabrication of materials. Furthermore, some projects may not have definitive plans for the entire project, especially in cases where a consumer is involved in the design process of individual areas in a project. For example, newer high-rise condominium complexes may allow future occupants to design their own homes, which results in many different layouts planned after the construction has already begun. Construction project managers can avoid this pitfall of inefficiency by collecting as much information as possible about a project prior to beginning. One of the best ways of preventing this issue is to create fixed deadlines for all design submissions before beginning.

Owner Versus Contractor Unified Partnerships

Similar to the above example, owners and contracts may have poor communication about the expected progress and plans for a given construction project. Construction project managers need to have an open pathway for communicating with owners about a project’s progress, future plans, and any information resulting in changes to the original construction design. For example, a limited resource may be unavailable for use in a planned construction project. Therefore, the construction manager may need to reach out to owners and determine the best course of action to proceed.

Poor Project Controls

Typical project controls include risk assessment, management of resources, and schedule creation. However, project controls can easily become inefficient when not used properly or inaccurately. Project controls rely on project managers to input data, which is then used to determine potential project risks, schedules, and resource assignment. However, a project manager should ensure any relevant data is included within project controls, which will assess a project’s progress. Furthermore, some project controls may not include report generation. Therefore, a project manager will need to take additional time to create such reports, which results in missed deadlines, communication failure, and investor back-out. By using efficient project controls, a project manager can reduce the amount of inefficient work performed.

Construction projects carry the risk for inefficiency as does any other project. However, a construction project manager can improve a project’s efficiency by understanding how to address these four leading causes of construction project inefficiency.

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