Timing is a critical factor in every construction project. Ensuring that deadlines, or project milestones, are met during the construction process is one of the most critical and challenging tasks for general contractors.

What Can Delay a Construction Project?

Timing challenges come in many forms, some of which can be predicted and avoided, and some of which are unpredictable and must be managed as they arise. Examples of possible delay-causing strains include:

  • Incomplete designs
  • Vendor or subcontractor problems
  • Inclement weather
  • Trucking accidents
  • Material delays

General contractors will employ strategies to mitigate the likelihood of these delays and to limit the impact of these events on the project’s output, including thoughtfully developed initial timelines and contingency plans.

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Project Milestones – It’s Not Just About the End Date

In order to have the final building project completed on time, there are many milestones along the way that must be set and reached. Building happens in a sequence. You cannot, for example, put the roof on a building without first having the frame in place. An important role of the general contractor is to design a comprehensive project plan that outlines and schedules all factors, components and steps of the construction process. Setting – and meeting – frequent, sequential milestones, means a project should never be delayed. If delays are encountered, a good general contractor will find ways to minimize or eliminate the impact to the rest of the schedule.

Project Management Spotlight

Web-based technology and project management software equip project teams with flexible and effective tools for managing projects and coordinating the work that occurs daily on construction sites. Interactive web-based systems provide expedited communications with owners and architects, as well as, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers. It also enables everyone on the project team to review submittals, RFI and change management logs and determine the current status of each log entry. Communication regarding the most current schedule, project team contact information and progress photos is easily distributed.

Online document collaboration sessions provide a more efficient platform to keep all parties informed during the early design work. During the construction phase, the project team incorporates transmittals, submittals, meeting minutes, reports and financial information for tracking and reporting services. Make sure that secure password protection is included for sensitive material, and restrict access to only project team members. Subcontractors should be permitted access to various levels of security so that information can be shared with all parties in an effort to streamline operations.

The saying “time is money” can certainly be applied to commercial construction. Even a small delay can result in significant cost implications for owners and developers. The best general contractors will build project plans that are realistic, and manage internal milestones to ensure projects stay on track.