Top 10 Universal Causes of Delays in Commercial Construction

Causes of Delay in Construction

Construction projects often face delays that cause unnecessary time and cost overruns. There are many factors that contribute to delays in commercial construction or any large scale construction project. Delays are the most common in the construction industry; therefore, it is essential to identify the actual cause of the delay and take measures to mitigate the risk.

In the construction industry, delays are infamous as a “universal phenomenon” and have become a part of every project one way or another. Avoiding delays is one of the essential aspects of construction project management because these delays are very costly. These can reduce your revenue figures and show your future clients that you are incapable of delivering a project successfully.

Most Common Sources of Commercial Construction Delays

In order to avoid construction delays and possible claims, the first step is to recognize the most common delays and their causes before mitigating the risk. Here are the 10 most common construction delays when it comes to large scale commercial projects.

1. Budget and Financing

When it comes to construction projects, running out of money in the middle of the project, especially if the client has already paid for the job, is very bad for the contractor. Therefore, contractors need to have access to money and secure financing before starting construction.

To avoid the risk of running out of resources in the middle of the job, start contacting banks during your planning phase to speed up the process of obtaining approval and securing loans. Take your time and prepare a proposal for the banks and look into the most favorable option.

2. Construction Drawings

You cannot start a construction project without project drawings that are approved by a licensed professional. Having unapproved and incomplete drawings can delay your project because you cannot get a quote from subcontractors without complete plans.

3. Permits

For commercial construction projects, getting permits can take a lot of time and delay your overall performance. After approving your designs and acquiring the construction site, the next step is to apply for permits. Some of the most common types of permits include:

  • Building permit
  • Zoning
  • Right-of-way
  • Soil erosion
  • DEQ
  • Water
  • Sewer

Each permit requires detailed documentation and can take up to 2-8 weeks depending upon local jurisdiction and state laws.

4. Design Changes

One of the most common causes of delay in commercial construction is last-minute design changes by the owner. This becomes an issue when the owner decides to make changes in the plan and layout after the design has been approved, as it delays construction. If it happens, you need an architect to update the drawings and get them approved before your team can start the work.

After changing the design, you need to apply for the permit again and revise pricing. In such situations, make sure to get help from construction claims consultants in Dubai because it can lead to a construction dispute later. Last-minute, unexpected changes can lead to cost overruns.

5. Public Utilities

Whether you are building a construction site or renovating one, you need to look for relocating public utilities or using the existing ones. To connect to the public utilities, you need to coordinate with your local utility carrier and local authorities. In such conditions, possible delays can occur in construction, depending upon the availability of the carriers and suppliers. 

To mitigate this risk, make sure to contact your public utility company of water, gas, and electricity during the planning phase.

6. Frost Laws

Frost laws are weight restrictions on freight through roads. When frost laws are in effect, construction delays are almost inevitable because there will be delays in material and equipment supplies such as excavators, concrete trucks, drywall, etc. So, always remember frost laws are mostly in effect in the spring season when the ground is freezing.

7. Site Conditions

There are various construction site conditions that may delay your project. One of the major concerns on site is the type and condition of the soil that you are working on. Weather and ground conditions can affect soil and can cause months of delays in the project. Some other important factors to consider regarding the construction site are the availability of site utilities, natural reserves like ponds and lakes, lane closure, etc.

8. Material and Equipment Supply

Supply chain disruptions are the most common cause of delays in commercial construction. Depending on your project needs, some material and equipment can take up to 8-12 weeks to get delivered. Therefore, you must plan material supply ahead of time to avoid construction delays later. It is highly recommended to consult with a delay expert if your project needs special equipment with high risk.

9.Weather Conditions 

For outdoor construction, poor weather conditions like rain, storm, snow, etc., can leave you way behind schedule, thus threatening your profits. Delays caused by adverse weather conditions often lead to disputes among the parties that are very costly for the parties involved.

Therefore, at the start of the project, hire construction claims consultants of to help you design a contract that includes a clause that protects against natural disasters. This way, you won’t have to pay the liquidated damages caused by a natural calamity.

10.Unreliable Suppliers and Subcontractors

Labor and subcontractors that waste time on the job site is a plague to the construction because they cannot get the job done efficiently. Suppliers and contractors that lack in training, tools, and experience may lose focus and derail your project. Therefore, it is essential to invest in good employees or outsource a construction management company to increase productivity and avoid delays.

Avoid Construction Delays!

These are some of the universal delays in the construction industry that are the most common. Therefore, before starting construction, look out for these factors that may cause project delays in the future and end up costing you thousands of dollars. Regardless of the causes, construction delays can be addressed with the right tools and processes. One of the first steps in avoiding these claims is consulting a delay expert and maintaining clear and open communication with all the parties.

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