There is no set timeline for completing a construction project as each differs in size and complexity. However, constructing a home should take between three to one and half years beyond which the project is classified as delayed. When a project delays, it not only derails your overall plans, but also affects your expenditure and sometimes the quality of the structure.
There are many causes that lead to delays including certification requirements, expertise and weather among others. And while there are some inevitable factors that can delay construction most of the risk factors can be prevented by proper planning and professional execution of the project.
Lack of time limits
Charity Mugasha, an architect, advises one to actively set aside time and plan properly. Some people start building without committing themselves to a timeline. This will affect the project because it is easy to fall behind without noticing it. Finishing a project on time does not only save money in the long run but it also helps preserve the structure in its perfect condition. “While it is easy for a contractor to give an estimate that might appear favourable to him, you will need a second and third opinion from say your architect and project manager to set a realistic time limit,” Mugasha advises.
Enoch Mwangale, a contractor, says another cause of delays is incessant change of plans. He says sometimes clients disregard the plans and introduce changes in the middle of the project. Sometimes the changes introduced affect the overall plan which necessitates starting afresh. Sometimes the changes might be complex or need specific materials that might need to be imported.
“Of course the easiest way to prevent these delays would be the project owners to stick to one particular design. It is unrealistic to want to include every bell and whistle one finds attractive. The best thing to do in this case is to save it for their next project if they feel they cannot live without them,” Mwangale advises. The alterations are not only costly time wasters but they also cause bad blood between project managers and contractors.
Many houses remain unfinished or take long to be finished simply because money runs out. Most of us are habitual believers in things taking care of themselves. We, therefore, do not hesitate to embark on a building project with just the starting funds. But in real life, if someone does not arrange for the funds, then they do not show up “somehow” which means there will be no money for materials, paying workers hence work will come to a standstill. It is important to involve your builder when planning estimates with your designers and financial advisors to ensure you are allocating sufficient funding as needed for a smooth proje delivery.
Misunderstandings or disagreements between project owners, managers or contractors also cause unexpected delays.
A construction project has a number of individuals working closely in intense circumstances which is easy for simple clashes to escalate into major wrangles that cripple site activity. Mugasha advise a speedy resolve of any issues that crop up.
“Usually, these issues emanate from people overstepping their boundaries.
Therefore, it is important for everyone to stick to their designated duties and responsibilities and only offer advice either when it is extremely important for the structure or when it is sought for,” she adds.
Proper and vigilant supervision is also important to keep the construction projects in real-time.
If you as a project owner are unable to supervise, it is advisable to hire a professional and experienced project manager who will carry out the task efficiently. Workers tend to become lax once they know the “boss” never comes to the site at all.
With the booming construction industry, some contractors get tempted to take on more than projects at ago which leaves them short of staff and time to dedicate to particular projects.
“I have seen site managers running from one site to another. Whenever they leave one, the workers relax until they get back which means that without their presence they get minimum work done.
Or sometimes they withdraw workers from one site to another,” Hasfa Nakazzi, a site manager, reveals. She suggests adequate pay and professional contracts to stop contractors from such malpractices. For instance, the contract should state clearly that in case of a delay where the contractor is fully responsible, he has to bear the risk of cost consequences including the liability to pay damages for other parties as well.
Last but not least acts of nature such as heavy rains or floods can tamper with the progress of a construction project. “Whenever I have such experience I find a way of compensating for the hours lost. For instance I get my team to work at night or at the weekend. It helps to keep work on schedule,” Nakazzi advises.