How to ensure your construction project stays on time and on budget

How to ensure your construction project stays on time and on budget

Construction projects can be very challenging without a robust and realistic project programme.  When working on a construction project your outlook must be broad, given the wide variety of constraints and unknown conditions that can impact its success.

Throughout the lifetime of the project, you will have to interact with a variety of disciplines from architects, engineers, to city planners.  Not only do you have to consider the requirements of various stakeholders that will influence its success, but also that of the client and end users.

Some of the hurdles experienced with managing a construction project are unique to the sector.  These include having undefined goals (this is usually a communication problem) and a changing scope of works or scope creep.

A change in the scope of works or scope creep will not only impact your schedule but also your budget.  It is a common reason that most construction projects go over budget and fail to meet the agreed completion date.

Project accountability is also critical to the success of a construction project.  Most construction projects will have multiple teams working together, each with their own area of responsibility.  Teams may consist of sub-contractors, consultants, suppliers, and internal teams.

If any one of these teams are unwilling to take responsibility for tasks assigned to them, the whole process can suffer.  Strong leadership is critical to ensuring teams work to schedule and are accountable for their work.

It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the various teams involved in a construction project are coordinated effectively and there are no workplace silos;  this is why it is important for the project manager to have a strong working relationship with the site manager, sub-contractors and consultants.  At Harris Evolution, we pride ourselves in fostering a company culture based on trust and reliability.

We only work with sub-contractors which have passed our stringent approval system meaning we can rely on their quality.  And over the years, we have focused on building strong working relationships with our suppliers which has ensured our construction projects run smoothly.

Operations Manager, Ian Whiting, talks about these challenges in more detail and how to overcome them in order to ensure your project remains on budget and on time.

Fail to plan, plan to fail!

Upfront planning is essential to ensuring a project remains on budget and on time.  You need to ensure there is enough time prior to the contract starting to create a robust schedule of works. You also need to include programme staging and allocate enough time for snagging, commissioning, and handover.

It is important to ensure that a programme is realistic.  Timescales need to work for the programme, not the other way round.  Deadlines need to fit the reality of what is achievable and should not be based around someone’s vision on what they believe can be done.

Failure to set a suitable and realistic plan will only lead to disappointment.  Deadlines are either missed or quality is reduced where works are escalated to meet an unrealistic programme.

Trust your supply chain and subcontractors

Trust is everything in the construction industry, which is why we only work with suppliers and subcontractors that meet our high-quality standards.  Over the years we have developed a strong working relationship with a wide range of suppliers and subcontractors who have been tried and tested.  Without a good network of skilled and reliable teams, projects can easily overrun or end up costing more in the long run.

Continually monitor project success

It is important to continually monitor the progress of a project throughout its lifecycle and to hold teams accountable for their tasks.  At Harris Evolution, we use daily reports to ensure that we are keeping to schedule.  This enables us to identify any potential issues that might arise before they impact the project delivery.

Particular attention is given to areas that are at risk of running over or were completed earlier than expected to determine the causes of these discrepancies.  This allows us to improve our planning and scheduling for future projects.

Create a contingency plan

There are so many ways a project can go off track, from materials not arriving on time, to poor weather, to unknown site conditions leading to project variations.  You should always have a contingency plan that can be easily executed should you encounter any issues along the way.

Contingency plans will mitigate any risk of project delays or unforeseen costs.  This is particularly relevant given the current market condition, which has seen the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and BREXIT impact supply chains across most industries.

At Harris Evolution, we have an established supply chain of trusted suppliers and subcontractors that has allowed us to continue working without impacting our project deliverables.  The key to our success is planning works early and developing a strong network of reliable teams that communicate issues before they become a risk to the success of a project.

Communication is key!

Good communication is essential to keeping a project on schedule.  We have established procures and protocols with our subcontractors that will alert us if they are falling behind or experiencing delays.  This allows us to adjust our program of works before the issue impacts other areas of the project.

Our team hold regular meetings with the various teams on site to ensure that everyone knows what the key deadlines are and what tasks they need to undertake.  Our Project Managers also provide regular updates to clients to ensure they are kept in the loop of any issues that may arise.

To us, project management is more than just completing tasks on schedule.  We believe in building relationships with all the stakeholders based on trust and honesty.  To us, being transparent and timely on key information about a project is the difference between meeting basic requirements to exceeding expectations.

Let’s chat

If you have a project that you would like to discuss with us, give us a call on 0117 967 5923 or email us at enquiries@harrisevolution.comMake sure to sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our latest news.