The construction industry is highly complex and involves a lot of teams working together on the same project at the same time. As the construction sector is highly labor-intensive, one small mistake or complication can result in extensive delays or complete project failure. There are a lot of people involved in one project – the contractor, subcontractor, suppliers, vendors, workers, and finally, the owner.
The owner can significantly affect the end results of a project by their actions and decisions. For example, they can change their mind about certain design specifications. These small actions from the owner at the wrong time or some months into the project construction can cause delays involving high overheads, and increasing the overall expenses.
Situations That Often Lead to Delays Caused by Owners in Construction Projects
Project owners who have no or little knowledge of construction often end up doing things that increase the risk of delays in construction projects leading to claims and disputes.
Here are the top 5 most common situations the owner needs to avoid, and the contractor needs to handle properly to protect their project from unnecessary delays.
1. Poorly Written Contracts
Most construction delays occur because of poorly written contracts that don’t describe the true scope of the project. Contracts need to be clear, and all contractual details need to be well understood by all the parties, including the owner. It is crucial because, in case of a delay, construction quantum experts and risk management professionals look at the contract and its clauses first before mitigating the risk.
A poorly written contract with unclear wording will increase the risk of delays as one of the parties, including the owner, might misunderstand and misinterpret duties and responsibilities. Hence, the owner may develop a dispute during the project, which may result in delaying construction work or even a total standstill increasing risks of construction claims.
2. Poorly Designed Project Plans and Scope
One of the most common reasons for delays in construction projects is poor project specifications and architectural drawings. In most cases, the owner takes responsibility for construction drawings, and the architect works on behalf of the owner. The drawings and specifications are later sent to the contractor for work.
After receiving these drawings, the contractor prepares the bid, the required budget, and time for completion. However, if the plans are faulty and the specifications are either wrong or incomplete, then the contractor ends up dealing with multiple change orders that cause delays. Hence, the owner delays the project as a result of poorly constructed design and specifications.
3. Lack of Funding
The proper and timely finding is the lifeline of a project in order to complete it on time. Banks and private lenders are becoming more selective when it comes to providing funds or investing in construction projects and real estate. This makes it harder for the owner to acquire funds for the ongoing project.
When the contractor sends the payment application to the owner, the owner of the project must release funds to the contractor in charge as quickly as possible. If payments are not made timely, the contractor ends up using his own cash for covering the operating expenses, which often results in decreasing the number of workers, equipment, etc. resulting in delays.
4. Lack of Communication
During the bidding process, it is the duty of the owner to provide all the necessary information to the contractor before starting the construction work. Lack of proper communication and due diligence on the part of the owner leads to construction delays and often disputes and litigation. If the owner fails to provide the contractor with all the necessary information, the risk associated with the project increases.
For example, the owner of the project needs to hire construction professionals and experts for surveying the land and determine factors like soil condition, bedrock, groundwater, public facilities, etc. If the owner fails to do so, it leads to multiple change orders later during construction and possible delays increasing the overall costs.
5. Absent Owners
Finally, another bad practice of owners that affects the overall performance of the project is total absenteeism or constant interference. When owners try to micromanage things like daily operations and contractor’s activities, it leads to excessive problems on site. This interfering behavior and constant meddling lead to delay and construction claims against the owner.
Similarly, being totally absent is another extreme behavior that often leads to delays and change orders. For example, contractors might need the owner to make a decision as early as possible, but if he is unavailable and cannot be reached, it can result in an owner-caused delay in the construction project.
Reach Out to Construction Experts Today!
If you are having trouble dealing with these issues, then reach out to a construction consultant who has the best knowledge about how to tackle the issue. Don’t wait for things to get better themselves and wait for the delay to affect your project. Instead, get professional help as soon as you see, the first sign of these owner caused delays. It is the only way to protect your construction project against cost overruns and construction disputes.
So, consult construction professionals today and take full advantage of their extensive field knowledge and experience.