Delays are a costly thorn in the side of construction managers. With so many working parts on the job site, it’s nearly impossible to keep everything on schedule 100% of the time. Every so often, something will slip through the cracks resulting in a delay. Even if the cause is out of your control, how you respond to the hiccup can have major implications. As a project manager, how you handle these delays determines the trajectory for the rest of the project. Here, we’ll take a look at some ways construction managers can deal with delays more efficiently.
Identify the cause of the delay.
With so much going on at the job site, you’ll often notice a delay before you can determine the cause. But before you react, it’s crucial to accurately determine the root cause of the delay. Was it a weather-related problem? Did someone on your team make a mistake? Or is the client keeping the project from advancing? Once you’ve accurately identified the cause of the delay, you can start the recovery process to get the project back on track. Jumping right into problem-solving mode without knowing the origin of the delay can result in more wasted time.
Let the cause of the delay know.
Sometimes, the person causing the delay might not even know it. With countless moving parts on a job site, its easy for people to become laser focused on their individual responsiblities. Whether it’s a member of your team, a contractor, or even the client, simply let the cause of the delay know how their actions are hindering the overall project from progressing. Offering a solution to the problem can make the conversation go much smoother while increasing the chances that things get back on track quickly and efficiently.
Adjust the plan to get back on schedule.
Once you’ve determined the cause of the delay, it’s important to review and update the original plan to accommodate the new developments. Having the whole crew stick to the initial schedule will only cause confusion and further delays since the information is no longer accurate. Depending on the time pressure, you might have to start prioritizing certain tasks over others. Regardless of the changes made, project managers should make sure everyone on the job site is brought up to speed before putting everything back into action. Getting everyone’s input on the specifics of the new plan can also smooth over the transition process.
Stay hands-on until the project catches up.
One of the most difficult parts of handling a delay is making sure your team can successfully pivot to the new plan. Any additional hindrance would just compound the issue resulting from the original delay. As the project manager, you’ll want to remain hands-on while the team plays catch-up. With new procedures and responsibilities in place, some confusion or questions are bound to arise. Being within an earshot to deal with those concerns immediately can help the project get back on track quickly. This is a perfect time to focus on improved collaboration and communication.
Know when to notify the client.
Experienced project managers will include some cushion within their initial time projections for the job to accommodate some delays. If you’re confident the hiccups won’t exceed the original amount of time you allotted, there’s no reason to cause the client any unnecessary anxiety as you’re still meeting all delivery expectations. However, if you experience a major delay that threatens to push back the project’s completion date, you’ll want to notify the client. This keeps everyone on the same page and prevents any surprises down the line.
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