Why do Construction Projects fall behind schedule? and How a Clerk of Works can help!

Originally published at: https://www.gameplancloud.com/construction-project-delays-common-causes/

Unpredictable Weather

Construction happens outside and one of the top reasons for delays is bad weather. Weather predictions are getting better and better these days and project managers should consider looking at the weather forecasts during project planning.

Bad Time Estimates

Time estimating is one of the most critical element of project planning. Sometimes, inexperienced project managers produce unrealistic and overly optimistic time schedules. Consider involving all key players (owner, architects, consultants, subcontractors etc.) and experienced people in the project planning phase to reduce the risk of delays due to bad project schedules.

Lack of Finances

Inability to pay contractors on time or to purchase the material needed for the job can significantly impact the project schedule. Make sure that you involve the people who will perform the work in the estimation process and secure required funding needed for the smooth project delivery.

Scope Creep

Failure to define the scope clearly and set unreasonable expectations can start the project on the wrong foot and derail it as the time goes by. It is very important to have a clear vision for the project. Not only that, the project goals and objectives should be clearly communicated with all the key players.

Lack of Information

Getting the right information at the right time, at right place is as important as producing that information. Building from outdated drawings is a widely known AEC problem. Put appropriate processes and tools in place to organize, manage and distribute project information.

Inadequate Communication

Inadequate communication can derail a project very easily. Every week, or at every month, all the key players should receive a status report explaining what is happening on the project. If the project is behind schedule, everyone should get together and find out the reasons and corrective actions.

Inadequate Project Tracking

Projects that are not tracked daily, can fall behind very quickly. Projects performance should be tracked in real time and important cost and time KPIs should be monitored carefully. All the key players should get together every week to compare the performance with the expectations and take corrective actions.

Lack of Collaboration

Not involving the key stakeholders early on and not collaborating with them throughout the project lifecycle, can be real problems. The scope change and rework due to lack of collaboration can easily derail the project. Set up the right culture, systems and processes for successful collaboration.

The preliminary findings of the National Project Performance Research show that-

  • 75% of “best performing projects” engage key stakeholders before schematic design starts compared with just 28% on typical projects.
  • 28% of those best performing projects complete early and 63% complete under budget compared with just 9% of typical projects completing early or under budget.
  • 53% of typical projects complete late and 66% complete over budget.


Construction project delays are very common place and they can be avoided. It is always a good practice to involve the key stakeholders ahead of time and prepare realistic and practical project estimates and plans with the help of experienced professionals. Technology is making it super easy to exchange information in real time, communicate effectively and automate mundane construction project management tasks. However, it is upon the company leadership to put right culture, systems and processes in place. What are the most common reasons for delays on your construction projects and how do you deal with them?


How a Clerk of Works can Help!

  • Scope Creep – A Clerk of Works reviewing progress daily can help keep closer tabs on the progress of work and help identify Scope Creep before it is to late.
  • Lack of Information – A Clerk of Works can assist the contractors to ensure they are using the most Current drawings, Change orders, and Site instructions
  • Inadequate Communication – When a Clerk of Works is onsite regularly communications between the owners, Architects/Engineers, and Client representatives occurs naturally instead of just at bi-weekly site meetings
  • Inadequate Project Tracking – One of the major responsibilities of a Clerk of Works is to maintain Highly detailed reporting and photo logging of the project. This helps track the project and provides the Owners or Client reps with an independent record should the project go bad.
  • Lack of Collaboration – Along with inadequate communication, a Clerk of Works can be the go between to help ensure that all relevant parties are involved with any changes related to their role in the project

About the author: Mr. Shannon D. Hulme has been in the construction industry for over 17 years working on many Regionally important project throughout Ontario. His primary goal is to ensure clients receive what they pay for and that every project is completed to the highest standards of construction.

Have a question, give me a call or text: 519 859 4497

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