Top 5 causes of onsite construction delays

Over the last few decades, the construction industry has experienced so many significant advancements and improvements in the planning and execution of projects. Thanks to the different state-of-the-art equipment, tools, and methods that have been developed, the industry is now completing tasks faster and with better precision. From industrial constructions to community infrastructures, governmental projects to residential properties, projects are simply easier to complete these days than years before. But despite these technological advancements, there is still a lingering concern in the industry – not all construction projects get completed within their stipulated times for a multitude of reasons.

In fact, according to a KPMG Global Construction survey, it was discovered that only 25% of all clients’ projects came within 10% of their original deadlines. Another study also revealed that large projects typically take 20% longer to finish than scheduled. So you see, the figures are clearly disturbing! But why are projects taking longer to reach completion? Some may quip.  Are the available equipment not of good standard? Or perhaps the workforce is not skilled enough. Well, there are so many factors that can be responsible for a construction delay, and while some are a bit outside the workers’ control, some can actually be prevented.

So, whether you’re a construction manager, project owner, or one of the construction executives, we understand how frustrating it can be when you miss deadlines. To prevent future occurrences of a similar nature, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common reasons construction companies experience delays. So, sit tight and enjoy!


Have you ever gotten to the site, and you discover that you cannot proceed with work for that day because of some issues, such as frozen ground, natural disasters, high winds, and even rain? Factors like these are obviously not within a company’s control. And try as you might, there is no stopping the ground from freezing up during colder temperatures, or shutting out rain from falling. So what do you do as a project owner or construction manager? Do you just throw your hands in the air and give up whenever the weather isn’t friendly? Far from it – doing that will absolutely cause you to miss your deadline, and probably send a wrong impression about your company. For issues regarding winds, natural disasters, or even rain, you can start sequencing out projects in the right seasons.

While for issues regarding common challenges like frozen ground during winter seasons, you can invest in the purchase of ground thawing blankets. These blankets – which are perfect for thawing frozen ground and curing concrete – thaw up your frozen site surfaces in just 24 hours, thereby making the ground or floor workable whenever you need to start your construction. It is true that cold weather causes problems in the construction industry. It requires putting in extra prep work and time, which results in more money. Prep can, therefore, take longer than the actual job itself, so it’s important to thaw frozen ground before getting to work. This is where the blankets I mentioned above come in!

Harnessing the right equipment

Did you know that for every equipment you use on-site today, there’s probably a more efficient and productive option out there? Sometimes, companies spend months on projects that can be completed within weeks, not because the weather isn’t friendly, but due to their inability to harness the right equipment. 

Finding Equipment and Setting up

Another cause of construction delay on-site these days is due to companies not having the right equipment ready onsite when needed, and not having equipment tracking in place to locate assets, often lying dormant at other project sites. In fact, according to the Construction Industry Institute (CII), 19% of a typical construction worker’s day on a large project is spent locating and setting up equipment. If you always have to spend hours locating the equipment you need, and additional hours setting them up, chances are you’ll always take longer to complete your projects.

Overbooked workers

This is a self-inflicted cause of construction delay. Unfortunately, many construction companies are guilty of this. More often than not, many construction companies overbook projects, which means that the site is ready, equipment are ready, and perhaps one stage of the construction is completed – say excavation – but the crew needed for the next stage are held up somewhere else handling other projects. As a general rule of thumb, never overbook your crews, and in the event that your company has grown so dominant in the market, you should look to hire more workers, so that you can always have the right amount of manpower needed for project execution.

Lack of project insight

Strange as it may sound, did you know that several construction companies today don’t even have the right data on the statuses of their projects? Due to this, a significant amount of time is wasted in trying to track down project statuses. In a KPMG survey, only 20% of respondents claim to have implemented Project Management Information Systems 9PMIS) across all their projects. Of this figure, only 31% have integrated systems for project reporting. Due to this, many of them fail to discover setbacks and issues in real-or-near-real-time.

Delay due to decision-making

Unfortunately, construction projects still get delayed, these days, due to slow decision-making, as managers, executives, or owners, try to uncover site details, such as budget, manpower, project status and lots more.

Author: Editorial Team

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