How to reduce construction delays by more than 20%

In 3 months or less without spending extra on budget

Get your project teams to collaborate seamlessly and deliver on time

Introduction

Construction projects come with a lot of admin work and several tasks inextricably linked to each other. The slightest delay on a single activity on site may result in subcontractors wandering around the field for weeks without being able to complete the work that has been assigned to them. 

This is where the importance of delivering on time and with the fewest interruptions possible becomes visible. Of course, ensuring that your project is unraveling according to plan goes far beyond the workers on the job, as it covers a wide spectrum of factors such as materials, machinery, weather conditions on site and more.

It is worth mentioning that 44% of delays in construction stem from interruptions in the way a construction project develops. In that sense, reducing setbacks during execution needs to be the main focus of any project team in order to keep the budget under control.

If we dig a little deeper, we will see that the four main factors behind this 44% could be summed up to the following:

  • Delays due to errors (44%)
  • Delays due to late reply to RFIs (20%)
  • Change to specifications (18%)
  • Poor weather conditions and other factors (18%)

Finding the root of the problem can bring site teams one step closer to success. Simply put, if you know what hurts your project you have better chances of coming up with a solution and you can remain proactive across the entire building process.

In this guide, we will give you a first taste of the four steps that will allow you, as a Project Director, to deliver on time and on budget and show you how LetsBuild could help you through this journey.

 

How to reduce project delays by more than 20%

“How are we doing according to plan?” 

That’s a question that project teams have to answer on site almost every day. And almost every time this question will spark endless discussions and a lot of confusion. 

The good news is that you are not alone in all this. There are many Directors who share your frustrations and want to change the way they manage their projects. And they also know that solving critical problems quickly is what helps teams deliver on time. With the right strategy you have the opportunity to drastically improve the way your team operates, reduce project delays by more than 20% and thus deliver on time.

Below you can find a quick overview of the four main steps that will allow you to deliver according to the plan. All the steps presented are part of our LetsBuild framework and based on our experience working with some of the biggest stakeholders in construction:

 

1. Success is built on the principle of good habits

In construction “delivering on time” is a keystone habit that needs to be developed in your teams. It’s the basic things that drive performance. 

In that sense, solving problems quickly is what helps teams deliver on time and without spending extra money. Battling the culture of blame and having an accurate picture of project progress allows you and your team to prioritise the right decisions faster. 

That’s a vital point considering that a typical 10M project is experiencing on average 600 interruptions per year. To make matters worse, these interruptions can take up to 7 days to be resolved, while 25% of them never receive a response. 

interruptions on typical construction project

So at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if there are 1000 snags that need to be fixed on a project but how fast they are eventually fixed. 

At LetsBuild, we do our best to provide construction businesses with a consistent approach across the entire organisation when it comes to reporting progress from the site. As a Project Director, you should be able to easily receive updates from multiple sources and communicate decisions in real time. In other words, using LetsBuild should be as simple as running a WhatsApp group for your construction programme.  

This is what Matt Ghinn, Project Director at VolkerFitzpatrick, had to say about the use of LetsBuild on the West Anglia Main Line (WAML) Capacity Improvement Project in the UK (value: £170M):

“We are not phoning out, we are not using WhatsApp groups, we are not sending emails. The programme is just live, it is there and all data from the site is captured.”

That’s valuable feedback considering that thanks to the timely sharing of information, VolkerFitzpatrick was able to experience 20% efficiency increases in less than one week on their £170M project.

 

2. Empower people to make decisions faster

This is the second key to effective project delivery on today’s complex projects. It’s important that as a Project Director you avoid becoming the bottleneck by enabling on-site teams to make quick decisions while still being kept in the loop. 

Especially if you are running simultaneously 4-5 projects with up to 600 different changes across every one of them, the situation can quickly become almost unmanageable. 

LetsBuild can help you get rid of micro-decisions by offering you full traceability on your multiple projects and by making it easier for you to delegate decision-making to the right people. Once a critical issue emerges, all task participants can exchange information in real time and reach a conclusion within 10 minutes.  

Provivienda, a leader on repetitive volume housebuilding projects in Central and Latin America, managed to reduce construction time from 330 days to 60 by ensuring that project teams were able to make all critical decisions on a timely and transparent manner.

 

“Before LetsBuild, it was taking us 330 days to construct a house. It was due to the downtime between activities. Now the same house is built in 60 days. The thing that changed it was a live programme that helped us avoid downtime between activities.”, says Federico Salazar, CEO at Grupo Provivienda.

 

3. Replace traditional reporting

It’s no secret that traditional reporting is time-consuming and adds limited value. Project Directors and Projects Managers waste on average 40% of their time on generating reports. 

The worst part is that those reports add limited value to project delivery. The reason is simply that as soon as they are produced, they are outdated.

With LetsBuild, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to write a report, as you can generate it instantly in just 4 clicks. Simple as that, you can have a list of all critical activities including progress updates, photos, messages and problems that have been reported and/or communicated by teams, as well as information on where delays may have occurred.. 

No need to chase information from your programme, from Excel or from endless email threads. All data will be gathered in one location in real time. 

If you want to learn more on how you can replace your traditional reporting processes, we encourage you to contact our team today.

 

4. Decide to take action

One thing you should always keep in mind is that nobody in your team is too busy to improve. Your role as a Project Director is to step forward and make your teams understand why they need to change their old habits. You need to lead by example and show to the rest how they will be able to start working in a smart and data-driven way. 

This fresh approach will help you reduce delays massively and improve the communication flow on your project by using one single platform. The good news is that implementing a new digital tool doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. 

The example of Denis Nolan, Managing Director and Founder of the Toureen Group is indicative. He managed to introduce LetsBuild to his organisation and onboard his team in 72 hours: 

“Project tasks are now visible to the whole team, with updates available immediately in full transparency. It has to benefit us in the long term as we now have real-time data to make critical decisions to improve project delivery.”  

Same for Matt Ghinn and his team at VolkerFitzpatrick: 

“I was introduced to the platform on Wednesday and decided it was great. We got it set up on Thursday. I briefed the team on Friday. We were using it that weekend and we got great returns.”

Next step

By now you have a first idea of how digital tools can help you flag critical problems quickly and reduce delays on your multiple construction projects. Moving forward, there are two options for you:

On the one hand, there is always the hard way of doing things all by yourself. At a first glance, this might look like a good option thinking that you can save money and do things your way. That’s a very dangerous path when you don’t have any prior experience with implementing new digital tools to your organisation.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to take any chance with your digital journey, you can see how LetsBuild gets your project teams to collaborate seamlessly.

We can provide you with the right framework to make your projects data-driven. In that way, you will be able to ensure that your teams are sharing updates in real time and resolve issues instantly before they have an effect on your programme. Like that, you will be able to deliver on time and by extension on budget.

Get your project teams to collaborate seamlessly

Discover how, just by following your processes you can finish projects on time, WITHOUT chasing updates and having to write a project report ever again.

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