Tips for Hitting More Construction Deadlines

Tips for Hitting More Construction Deadlines

Meeting construction deadlines is essential for maintaining a positive reputation for your business. Construction projects can experience delays and are becoming increasingly complex, requiring skilled and specialized workers. As a result, you may feel greater pressure to meet looming deadlines. 

We've collected some tips below on how to hit more construction deadlines, minimize your extension requests, improve your reputation and avoid penalties that can affect your profits. Read on to learn how to account for potential causes of delays and create a schedule you can reasonably stick to.

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Tips for Keeping Construction Projects on Schedule

Schedule overruns are relatively common in the construction industry and require careful decision-making to overcome. With our tips below, you can keep your construction projects on schedule.

1. Work With Expert Designers

The preparation stage of a construction project can greatly influence the rest of the schedule. Working with expert designers can help ensure your design includes all the details you'll need for your project. 

A design that meets all standards and includes the necessary specs will help avoid cost overruns and delays. The plans you use for your project should be detailed and accurate, so it's essential to work with an expert. 

2. Accurately Estimate the Scope of Work

It's essential to estimate the timeline to complete your construction project accurately. Carefully review the spec book and construction drawings, along with any other relevant project documents, to understand the scope of your work. 

Break the job into stages and account for how you will interact with subcontractors to be sure you are allocating sufficient resources and time for every task. You can draft a contract that defines the scope of the work you'll be doing to help ensure you can complete your project smoothly.  

Create site drawings of the job site to ensure optimal performance. Determine where you should stage different areas and equipment, such as the job site trailer, equipment storage, material laydown areas, access points and break areas. Coordinate with material suppliers and building project manufacturers to ensure you receive your building materials in the quantities you need. 

3. Develop a Detailed Timeline

Developing sub-deadlines within your overall timeline will let you more effectively identify when you'll complete your construction project and help you stay on track. Break the project down into multiple smaller pieces and deadlines. These smaller goals will let you adjust your pace throughout and avoid rushing when your deadline is approaching.

Successful scheduling involves estimating start and finish dates for a variety of activities and tasks. Determine how much you need to complete a task to ensure you have the necessary labor, resources and equipment to finish the task by your scheduled deadline. Consider which jobs you'll need to perform sequentially and which you can complete simultaneously to maximize the time you have.

4. Mitigate Delays and Blockers

construction delays occur when something doesn't go according to plan

Delays and blockers are two major types of obstacles to completing a construction project on time. As a construction business owner or contractor, you need to know how to spot each and how to address them: 

  • Delays: Construction delays occur when something doesn't go according to plan. For example, a delay can occur when the work takes more time than you anticipated or when the weather makes it impossible to complete a task. When these delays occur, you may need to change your schedule.
  • Blockers: Blockers are tasks you must complete before you can move on to other tasks. For example, you must pour the foundation before a mason can lay bricks. 

Plan your timelines carefully to avoid delays. Identify blockers at the beginning of the project to ensure they don't become obstacles later.

5. Recruit and Retain Skilled Labor

The number of skilled workers on your crew will be a consideration when determining if you can meet construction project schedule requirements. If you have fewer skilled workers, you may need to hire temporary workers or ask for more work from your current crew. Either choice can lead you to make higher bids for projects and potentially reduce your total number of jobs. 

Rather than a temporary fix to overcome labor shortage issues, we recommend recruiting and retaining new workers for the long term. You want workers with the right skills and attitude to ensure your productivity and overall morale. Consider the following methods of attracting workers with the skills you need:

  • Embrace methods that set your business apart from competitors.
  • Offer workers a viable career path.
  • Provide competitive pay and benefits. 

6. Establish Clear Communication With Everyone Involved

Clear communication is crucial for completing your construction project on time. Establish clear communication with all parties involved in the construction project so they can share observations quickly and resolve concerns as soon as possible. Encourage your employees to communicate regularly. Lower-level supervisors can address small-scale problems, while those higher up the chain can address pressing issues.  

If schedule disruptions arise, you may still be able to meet your deadline by communicating with every involved party and making adjustments accordingly. By communicating with subcontractors promptly, you can mitigate emerging issues right away. Determine how you will share information regarding the project's progress and how often this communication should occur. 

7. Schedule Your Contractors Early

Contractors, architects and designers often have long wait times, so setting up a first meeting as early as possible is crucial. Factor in the time you'll need to get on their schedule and how much time it'll take to get materials. 

Determine which contractors your project requires ahead of time and request quotes early. Addressing this need early on will help ensure you have your contractors locked in before you begin your project. 

8. Collaborate Throughout the Process

Collaboration involves more than everyone completing individual tasks on time. To successfully collaborate with all parties involved — like subcontractors, builders, architects and HVAC professionals — you should build a relationship with each stakeholder based on respect and trust and work together to finish the project. The ability to coordinate efforts is crucial for sticking to your schedule.

9. Improve Management Methods

managing the project effectively can help you save money, time and resources

The management methods you choose can impact whether your project stays on schedule. Construction managers assign a project's responsibilities and roles and coordinate materials and labor to the job site to ensure the team completes the work on time. You may have to juggle multiple aspects of your project plan while minimizing delays and removing blockers that could delay progress. At the same time, you'll need to ensure that work crews are on-site at the right times and equipment and supplies are stored properly. 

Managing the project effectively can help you save money, time and resources. Choosing a successful management method ensures that schedules all work together and workers have the tools they need when they need them. 

10. Collect the Required Tools and Materials

Rather than order materials and tools as you go, we recommend ordering what you'll need for your construction project early. You may even want to order your tools and materials before you complete your previous project. Delivery times can vary widely, especially with an ongoing labor shortage and supply chain issues. 

Having everything you need on hand is preferable over missing a deadline due to a delivery delay. If you end up with more materials than you need for this project, you can keep them for future use. Work closely with suppliers to ensure the materials you need will be available when you need them.

11. Promote Safety

Safety should always be a priority on the job site, even in the face of a looming deadline. Your methods should work with safety standards to develop a steady, predictable workflow that lets you meet your deadlines and more accurately predict timelines for your future projects.

12. Create a Contingency Plan

Construction projects can fall behind schedule for a variety of reasons outside your control. However, you can identify possible risks that may disrupt your schedule and prepare contingency plans for dealing with them if they occur. 

Contingency plans can help mitigate and resolve an issue before it grows. For example, you may face a weather delay that causes you to lose a day or more of work. Having a plan in place to add more equipment or labor will help you get your project back on track as quickly as possible. 

Work with your project team to identify potential schedule delays and establish contingency plans. If you face any of these situations, you'll be ready for them. Keep in mind that construction delays are often due to multiple small problems rather than one large one. Monitor your schedule, analyze daily progress reports and manage risks to stay on track.

13. Outsource Whenever Possible

Outsourcing can save you time and ensure you meet your deadline for project completion. For example, you may want to outsource your non-labor tasks, such as bookkeeping, financing and obtaining permits. Outsourcing these tasks can help save time, letting you focus on your project's labor-related work. 

You may also want to outsource different aspects of the construction project, such as material delivery. Outsourcing can allow you to benefit from a more controlled delivery process and gain real-time GPS tracking and notifications about your deliveries.

14. Monitor and Document Your Progress

reports can make it easier to determine if you are still on schedule and identify signs that may indicate a potential delay

Track your construction project's progress by using detailed daily reports. These reports can make it easier to determine if you are still on schedule and identify signs that may indicate a potential delay. Compare your actual progress with your projected timeline for completing the tasks to see if certain activities took more or less time than you expected. If there are discrepancies, try to identify the causes and compare your progress to similar past projects to improve your scheduling for future projects.

You may need to make changes to your schedule as you go. If so, use your progress documentation to estimate the timelines for related tasks. Remember to keep subcontractors in the loop if your adjustments will affect their work.

15. Use Tracking Software and the Latest Technology

Tracking software can make it easier to stick to your schedule for your construction projects. With its improved organization, you can save time on construction jobs and improve your revenue growth. This software allows you to view your project progress in real time, enabling you to address overscheduling and delays promptly. Some software options may also offer a mobile app so that you can access your software from anywhere. Keep your workers' schedules in mind while working with the software to ensure you can hit your deadline. 

Using this software will allow you to:

  • Monitor costs and budgets.
  • Easily schedule work shifts.
  • Review project performance.
  • Identify potential issues quickly.
  • Assign tasks to individuals with ease.
  • Observe real-time worker productivity.
  • Monitor inventory and delivery of materials.
  • Keep your project documents and information in the same place.
  • Offer access to everyone involved in the project from any location.

You may also want to use construction cost estimating software during the planning stage to determine the overall cost of your construction project. 

Additionally, you can make use of technology like drones and wearables on the construction site. Wearables can track employees and alert you in case of an accident or injury. Drones can survey the site from above so you can avoid placing a worker in danger.

16. Work With a Dispute Resolution Arbitrator

Disputes can arise that can potentially prevent you from meeting your deadline. In these cases, using a dispute resolution arbitrator rather than taking it to a courtroom can help resolve things more quickly. If you find yourself in a dispute that might delay your schedule, you may want to consider working with an arbitrator to ensure you can complete your project on time.

17. Choose Rental Equipment

Rental equipment is a useful option for ensuring you meet your deadlines. Choosing whether it's better to rent or buy will depend on various factors, including: 

  • How much money you can spend upfront.
  • How long you'll need the equipment.
  • Whether you have storage space.
  • Whether you regularly operate several sites simultaneously. 

Some of the advantages of rental equipment from The Cat® Rental Store include the following:

  • Better cash flow
  • Lack of repair costs
  • Lower disposal costs
  • Flexibility to support demand
  • Access to the latest technology
  • Greater control of project costs

Rental equipment can help you grow your business and meet your construction deadlines.

Hit More Construction Deadlines With The Cat® Rental Store

At The Cat Rental Store, we can provide the equipment you need to help you hit your construction deadlines. We check each of our products thoroughly, maintain them meticulously and equip them with the newest technology to keep your operations productive. Our trained experts are always available to help you select equipment and troubleshoot if you need guidance on the right solution for your construction project.

We have more than 1,300 locations across the country, making it easy for you to rent whatever you need from people who do whatever it takes. We serve several sectors of the construction industry with more than 70 leading equipment brands. Browse our equipment and tool rentals or request a quick quote from us at The Cat Rental Store today.

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