Project Reworks: Tips on Reducing Construction Errors

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Project Reworks

Keep your construction project on track by having all activities organized and monitored via your project management software and reduce chances or rework. 

We’ve mentioned from our previous blogs about how errors are inevitable and almost unavoidable in construction. However, with the rise of technological tools like machines, automation, AI, and project management software these errors that often lead to delays can be prevented. And today we are going to share with you some more ways on how to avoid committing errors and having to do reworks in your project. 

Understanding the Effects of Construction Reworks

When you win a multi-billion or even a multi-million mega construction project, the occurrence of rework isn’t simply frustrating. Instead, it can be downright devastating, most especially when you detect the error later in the phase. It can destroy not just your schedule and budget but the whole plan.

Looking at several failed projects, rework is among the biggest factors causing declining productivity at the site. Oftentimes, when the scope of rework is too big, crew members tend to feel discouraged while the project manager shows his frustration. 

The result? 

Operation becomes stagnant and the project becomes delayed for days, weeks, and sometimes, for months! But the worst that can happen is when the team fails to deliver the project on time, within the budget, and achieve the objectives so they are faced with legal charges by the owner. The next thing that happens is the firm loses credibility and no one would dare trust them again with a potential project. 

But even if this worst-case scenario doesn’t happen, rework in construction still results in:

  • Lost Money

According to some estimates, 4-6% of the total cost project actually accounts to rework. But when you consider all other factors that lead to do-overs, overtimes, and repurchasing of materials, this estimate can shoot up to 9%, which is already a big loss in profit. 

  • Lost Time

Lost time is almost equivalent to the frustration brought about by lost money. It can be difficult to stay on schedule and as we’ve said before, delays are almost unavoidable. Stricter site supervision and smoother workflow can change this fact, though. It may be hard to achieve but with reliable project management software at hand, it can be possible. 

  • Massive Frustration

There’ s nothing happy about failing to deliver a project on time and within the budget. Rework is almost synonymous to failure and incompetency and they can cause stakeholders to feel discontent. On the other hand, rework can take a toll on the project leader’s morale and the crew members’ productivity. 

This nightmare can happen to anyone in the construction industry who’s not keen enough in monitoring their project. That’s why a simple project management software like Pro Crew Schedule can actually save your business from closure. Another good news is that you can actually avoid construction project rework by starting with the simple task of understanding the common errors that lead to rework. 

Common Causes of Construction Rework

First and foremost, it pays to understand why rework crops up in the first place. Trace back where the error occurred and find out who’s responsible for it. What processes led to the mistake? What tools or materials were used that may have contributed to the discrepancy. Where and how did the information get lost? How does decision-making play in?

Tracing this way via the project management software should help you get to the root cause quicker so you can plan for mitigation and rework immediately. 

Now, here are 12 of the most common reasons why rework happens in a construction project:

  1. Missing project documents: More than you know, construction is heavily dependent on data. Members need access to essential documents like the project plan and schedule. Not having the right information can lead to errors that will later require reworks. This is why firms today rely on project management software for real-time collaboration. 
  2. Poor material procurement methods: Construction can’t continue without materials. But the presence of materials isn’t enough. Supplies procured should be correct, otherwise, the quality of the project will be affected. You might also see u fitting parts. All these lead to repeat work and re-purchasing of new materials.
  3. Poor quality output: Quality depends on two things in construction – the materials used and the caliber of workers you hire. When you assign roles that aren’t fitting to the skills of the person in charge, it is very likely that they make mistakes. This is the reason why you should continuously invest in your people’s training. The few cost you put on training will multiply tenfold when they are able to do good quality work. 
  4. Poor quality materials: Sometimes trying to save cost leads some careless project managers to use substandard supplies. When material inspectors or quality assurance or owners detect that the supplies used don’t meet technical or structural requirements, the construction team will be demanded to repeat the phase using the right materials. 
  5. Poor site supervision: Project management can be extremely challenging, considering the fact that a project involves so many moving parts. When a project management software isn’t used, it can be possible that the project manager misses out so many essential details like workers referencing from old project plan or drawing.
  6. Failure of structural design: A poor or incomplete design in the first place that does not meet engineering standards
  7. Poor communication: Misunderstandings often cause errors. With such a big site, it can be difficult to meet a colleague face-to-face to deliver an important message. But with a more efficient communication channel like Pro Crew Schedule, barriers can be broken down and members don’t need to worry about missing out on important information with all data now stored in a central space. 
  8. No collaboration: It’s important that everyone in the team is on the same page. Teamwork is important in construction so that the processes will be in order and the output corresponds with the plan. Furthermore, the lack of teamwork can lead to severed work relationships that can cause the firm to fail.
  9. Misunderstanding requirements: Failure to pay attention to the client’s requirements will mislead the project. And this starts during the planning phase The painful part is when the owner only notices the discrepancy after the project has been delivered. 
  10. Ineffective decision-making: How the project runs is greatly dependent on the project manager. His decision greatly influences the project’s outcome so when he makes slow and poor decisions, the project is likely to see errors.
  11. No standard systems: It’s important to see that the processes are well-organized so that members won’t be misled and end up making mistakes. 
  12. Schedule pressures: It isn’t advised to pressure crew members to finish the project earlier. Rushing the steps often lead to a substandard output that would require rework because the goal shifts from quality to speed. This is why we always advise making the schedule realistic. 

Overall, the biggest factors to construction rework are poor planning and management, miscommunication in design changes, errors, and omissions. According to quality.org:

“Up to 70% of total rework experienced in construction and engineering products are a result of design-induced rework.”

A meta-study conducted by the Islamic University of Gaza and the Berlin School of Technology also points out at design as a big influencer in construction rework. The report says:

“Almost 80% of costs of deviations were related to design and 17% were construction related.”

The takeaway? Designers and project managers play an important role not just in mapping out a good project but also in avoiding errors as the project is carried out. 

However, understanding the root causes of rework isn’t enough to eliminate the chances of redoing a whole phase. You should also have the proper approach in mitigating rework. 

Reducing Construction Errors and Rework

Now that we know the dreadful effects and the causes of rework in construction, let’s now look into some smart ways on how to reduce the chances of doing reworks. 

  • Ditch Outdated and Manual Systems

It won’t be helpful to stick with traditional processes most especially when it comes to management. Imagine still doing manual monitoring at the site every day where the project manager needs to hike several stories of the building to check on the progress. This is time-consuming and greatly inefficient. 

Putting schedules on offline software like Excel also leads to risks of rework since you still need to email them to everyone. What if you missed out on an important member? 

Go digital and make these tedious processes automatic. Updates will then reflect in real-time and nobody in your team will be left behind. In addition, errors and double entry will be avoided. 

  • Align Project Teams as Early as the Pre-Construction Phase

Assigning roles should be done early in the construction phase so that they can prepare for the construction proper. However, set teams to work on a different set of tasks so they don’t act independently and their goals are dissimilar with the rest. Use cohesive approaches like integrated project delivery (IPD) where all members are treated as part of just one firm working on a common goal. Using project management software like Pro Crew Schedule can help you manage several teams more efficiently and ensure that their activities are aligned properly. 

  • Use BIM for Collaboration in the Design Phase

As we discussed before, BIM is a modern system used by designers to foresee possible problems so mitigation can be planned early on. In fact, predicting problems at the beginning using BIM can help you prevent mistakes altogether. By identifying key problematic areas, project managers can tweak their plans from the start and lead the activities to a better route. 

  • Establish Realistic Schedules

As we mentioned earlier, stressing crew members over an inflexible schedule will just lead them to cram, taking quality for granted. They may be able to finish the project earlier but hidden errors will lead to dangerous accidents if left undetected and uncorrected. 

Prepare alternative plans to deal with small delays. It’s okay to finish on time or a few days off the schedule for as long as the quality isn’t compromised and the situation is reported immediately to the owner. 

  • Improve Field Communications

Communication in the field is often hampered by many roadblocks like distance or no signal. Many times, the office can’t communicate properly with people on the site because they still rely on emails and phone calls. But when you utilize cloud-based collaboration software like Pro Crew Schedule, you can solve many of these problems. The cloud provides instant access to project documents, making everyone updated. Such collaboration tool makes communication seamless and centralized, which is important most especially when there sudden changes in design or schedule. 

  • Set Quality Standards

In assessing project progress, it is a smart idea to set quality standards that should be met by the crew members. Think and act like you are the owner of the project. This way, you can ensure that the team is on the right track in avoiding rework and satisfying the owner.

  • Invest in Continued Training

The more knowledgeable your crew members are in their assigned tasks, the lesser the chances for rework will be. In fact, the Islamic University of Gaza/Berlin’s School of Technology shared in a report that regularly investing in training can reduce construction rework by 11-22%. The training cost may be extra cash to shed out but this investment can pay you higher profit as more efficient workers can lead to decreased overtime and rework costs

Reducing Construction Rework

Continuous monitoring can help you identify errors in their early stages to avoid more cost rework. While this can help, it should not be your aim to be proficient in finding errors. Instead, do a better job of planning a project so that reworks can be prevented. 

Keep all our above tips in mind and effectively avoid costly reworks. Plan and manage your projects well with  Pro Crew Schedule starting today!

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