5 factors that affect construction project efficiency

Construction project management too often feels like a race. Here are 5 of the biggest factors to consider when trying to meet – or better yet - beat deadlines.

Construction worker looking over a blueprint with symbols above his head

Deadlines are a fact of life in the construction industry, and meeting them is often challenging when things start to go wrong. On the job site, efficiency is crucial to meeting these deadlines. Any potential delays, such as equipment breakdowns or planning missteps, could affect the bottom line of the entire project.

With that said, proactive construction project management can keep a variety of controllable factors in line, minimizing risk. So what are the most common factors that can negatively or positively affect construction site efficiency? Here are our top five:

1. Training

Each person who steps onto a construction site should have the training and experience necessary to complete their assigned jobs in a safe and timely manner. There are so many hazards on a construction site that adding an untrained employee to the mix is a recipe for disaster. Training also should not stop once an employee has completed their orientation and onboarding.

There are new training techniques and technologies emerging every year that can help improve construction project efficiency. These include:

  • Virtual reality training methods that simulate on site conditions
  • Wearable trackers to monitor employee health and improve communication
  • Collaborative online training courses for construction teams

Adopt these whenever possible, and offer ongoing training to keep crew members up to date on the kinds of techniques they can apply moving forward to improve efficiency.

2. Equipment maintenance

Maintaining equipment can be costly, but it’s still more efficient and cost-effective than allowing the equipment to break down from lack of care.

Take a look at how much you earn from operating a particular piece of equipment. Multiply that by the number of working hours the equipment isn’t in use, and it creates a pretty clear picture of how much it costs to leave it offline.

A machine that earns you $100 per hour while in operation will cost you $800 for every eight-hour shift that it’s offline. Plus, it will make it more difficult to meet deadlines. Regular maintenance is the easiest way to prevent this problem and improve project efficiency.

3. Job site safety

Despite advances the industry has made in the last couple of decades, a construction site is still one of the most dangerous places to work. In 2020, 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries occurred, according to data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Worker safety is an ethical measure first and foremost, as protecting the wellbeing of every worker should be at the heart of every construction manager’s mission. However, project managers may not fully realize the impact injuries can have on a project’s bottom line, too.

Workers leaving the workforce for recovery and rehabilitation can create extended delays for their employers, particularly in the face of a labor crunch. Then, there’s the financial risk — workers’ compensation claims for an injury cost an average of $41,000 in 2018. This doesn’t even include legal expenses or the impact of these situations on construction crews.

Create a culture of safety and empower everyone to safeguard workplace safety.

4. Supply chain issues

Throughout 2020 and into 2021, the global pandemic caused supply chain issues, shipping tariffs and more plagued construction sites around the country. These variables made it difficult for companies to meet deadlines and complete projects.

Things are beginning to even out as the industry moves into the last quarter of 2021, but supply chain issues can still throw a wrench in the plans and make it more difficult to create an efficient construction site.

The easiest way to overcome these supply chain issues right now is to plan ahead and be prepared with contingencies if something goes wrong. Keeping track of market trends and accommodating them in estimates and project plans will help align expectations for both the construction team and clients.

5. Communication breakdowns

A construction site can’t operate without efficient communication. That includes making sure that everyone is on the same page, from the company owner down to the newest laborer on the crew and the client, who is financing the project. A breakdown in communication causes things to be built wrong, equipment to break down or projects to grind to a halt.

Customer management solutions, like Buildertrend, serve as some of the best tools to collaboratively engage project stakeholders. Construction project management software that comes complete with client access and electronic signatures can streamline decision making and make timeline changes easy to see and accommodate.

With digital collaboration, proactive communication is built into the construction process rather than remaining an afterthought.

Free daily huddle template - Keep your team inspired, aligned and informed

Maintaining construction project efficiency is key

After the initial shock of the pandemic, deadlines might be a bit more flexible, but the goal is still to complete projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. This isn’t an exhaustive list of factors that could potentially impact the efficiency of a construction project by any means, but it does list some of the most common things to consider.

Maintaining an efficient construction project is the easiest way to ensure that deadlines are met and projects get completed on time. Simple things like improving work site safety and fostering open and active communication can make enormous differences.

With so much uncertainty surrounding things like supply chains and lockdowns, creating a bit of stability — and a bit of wiggle room — with an efficient project can keep companies moving forward no matter what the universe decides to throw at them.

Ready to take advantage of project management technology? Schedule a demo to learn how Buildertrend’s software can make efficiency easier than ever to achieve.

About The Author

Evelyn Long

Evelyn Long Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on workforce and safety concerns in construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home and building industry.

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