Your guide to reduce construction rework

“Close … but not quite. Try again. Do it over.”

Gulp. That doesn’t feel good. We’ve all heard something like this before, and it always seems like a veiled way of saying, “Hey, you! Yeah, you! You suck at life!”

A request for rework is a sucker punch to the ego – and profits.

But it’s a fact of the construction industry: the best laid plans go awry.

You carefully map out the strategy and details, present the next steps to your team and proceed to start building. But wait!

Midway through the whole process, your client proposes an alternate plan; you encounter an unexpected snag in getting some of the materials; maybe there’s an issue with the site, budget or permits.

Take a deep breath. All is not lost. Actually, in construction, this happens a lot. In fact, according to statistics from M-Files, intelligent information management solutions, nearly 30% of the work performed by construction companies is rework.

Yikes. That’s a lot. The big concern, however, is the fact that rework is expensive. In many cases, it’s not because of the above-mentioned reasons. This costly rework is due to poor project data and miscommunication between teams. If you’re not paying close attention, this could easily rack up insane costs.

Case in point – rework due to miscommunication can lead to $31 billion in additional spending, while another $4.2 billion worth of rework is due to poor document control across the whole industry. Yikes. Now, that’s really a lot!

poor document controlRemember that sucker punch to the ego we mentioned earlier? Yeah, now consider it a complete knockout because your budget, completion schedules, worker moral and reputation just took a major beating.

Don’t tap out of the ring yet, though. Put back on the gloves and get ready to fight back. We’re here to coach you to a winning strategy with four simple steps to avoid construction rework.

1) Talk to your team and your clients – a lot

Think of the biggest and best house party you ever went to. There was probably clique after clique pouring out of every room. Yeah, that’s only a fraction of how many people get involved with any one construction project.

Administrative teams. Onsite construction workers. Suppliers. Subcontractors. Stakeholders. The actual clients. It’s a party and then some.

If getting more than three people on the same page is sometimes a challenge, than this is the Olympics of getting everyone aligned. Only the best of the best can do it, right? Well, not quite.

The right technology can make a world of difference when it comes to streamlining the back and forth between all the people involved in a construction project.

When one party requires something to be changed or makes an edit to the plan, this little detail – no matter how small – should be shared with the rest of the team. Now it can be with ease. A cloud-based construction management system helps you take control of communication.

Beyond just desktop, you have access to this system via your mobile devices. This allows everyone, regardless of where they’re working and what they’re doing, to more easily stay in the know. With everything shared with everyone involved, mistakes are minimized and all changes have a clear audit trail and record.

And an audit trail for any project is good thing. A really good thing. For that house party you pictured early? Probably not so much.

Buildertrend Data Report

2) Get to the root of the problem

Ever try to put together a puzzle without a picture of it completed? Yeah, it ain’t easy. Trying to avoid rework without understanding the full scope of the problem is a lot like that.

Who is responsible? What information is getting lost in the shuffle? What processes are actually plagues?

Solutions only come from answering the tough questions. It’s time to get to the root of the thing. Otherwise, you’re basically just slapping a band-aid on a big, ugly issue.

Here are a few of the most common problems:

  • Inefficient document management that causes delays in information
  • Ineffective processes in purchasing materials and suppliers
  • Low-quality training for team members that leads to careless execution
  • Building supplies that fail to meet technical and structural standards
  • Lack of management and supervision
  • Poor team collaboration
  • Inability to follow standard processes

Make these things of the past and rework may follow.

3) Work with any and everyone

Sure, you should keep a watchful eye out for everything just listed. However, none of them are the biggest factor causing rework in construction. In fact, you could add ’em all up and they still wouldn’t match that factor. So, what is it?

According to, “Up to 70 percent of total rework experienced in construction and engineering products are a result of design-induced work.” That’s their super fancy way of saying the biggest causes of rework are design changes, errors and omissions made during the early stages of project planning.

That’s why it’s so important to work with everyone – and we mean everyone.

The alternative is all team members working in silos, not communicating important details. That’s where those design errors and omissions come in. Easily avoid these issues (and more!) by making sure everyone is collaborating. We’re talking early, often, throughout and thoroughly.

4) Find the right tools

You’ve got to spend money to make money, right? Well the cost of construction management software far outweighs the lost profits due to costly rework. So, don’t think twice. Make that investment. Find a better way for your business.

What can cloud-based project management software do for you? It’s probably easier to ask what it can’t do, but here’s some immediate wins:

  • Boosted accuracy
  • Empowered collaboration between team members
  • Better productivity
  • Increased transparency for each project
  • More informed decision making
  • Balanced financials

Yeah, anything your previous tools can do, this type of software can do better. Like 1,000 times better.

Project management software easily stores massive amounts of documentation while minimizing wasted time, too. Since everything is on the cloud, documents are accessible to everyone at the speed of need.

A centralized cloud platform also prevents versioning problems, so you don’t have to deal with mixing up the <Final-Design-Plans> file with the <FINAL-Final-Design-Plans> version. With less confusion and docs updated in real time, the risk of rework lessens.

Software like this can even help you get to the cause of any problem – including what’s leading to rework.

Start with generating detailed reports, then analyze the trends and finally use your findings to manage possible challenges before they happen. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Bottom Line

Rework doesn’t have to leave you feeling like Rocky after his loss to Apollo Creed. Defeated. Sweaty. Face like really, really swollen.

Instead, be like Rocky after he ran up all those steps. A winner through and through. With the right tech in your corner, you can identify, record and resolve issues that would otherwise lead to rework.

There’s as many reasons rework happens as there are Rocky reboots. (They’re on like number 103 now, right?) But that doesn’t mean rework has to be your reality. Punch back with project management platforms like Buildertrend.

Miscommunication? Uppercut.

Change orders that fail to get routed? Jab.

A team that can’t handle their volume of jobs? Hook, cross, slam!

To find out how you can win not just one round against rework but every one, reach out to us today.

In the words of Rocky himself, “If I can change and you can change, everybody can change.” Ready to change your business and become a champion today?

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