How to Avoid 3 Common Commercial Construction Scheduling Delays
Compared with a few short years ago, commercial construction moves at an incredibly fast pace today. Due to a variety of factors – from smaller profit margins following the economic downturn, to the sense of immediacy that’s so pervasive in the modern business world – everyone from our clients on down to our subcontractors are being squeezed for time and asked to deliver commercial construction projects on tighter schedules than ever before.
Any sort of construction delay can be disastrous in this time-pressed landscape, as there’s typically little wiggle room built into a construction schedule. That makes it critical to know where and why construction project delays typically happen and work to avoid them. It may be surprising, but some of the most common delays come up before any actual construction begins. Here are a few culprits to watch for in the early stages of any commercial construction project:
1. Unrealistic Expectations for Construction Permit Review
One of the first ways a project can get jammed up early on in the construction process is if the client is unrealistic about the length of the municipality’s permitting process. We’ve worked with clients who haven’t allowed enough time and then tried to fast-track permit review, but the local process is what it is – there are no special accommodations, whether you’re building in Dallas or small town, U.S.A.
The takeaway is to plan sufficiently for municipality review so the overall project schedule won’t get squeezed if permitting takes longer than expected. It’s also important to remember that permitting processes vary from city to city. An experienced commercial contractor like Southlake General Contractors can be a great resource going into unfamiliar markets because we’ve worked with building departments in many different jurisdictions – sometimes within the same metropolitan area – and can anticipate what they look for based on that experience. Southlake GC has developed a 24-city guide noting the city permit application turn-around time as an excellent resource for our clients.
2. Delays on Shop Drawings
As soon as we’re awarded the contract for a commercial construction project, we immediately award the job to our subcontractors and release them to start creating shop drawings. On a complex commercial construction project, this is an important step that can save everyone some heartache down the road, as shop drawings are basically a double-check to verify the subcontractor understands what the plans are calling for and there are no conflicts or errors. However, if the client, architect and engineer don’t sign off on the completed shop drawings in a timely manner, it can cause a cascade of construction delays. Without approved shop drawings, we can’t release the subcontractor for manufacture, which in turn delays delivery, which then puts us behind on installation dates – you get the idea.