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What are the Main Causes for Construction Delays?

What are the Main Causes for Construction Delays?

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Constructing a building can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process. A slight delay can cause the entire construction project to accumulate additional financial costs and lead to more complicated processes. 
Even if there is streamlined and well-defined planning between stakeholders, the project can still fall behind schedule due to unpredictable situations. Various factors that delay a construction process include improper planning, labor shortages, equipment failure, unpredictable weather, poor communication, and conflicts.  
Luckily, you can come up with a problem-solving strategy and address some critical factors to avoid delays. Check this site to learn more about the common causes of construction delays, along with the reasons we listed below.  

8 causes of construction delays 

Here are the 8 most prominent reasons for construction delays. 

  1. Unpredictable weather  

Poor weather conditions, like rain or snowstorms, do not influence indoor construction projects, such as renovation or refurbishment. However, these factors can delay your outdoor residential and commercial projects and affect your daily profit margin.  
Bad weather can delay projects, disrupt supply, close facilities, and increase construction and operational costs. Here is how weather can lead to a delay in a construction project: 

  • Dry and extreme cold weather can increase dust intensity on the construction site, leading to clogs and jams in the machinery.  
  • Extreme hot weather can reduce the effectiveness of construction materials, such as sealants, coatings, or mortar.  
  • Rain can turn a fresh mud pit into a swallow, making it harder to use an excavator or other machinery. 
  • High, strong winds can often delay tall and high construction projects like rooftops.  2.

2. Changes in project scope  
Project managers and constructors typically create a standard scope document before the beginning of the project. This document defines and determines the expected outcome by the end of a project.  
Changes in work scope, such as unexpected alterations or new requirements, poor quantity estimation, or miscalculations, can delay the project. These factors can happen due to: 

  • Poor project planning 
  • Miscommunication 
  • Funding issues 
  • Change in the client’s interest 

3. Budget shortage  
Running out of a decided budget is detrimental for a construction company. Thus, project managers must have accurate and complete access to construction costing utilities to prevent this from happening.  
Management should also have timely updates on the firm’s finances to ensure the project doesn’t require an excessive budget.  
4. Poor planning 
Planning is a critical aspect of a construction project, as it sets a solid foundation for the entire project. This step determines completion time and calculates the equipment, suppliers, materials, and labor required to complete the project.  
The main objective of planning for a construction project is to distribute tasks to different workers and achieve outcomes within the required budget and timeline.  
Different professionals and craftsmen are involved in the construction project, so a planner must ensure that every factor is covered. Any error in planning can result in the complete failure of a construction project.  
5. Design variation  
Design variation and errors are other reasons for construction delays. It’s essential to pay attention to the client’s demands during planning. Project managers must accurately represent the client’s requirements to achieve a blueprint. A faulty design can lead to cost overruns and delays.  
6. Unreliable managers or contractors  
Incompetent and unreliable managers and workers pose a significant threat to the completion of a project. These professionals collaborate with various members involved at the construction site to complete a task.  
They also perform the following tasks: 

  • Effective management 
  • Open communication 
  • Compliance documentation  

A project can be delayed if workers, contractors, and managers lack the necessary skills, training, and methodology to get this job done.  
If contractors or managers are not licensed or compliant, it can delay a project and subject it to legal conflicts and challenges.  
7. Inefficient material or equipment  
Material and equipment management is another critical component in completing a construction project. Both components influence costs and expenses in every project.   
In poor management, quality and quantity can be compromised when estimating materials and equipment. As a result, you may face additional costs and delays.  
8. Improper project schedule  
Scheduling is an essential element in completing a construction project, referring to a documentation process where each activity is arranged in a logical order to achieve the desired outcome within a specific timeline.  
If there’s a schedule for meetings, but members of the project do not show up, the time frame for the project can be affected. Therefore, it’s vital to schedule each event and process appropriately to avoid any possible setbacks and delays.  

Steps to prevent construction delays  

Once you have identified the reason behind a project delay, you can leverage these steps to speed up the construction project. 

Better planning 

Perfect planning results in improved productivity. Consider planning your project before you start working on it. It’s crucial to develop a well-defined and detailed plan before the project begins.  
Another helpful approach to better planning is reviewing previous projects from beginning to completion to highlight any roadblocks to delays.  

Keep a backup  

No matter the size of your construction project, it’s always wise to keep an emergency backup in place. For example, if there’s an electricity outage, ensure you have a power system and extra crew members to replace onsite people.  

Automate the project 

Innovation has improved the construction industry. Technology has provided the construction industry with practical and helpful systems to manage their projects.  
Various project management software platforms allow project managers to streamline processes, from bidding to invoicing to reporting to scheduling. 


Failing to meet a deadline can delay a construction project, which can be frustrating and costly for the business and the client. Prompt completion of projects is something every client expects from a constructor.  
Sometimes you can’t control the causes for delay (for example, in cases of bad weather), but you can mitigate risk for most of them with proper planning.  
If you want to ensure the accuracy of your project, consider using reliable construction management software platforms to streamline all your workflows in one dashboard. 


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