The Importance of Sticking to Timelines and Budgets

By Daniel Aquino
February 28, 2017

In the construction world, failing to deliver a project on time and within budget can be disastrous for both client and contractor. The frustrations that overruns cause for clients are obvious; blown budgets, late openings, lost business. School and college builds are especially sensitive to timeline pressures; new facilities simply have to be ready when the semester begins. Perhaps less obvious to industry outsiders are the consequences to the general contractor. In the case of a design build project, the contractor naturally bears the costs of any delays, reducing the profitability of the project. Complicating matters further is that each phase of the build can only begin once the previous phase is completed. Failing to hit one deadline creates a domino effect that harms the remainder of the project.

It’s a fact that certain delays just can’t be planned for, like those caused by weather or holdups with permits. However, other common issues, like long lead items arriving late and poor subcontractor performance, can be mitigated or prevented entirely with enough foresight. Over the years, Aquicon has developed a suite of best practices that help keep projects on track and ensure we’re able to deliver on time and on budget.

The first is ironclad scheduling. We prepare a baseline schedule that will be used throughout the project. Management review this schedule both daily and weekly, tracking actual progress against what was projected to identify and correct any slippage. Site managers also produce weekly look-ahead schedules, to be tracked against the baseline schedule and forwarded to senior management for review.

Close management of sub-trades is also vital to ensuring delays aren’t felt on site. The ideal is to build long-term relationships with trusted sub-trades and contractors. A track record of quality work, combined with a strong incentive to maintain the relationship, takes out an enormous amount of guesswork. In all cases, we conduct bi-weekly meetings with trades to review and discuss the schedule, identify any potential issues, and find solutions before they balloon into serious problems. We consistently monitor and score the performance and financial strength of sub-trades, and provide financial assistance to ensure materials are ordered and paid for well in advance of their being required on site.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, senior leadership are involved in every project we undertake from day one. This enables project managers to make decisions quickly and ensures they have the financial strength to order long lead items without delay. The combined benefit of years of experience, both onsite and in the office, can resolve or prevent timeline and budget issues before they derail your project.

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