When people talk about risks in construction, they usually take employee safety to be the subject. Which, of course, is the highest priority a construction company – or any company, for that matter! – should have. But it’s possible, through all of this talk about the risks to health and safety, that construction business owners end up not putting enough focus on project risks.
These risks are the ones that have big effects on the overall cost and quality of your project. And if you want your construction business to stand out from the competition, then it’s clear that you need to know what sort of projects risks you face and how you can deal with those scenarios.
Future risks to the completed building
If I write the word ‘defects’, then you already know that it’s something that should be avoided. Of course, this is easier said than done. While some may assume that avoiding defects may simply be a case of following the design spec to the letter, it’s not always so easy. One thing you need to look out for are the specific types of defect that can take place. They’re called patent and latent. A patent defect is a more immediate problem. It’s something that any good, reasonable inspection throughout the building process should uncover.
Then there are latent defects. These are trickier. A reasonable inspection may not uncover these flaws; they’re problems that will only make themselves known months or even years down the line. (And often in a big way!) Settling, for example, is a foundational problem that can cause cracks in the building. To help avoid this, workers will need to use a plate compactor to ensure air is properly pushed out of the foundational soil.
Productivity shouldn’t be confused with performance. While the two can be conflated in many contexts, the fact is that you need to track the two separately in order to negate as much project risk as possible. Accurately tracking productivity will result in activities being split into three categories: base work content, which is the minimum possible time for work execution; unnecessary work, which is work required to make up for design errors or production mistakes; and ineffective time, which is basically just time-wasting.
In order to properly fix productivity issues, you need to focus on a reduction of several areas of the project. The work involved in the product, the work involved in the process, and the completely unproductive time. Improvement of procedures and modernisation of your equipment can work wonders in these areas!
Not to be confused with shareholders, although shareholders are also stakeholders! A stakeholder refers to anyone who has some kind of interest in the project. Their actions can be fundamental to the success of the project – or its failure.
You need to start accounting for as many stakeholders as possible during the planning process. They’re not always as easy to identify as the client organisation and the funders of the project. There are also the suppliers to consider, the residents of the area, and even local authorities and emergency services. A stakeholder map is key to successful management of this are of the project!