The Construction Industry Is Global Phenomenon And Construction Construction Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

It has been found out that there are lots of projects delays in the construction Industry in South Africa. These delays are affecting the South African economy and also create poverty to our country. According to the research that has been conducted so far it shows that these problem are mainly due to Poor Project planning, Poor time management, Poor Quality assurance, Delays in claims, Inconvenienced Material Supply, Climate Changes and Poor project management etc.

The problem of delays in construction industry is a worldwide marvel. In South Africa you found out only 30% of construction project were completed on time and within the scheduled completion date and that the average time overrun was between 10% and 30%. In KZN it was observed that the performance of the construction industry in terms of time is poor. Seven out of ten projects surveyed in KZN are suffered delayed in their execution.

Scelo Mhlongo is conducting the survey to identify the reasons for these delays and the prevention procedures which can be used to minimise this delays. He emphasized that timely delivery of the project within budget and to level of quality standard specified by the clients is an index of successful project delivery.

Scelo Mhlongo believes that failure to achieve targeted time, budget cost and specified quality result in various unexpected negative effects on the project

Normally, when the project are delayed, they are either extended or accelerated and therefore incur additional cost.

The normally practise usually allow a percentage of the project cost as a contingency allowance in the contract price and this allowance is usually based on judgement.

The lists of the following things were obtained during the research from different sources, main causes of delays in construction industry are:

Improper Planning

Lack of effective communication

Design errors

Shortage of supply like steel, concrete

Slow decision making

Financial issues

Shortage of material

Cash flows problems during construction

Increase in quantities

Mismanagement by the contractor

Execution bureaucracy in the owners organisations

Notification of extra works

Change in site conditions

Date of notice to proceed

Financial matters

Payments of completed work

Conflict in work schedules of subcontractors

Contractors regarded contractual relationships

Late confirmation from client and consultation regarding cost, quality and time

Experience of project team

Quality assurance/control

Long periods for approvals of test and inspections

Political influence

Social influence

Site accidents

Negotiation during construction

Changed orders and mistakes and discrepancies in contract documents


Religious factors

Weather condition

Conflicts of the drawing and specification

All the above mentioned were the answers obtained from deferent sources and some are explained and referenced according to their sources.

Research Methodology

The consultation with various companies and various Departments was conducted with regard the main causes of the project delays in the construction industry. Internet researching has also been done to find the causes of delays and solution to avoid these delays.

Constrains experienced on the research

Some interviewees were refusing to give their opinions with regards the research that was conducted, other promised that to provide their views via email, however they didn't respond.

Cost occurred during the research

Travelling expenses in conducting the interviews, trying to get newspaper articles and using internet cafes to get more and further information.

Findings (Analysis and answers)

In consultation with deferent companies and departments they responded in the topic and the mentioned some many things related to the topic.

The brief of the responses from the some interviewees are given.

The senior Project manager from DOHS Mr J Folly was consulted and he said most of the project delays are mainly due to the poor project planning which use to be done by consultants companies.

Mr Stephen Crabtree from CHS Developments (Implementing Agents) said the project failure and delays are most caused by the poor time planning by the Professional teams which are involved in the project.

The senior engineer from Bigen Africa (Structural Engineers) said the contractor related issues are most main courses of the delays.

The interview was done with Mkulu Housing construction company (Contractor) with regards the Delays on the construction project, they said if the client cannot pay the construction company on time that can cause a lot of delays on the project and the site foremen said sometimes poor material supply can be a part of delays as well as Climate changes.

Critical, Non-Critical Delays and Float

The project activities in a schedule are 2 types, critical and non-critical. The non-critical activities have certain number of days (float) where the activity can be delayed without delaying the whole project. For example five days float means that the activity can be delayed up to five days without delaying the whole project. The critical activities have zero or less float which means that each delay day will delay the whole project. Determining which activities are critical and non-critical depends on the durations and logic of the sequence of activities. Rebuilding the schedule after the fact, determining which activities are critical and which ones are non-critical and establishing the logic, which usually changes through the project, takes a highly technical research of the documents. Some assumptions and judgments may have to be taken during the analysis.

Excusable and Non-Excusable Delays

Excusable delays simply mean delays at no fault to the contractor. In this case a time extension is owed to the contractor. Non-excusable delays are delays due to the contractor's fault. A detailed revision of the contract's terms and conditions is critical to properly classify the type of each delay identified in the analysis.

Compensable and Non-Compensable Delays

Compensable delays are delays where the delayed party is owed money to compensate for the loss due to the delay. Non-compensable delay is a delay where a time extension is owed but no compensation is owed to the delayed party. For example, some contracts specify that delays due to reasons beyond the control of the owner and the contractor are delays where a time extension is granted but no compensation is paid to the delayed party. A good understanding of the contract terms is critical to the expert analysing the delay claim.

Critical, Non-Critical Delays and Float

The project activities in a schedule are 2 types, critical and non-critical. The non-critical activities have certain number of days (float) where the activity can be delayed without delaying the whole project. For example five days float means that the activity can be delayed up to five days without delaying the whole project. The critical activities have zero or less float which means that each delay day will delay the whole project. Determining which activities are critical and non-critical depends on the durations and logic of the sequence of activities. Rebuilding the schedule after the fact, determining which activities are critical and which ones are non-critical and establishing the logic, which usually changes through the project, takes a highly technical research of the documents. Some assumptions and judgments may have to be taken during the analysis.

Excusable and Non-Excusable Delays

Excusable delays simply mean delays at no fault to the contractor. In this case a time extension is owed to the contractor. Non-excusable delays are delays due to the contractor's fault. A detailed revision of the contract's terms and conditions is critical to properly classify the type of each delay identified in the analysis.

Compensable and Non-Compensable Delays

Compensable delays are delays where the delayed party is owed money to compensate for the loss due to the delay. Non-compensable delay is a delay where a time extension is owed but no compensation is owed to the delayed party. For example, some contracts specify that delays due to reasons beyond the control of the owner and the contractor are delays where a time extension is granted but no compensation is paid to the delayed party. A good understanding of the contract terms is critical to the expert analysing the delay claim.

Concurrent Delays

Some analysts simply list the delays, calculate the number of days for each delay, add them up and claim the total as the total number of delay days. Well, that is far from being an accurate analysis. The timing of each of these delays is important. We may have three delay causes that occurred during overlapping time periods or within the same period. The schedule and the actual site events have to be examined at the start date of each one of these delays to analyse its impact. We may find that only one of the three concurrent delays had an impact on the critical path of the project. After plugging that in the updated schedule, we can find out the new completion date of the whole schedule.

Using Critical Path Method scheduling (CPM) provides analysts the needed tools to conduct a proper analysis. To understand the tremendous advantage of having CPM technology, please allow me to give you a brief idea about basic principles of CPM scheduling.

Prior to CPM scheduling, owners, contractors and any other businesses that needed schedules like large manufacturers used scheduling techniques where activities were listed and the sequence identified but the activities were not tied by logical relationships. Therefore, any delay or change of schedule needed reconstruction of the whole schedule. So, if we have a large schedule with hundreds of activities, you can imagine the cumbersome process of updating the schedule, say at 75% of the project or identifying the impact of a delay on the schedule.

The CPM method and the relevant software give the user the ability to tie the schedule's activities by logic relationships. For example:

Activity B shall start when activity A is completed.

Activity C can start only when A and B are completed.

Activity D will start 5 days after activity A starts.

A scheduler builds a schedule by performing the following basic steps:

Define the activities.

Assign durations for each of the activities.

Identify the predecessor and successor activities.

Allocate the proper relationships similar to the described above.

The software automatically performs the CPM calculations, displays the schedule, gives you the completion date and identifies the critical and non-critical activities.

The CPM scheduling method helps the user do the following:

Update the schedule and clearly note the change of the completion date.

Manipulate the relationships and duration of activities to change the logic of the schedule to recover a delay and bring back the completion date to a desired date.

Insert a delay factor to an activity and immediately read the new completion date.

Identify the critical activities. These are the activities that don't have any room (float) for any delays. A 3 days delay on a critical activity delays the whole project by 3 days unless the revised logic of the schedule dictates otherwise.

Identify non critical activities. These activities have different amounts of float. A float of 20 days means that this activity can be delayed up to 20 days without impacting the whole schedule.

When the first submitted schedule is approved, it is considered a base schedule for future updates and delay analysis. That means the project manager needs to carefully review the schedule and the critical path prior to approving the schedule. Some of the elements that need careful review are:

Verify that the start and completion dates of the whole project match the contract dates.

Check that the assigned durations are realistic.

Review the logical ties between the activities.

Look through the critical path and check what activities are critical.

If the schedule show the phasing required.

Having introduced all these basic concepts related to delay analysis, please note below the different methods that are commonly used to analyse delays:

As-Planned vs. As-Built method

Impacted As-Planned method

Collapsed As-built or "But for" method

Window analysis method

As-Built method

Contemporaneous method

As-Planned Vs. As-Built Method

The analyst compares the dates and durations of selected activities shown on the as-planned schedule with the actual dates and durations on an as-built schedule and considers the difference to be the delay on the job.

This is a very simplistic view of the delay claim because it ignores the following important factors:

The cause of the delays.

The timing of the individual delays and their impact on the schedule to be able to attribute the correct amount of delay days to the right responsible party.

It ignores the impact of concurrent delays.

It ignores the fact that the logic and sequence of the as-planned schedule may have changed through the project due to numerous delaying factors.

Impacted As-Planned Method

In this method the analyst lists the excusable delays (or delays where time extension is owed to the contractor) and inserts the extended duration to the relevant activities. The analyst reads the revised completion date and calculated the days between this date and the as-planned completion date and determines that these are the number of days owed to the contractor. The sources of error in this method are:

It ignores the actual as-built schedule and events on site.

It assumes that the logic of the as-planned schedule reflect the reality on site.

It ignores the inexcusable delays that may have been concurrent to some of these inserted delays which impacts the number of days owed to the contractor.

Since the analyst is only using the as-planned schedule, this method doesn't incorporate changes in logic and out of sequence work.

Collapsed As-Built or "But For" Method

In this method the analyst takes the actual as-built schedule and takes out the duration of all the excusable delays (delays rightfully owed to the contractor). This revision forms the collapsed as-built schedule. The analyst reads the completion date on the collapsed as-built schedule and considers this date to be the completion date of the project had the contractor not been delayed. The analyst calculates the days between the collapsed as-built and the completion date from the as-built schedule and considers these days to be the days owed to the contractor. The sources of error in this method are:

It depends on the as-built schedule to be accurate.

The excusable delays removed from the as-built schedule are assumed to be excusable without a complete analysis of these delays, the causes and concurrencies. That means subjective assumptions and judgments have been taken and need to be examined.

It doesn't factor in how the sequence of operation changed any acceleration that took place, any recovery that took place because the as-built schedule is a representation of what really happened on site without addressing causes and effects of delays along the way.

In some cases, where an as-built schedule does not exist, the analyst recreates the as-built schedule based on his/her research. This product does not reflect the planned logic of activities or the planned critical path.

Window Analysis Method

This method is based on analysing the delay over the entire schedule dividing it to windows with a selected duration, most commonly used is monthly. The analyst looks at the activities within the selected window, updates the activities incorporating the delays within the selected window. Updating the selected window changes the as-planned schedule to an as-built schedule up to the end date of the selected window and becomes the basis for projecting the remaining activities from the end of the window to the completion of the project. The sources of error in this method are:

Need to have accurate as-built information on the start and finish dates of the windows.

The original base schedule has to be accurate.

There may be delaying activities outside the selected window that have an impact.

As-Built Method

This method is used in the absence of reliable schedules on the job. In this case the analyst recreates a schedule based on actual information. The analyst determines the logical ties between the activities to form a retrospective schedule which becomes the basis for analysing the effect of the delays. Durations are given to the activities based on reasonable time to finish the various activities. The delays are then inserted in the newly created schedule and then compared with the actual as-built durations to calculate the number of delay days. The sources of error in the method:

The analyst has to be very experienced in construction means and methods.

There is a lot of judgment calls by the analyst that need to be examined.

Contemporaneous Method

This is usually the preferred method of analysing delays. In this method, the analyst takes a look at the schedule and actual site progress on the starting date of each delay, and then inserts the delays in the schedule. The new completion date is compared to the original completion date to determine the delay days. This way the impact of concurrent delays is incorporated, the new critical path reflects reality on site and effect of the delaying causes. The sources of error in this method:

Having good documentation to reflect the actual site progress.

Accurate schedule updates.

Poor planning

The following story courted from internet research shows how the feasibility study delays the project in planning stage and it also shows the important of appointing good consultants companies and good construction companies.

Poor feasibility study delays projects

15 Nov 2011 - Story by Roi Bala

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Roi Bala, says a poor-quality feasibility study produced by a local company has caused delays in the construction of two roads.

The two, capital-intensive road construction projects are envisioned for Zulu land and South Coast Regions.

Quotations for the 85 kilometer Richards Bay road and the 98 kilometer Hardin road, to be financed through a loan from the National government, were scheduled to be handed over to the works ministry about three months ago.

However, Roi, told us recently that the study presented to him by Consulting Services Africa, a company tasked with conducting the pre-feasibility, feasibility and designs for the two roads, was of poor quality and was technically flawed.

This, he said, was the primary reason for relieving the company of its duties to hasten the project that has so far faced unnecessary delays.

Roi said the company was supposed to finalize its work on August 30 this year but they only submitted the results on October 14, about 11 months after they were mandated to carry out the job in November 2010.

"The quality of the study is poor and it was late," Roi said, adding that the determination was made by a team of engineers from the Roads Authority who did the inspection on behalf of the ministry.

However, he remains optimistic that construction will begin by mid-2013 on both roads as the ministry has appointed a new company to conduct the feasibility study and do the designs. The availability of the study will determine the total cost of the project.

"I cannot tell the total amount at this stage but we will surely know this when the study is completed. I believe that construction will commence in May 2013."

Meanwhile, the PS dismissed a report in yesterday's Sunday Sun newspaper alleging that he and his Minister "by-passed" tender rules and procedures by awarding the tender to the contractors.

He explained that two companies were appointed to construct the roads in "compliance with conditions" of the soft loan from the National government that came with pre-conditions.

"We appointed two companies from the three that had applied.

The National government set conditions that construction of the two roads will be done by their own companies," Roi said.

"The National government is not the only ones who give loans to government with strings attached, as this appears an international norm as western governments also often insist on consultants from their countries to oversee capital projects funded by them."

He, however, stated that these companies were advised to have South African components upon appointment.

The PS further expressed dissatisfaction that the Sunday Sun chose to ignore the two appointments that he made with them concerning the same issue.

He said the reporter insisted on the interview being conducted telephonically or via email but he said the reason he wanted the reporter at his office was to show him documents, which could not be done over the phone because the documents are technical and are laced with technical jargon.

Many roads constructed in recent times, especially in the north, have come under heavy criticism lately for their poor workmanship.

Government has been losing money because of having to repair roads that were shoddily built, according to Roi Bala.

Land Auditing

during the implementation or the feasibility study of the project, if consultants do not plan the project in according it has great impact during the implementation of the project such as the a land audit, the reality that during the construction phase of the project the poor planning by the land auditor may raise real delays in the future.

Environmental Report

If the environmentalist do not do full report during the planning stage, the changes that may be done during the construction stage it may completely delays the project because any changes that can be done during the construction stage its completely delays the project no matter how minor the change is as long as it affect the production on site.

Geotechnical report

Mr J Folly said it happened on one of his project that the geotechnical engineer gave wrong report with regards the soil conditions on site, The civil engineer who were designing the foundation of the project designed the foundations to suit the soil condition of the site, during the construction stage it was noted that the designed foundations were not suitable for the conditions of the soil so the engineers were to redesign the foundation for the whole project and that took the engineers 2 months to redesign the foundations.

Social facilitation-

the social facilitator have to make sure that the community understand the project during the planning stage, however it may happen that the community does not accept the project as the consultants which but social facilitator has a responsibility to make sure that before the project get to construction everything is well iron out. The employments labours have to be in place to avoid dispute within the area surrounding the project. Social facilitator to make sure that all community stake holders understand the daily rate for labours and for local subcontractor to avoid striking of employees which used to main causes for the delays.

Prevention of poor project planning

All professional team must be penalised for any delay that may occur during the construction stage of the project regardless how minor the delay is. Retention must be hold back to until the end of the project.

Poor time management

According to Mr Crabtree he thinks that all delays are caused by the poor time management and time planning. The critical time to be planned properly is the first three months of the project where all stake holders have to understand struggling to understand the real nature of the project; the employees do not understand the reality of the project. Time wasted by suppliers where they fail to deliverer the material on time on site, all this minor time delays has negative impact in the programme of the project, however the professional must always have the recovery plan for delay that may occur on the project.

The site agents waste time during the beginning of the project and if the contractor sticks on its programme during the beginning of the project the delays are being minimised.

Prevention of poor time management

All stake holders must be forced to produce their programme which goes together with recover plan in case of delayed occurred.

Slow decision making

As construction industry surrounded by challenges and problems, it cannot be easy to manage the project if you always depend on other people decision. The site agent who delays to take fast decision can delay the project because other decision needs to be taken on site without consultation of other role players however urgent decisions are not advisable.

Designs arrows

According to article by Mr Mooler, the change of designs during the construction stage can affect the turnaround time of the project as it happened at Port Shepstone Hospital which was on a construction stage and the engineers realise that the type of foundation for the project were wrong and they were required to be changed at that time the contractor was already started the excavation of foundation. The contractor was to apply for the extension of time because they were to backfill and closes all excavation and start to excavate new foundations.

Contractors related factors

Contractor improper planning

According to Mr Terrence' local contractors often fails to come out with a practical and workable "work program" at the initial planning stage. This failure is consistent with the lack of organized site management and inadequate contractors experience toward the project. The consultant's only checks and reviews the work program submitted by the contractor based on experience and intuitive judgment. Improper planning at the initial stage of a project manifests throughout the project and causes delays at various stages. Only the project that is well planned can be well executed

Contractor's poor site management

Mr Terrence believes that contractor's poor site management is one of significant causes in causing the construction delays. The result of this research indicate that local contractors face shortage in site planning, implementing and controls. A poor site management result in delays in responding to the issues that arise and causes negative impact on the overall wok progress.

Inadequate contractor's experience

Mr Terence indicated that inadequate contractor experience was an important factor and this could be linked to the contractors awarding procedures where most project were awarded to the lowest bidder. A contractor with inadequate experience cannot plan and manage the project properly and this can lead to disastrous consequences.

Problems with subcontractors

According to Mr Terrence: he says typical huge projects; there are many subcontractors working under main contractor. If the subcontractor is capable, the project can be completed on time as planned. The project can be delayed if the subcontractors under performs because of inadequate experienced or capability, High degree of subcontracting in South Africa leads to the high risk of delays and this leads to inefficiencies in the South African construction industry.

Shortage of material on site

Shortage of basic material like stones, cement, sand, and iron can cause major delays in project. Since South Africa is a country that is developing very fast, often times demands exceeds the supply and this causes prices to increase. The contractors postpone the purchase activities until the prices decrease. MR Terence investigated material and equipment procurement delays in highway project in KZN and found these delays to cause overrun.

Labour Supply

Terence said the quality and quantity of labours supply can have major impact on the projects. About 20% of the workers in South African construction industry are foreign workers, Mainly from Mozambique and Zimbabwe. A few of them are illegal workers and their work quality is relatively high when compared to local labours. The low quality and productivity of the local labours have impact on the project progress and efficiency. The illegal workers are frequently caught by the South African immigrant officials and deported and this caused shortage of quality labours and pool in the construction industry.

Equipment availability and failure

According to Terrence many contractors do not own that are required for the construction work. They rent equipment's when required. During the season when there are many construction projects; the equipment's are in short supply and are poorly maintained. This failure of the equipment's causing the progress to be hampered.

Mistake during construction stage

The mistakes during the construction stage can be due to accident, inadequate planning or miscommunication between the parties. Whatever the reason, the mistakes can have impact on the progress of the project. While analysing the effect of the delays, all respondents were common in ranking highly by the respondents. Any delays in the project can lead to cost and time overrun and these two are linked. Whenever there delays, there are disputes as to who should bear the responsibility and the cost. These disputes often lead to an arbitration process by third parties and failure in this processes leads to ligation where the disputes are settled by court. In extreme cases some projects might be totally uncontrolled. About 20% of South African projects are uncontrolled.

Lack of communication of parties

Terrence said since thee many parties in the project, the communication between the parties is very critical for the success of the project. Proper communication channels between the various parties must be established during the planning stage. Any problem with communication can lead to severe misunderstanding and therefore, delays in the execution of the project.

Time overrun

Terrence thinks that clients related and contractors related factors have impact on the time overrun. Out of ten most important causes of delays discussed earlier, six causes belong to the clients related factors and contractors related factors. Factors such as inadequate planning by the contractors, improper site management by the contractor, inadequate project handling experience of the contractor and delay in payments for work completion of the project and cause time overrun.

Cost overrun

Contractors related factors such as change orders and mistakes and discrepancies in the contract documents resulting in the cost overrun. Mistakes and discrepancies in the contract documents can be in the scope; deliverables, Resources available and allocated, payment terms, achievement of various milestones, and the project duration. Correlation analysis between cost and time overrun indicated a strong linkage.


He believes that clients related factors, contracts related, contract relationship related and external factors have impact on disputed that arise during the course of the project. The factor such as delays in payments for completed work, frequent owner interference, changing requirements, lack of communication between the various parties, problems with neighbours and unforeseen site conditions give rise to disputes between various parties. The dispute, if not resolved amicably can lead to arbitration or litigation.


When the parties fail to resolves the dispute, dispute to settle by arbitration process. A component third party can settle the disputes amicably without going to the court.

Payments related factors

Clients finance and payments for completed work

Mr. Stephen ( Mkhulu Housing) said construction works involve huge amount of money and most of the contractors find it very difficult to bear the heavy daily construction expenses when the payments are delayed. Work progress can be delayed to the late payments from the client because there is inadequate cash flow to support construction expenses especially for those contractors who are not financially sound.

Subcontractor's payments delays

If the subcontractors are not paid on time by the main contractor they tend to pull back or slowdown the production on site, and if they are not satisfied with the payments that they get it might also delay the project. (Mr Stephen)

Supplier's payments

Supplier has to be paid on time as we all know that all material purchases have to be done before material delivered on site.

Wages and salaries payments

Delays on wages and salaries can lead to striking of workers which tends to let down the ptroject and delay the project. Unsatisfying wages to employees may also demotivate the workers and they may not produce as they are supposed to produce.

According to my understanding there are several courses of delays and below is what I think are some of the causes and possible prevention procedures


According to my understanding: The source of many headaches for contractors, inspections requires careful planning and time budgeting. Calling for them before the project is ready, calling for them too late, or failing them can all cause delays.


This is what I suggest should be done; you need to be able to tell when a job is truly ready for inspection. Acquiring at least a working knowledge of as many skills on the job as possible will serve you well. In addition, spend time with subcontractors to understand more of what they do. Remember that failure of an inspection may not only require more of your time but may also necessitate a subcontractor returning.

You'll also need knowledge of how inspections work in the area of your project; systems differ from city to city and suburb to suburb. In one locale, one inspector may arrive to conduct four inspections at once. Another city may require six inspections - some of which may depend on passing others - by six different people on six different days.

Subcontractor delays

According to my understanding: while a general contractor has only a few projects in progress at a time, a subcontractor usually has many at a time. A delay in any one of those will likely cause a delay in your job. The priority of your project may be lower with a given subcontractor because he or she has a number of active projects - some of which may be larger and more financially lucrative than yours.


and this is what need to be done, Contractors need some clout or leverage with subcontractors. With a general contractor, that leverage is future work. For individuals serving as their own general contractors, that leverage will need to be financial.

Penalties for not starting on time can help, but few subcontractors will agree to contracts with such clauses. You will have better success by getting to know your subcontractors, understanding what they do, and communicating frequently and clearly with them about deadlines.

Delays in shipping times

If the windows you ordered right on schedule don't arrive on time because of unforeseen problems at the supplier's warehouse, you can't keep the house dry when it rains, and the electricians can't start on time. Sound familiar? Windows, cabinets, appliances, and special-order items are common sources of delays. A late shipment of even one item can throw off subcontractors' schedules.


Steer clients toward in-stock items whenever possible, or use suppliers that maintain larger local stocks of needed items. Otherwise, double the estimated shipping time for your planning purposes. If a client decides to order something on his or her own, specify exact dates - with a buffer - for when you will need the items.

Client change of mind

Every contractor knows that once a project begins to take shape, the client can visualize better and will request changes. And, given that the client is the (paying) client, he or she can make changes - if he or she understands the consequences.


Comprehensive, proactive communication with clients before a project originates can set the stage. While you can't anticipate every client request, you can outline some specific examples so that they understand the time and cost penalties of changes. Clients may not realize that a seemingly simple request, for example, could require a change in design, reengineering, re-filings with the municipality, and reordering of materials.

Also, explain the chain effect of changes to clients, with examples. Moving a wall, door, or window just a few inches also could mean that you need to call back a plumbing or electrical subcontractor and need to work with their schedules.

Be sure to work with a designer - a good one who understands construction - and make sure that both you and the designer have thought through the project clearly before beginning. Then, firmly agree on the design with your client at the start, with a written sign-off. You may not eliminate change requests, but you'll have set up a clear system for handling them.

Weather -

Meteorologists have a hard enough time forecasting tomorrow's weather. So how, you say, can you forestall and account for weather problems in your project? One standard key is always to build some degree of extra time into your project timeline. How much and where in the schedule you build this in depends on the nature of your project and the area of the country in which you are working.


If your project is primarily indoors, the added time may be minimal - but not zero. Keep in mind that you may be dependent on materials shipping from other parts of the country that could be adversely affected by weather. Also, remember that while you may be working comfortably inside, you - and your team - must get to and from the job site. Should snow, rain, storms, or other factors come into play, it is likely you will lose some time.

In your project timeline, you'll need to remember the types of weather delays that can affect various parts of your project. For instance, frost can be a cause of delay in pouring concrete. If you can adjust your schedule to pour concrete in a warm season, you can avoid this possibility. Otherwise, you'll need to build in extra time for this task. Contractors in the Southwest United States can generally count on low humidity and plan painting accordingly; those in the South will need to factor in extra time.

For major outdoor work in many areas of the country affected by severe winters, super-structures to cover your work may make sense. Since they are expensive, you'll need to do careful cost-benefit analyses to determine your savings.

The bottom line is to plan and account for the unexpected. When forecasters say there is no chance of rain, and you don't have a roof on your project, know that it will rain, and you will need to allocate time for cleanup. Become a good time manager and account for possible delays in your schedule. And if things go more smoothly than you anticipate, you - and your client - will be ahead.


It is recommend that at the planning stage; the qualified and experienced professional team have to be appointed to make sure that planning of the project is good. All appointed professional teams have to be provided with stipulated time frame of the project and they must plan their task according to the given Time frames, failing to comply with the given time frame by the professional team, strictly penalties must be applied. Experienced and qualified quality controllers and supervisors have to be employed and quality management workshop has to be arranged at least once a month. Suppliers have to be given delivery time frames and if they are failing to comply with the given time frame, penalties for late material supply have to be applied. Penalties have to be paid by the client if he fails to pay on time. Proper planning in terms of production during different weather conditions have to be conducted.

Get early warning of delays due to the client, main contractor or your people. Client delays arise because they change their minds, give their instructions too late or are slow in approving drawings etc. They tend to overlook the fact that these delays push back the start for "E&M" contractors and that the contractor is powerless to avoid these delays. Main contractor delays are usually the result of construction work not being complete so that later installations such installing heavy equipment can proceed. In some cases, delays are the result of mismanagement and a lack of coordination. Last but not least, the "E&M" contractor may himself cause delays, for example by under-resourcing the project in the early stages or not completing design drawings and getting them approved in time

Make sure the client knows when they are the cause of the delay - clients have selective memories. When they make design changes, issue late instructions, or are slow in approving designs, they need to realize that there is a knock on effect. Time is indeed money, typically the contractor's money unless it is recognized by the client what the effect of their actions is on the completion of the project stages and the critical path. Use phrases such as "Mr Client, I am happy to implement these changes, however, I need to point out that we need to reorder equipment and get approvals, both of which will take time" and then get it in writing!

Freeze design changes at a certain point to allow for procurement lead times, approvals etc. When there is a fixed deadline, for example a sports complex has to be opened on a certain date, there is a "Point of No More Changes". Too often the subcontractor is held accountable as "the Last Man Standing" - don't be caught in this position

Monitor the work done by the earlier contractor or contractors carefully - and make sure delays outside your control are recognized and documented. Delays that are outside your control and impact you financially need to be recorded and the financial impact dealt with by the appropriate responsible person. Remember, you shouldn't bear the cost of other peoples' delays, nor should you be blamed for them!

Keep an eye on what your team are doing that might cause delays - typical examples include starting late, late submission of drawings, mistakes in your drawings. Where we are at fault, we have to accept the costs and try and make good the delays and recover the costs we incur. Remember; when we are honest about our errors, people will more readily accept our claims when it's not our fault.

Mitigate" the impact of the delays - accelerate work, use up your "float" and redefine the Critical Path. Whatever the cause of the delay, we must try and recover our position - after all, if a critical date is missed; it may not matter to the client who is at fault.


In conclusion the research is identifying the main causes and recommendation that can be used to avoid the delays. The final report will assist those who are involve in construction industry by giving views and the understanding the reasons that causes delays.

I investigated the causes and effect of the delays facing South Africa industry. A questionnaire was designed and distributed among the three major groups of participants (Clients, Consultants and Contractors). I identified main causes of delays and ten most important causes

Contractors improper planning

Contractors poor site management

Inadequate contractors experience

Problems with subcontractors

Shortage of material on site

Labour Supply

Equipment availability and failure

Lots of question was raised and answers during the research and some recommendations were made, the final report is going to give overall

Errors and omissions in the contract documents:

Missing information.

Not having a phasing plan in the bid documents when the site work has to be done in phases.

Conflicting information that need design revisions.

Contractor caused delays for reasons under their control:

Not having enough labour force on site.

Contractual problems between the prime contractor and subcontractors.

Cash flow issues.

Lack of proper planning and management of the project.

Delays for reasons beyond the contractor or owner's control:


Out of state manufacturer's shut down.

A subcontractor going out of business in the middle of the project.

Unusual weather conditions.

Owner caused delays for reasons under their control:

Scope changes.

Limiting contractor's access to parts of the site.

Cash flow.

Late processing of contractor's requests for clarifications and change orders.

A higher level political factor that impacted the project's progress.

Personality conflicts between the project's team.

Unfortunately, sometimes this factor results in the team making things difficult on site that cause delays. In this case each party blames the other for the delay.