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Top 5 Reasons Why Construction Projects Get Delayed


Construction projects require the co-ordination of design, materials, plants and teams. The efficient management of all these things is a complex job.

Construction can begin despite many ‘unknown’ matters such as incomplete design information, uncertain conditions of sites, long lead procurement items, and so on. As a consequence delays are common. Nearly 70% of the construction projects do not achieve the planned completion dates. [N1]

Construction Design Delays

Reason 1: Design Delays

Design problems are one of the most common delay reasons. As construction works cannot commence without an approved design, this makes design works critical for the projects. Our expertise shows that design problems are the top delay cause, especially in early stages of projects.

Example: The Contractor goes to market for getting quotations for a LV switchgear package. Then the suppliers inform the Contractor that the given design is wrong, and they cannot provide a quotation for that. The current standards tell to use another material. So the Contractor goes to the Client and explains this. The client ignores the problem and replies as “This design is given you during tender stage and its your responsibility to assess this properly.” And the delay process starts.

Construction Procurement Delays

Reason 2: Procurement Delays

Poor procurement management can result significant delays in construction projects. Considering the long lead items, material shortages and supply chain issues, these all can cause delay in a project.

Example: During the tender stage, the Contractor allows 12 weeks for the diesel generator procurement. After project is awarded, the Contractor’s QS contacts to the suppliers. The suppliers say that the lead time is 20 weeks now, due to material shortages in Germany. The Contractor figures out that this delay impacts the energisation date and commissioning works and eventually the PC date.

Construction Communication Delays

Reason 3: Communication Issues

Communication is key for the construction project success. A misunderstanding may cause different sort of problems, from a minor access delay to a huge coordination delay. In order to prevent these problems, we strongly suggest to use powerful communication tools and applications.

Example: The Client sends an email to the Contractor and informs them that the lift company will start the lift installation works 2 weeks later and they ask the Contractor to make the power ready by that date. The Contractor’s engineer misses the email. The lift company appears on the site, and sees no power. Then they inform the Client that there is no power and they cannot start the works. Therefore they will charge the loss time and ask for EoT.

Reason 4: Change Orders

We always come across the delayed projects due to change orders. Every change order is a potential delay. Therefore, change order management is crucial for a successful project delivery. This is also very disputatious subject. Since the change order owners are tend to underestimate the cost & time impacts of their orders.

Example: The Client changes the containment layout for a floor, and sends new design to the Contractor. The Contractor review the new design and inform the Client that this will impact the PC date as 2 weeks. The Client rejects the time extension request since they think that the delay will only impact one floor and not for the whole project.

Construction Environmental Delays

Reason 5: environmental problems

The environmental problems include storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme temperature status, etc. You may want to re-check your contract to review if you are covering your company from these kind of delays responsibilities.

Example: The example is simple for this scenario. The Contractor’s crane cannot work 15 days in a year due to the wind. Therefore they ask for time extension and extra money from the Client. However the Client rejects it since the Contractor made no allowance in the tender for this.


As described above, there are many types of delay causes in a construction project. Also sometimes you may face combination of these delays. If your company faces any of these delay, we are here to help. Reach us and we will assess the delay, responsibility, claim chance and provide you an end to end solution from our services.


[N1:Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, published in 2001, the National Audit Office]

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