Managing a residential construction project can come with many challenges, especially when progress is slowed or halted by unnecessary postponements. There are dozens of potential pitfalls that can stop a project from moving forward at any time, which is why it is not uncommon to see some residential development efforts last as long as one to two years or longer. Fortunately, with the right research and preparation, it is possible to avoid most of the issues that would cause construction to be delayed, however temporarily that might be. Here are seven ways residential contractors and site managers can keep the ball rolling during lengthy development projects.
1. Conducting the Necessary Surveys and Inspections Prior to Project Commencement
Failing to fully survey and inspect the site prior to beginning construction can lead to unforeseen delays because there could be ecological or geographical features on the property that present safety or environmental concerns. Residential construction companies will often commission ecology surveys and Preliminary Ecological Appraisals to ensure that all factors are taken into consideration beforehand. Disturbing an area’s ecosystem could lead to project postponement, fines, and negative backlash from organisations and the community. Thus, speaking to ecology surveyors from a qualified provider like Ecology Surveys is particularly important if the construction site is in an area where there is an abundance of native wildlife or flora to be considered.
2. Communicating with Relevant Authorities
Beginning construction without notifying the local housing and construction-related authorities might seem like it’s not mandatory, but obviously planning permissions must be obtained and if there are any other requirements or stipulations that could impact the project, this would be the time to submit your queries. Some departments you may want to speak with include the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. If the project is going to be extensive, such as building an entire subdivision or apartment complex, it may be necessary to contact the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA).
3. Obtaining the Necessary Licenses and Permits
Depending on the nature of the project and the tasks involved, you may need to obtain several kinds of permits and licenses. Here are some unique circumstances that may necessitate the acquisition of additional licensing or permissions:
- If the project will require removing or working around asbestos, a license from the Health and Safety Executive will be required.
- If scaffolding will need to be erected on a public highway, the local authority will need to be notified.
- If a new broiler will be installed, or if old gas or oil-using components will be handled, you’ll need to review the regulations of the Gas Safety Scheme.
- If the project will involve collecting or storing used refrigerators, you’ll need to apply for a license from the Environment Agency.
If you’re not sure about which licenses will be required, speaking with someone at the IPA or BSR should steer you in the right direction.
4. Proper Human Resource Management
Poor staffing is a major cause of residential project postponement. Hiring the right people will ensure that you’ll have competent and motivated workers pushing the project forward. If you’re a contractor who will be managing multiple construction projects at the same time, using a human resource management software could help significantly simplify the process of managing your team. Some of the best online tools and software interfaces to consider are JobProgress, BuilderTrend, Monday.com, and Fieldwire.
5. Organised Planning and Scheduling
In addition to hiring motivated and experienced site managers, it is also imperative to create a detailed plan and schedule. Many contractors make the simple mistake of forgetting to check the weather the week before and wind up having to cancel construction on days when it should have never been planned for to begin with. The key to avoiding unnecessary delays is to prevent all unwanted surprises and derailments through thorough foresight.
6. Keeping Tools and Equipment in Stock
Not having the right equipment to get the job done professionally can cause substantial delays as you would have to wait for the components to be delivered, or at the very least, you would have to source them locally. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners and using less-than-ideal methods, as you could wind up creating safety hazards or undesirable blemishes that are later noticed by realtors, residents, or other contractors. Working with a local tool and equipment rental company will give you access to a wide range of equipment and tools that you can use as necessary. Be cautious when purchasing or renting used equipment, especially if you’re buying from an individual or second-hand source and not a licenced business.
7. Notifying Nearby Residents and Businesses
Letting the neighbours know you’re going to be building next door isn’t a legal requirement, but it may be a good idea in densely urban areas and heavily populated suburbs, particularly if the construction might cause temporary disturbances or inconveniences. Likewise, if there are places of business within sight or hearing distance of the building site, it would be polite to tell them about the upcoming project as well. Letting other people know that you’re going to be building isn’t something that you’d be fined for not doing, but it is still a helpful public relations tactic that can also introduce you to new connections who may be interested in residential construction services in the near future. Networking in this way is always good for business.
Be Prepared for the Fact That Some Delays Are Unavoidable
Regardless of how many precautionary measures you take, there may be situations in which delays simply can’t be avoided. In such cases, it is best not to force moving forward in the face of resistance because rushing or working under stress can lead to undue mistakes. Workers have been injured due to hazardous work conditions created by hasty site setup practices or poor weather. If there’s something challenging the construction or the environment doesn’t seem to be cooperating, its best to wait it out. Patience will not only help you avoid mishaps, but it will also show your employees that you have a safety-first mindset which they should also have while working. You are trying to avoid project delays, but best practices demand worker safety above all else.