6 Common Construction Problems (And How To Avoid Them)

Property development is hard work. It can even be described as ‘A list of continual problems to solve’. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, and it’s filled with ups and downs. So inevitably, things will go wrong.

“Everybody has a development that goes wrong. And anyone who says they haven’t had one, are liars,” says seasoned property expert John Howard in this video, alongside Nicholas Wallwork and Tony Gimple.

To help keep your development on track, we’ve put together 6 of the most common construction issues which can cause havoc with your property development progress; here’s what to watch out for and how to keep things running smoothly.

1. Safety

Keeping your property and your workers safe is your first concern. Not only does the property need to stay tidy, but every person on the site must be wearing appropriate PPE at all times. If someone is not wearing their PPE, a supervisor must be on hand to ensure they wear their helmet, high vis clothing, or use any hearing protection or other necessary PPE for their job.

If the development site is a mess, it’s all too easy for people to trip and hurt themselves, even overflowing skips can be an accident waiting to happen. With COVID-19, cleanliness is even more part of our lifestyle, and it cannot be understated how crucial it is that all areas of the site (such as food services areas and staff toilets) are regularly cleaned.

Staff being injured or sick would slow productivity on your build and delay progress.

2. Site Access

Often, the delivery of large materials and offloading can cause problems on sites due to limited space on the property or difficult access. It can be challenging to have adequate space for the equipment to unload safely – an untidy site and limited parking won’t help.

However, semi-permanent fencing can create unloading and temporary parking zones to help fix those situations. Creating an unloading schedule will give everyone enough time and space to get the materials delivered and tidied up.

3. Communication

When planning your development, create a list of everyone you need to meet with regularly to discuss progress and next steps. This will help you avoid unnecessary miscommunication and unforeseen problems. Typically, the important people you need to speak to regularly on a build project include the main contractor, project manager, site manager, and architect. Don’t forget to include a structural engineer in that list. Even with smaller projects like adding a home extension, a structural engineer provides expertise on the structural skeleton, positioning and size of the lintels, depth of the foundation, and much more. Watch this video with Nicholas Wallwork as he does a practical site walk-through on a recent development project.

4. Cash Flow

Construction site problems can be avoided by budgeting properly for both cash and time overruns. Running out of cash can be critical for a development project and can even send some developers bust. Having access to a cash flow facility is highly recommended. It’s also important to plan your cash flow 6-9 months in advance. This gives you time to access a cash facility should you need it, rather than needing cash with only 2-weeks notice because you haven’t planned correctly.

As well as stumbling upon problems as your build progresses (like structural or plumbing issues), you may also encounter more unpredictable problems like unexpected weather damage or equipment and supply theft may put the project on hold.

For tailored advice on how to accurately plan your cash flow on your next build, book a mentorship call with Property Forum CEO Nicholas Wallwork.

5. Vandalism

Protect your site from vandalism and criminality by taking appropriate measures from day one. Include proper fencing, secure clamps, and anti-lift security. Consider adding barbed wire or security cameras for extra security measures.

6. Delays

Plan, plan, plan. First, create your schedule of works, looking at what trades and jobs are due on the project and in what order, then review this schedule regularly to coordinate any changes needed. If there are delays with the plumbing, then other trades may need to be pushed back, so a schedule plan is a fluid document that should be regularly looked at. The timeline adjusts, and trades are pushed forward or backward based on how the project moves along.

While construction site problems are bound to happen, many are avoidable. For more guidance on property development, download our free ebook here.

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