This article is part of a larger piece published on the Autodesk Digital Builder Blog. To read the original in its entirety, click HERE.
In construction…rework plagues owners, managers, trade contractors, and laborers alike. It also is a productivity killer, stealing hours, days, and even months from projects. In some cases, it causes such severe missed deadlines and budget overruns that builders fail to meet contracts and face legal consequences, or at the very least, loss of good name and potential future business.
If that sounds like a professional nightmare to you, as it does to most people in construction, you’ll be glad to hear that there is an answer. In fact, a lot of rework can be avoided, if only you understand the most common causes and how to prevent them.
First and foremost, it pays to understand why rework crops up in the first place. By that, we mean it literally pays to know the root of rework. Who is responsible? What processes or materials aren’t cutting the mustard? Why does information get lost in translation, and how does decision-making play in?
Here are a few of the most common reasons for rework in construction:
- Missing documents and details: Not having the information or the correct information you need when construction teams need it most
- Poor or ineffective procurement methods: Failing to get supplies in time or getting the wrong materials and supplies together
- Poor quality: Workers who don’t have the proper training to complete the work correctly or are just being careless in the execution
- Poor quality materials: Building supplies that don’t meet technical or structural requirements
- Poor supervision: Lack of proper oversight of subordinates
- Failure of structural design: A poor or incomplete design in the first place that does not meet engineering standards
- Poor communication: The inability or barriers for teams to speak to one another in the field, especially when project information is all stored in a central space
- No collaboration: A work environment that fails to encourage proper teamwork, and might even create adversarial relationships between different stakeholders
- Misunderstanding of client requirements: Not understanding what the client is looking for, or being confused and failing to correct the problem
- Ineffective management or decision-making: Higher-ups who don’t know what they’re doing or don’t inspire others to follow
- No standard systems or processes: A failure to implement quality control and ensure the process and results measure up
- Schedule pressures: Rushing to meet a deadline and failing to adhere to designs or quality standards
The biggest factor to rework in construction, however, is design changes, errors, and omissions. According to quality.org, “Up to 70 percent of total rework experienced in construction and engineering products are a result of design-induced rework.”
According to a meta-study conducted by the Islamic University of Gaza in collaboration with the Berlin School of Technology, “…almost 80 percent of costs of deviations were related to design and 17 percent were construction related.”
Communication and data also play a significant role here. According to a report from Autodesk and FMI, miscommunication and poor project data account for 48 percent of all rework on U.S. construction job sites. On average, professionals spend four hours a week dealing with rework-related activities, such as managing the mistakes on a project that result in rework, assessing the associated costs, and determining why the mistakes happened.
The takeaway? Designers and contractors sow the seeds of rework in the very earliest stages of a project. When data is incorrect or there are miscommunications, this further increases the likelihood of rework on a project.
In the next article, we will focus on the three ways rework affects construction projects and seven ways to tackle rework in construction, so stay tuned.