Tips for handling uncertainty in construction

    Construction is an extremely complex process. As such, it is fertile ground for numerous challenges and uncertainties. If you consider how every project also involves a tight schedule, handling uncertainty in construction becomes an essential part of the process. Today, we here at Top Rated General Contractors LA are taking a look at this problem and the best possible ways to deal with it.

    Sources of uncertainty in construction and how to identify them

    A person calculating and writing
    Handling uncertainty in construction requires a lot of preparation.

    First of all, you can never discern the uncertainty with 100% accuracy. Even with planning every step of the way and accounting for all variables, there will still be the slightest chance of uncertainties that you couldn’t imagine happening. Still, you can manage it to an acceptable degree. It will take a lot of prior planning and preparation, but it’s definitely doable.

    Uncertainty can introduce many variables to a project. These variables can impact numerous different areas, from planning to execution. To handle uncertainty in construction, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with its sources. According to a study released by the AIA (American Institute of Architects), there are 7 major sources of uncertainty:

    #1: Owner-driven changes

    Realization of a construction project takes a long time. Constructing a new home, residential, or industrial building, can take up to several years. During this time, the priorities and needs of the owner and his clients may change. This presents uncertainty all by itself. However, it doesn’t end there. These changes may come suddenly and at later stages of the process. And at that point, they can cause a whole plethora of problems.

    #2: Miscommunication

    Hundreds of people can work on a single project. And none of them can single-handedly take care of every detail. This means that establishing a clear line of communication has to be a priority from the very beginning.

    Otherwise, you risk crippling problems such as:

    • Discrepancies in material or tool acquisition;
    • Delays;
    • Slower work speed;
    • Extra expenses.

    #3: Construction coordination

    Construction teams are responsible for every critical aspect of the project – from material acquisition to putting those materials together. That’s why they need to work like a well-oiled machine. Again, communication is essential here. Think of them like cells in the body. Each of them has its own purpose, but they all work together to make a bigger whole.

    The significance of inter-team communication is especially important if there are sudden and unforeseen changes. In this case, multiple teams will have to react and join forces. And often on short notice. This brings us to the next uncertainty.

    #4: Delays caused by unforeseen conditions

    Conditions that impact the building process are countless. And while you can manage some of them through planning and organization, some are completely beyond your control. Things like bad weather conditions can significantly delay construction. The terrain might be insufficiently examined and thus unsuitable for construction without major alterations. These and similar conditions can beg the need for additional labor or finances.

    #5: Design or documentation mistakes

    Design errors and documentation mistakes are always possible. Simply because people who create them are just that – people. However, these mistakes often lead to delays, increased demand in labor requirements, and additional expenses. To counter this, all parties involved need to communicate and coordinate among themselves. And for two reasons:

    1. Reviewing plans and documents to discover these mistakes early in the process.
    2. Taking appropriate measures to prevent these errors.

    #6: Accelerated/rushed schedule

    The need for speed is not uncommon or unheard of in the construction industry. Actually, it’s almost a trend these days. It wouldn’t be that much of an issue. But rushing creates even more uncertainty. It increases the possibility of mistakes, causes coordination issues, and leads to bigger expenses.

    #7: Delays caused by supply chains

    A lightning over the city.
    Random “Acts of God” are uncertainties that you can’t calculate or have any control over. But you can be prepared for them.

    A construction project requires numerous materials and components. Manufacturing, supplying, and distributing these is an industry in itself. Several industries, actually. At any point, this chain can be broken. Materials needed to produce components may be in short supply, thus halting the production. Extreme weather circumstances may render delivery trucks immobile. These uncertainties can be disruptive, and there’s no way to control or impact them whatsoever.

    Handling uncertainty in construction is very much possible

    Now that you know what you’re dealing with, you might feel intimidated. There’s no need for that. You may not control or prevent it, but you can certainly manage the uncertainty.

    1. Focus on proper project management

    Construction is a process governed by schedule and deadlines. Therefore, efficiency is a must, and you can achieve it through proper planning. Establish a clearly defined hierarchy of project managers, executives, and supervisors. For best results, the company in charge of construction services Los Angeles needs to have:

    • Ample experience;
    • Strong leadership skills;
    • Unquestionable authority;

    They will guide and coordinate teams, supervise the project on a higher level, and convey information to all involved parties.

    2. Divide and conquer

    The best way to deal with massive projects is to make them more manageable:

    • If possible, split the main project into multiple smaller projects or phases. They are easier to manage, and you will use time and resources more efficiently.
    • Clearly define each phase, but don’t focus on the details too much.
    • Define only the first phase in detail but outline the next one. Follow the same principle for each upcoming phase.

    In case you’re doing a project that you can’t split, make sure to make short and long-term goals. It’s good to know exactly where you’ll stand at least 3 months in advance.

    3. Improve communication

    A businessman looking at the laptop.
    Specialized software can save your time and optimize communication.

    We said it a few times already, and we’ll say it again: Communication is the key. Having a good and efficient way for teams to collaborate will significantly increase your productivity. In this case, technology is your best friend. Consider investing in proper tools and software to make the circulation of information easier and more efficient. It will allow you to coordinate your teams better, and keep you updated on all essential details. And all that without the need to run around and chase updates.

    4. Try to ascertain the risks in the preconstruction phase

    The preconstruction phase gives you and your partners enough time to work out the quirks. You can do this in a few steps:

    1. Identify risks and make a list;
    2. Find out the probability of risks, and assign percentage values to the items on the list;
    3. Sort items on the list in order of probability;
    4. Work out the ways to handle the risks;
    5. Define contingencies and be ready to put them in place.

    An analytic approach is always the best and it even pays to hire a professional for the best results.

    Minimize construction risks and uncertainties with the right help

    Handling uncertainty in construction is part of every project. Especially if that project is major and/or will take a long time to finish. But through planning, organization, and dedication you can reach the goal. And yes, the whole ordeal is more than taxing, both physically and psychically. But once your building stands tall, and you stand tall on top of it – that feeling is more than worth all the hustle. Contact our general contracting LA company to get the insight and services you need to reduce the chances of uncertainties to a minimum.

    Latest Posts