The Causes of Construction Inefficiency

The construction industry is a significant driver of economic activity in many countries. In Australia, it’s one of the key economic sectors, contributing 8 per cent to the country’s GDP or Gross Domestic Product. Over the past decade, the country’s construction industry has experienced one of the biggest booms in the region.

Over the next four years, several large construction projects are in the pipeline. In spite of this, analysts are seeing signs of the industry slowing down. One of the biggest issues contributing to this is the declining efficiency, especially in the residential construction network.

When a project is deemed inefficient, it means the contractor didn’t achieve the level of productivity that they anticipated, resulting in increased cost in materials and manpower. To solve inefficiency problems, contractors must try to determine the possible causes of inefficiency in their workforce.

Below, we tackle some of these possible causes.

Poor Pre-Project Planning

Before the beginning of a project, construction managers must review blueprints, the cost of resources and paperwork. Every one of these — and all the steps in between — must include a careful and thorough analysis of several factors. This spans client-related issues, regulatory concerns and deadline considerations.

If these pre-planning steps aren’t performed carefully, some details are bound to fall through the cracks. If these details end up causing errors or misunderstandings, construction projects can be delayed, as a result.

Supplier-Related Issues

The issue of poor productivity in construction products can also be traced to materials and equipment suppliers, which can, in turn, be an effect of poor pre-project planning. Suppliers contribute to the problems if they are the cause of delays in equipment or material delivery – which could, but not always, be a result of miscommunication or improper pre-planning.

Additionally, contractors not ordering enough materials or not specifying the right products from suppliers can cause major delays. For example, you might be in need of stainless steel screws for a project in Sydney, but you’re given self-tappers instead. You might need 55 bags of cement but only ordered and received 50. You will not only delay your projects as a result, but you’ll also incur extra costs.

Supply Chain Fragmentation

In a contractor’s quest to look for the most cost-effective materials and suppliers, supply chain fragmentation occurs. In this scenario, contractors search for the cheapest places to source materials, equipment and even labourers.

While this practice is touted for its cost-effectiveness, supply chain fragmentation causes disruption in information. Apart from that, the speed of the flow of information is slow. As a result, there can be miscommunications and misinformation, causing an even longer delay in the construction schedule.

Intermittent Weather Conditions

Weather is one of the things that contractors have no control over. Still, it’s not difficult to look up typical weather conditions in the area of the construction site. Anticipating and preparing for possible weather, based on what typically happens historically at that time, can make a big difference. For instance, contractors will be able to provide their workers with weather-accurate gear, enabling them to continue working and stay safe despite the weather.

Unfinished construction site

However, contractors and project managers must also understand that the weather condition itself, regardless of gear, affects the pace of the workers. Overly hot and humid weather or climate that’s too cold, rainy or snowy means workers are typically more cautious and move slower, in the interest of safety.

Like any project, construction carries the risk of inefficiency. But, by understanding and addressing these leading causes, contractors and project managers can improve their team’s efficiency.