Why Does Construction Take So Long?

Everyone has heard tales of construction projects that go on for months and months. We’ve all driven past the same highway construction for years or wondered when the new office space our favorite business has been constructing for months will finally open. Why does construction take so long anyways? 

This is a complicated question with a variety of answers. Construction projects have many moving parts and in many cases, delays are inevitable and out of your contractor’s hands. But some delays are entirely within their control. Consider these five delays and how your contractor would handle each one before hiring them for the project. 

Delay 1: Weather Conditions

Depending on the type of construction, your project can be delayed due to bad weather. If it rains or snows, construction projects might have to be called off to protect the integrity of the project and the workers’ health. 

Severe temperatures, whether you live somewhere where temperatures dip below freezing and stay that way throughout the winter or if you are experiencing a heat wave, can also halt construction projects. Unfortunately, when weather is the reason for delays, there’s little that can be done to speed up a project.

Delay 2: Getting Permits

All construction projects are subject to government regulation. Even for small, private projects, local zoning laws must be followed and certain permits must be obtained. While you should look for a contractor who understands the zoning laws and which type of permit they need, getting permits in a timely manner is often out of their control. How fast a contractor can obtain a permit depends on the local government’s timeliness and organization. 

Delay 3: Lack of Collaboration 

While getting permits and weather conditions are out of a contractor’s control, managing the construction team is within it. A construction project requires the cooperation of a number of different teams and professionals. A lack of collaboration between construction workers can lead to delays and wasted time. 

If a plumber, for example, doesn’t stick to the agreed upon timeline, the entire project could be delayed. If an electrician has to wait until the roof is properly installed before starting their share of the work, the electrician could easily be delayed if the roofing team is behind schedule. Other teams or experts depending on the electricity being installed before they can begin would also then be delayed too. 

Contractor at desk with blueprints

There are many moving parts with construction projects and if one part is behind schedule or one team can’t collaborate or communicate, the entire project will take longer.

Delay 4: Incorrect Talent or Materials 

Having workers with the right skills and the proper materials for a project are crucial to its speedy completion. If a contractor buys the wrong materials or decides to cut corners to make the project cheaper, it will not be completed correctly and the contractor’s team might have to go back and redo it.

Similarly, a contractor needs to make sure the right people are working on the right parts of the project. If someone doesn’t have the right skills to install a commercial door, they most likely won’t install it properly and then someone else will have to redo the installation. 

Delay 5: Lack of Planning

A lack of planning can delay the project, lead to an excess of supplies, and waste time. In order to make sure your project goes according to plan, take your time and do research to hire a good contractor who can properly manage the scope of your construction project.

While some of these delays are outside of a contractor’s hands, others are entirely within their control. When starting a construction project, watch out for these signs of a bad contractor and make sure you find a contractor you can trust. Who you entrust your construction project to can determine how long it takes, the cost of the project, and the quality of the work. 

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project. 

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.