When it comes to construction projects, one of the biggest unexpected costs can be waste, of materials, labor, and time. Time waste can be particularly draining, with wasted man-hours extending project deadlines and causing logistical challenges.
It may seem like a little here and there doesn’t affect a project that much, but “in reality, fewer than 1 in 3 contractors (30%) finish projects on time and within budget” (Wolfe). While this also has to do with uncontrollable factors, such as inclement weather and unforeseen issues, how time is spent can play a huge role in making sure a project is completed on time and on budget.
What Is the Cost of Wasted Time?
The saying “time is money” definitely applies when it comes to wasted time on construction sites. Every wasted man-hour adds up. According to a 2018 study by PlanGrid and consultancy FMI Corp, time waste is costing U.S. construction professionals around $177 billion a year. The study identified much of that waste is due to time pros spend on tasks like correcting mistakes, conflict resolution, unnecessary repetitive administrative work, and miscommunication.
Beyond the financial impact, time waste can spawn many more problems for your business if left unchecked. Any time an unnecessary delay pushes back a project completion date, it’s a blow to your credibility as a professional. That can cost you a client’s trust (and future referrals). Your reputation is an asset that’s hard to repair once it’s been damaged.
A reduced capacity to take on projects is another real result of losing labor hours. More time spent unnecessarily on fewer projects results in your business being less profitable as a whole.
Action Steps for Getting Time Back
Now that you have a sense of what time waste might be costing you, here are some action steps to start addressing major time wasters and tightening up your timeline!
Collaboration and Delegation
The 2020 National Construction Payment Report found that a shocking two-thirds of construction workers spend more than a quarter of their workweek waiting around for work. While that is a daunting statistic, time waste due to waiting can be avoided with planning and collaboration.
Ensuring that all personnel involved in a project (from pros to subcontractors to clients) are on the same page from day one can mitigate that loss of time. Including everyone in the conversation makes it possible for all variables to be laid out on the table. These group conversations are important both at the outset of the project and on a smaller scale daily as a build progresses.
One easy way to encourage effective and clear communication and task assignment is through having a project management platform like BEYREP. This platform allows all communications about a project, from initial estimate to payouts at the end, to happen in one place. This allows everyone to be working from one source of truth, cutting back on costly hours wasted.
Staying on top of all the necessary documentation and tracking down information as needed is one large piece of the organizational puzzle. For example, if you’re trying to remember what cost you quoted to a client, you might spend valuable moments digging through your inbox to find the estimate. If you made arrangements to work with another pro and have to refresh your memory on the scope of work, retrieving that information might require looking in multiple places. Administrative work can span both paper trails and digital storage, quietly siphoning time away from your project—especially if you don’t have a strong storage system in place.
Maximizing the efficiency of your record keeping is vital to making the most of your time. You may want to think back over recent situations in which you could not access information you needed, or when the estimate, invoicing, or coordinating process involved middlemen and too many steps. How can you eliminate some of that administrative busywork?
Keep it Organized
Organization of your digital and physical worksites is an area where you might be spending valuable labor without even realizing it. A disorderly workspace can result in time spent looking for the right tools or information, errors and discrepancies in schedules, or unanticipated needs that leave you scrambling. These small organizational hiccups add up, bogging down the big picture momentum of a project.
Regular, preventative pauses to reassess your needs will save you costly interruptions in the long run. Routinely sorting your physical and digital storage systems will help prevent unexpected delays that can occur when you have to access tools or information in the middle of a job. Even simply sorting through your email inbox at the beginning or end of each day makes it a more efficient space, as well as keeping it clear so there are less visual and mental distractions from the task at hand.
Having a consistent organizational system for scheduling, project information, tools, labor, estimates, and other documentation will make sure that everyone involved can find what they need, when they need it. Putting in the work to keep everything clearly sorted will also make sure that everyone involved gets paid on time—a crucial step for leaving everyone satisfied at the end of the day!
The Big Picture
Small amounts of waste are inevitable in the construction industry as plans evolve, weather conditions change, and challenges are encountered and overcome. However, by learning where your pain points are and applying a little more planning and preparation, you can dramatically reduce the time and money waste within your business.
Smooth communication goes a long way towards streamlining planning and preparation in every area of your work. Coordinating your maintenance schedule, administrative details, and division of labor allows for maximum efficiency. If you’re ready to use project management software to cut out waste from your budget, learn more about BEYREP!
Smooth communication, efficient documentation, and organized workspaces can save you important time and money.
Could BEYREP be YOUR all-in-one answer to these 3 issues? We think so!