A new report explores the heavy costs and common causes of a construction industry headache: rework.
According to 'Learning Practices as a Tool for Quality Costs Reductions in Construction Projects', rework can often make up as much as five percent of the contract value of a given project. So, for a $5 million construction job, rework would speak for $250,000 – a sizeable chunk. Another study by Navigant Construction Forum suggests this may only be the price of direct costs of reported rework, and that the actual total is higher, around nine percent once indirect factors are considered.
These are the facts outlined in Procore's 'Top 6 Rework Offenders Killing Your Margins' ebook. The ebook also walks through six top offenders and how they lead to rework down the line:
1. Working from outdated drawings
Construction firms spend an estimated $15 billion a year performing reworks due to inaccuracies in initial architectural drawings, failures to update stakeholders with updated drawings and discrepancies between builders and architects, The Construction Industry Institute reports.
2. Communication failures
Miscommunication is a common factor, especially in chaotic and disorganised job sites. Communication breakdowns between site staff, contractors, designers, engineers and suppliers can lead to costly delays and errors.
3. Undefined scope of work
Poor quality construction documents lead to requests for information, variations and thus potential rework. "Owners will also go out to bid with a 90 percent complete set of drawings believing they can account for variations after the contractors are signed up," says the ebook. "What many don't realise is the remaining 10 percent is made up of a lot of additional scope and owners are often surprised by the variations that result.
It's inevitable that any decent sized project will have variations, but planning for these eventualities upfront and having the proper systems and procedures in place will reduce their necessity and impact. Managing variations with emails and spreadsheets can lead to a lack of visibility and accountability between stakeholders.
5. Unskilled craftsmen
Candidate availability in the construction sector has experienced declines of around 15.5 percent, Seek data shows. Understaffed firms risk slower schedule and underqualified hires leading to poor quality projects, injury and – you guessed it – rework.
6. Ineffective or non-existent quality control
A good quality control program ensures safety requirements are met and work is done right the first time. Those responsible for quality control must make sure the project is built and completed to plan, specifications, industry and safety standards and other requirements set by architects, engineers and owners.
Rather than trying hard to estimate how much extra work will pop up throughout a given project, Procore recommends eliminating the need to redo jobs that are already complete. The overwhelming majority of issues and errors, it says, can be remedied with better communication and data sharing with the help of new technology.