8 Common construction mistakes to avoid

8 Common construction mistakes to avoid

Construction mistakes can be very costly, both financially and in terms of human costs. Keep reading to learn more about common construction mistakes and how to avoid them.

8 Common construction mistakes

1. Inaccurate estimating

Inaccurate estimating is among the most devastating construction errors, with 25% of construction companies claiming just two to three inaccurate estimates would be enough to put them out of business, according to an Intuit survey.

There are many reasons construction companies get estimates wrong. We covered seven of the most common pitfalls in this article.

Whatever the cause, this construction error can cause construction professionals to grossly underestimate the cost and complexity associated with a given project. If they proceed with the project, they may not even realize their error until it’s contractually too late to back out. That’s why inaccurate estimation can be so disastrous.

How to avoid this construction blunder

There are a variety of resources and software tools that help construction professionals arrive at better, more accurate estimates. Click here to see a list of applications we’ve reviewed.

It also helps to thoroughly understand a project (and the costs your company will likely incur in the process of completing it) before agreeing to take it on. Check out this article to learn more about the construction bidding process and the types of due diligence smart construction professionals take during it.


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2. Poor safety planning

This is easily among the worst construction mistakes given how devastating its effects can be. Poor safety planning carries regulatory, financial, and human consequences.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the construction industry accounts for one out of every five deaths among American workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, points out that construction workers face the fourth-highest rate of death on the job out of any industry.

Beyond fatalities, construction workers also face a 71% higher rate of injury than professionals in other industries, according to the National Institutes of Health.

How to avoid this construction error

Keeping construction workers safe requires a multi-pronged approach. Smart construction companies continually ensure equipment, practices, and behavior on job sites are in keeping with regulations.

3. Setting timelines too tight

Even the most well-planned construction projects occasionally experience setbacks. One of the worst construction mistakes, therefore, is failing to account for the possibility of setbacks. This can compromise the availability of resources, limiting your company’s ability to complete not only that one project but potentially others as well.

How to avoid this construction error

The simplest way to avoid this construction blunder is to schedule your company’s projects more intelligently. Use dedicated resource management software to forecast how delays in one area might affect other aspects of your business.

4. Being uncertain about the project’s financials

Most construction projects aren’t cheap for anyone involved. In fact, a survey of Canadian construction companies by Procore found that a whopping 75% of construction projects exceed budgets set by owners.

It’s therefore imperative that construction professionals conduct their own analysis to accurately estimate the project’s true costs and determine their own budgets.

How to avoid this construction blunder

Make use of standard construction processes (i.e. requests for information) to gather the context required for setting your company’s own budget and determining appropriate profit margins.

Ensure all internal stakeholders are on the same page to avoid planning conflicts and uncertainty. This will, once again, be easy if you use resource management software that serves as a single source of truth for everyone in your organization.

5. Choosing the wrong subcontractors

Subcontractors ultimately have a significant impact on project outcomes. Consequently, choosing the wrong subcontractors to work with can cause all sorts of conflicts, including:

  • shoddy work that leaves the project owner unhappy (and potentially even unlikely to work with you again as a general contractor)
  • poor productivity that demotivates other subcontractors on the job site
  • poor training that puts workers on the job site at risk
  • legal issues arising from disagreements about the work in some shape or form

How to avoid this construction blunder

Whether you’re a project owner or general contractor, much can be done during the bidding process to avoid this construction blunder. Thoroughly vet subcontractors before deciding which ones should work on your project.

You can also mitigate the effects of choosing subcontractors poorly by carefully crafting legal agreements to ensure your company’s interests are looked after.

6. Bad communication between stakeholders

It’s incredibly difficult to complete a construction project successfully when communication between stakeholders is poor. Consequences include:

  • poorly-set expectations between stakeholders
  • missed deadlines
  • uncertainty regarding vital aspects of the project (i.e. financials, resource allocations, etc)
  • a higher likelihood of severe negative outcomes (i.e. injuries arising from poorly-established protocols)

How to avoid this construction mistake

In construction, facilitating good communication is about more than managing personalities. It’s also about ensuring stakeholders have access to the information they need to contribute context-based information to the conversation.

Once again, resource management software can facilitate this.


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7. Ignoring red flags

Every construction project gone wrong likely exhibited warning signs that should have been earlier. Things like missing deadlines and going over budget rarely pop up out of nowhere. Rather, professionals with experience can often foresee them weeks (or even months) in advance.

How to avoid this construction mistake

The key to avoiding this construction mistake is twofold:

  1. Get the right experienced professionals in place who can spot project red flags
  2. Ensure those professionals have access to the right information and data

8. Neglecting regulatory requirements

Many construction projects have regulatory requirements (i.e. permits, licenses for operating certain types of equipment, etc). Failing to comply with these requirements can bring your construction project to a halt and even bring hefty fines.

How to avoid this construction mistake

Once again, having professionals with the right mix of experience in place can help your company avoid this construction error. Regulatory requirements should never be a surprise that pops up in the middle of a project; they should have been accounted for during the pre-construction stages.

Savvy professionals use Bridgit Bench to avoid construction mistakes

Bridgit Bench is among the preferred construction resource management tools among companies in North America. With it, professionals can:

  • store data about projects and resources in a compliant way
  • forecast demand for resources to avoid surprises mid-project
  • schedule labor (and communicate that scheduling to stakeholders to avoid confusion)
  • integrate their construction resource planning with other construction management tools via Bridgit Bench’s public API
  • maintain human resource and project databases that serve as single sources of truth for relevant stakeholders

Click here to learn more about Bridgit Bench. If you’d like to receive a demo of our software, visit this page.


Brandon-Richard Austin

Brandon-Richard Austin is a writer and content strategist focused on the construction sector. He’s passionate about educating readers on construction management techniques and best practices.

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