Communication of Construction Delays

A recent report I came across revealed some stunning data about construction delays. According to the 2020 National Construction Payment Report ( wasted-time-slow-payment), “80% of construction businesses expect delays on some or all of their projects.” That is four out of five construction projects across the board that will have a delay and lose time! While it is no secret that delays are an unfortunate and often frequent problem in construction, numbers this high tells me that some conversations should be occurring on nearly all construction projects across the board that may not be happening.

Developers – Are you receiving notice letters and having open conversations about delays with your construction team? No one likes sending or receiving letters, but contracts often require them, and they don’t need to be contentious. The Douglas Company, one of our 68 documented process systems, requires that we send letters for all delay events, so the team is aware, preceded by a phone call to explain. It’s how we live our Brand Promise of “Peace of Mind” by making sure we don’t avoid the tough conversations.

Contractors – Are you actively tracking your critical path and paying attention to your schedule float? All of our weekly schedule updates at the Douglas Company include calculations on the available float and regular review of the schedule logic for open ends. Discussions about delays can’t occur if the contractor isn’t aware that they are happening.

Architects and Engineers – Are you receiving communications with firm deadlines and meeting them? Don’t underestimate the rule that timely answers to these project controls can have on a project. Remember that often contractors and developers need to discuss cost and time adjustments based on these documents as well, so they may be more urgent than they seem.

While the discussion on how to prevent and mitigate delays is a much longer one, it starts with communication. That communication needs to be rooted in the mutual understanding that delays are a likely event in any construction project based on the research and that everyone truly has a vested interest in projects being completed as quickly as possible.


Bruce Douglas

Senior Project Manager

The Douglas Company

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