GENERAL

Challenges Still Faced by the Construction Industry Despite Numerous Advancements Made

Despite numerous advancements and improvements being made, the construction industry has been living in challenges that are hard to solve. It went through a large growth face and was growing without barriers in spite of the many challenges present. However, some of these challenges are new, some are old and some have been going on for centuries.

There are numerous different approaches to construction issues. For instance, at times low rates of technology adoption are treated as a large yet individual challenge. At times, it is treated as a collection of multiple issues stemming from communication issues, problems in scheduling, documentation problems and the like.

Let us now move on towards examining key factors that have put the construction industry in quite a challenging position. In all honesty, some of these issues are simple and common, whilst some of them are complex yet avoidable. Each issue will be mentioned and described briefly.

Complying with and keeping up with numerous regulations and compliance rules

Technology is constantly evolving and changing. This results in rules and regulations having more clauses in them for stricter compliance. This in turn makes compliance difficult and keeping up with all of them is not easy. Numerous construction companies are affected by regulations but not all of them are the same.

Worldwide regulations differ from state and local legislations plus continent and region (plus bloc) wise regulations. Local regulations involve federal, state/provincial level and city level plus district and county level regulations. Each of them has a level of difference in comparison to the other.

At times, messages regarding updates in rules and regulations can get misplaced. The amount of mail and messages construction companies receive daily is enormous. 

Compliance breaches due to changes not noticed usually turn out to be sanctimonious for a lot of construction companies. It’s not like the messages end in Trash compactors, its just that these companies receive a lot of mail daily, weekly and monthly too.

It is a good practice to try and reroute all messages pertaining to regulations to a specific address/email as it helps construction companies find them easily.

Trying to work on a set schedule

Experience does matter. Then again it is quite common for even the most experienced and intelligent of all professionals to make errors in scheduling, whether or not it was properly or manually managed.

It is fortunately a problem which modern-day technology can somehow control and reduce to a large extent. Numerous automation systems, project management software and other applications are available for a wide variety of computers, laptops, and devices along with virtual task boards and vice versa.

These kinds of issues are among those which can be solved partially and completely by modern technology. However, the list wouldn’t be that long if it were not another large scale issue the construction industry has been dealing with for a long time.

Slow speed of technology adoption

A vast majority of construction companies have slow speed of technology adoption. The problem is not new as it has been like that for years. Owners of numerous companies themselves admit and acknowledge the benefits new technologies can give them but the way they have been adopting technology is a cause of concern.

It is still quite common for technology departments and divisions across most construction businesses and companies to have budgets smaller than most companies. Yet there are numerous different departments and advancements which are rarely being used by companies which are as under:

  • Internet of things.
  • Drone surveillance.
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality.
  • Wearables.
  • Robotics.

These technologies are quite useful in countering some of the oldest and long-standing issues which have persisted in the construction industry. Scheduling is one of them.

Haphazard documentation

It is not a surprise that the construction industry deals with an excess amount of documents. Whether they are contracts, receipts, material orders, insurance certificates, quotations, etc. dealing with them is a hard task. Managing documentation in the construction industry is slow, manual, redundant, repetitive, and error-prone.

At such a point, getting the whole business to work on a solely paperless mechanism is something that should have been implemented years ago. Numerous systems and solutions are present which can help with document management in numerous ways, especially in terms of categorizing them, filing them by due dates, project deadlines and the like.

Vandalism and theft of equipment, materials and other things at construction sites

Vandalism and theft are issues which are not usually associated with construction sites and the industry, but in reality, it is. It is an issue that has been affecting the industry for decades and is showing no signs of slowing down.

It is not a good thing for construction companies to tolerate, as they have to deal with numerous missing or unusable items which not only impact a project adversely but also decrease its margins too. It’s not like recycling importance dried out, a lot of things in construction are not easily recyclable.

Fixing this kind of issue needs investment in video surveillance and security equipment such as cameras, alarms, fences, lights on-site, doors with more secure locks, containers, and the like. Tracking the stored materials and equipment is also a must.

Cash flow problems

Construction companies must pay cash on hand for numerous things, regularly, and semi-regularly. Among the many things they need to pay for in cash are payments to subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, employees, and the like. Yet, it is quite likely that construction company owners will receive a payment for any project done nicely only once. This is done once the project is complete.

Cash management is a problem for a vast majority of construction companies and issues in this regard can become out of control. They in fact spawn quite a lot. 

A steady cash flow is only one solution for some issues in this matter. An open business credit line is needed for worst-case scenarios, or to help the company move through a challenging phase between the bills being due and the project being completed and paid for.

Questions regarding company finances are not the only things construction companies deal with when they are working on their projects. Many others exist as well and those problems are equally annoying.

Unreliable subcontractors

This issue relies solely on recommendations and networking. That’s correct; contractors aren’t found like candy in a shop or an item in a catalog, they are found through solid references and networking. A reliable contractor can become scarce in adverse market conditions.

In construction, the number of available subcontractors is immense. But it can be quite hard to pick one for the job, especially when looks are not to be considered. Asking materials suppliers’ for their recommendations as well as taking recommendations from vendors helps construction companies avoid bad picks. Asking subcontractors who they have worked for also helps find reliable ones.

It is always a good thing to check licenses of subcontractors, their general liability insurance and listing themselves as additionally insured within their insurance before the hiring process is finalized. 

Conclusion

Dispute avoidance is necessary in the construction industry. The challenges which plagued the industry for a long time are part of disputes which result in heavy construction claims. The amount lost by construction companies in paying for these claims is immense, and expensive. This results in construction companies going bust within a short span of time.