Mitigating delays

The two biggest causes of delay and unexpected costs are the weather and mismanagement. Whilst the weather is out of your control (although this could be a consideration for the start date of your project), mismanagement is something that can be mitigated to a greater extent. Take a look below at some of the impacts which may arise from severe weather conditions and mismanagement.

The most common forms of unforeseen costs after the substructure and pre-construction tend to be:


Bad weather in Q1 2018 cost the UK an estimated £1bn per day. Construction contracts do not always define adverse weather conditions, so it is down to the Contract Administrator to adjudicate, which could lead to disputes.

It is important to consider what time of year the project taking place. It makes a huge difference if the foundations being dug or filled are in overly hot or cold weather? This is also something to be considered during the bricklaying phase.

Impacts of adverse weather include:

  • Cold weather
    • Sub-zero temperatures make it impossible to lay bricks
    • There are health & safety considerations at a low temperature. Cold weather can affect concentration and dexterity of workers in an already high-risk environment
    • The cold weather may influence transportation costs with worsening road conditions for deliveries. Similarly, if the site is muddy, it can be dangerous for truck drivers as well as other road users
    • Finally, concrete doesn’t set below certain temperatures which has an affect on foundations and brickwork
  • Hot and dry conditions
    • The heat causes water in concrete and masonry to evaporate too quickly
    • Dry bricks absorb water in mortar, forming a weak bond
  • Wet weather
    • This causes trouble excavating
    • Pumps are required to remove water which impacts time and cost



Mismanagement can be put down to poorly preparing and organising your professional team. Instructing experienced and reliable professionals is key to the success of a project.

General points to consider include:

  • How active is the architect in the project? This is interlinked with what type of contract is used. Regardless, it is no doubt easier to build a project if the person who designed it is there to guide
  • Has the developer employed a professional Project Manager? Experience of Project Manager is key, the more complicated a project, the greater the need for someone to coordinate the ideas from all parties and the logistics of the project (as described below). A good project manager will provide efficiencies in every aspect of a development
  • Organisation of the project manager. Do they have a clear idea of when things should be happening? Most often the implications of poor organisation arise towards the end of the project, with sub-contractors working on top of each other and utility quotes not being provided
  • How hands-on is the developer? It is important for all involved to have clear goals of what they want for the project. A changing of scope mid-project will understandably frustrate time and cost scales
  • A well thought out utility plan is key to ensuring that delays are mitigated as much as possible points to consider include:
    • How difficult will it be to make connections to the development?
    • Ease of access. Looking at where the connections will be made and considering whether existing infrastructure may have to be moved or closed temporarily
    • Route of the utilities and potential obstructions which may arise
    • Contact with the relevant suppliers should have been made, quotes acquired, by the project manager/contractor as early as possible. These include:
      • Gas
      • Water
      • Drainage
      • Telecoms
      • Electric


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