A construction site has the potential to be a hotbed of disasters, oversights, injuries, and delays or a construction site can be organized, smoothly functioning, safe, and profitable for all parties. Today, we will talk about all of the disasters that could strike during the construction of a commercial property and we will discuss what an experienced contractor will do to first, prevent the disaster and secondly, react to it. A general contractor must run a tight ship because, as Murphy’s law states, “anything that can wrong, will go wrong.” And there is a lot that can go wrong when you are dealing with dozens of workers and subcontractors who are all just trying to do their job. However, when a great general contractor is in charge, each potential disaster becomes a tiny bump in the road.
Here’s what could go wrong during a construction project:
Natural disasters and weather delays. Of course, nature is completely outside of the hands of the contractor, building owner, subcontractors, or designer. Nature will do what it plans to do regardless of what we need it to do. This has the potential to delay a construction project. However, a general contractor can either react to the delay positively or negatively. If he is prepared and organized in advance, construction will begin promptly after the inclimate weather is over.
Job site injuries. Injuries are more about being proactive rather than reactive. If someone is injured on the job, it’s already too late. They will probably have to receive worker’s compensation. It is in the best interest of everyone involved if the general contractor takes a vigilant, proactive approach to the prevention of injuries. A general contractor will follow the laws enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They will constantly look for issues that could cause falls, electrocution, fires, equipment related injuries, heat stroke, etc. The building owner won’t be liable for injuries (as long as the general contractor has the proper insurance) but it’s definitely not something that you want to happen.
Poor construction on the part of the subcontractors. Again, it’s more about prevention here. A general contractor should have worked with the hired subcontractors beforehand and if not, they should know with 100% certainty that the subcontractors are qualified, insured, and professional. If something does go wrong when it comes to subcontractors, a general contractor should remedy the problem immediately. Ignoring the problem and moving on with the construction project could only cause worse problems later on. It may cause a slight delay in construction but that is better than having issues a year after the building is finished.
Other subcontractor issues. If a subcontractor takes on too many projects at once, it could delay projects. This is irresponsible of the subcontractor and it highlights the importance of hiring a great general contractor who knows who the best in the business are.
Shipping and supply delays. Sometimes a supplier may experience a shortage in building materials and supplies that are needed for a project. It happens. However, construction can keep moving if a contractor has another supplier that can provide the materials. If there are shipping issues, hopefully a contractor can rearrange the schedule so things can still progress even in the event of a delay. If not, the contractor will re-coordinate the subcontractors and pick up once the supplies are available.
Design changes. Design changes can happen for a number of reasons: the building owner decided they needed more space or the engineer discovered a flaw. It helps if the designer and the builder are one entity. This is called a design-build construction firm. During a design change, a general contractor should document this in writing and have it signed by all parties. The ensures that everyone is on the same page and there will be no surprises when it comes time to pay for the new building.