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10 things that can go wrong with construction projects

Posted on 27/09/2021 at 2:18 PM by in Blog

Nobody likes making mistakes, and sometimes things just don’t go exactly as planned. This is especially common in construction, and there are plenty of things that can go wrong during a project.

With that in mind, here are 10 different situations that could happen in the middle of your construction project and how exactly you can minimise/eliminate the potential tidal wave of damage.

Delays in time schedule

Though frustrating, delays are something all contractors and clients should prepare ahead for.

Statistics show that only 1 in 10 international construction projects are actually completed on or before the specified deadline, meaning that 90% of projects are expected to work on a delayed time schedule.

The reasons behind the regularity of construction project delays vary, however it can be pinpointed to a combination of budget inaccuracies, pending permits, labour shortage and weather. The best advice here would be to prepare for the unexpected occurrences (easier said than done, we know) and incorporate them into the time schedule.

Accidents and injuries

Workplace health and safety is much more important than it once was, especially in construction.

If an accident occurs on the site of your project, the best case scenario is that the individual(s) walk away unharmed with the worst cases being expensive fines or death. In the UK, accident related fines are common of up to £20,000 and with more serious acts of negligence, the costs can be expected to reach unlimited amounts.

To avoid accidents occurring, make sure you take care of yourself and utilise the recommended PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for the job at hand. Second, practice being aware of your surroundings. A common cause of accidents is through lack of observation which means people are likely to not only injure themselves, but others also.

Lastly, make sure that the site you are working at readily enforces health and safety policies to protect yourself as a client or contractor.


So you’ve just been told that the plumber and new apprentice are both arriving onto your worksite at 9am to meet with you, nobody mentioned this before and you have a job to do.

Communicating well within the fast paced construction industry can be a challenge as well as time consuming, but it is important for the long run. Regular meetings with your employees or colleagues can help reduce unwanted miscommunication and improve productivity.

Unexpected costs

Clients, contractors and companies all try their best at estimating the costs of construction projects however, an unpleasant feeling is when the costs rise and rise and the work has to be put on hold.

Hiring an experienced construction estimator can help to minimise surprising and unwanted costs, but also by setting your budget lower can help for when these costs do unexpectedly appear.

Design faults

With an abundance of modern technology, processing permits alongside skilled tradespeople, design faults are a more uncommon occurrence.

An architect or builder will try their best to avoid the embarrassment of telling the team that the newly built £80,000 garage has to be torn down again due to their miscalculations, however human error is inevitable at times.

Processing documentation and ideas multiple times to check for mistakes helps and also to receive valuable second opinions.

Environmental factors

A grey, rainy day in Wales is regularly sight seen on the forecast and most construction projects will keep the weather in mind by natural instinct.

That being said, nobody controls the weather and it can be a real setback if all you need to do tomorrow is lay bricks and the weather forecast reads “heavy showers”. It is a must to always incorporate the weather in the time schedule when planning and quoting work.

Lack of skill

“It wasn’t me!” were the famous last words of many tradesmen. Unskillful tradesmanship can be produced by an individual with 30 years of construction experience or by somebody with none at all.

Taking into consideration again that everybody makes mistakes, it is important for contractors to honestly evaluate their skillset and limits before commencing any job as well as project managers to clearly understand the capabilities of their employees.

Project mismanagement

This can be put in a similar book to unskillful tradesmanship. Managing a construction project, big or small, is no easy feat with a lot of pressure put behind the person in charge.

Project mismanagement can be sourced from anything from simple miscalculations, over confidence or even lack of experience. A badly managed project can cause major problems and can impact day to day work, safety and the final outcome.

A construction project manager or any person in a leadership position should have intensive experience within the specific industry and prove this via certification and references.

Inadequate planning

Preparation is the key to success with any construction project. The previously stated statistics of 90% of construction projects experiencing delays would likely not be so high with perfect plans in place.

Without planning, all of the listed topics in this article could potentially come into play and impact your project in a negative manner. Bad planning leads to a failed construction project.

Without sufficient pre-preparations, it is likely that the progression and organization of the project will eventually become a complete mess. Before work commences it is recommended that a realistic working timeline be created with all necessary paperwork and permits in order.

Unrealistic expectations

Whether this be the client, contractor or company being unrealistic can turn a smoothly running project into a disaster.

Friendly discussions between contractors and clients will help to minimise the impact of disappointment if expectations aren’t met.


In summary, there are plenty of things that can go completely wrong on a construction project without sufficient planning and management.

Here at Cornerstone Projects, we help to reduce the risks of injury by providing detailed, accurate underground utility plans. By outsourcing to us, you can avoid striking buried utilities and putting members of the team in severe danger.

Register today and get a free quote.

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