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Why are we cutting corners in construction?

Posted on 10/03/2020 at 10:09 AM by in Blog

Taking into account the amount of time and money it takes to complete a construction project; it is completely fair to expect a certain level of quality.

You want to be able to walk into a building with the upmost confidence in the structure and foundation, with not a single potential risk in sight.

This can be said for the majority of projects, but unfortunately there are some where problems can occur.

Thanks to the reasons we’ve listed below, we’re seeing more and more construction workers taking risks and cutting corners during construction, and putting themselves and others at risk in the process.

But why is cutting corners something that happens at all?

We’ve decided to look into some of the reasons why construction workers are finding questionable ways around certain tasks, the potential dangers and what can be done to put it to an end.


Pure greed…?

Starting off with potentially the worst reason, are some contractors and subcontractors simply getting greedy and are looking for any way to make a bit of extra cash?

There are some companies out there that are more concerned with lining their pockets than getting the job done to a high standard, and this is a very scary mindset.

One common practice that some companies like to try is to use lesser quality materials. This is something we’ve all probably all seen before, but it goes deeper than just being unethical from a money standpoint.

Any person who has worked on a construction project knows that lesser quality materials generally means a lesser quality end result and in the worst cases could make the project unsafe.

It should be noted that this might not be down to the contractor company as a whole, as some large ones will have smaller groups controlling certain aspects, so it might be certain personnel in the company trying to pull a fast one.


Just trying to survive by saving a bit of time and money…?

The other reason isn’t about greed at all, but is simply needing to find ways to survive.

The construction industry is so competitive in this modern age, and many contractors and subcontractors are practically forced into putting in very low bids in order to win projects. We’ve spoken about this before, and we imagine we’ll be speaking about it again.

Low bids may lead to more jobs, but what good is that when you’re struggling to even pay yourself or your employees – never mind make any sort of profit from it.

Because of the low profit margins involved, contractors might be tempted to find ways to cut corners and keep costs low and under control. This includes skipping important steps and like previously mentioned, the purchasing of cheaper and lower quality materials.

As you can see, this is a very unhealthy process and will put the industry is really in a bad way if it continues.


Cutting corners is a risky business…

When anyone starts cutting corners on a project, they are immediately putting their own safety and well-being at risk.

No matter how big or small the step, ultimately it could be workers that are going to pay.

Pressure from management and business owners to finish work faster can also lead to mistakes and we all know the potential dangers of working in construction.

One simple mistake is enough to end your career and even your life, so putting workers in this position is simply unacceptable.

There are many examples where there is the case. For example, not using or using limited scaffolding endangers those working at height. In our business, we see lots of utility strikes due to projects not being planned well enough and the location of utility assets simply ignored. People can be severely injured or even die in both scenarios.

Adding to this, if a company is willing to cut corners on a job just to save money, you can rest assured that they’ll be willing to get cheaper workers in just to fill the role.

Why spend money on skilled workers with experience and training when you can get a team who will do it for a fraction of the cost – right?

Providing important staff training can also be expensive, so don’t be surprised if some questionable contractors skim over these crucial bits of learning to save some coins.


And can form part of your personal or business culture…

Unfortunately, this type of bad behaviour can also have a trickle effect and will likely influence more employees to cut corners.

If management is looking to cut corners, you can expect the rest of the team to follow suit.

When the team knows that the owners and management are taking risks in order to save time and money, this gives them a reason to care less about quality and just get the job done quickly – which is a very dangerous mindset.


The industry needs to step up and punish those who allow cutting corners…

In order to see a change and a decrease in the amount of risks being taken, the industry needs to step up.

We may be need to see more health and safety laws being put in place to prevent this kind of behaviour, and an increase in inspections and site reviews. The punishments for this roque behaviour possibly need to be more severe, with bigger fines to pay for putting workers and the general public at such great risk.

This is a problem that is truly industry wide, and it needs to stop.

Want to get involved in the conversation? Feel free to tweet us @utilitysearches and let us know your thoughts.

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