Why Does Construction Take So Long to Complete?

Published Categorized as Construction
Construction Site and Crane

Have you ever wondered why construction always seems to take so long? Often, construction projects get delayed not once but many times. Why is this, and can anything be done to speed up the completion?

Construction can take longer to complete often due to a lack of planning, inclement weather, and bureaucracy. Sometimes, several contractors might be working on one project, and they might not be collaborating smoothly. However, with proper planning and attention to efficiency, construction can be sped up.

Many factors may contribute to a construction project taking a long time. This article will go over these factors and help you understand why construction projects often don’t get finished on schedule.

Inclement Weather

Inclement weather can be one of the top reasons a construction project gets delayed. It’s hard enough to work in the cold weather, but construction may have to be called off until things dry up when it is raining. If it snows, it is even worse.

Sometimes, winter can come earlier than expected, causing a project that was supposed to be finished soon to be delayed for a few months until the weather clears up and spring comes around. Even extreme heat can also force workers to take a day off. All this does not account for severe storms, such as hurricanes, which can damage previous work.

Lack of Smooth Collaboration

Most of the time, a construction project involves several contractors and several teams that work on different things. All construction projects require different professionals to do different things. For example, the plumber can’t handle electricity, and the electrician can’t install pipes and take care of the plumbing system.

With so many people involved, it can be difficult to collaborate smoothly. Sometimes, one contractor will not keep up with the schedule, which can throw off the entire construction project’s timeline and make everyone wait. Often, certain things can not be completed until a specific contractor has taken care of their job, which can delay the project’s completion by quite a bit.

What makes this worse is that the job will often go to the lowest bidder to save money, which means that some companies working on the project might not be the most organized or efficient. They may not have the same work ethic and organizational planning capabilities as the others. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so if one company is disorganized and tardy in its work, the other contractors’ productivity and efficiency will suffer.

Getting Permits

Any type of construction, including private projects, will be subject to government regulation. There are local zoning laws to comply with and various permits that must be obtained. Sometimes, a permit will need to be obtained, but it will be held up by bureaucracy. If different governmental agencies are involved, more delays may arise, out of the contractor’s control.


If it is a government building or a public road or park being worked on, expect even more delays. Have you ever wondered why road work seems to take forever? It is because the government has a lot of rules, and bureaucracy often holds everything up.

In particular, road work can take quite a long time because it usually involves more than simply repaving the road. Repaving the road won’t take a long time. However, road construction often involves rebuilding the road entirely and making sure that it can handle the weight of heavy trucks and other large vehicles.

Government work can also be held up due to a lack of funds. If the government is running low on infrastructure funds, or if infrastructure funds are being held by bureaucracy or for political reasons, road work may be delayed or put off indefinitely.

One more factor that may hold up road work: If the government keeps the road open while they do construction, they may have to work slowly.

Cutting Corners

If contractors working on the project try to cut corners to save money, they may delay the project. Cutting corners can force contractors to have to redo certain things. They might also need to go back and fix parts that were installed incorrectly due to a lack of skilled talent.

Existing Infrastructure

Building a structure in an empty space, when the ground is firm and stable, is much easier than building a new building where an existing one stood. If the soil is not very conducive for building, such as if it is rocky soil, this can delay the completion of the project as well.

Lack of Planning

A lack of planning leads to a waste of time and resources. For example, lack of planning can lead to a surplus of supplies. If supplies are not transported on time, work can be delayed. If workers or specialists do not arrive on time, the project may take longer to complete.

How to Avoid Construction Delays

Fortunately, there are several things that can be done to speed up construction projects. Here are a few ways.

Better Planning, Teamwork, and Communication

Better planning will go a long way. Great communication between different contractors is essential, as well. A good plan will minimize delays. When communication is open and everyone is committed to working together, things won’t take as long.

Better Vetting of Contractors

Proper vetting of contractors is vital for success. The job shouldn’t automatically go to the lowest bidder and instead, the focus should be on quality over quantity. It may cost a bit more, but the reward will be quicker project completion. Punctual contractors who know what they are doing should be tasked with building the project. Likewise, high-quality materials should be selected.

Minimize Waste

Focusing on minimizing waste. Here are some types of waste to eliminate:

  • Waste of time: A waste of time can happen when contractors wait for workers to arrive or for other contractors to finish their jobs.
  • Waste of materials: If you buy too much, you will end up wasting money.
  • Waste of talent and effort: Focusing on working smarter, not harder. Build things right the first time, so they do not have to be corrected later. Don’t assign tasks to people who could use their skills for something better, and don’t assign tasks to people who will be less efficient at completing the job than others.

Use High-Quality Materials

Using high-quality materials will save you time in the long run. Things won’t break down and delay your project. Again, spending more upfront can help you be more efficient and productive.

Emergency Plan

A contingency plan is crucial if something goes wrong, such as materials that don’t arrive or a contractor that does not complete their job. Also, consider investing in a generator. This way, if the power goes out for whatever reason, you will be able to work on the project without sacrificing any time.

Be More Efficient

There are several ways to be more efficient. One way is to spend more money and hire workers that are more skilled and efficient. Another way is to invest in employee training. Alternatively, investing in machines that will perform more mundane tasks can help complete a project quicker.

Here is a video of some building methods that can help speed up a construction project:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAB3bkPEcsw


Construction does not have to take as long as it does. Some delays are unavoidable. However, with proper planning and attention to detail, construction projects can be completed more efficiently. The most important thing is to minimize wasted time, improve communication between teams, hire efficient and skilled workers, and plan.


By Giovanni Valle

Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.

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