If you have been to a construction site, then you know that it is an inherently risky place. When you find a builder up on a building either plastering or fixing a roof, it is quite clear that there is a high risk of slips and falls. And that is not the only risk at a construction site; its lots of them! The weather won’t be perfect, equipment will get damaged or even stolen, clients won’t pay, among others. All these directly affect you, the contractor, as you are the one responsible for the site and its safety. Among the many risks that you are likely to encounter as a contractor, here are a few of them along with the measures to minimize or even eliminate them.
Damaged and stolen equipment
Without your tools, you simply can’t get the job done! Something as easy as a faulty generator can delay work on the site and even cost you more money. Sometimes equipments are stolen, or parts of the equipment like batteries and no work can go on unless the missing equipments or parts are replaced. Some of the damaged equipments are easy to replace while others are not. To avoid such issues, check all equipment to be used on the site to make sure that they are in a good state so as to prevent cases of failed machines and other equipments. To prevent these equipments from getting stolen, you need to ensure safety on the site. A well-lit, fenced in construction site is less likely to be vandalized than one with nothing guarding it. However, it is also very wise to have a property insurance policy in cases where such loses are inevitable.
No matter how hard you try to create a safe work area, a construction site is a dangerous place with numerous potential hazards. Accidents happen and cause serious harm to the reputation of your company, let alone the time and money spent on medical expenses, court fees, fines and so on. Unfortunately, these not only harm the people on site but also may affect other people like site visitors, or even the client. The best way to ensure safety on site is to have your workers trained and made aware of safety rules on the site. You should also ensure to put warning signs on the most risky areas on the site. Sometimes accidents are just unavoidable therefore getting general liability insurance policy can protect you in cases where a client or other third party is injured, and in case it is one of your employees, worker’s compensation insurance will save you.
Faulty work harms reputation and costs money and time to rectify, delaying one from moving on to other tasks and projects. If your work doesn't comply with local, state, and federal building regulations, your client could lose money and look to you for reimbursement. Complying with building codes and safety standards is the best way to prevent this. Obviously, no one wants a reputation of doing unsafe or poor work. Luckily, being registered and carrying a License demonstrates that your business follows building regulation. However, this is not a guarantee, you do have to produce projects that are safe and meet the building codes.
In construction, a number of unexpected obstacles can prevent a project from being completed on schedule. Such projects strain your resources and also have a negative effect on your reputation that it can even lead to the imposition of penalties by the client. Construction projects are delayed due to a number of reasons like;
However, to minimize the impact of missed deadlines, ensure that you lessen the issues that may cause a delay, and keep the lines of communication open with your client. If you must push a deadline back, fill them in immediately, and amend your contract to reflect the new dates.
Every contractor’s nightmare is when they realize they are not getting the returns they expected from the project. Sometimes they realize they are actually losing money on this project and this can be due to numerous reasons. Let’s imagine a scenario where you priced the project badly because there were errors and omissions in your price, or you failed to understand the full project scope. How about when a client doesn’t want to pay, or when work has been done badly and you have to incur an extra cost for redoing it. There are many other cases that could either cost more money or make the contractor lose money. The best way to avoid this is by being well versed with the project and its expenses before pricing it as well as having all the necessary documents ready to avoid cases to do with invoicing and submitting claims. Also, ensure that you have proper management to avoid mismanagement and wasting funds.
Luckily, in Uganda, we rarely have extreme cases of unpleasant weather. Even then, bad weather can delay the projects in a number of ways. It can for example damage completed work which has to be redone at additional cost and time, flood the work area among other things. Unfortunately, contractors don’t have much control of weather but they can take a few mitigation steps like securing the areas or equipment that can be damaged by bad weather whenever possible.
Generally speaking, there is no such thing as a risk free construction project. However, contractors can take measures to limit the effects of the risks, by ensuring proper management at the site to prevent avoidable accidents and expenses. Unattended jobsites can result in unknown damage from leaking or frozen pipes, theft/vandalism of equipment and materials, poorly done work and so on. One pipe with a small crack can leak more than 250 gallons of water per day, destroying walls, floors and sometimes tools. Contractors should keep detailed records of all materials, secure equipment in safe places when not in use and register the construction site’s heavy equipment with their insurer.