Mitigating Risk in Construction
Construction is, and always has been, known as a relatively risky business. Whether it is dealing with factors that can be controlled or beyond control, proactively managing risk has proven to be of the most critical factors in delivering quality projects faster, more efficiently and with wider margins.
Many people assume on-site activities introduce the greatest amount of uncertainty and potential risk. But many mistakes in construction originate in the planning phase – meaning preconstruction is ripe with opportunity to be the most effective place for mitigating risk, saving money and ultimately broadening margins. There are many ways to mitigate risk before projects even start, but four key themes emerge to be clear, repeatable opportunities for success.
Digitize the Planning Phase
Preconstruction is where ideas are brought to life by translating architectural designs into a real, constructible plan. Decisions made at this stage can determine the project’s success and profitability – but it’s far from straightforward. Estimating, scheduling and planning are highly complex activities that depend on constantly changing details and are all areas where missed information or miscommunication can lead to costly rework down the line.
Bringing machine learning and digital collaboration into the equation can also reduce tedious manual entry and the risks of missed information that can lead to rework, cost overruns and delays.
Harness Data to Learn from the Past
Being able to draw on data from previous projects is critical in avoiding the same mistakes and make better decisions on future projects. But once a project enters the build phase, preconstruction teams often lose access to that data. Information that is siloed in separate systems can make it difficult to draw data-driven insights. For example, is there a particular design feature that often creates confusion during site construction and consistently impact schedule?
Find the Right Team for the Job
Construction is highly collaborative; no one completes a project by themselves. Choosing the right specialty contractors for the job can make or break a project. Preconstruction teams need to clear assessments of specialty contractors’ risk profiles and understanding the experience, safety record and even the financial solvency that factors into those risk profiles can be a tall order.
Bid management networks designed for the construction industry can help preconstruction teams find the right subcontractors for the project. Using digital platforms can help quickly parse information on large number of companies, reduce administrative work and support the qualification process.
Build in Safety from the Start
Physical safety during site construction is also, of course, an incredibly important risk to manage. Being on-site can present a number of risks for workers, especially now given the pandemic. Progress has been made with technology in recent years with the digitalization of mobile safety checklists in the field – but if a company is just beginning to review safety protocols on site, that’s already too late. Building onsite safety planning into the preconstruction phase can pay dividends across the board.
As time goes on, there will be broader adoption of tools and approaches like these to reduce the number of accidents occurring on job sites.
The Power of Planning
At the end of the day, preconstruction is where contractors set their projects up for success. With access to the right tools such as data digitizing and automating challenging processes, preconstruction teams can make the best decisions for the project before a single shovel has hit the ground. Mitigating risks during preconstruction can help create a more predictable, safer and more successful construction industry.