Construction workers wearing safety harness belts and hard hats on roof of building at a construction site; rework concept

Stop Rework in Its Tracks With Construction Project Management Software

Rework is a dirty word in the construction industry. 

“Nobody likes to complete a task only to find out it wasn’t done correctly, forcing them to spend time and money doing it all over again. Hopefully getting it right the second time around,” writes ConstructConnect’s Editor-in-Chief Kendall Jones.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming a more common problem for trades contractors. 

“The trend of rework academic papers indicates an increasing rate in recent years,” explains Massey University researchers Ramin Asadi, Suzanne Wilkinson, and James Olabode Bamidele Rotimi in their 2021 article in Construction Management and Economics. This is bad news for construction companies because, in their follow-up study, the researchers conclude that the “high rate of rework that occurs in construction projects has a negative effect on the performance of the construction projects.” 

No aspect of a project is safe from rework.

The Impacts of Rework

Simply put, rework occurs when construction teams have to redo work that was already completed. Since rework isn’t accounted for in the planning phase, it derails every part of a project. No matter why the rework is being done, there’s little that can be done to recoup the lost time, lost money, weakened morale, or damaged reputation that happens when crews have to do the same work more than once.

Rework Puts Projects Behind Schedule

One of the most obvious impacts of rework is that it extends project timelines. Rework requires time, and that time wasn’t baked into the original project schedule. Because construction timelines already tend to be tight, the slightest amount of rework can stall that schedule. In a seminal study published by Navigant Construction Forum, researchers found rework results in about a 9.82 percent delay in a planned project timeline.

Rework Leads to Cost Overruns

The other obvious impact of rework is the added costs to a project that result from redoing work. The Navigant Construction Forum study shows rework adds between 7.25 percent and 10.8 percent to the total cost of a project. Consider that any time you have to redo work, you have to buy those same materials again, which add to the overall project cost. You also have to cover the additional labor costs associated with rework. 

Rework Weakens Worker Morale

Your team’s overall morale will also suffer as a result of rework. Having to redo the same work over and over again can lead to disappointment and lack of motivation among workers. It’s simply demoralizing to have to tear down work that was already completed. Doing so diminishes the sense of accomplishment that keeps workers motivated.  

Also, when workers are annoyed with rework or disengaged from what they are doing, they are more likely to get injured. “Workers stressed by schedule delays caused by rework can become aggravated and careless of ‘safety first’ procedures,” explains Dan Williams, quality management manager at Cleveland Construction, Inc. That increase in injuries also has a compounding negative impact on morale.

Rework Compromises the Company’s Reputation

Your company’s reputation also suffers as a result of rework. 

Your reputation helps you get new work, so it needs to be protected. Rework leads to client dissatisfaction and reputational damage. Clients quickly become frustrated and unhappy when costs go up and timelines extend as a result of redoing work. When they share their negative experiences, it can be difficult to recover from that hit to your reputation, especially if reworks are a common occurrence on your projects.

“Clients can be very unforgiving,” explains the Axia Public Relations team. “Many clients can remember mistakes, and very few can recall successful projects and excellent work done.”

These are just a handful of the many ways rework negatively impacts construction projects. To better the odds of avoiding rework, trades contractors need to address its most common causes before they cause trouble. 

HVAC technician at work on ventilation system installation or repair; rework concept

The Key Causes of Rework

There are many reasons why rework occurs on projects. Some of the most common are miscommunication, bad data, and bad processes. Here’s a deeper look at how each of these factors leads to rework.

Poor Communication 

Communication issues are the leading cause of rework on construction projects. 

According to a joint report by PlanGrid and FMI, miscommunication accounts for 26 percent of all rework on U.S. construction jobsites. Much of this problem is caused by dispersed project stakeholders unable to collaborate in real time (think paper binders and spreadsheets).

To communicate effectively, construction teams need a common platform that connects all stakeholders. Without it, teams take a big risk of missing critical project-related calls and emails that could result in project rework.

Bad Data

Another leading cause of rework is inaccurate project information, or bad data. The PlanGrid/FMI study also shows 22 percent of rework is due to bad project data. 

When information is tracked via binder or spreadsheet, data is siloed and quickly becomes outdated. When decision-makers use that bad data to make decisions, it often leads to rework.  

“The ability to see all aspects of a capital project’s progress in real-time is critical for making informed decisions,” writes Archie Alexander, director of construction for H+M Industrial EPC. 

That’s why construction companies need to adopt a platform that centralizes all project data. It ensures everyone has access to real-time data at all times.

“Bad data will only create bigger problems down the line, so implementing decisions to preemptively stop bad data now will help you avoid expensive rework in construction projects,” writes the team at U.S. Bridge.

Unclear Documentation Processes

Improper project documentation almost inevitably leads to rework. In order for project data to be accessible to everyone, it must be properly documented. When document submission processes are disjointed, critical information is withheld (inadvertently) by the teams that own the data. This can easily lead to confusion and chaos.

A centralized platform that standardizes document submission processes ensures all data is stored in a single location so everyone has access to the same information. 

The common thread for solving all of these problems and preventing rework is a construction project management platform that facilitates better communication, centralizes data so it’s accessible to everyone, and standardizes documentation processes so information doesn’t go missing.

Workers at a construction site; rework concept

Construction Project Management Software Helps Prevent Rework on Jobs

A platform like eSUB eliminates these common problems that lead to rework. How?

For starters, it standardizes document submission processes so everyone follows the same procedure. No matter where someone is (in the office or on the job site), all stakeholders can follow the same processes because of the software’s mobile capabilities. By eliminating manual submission of information, the technology increases the transparency and reliability of project data. 

It also centralizes the data. When there are uniform document submission processes through one platform, the data is stored in a central repository. There’s no doubt about whether the data is the most recent project information available. Essentially, the risk of dated or bad data is eliminated so the risk of rework is greatly reduced. 

All of this leads to better collaboration and communication between all project stakeholders. When all parties have access to the same documents and can rely on the project data, communication becomes clearer and quicker and the risk for miscommunication goes down. That high level of collaboration can go a long way to prevent the need to redo work unnecessarily.

To learn more about how software can help minimize rework on your projects, schedule a demo of eSUB Cloud today.

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