The Cost of Rework in Construction and How to Prevent It

The Cost of Rework in Construction and How to Prevent It

Rework is the act of redoing or correcting work that was not done correctly the first time and prevalent on construction job sites. The construction industry spends roughly $178 Billion on fixing errors according to a PlanGrid and FMI survey. Rework can happen for a variety of reasons such as lack of supervision, insufficient information, limited resources, or failed communication. In general, it negatively impacts projects, causing time and cost overruns. Most trade contractors would agree that rework is unavoidable when given the right tools, but not many know the true cost of rework in construction.


What Rework Means for Your Business?

Undiscovered problems are like a spreading disease; they do not remain isolated but continue to travel to connected parts, deteriorating the project as a whole. Rework on construction projects has a devastating effect on the cost and schedule of a project, and negatively impacts a project’s productivity. Rework in construction typically costs about 5% of the overall contract value. And the time overruns are worse, at roughly 7.1% of total work hours. While every part of the project won’t necessarily be reworked, it’s easy to see how these costs start to add up. These overruns impact overall relationships between trade contractors, general contractors, and owners, which makes it crucial to bring down the percent of rework on a project.


How to Prevent Rework?

Rework in construction exists in most projects; however there is a growing consensus that it is avoidable and unnecessary. Many firms are making the conscious effort to avoid rework through improved communications workflows, streamlined processes, and detailed documentation.



There are many people and teams involved in a construction project. There is an owner, general contractor, many subcontractors, field crews, and such. When someone makes a change, they must inform every stakeholder in the communication chain. However, this isn’t always the case. Mobile technology and project management apps make it easier to handle communication between crews, contractors, and more. Having a communication record and ensuring there is open communication can dramatically reduce the amount of rework.


Minimize Changes

Change isn’t bad, sometimes changes at the beginning of the project set it up for success. However, unnecessary late-stage changes confuse stakeholders and often result in rework. This is why it’s crucial to include trade contractors into the early stages of a project, and it’s development. When stakeholders include trade contractors, they get the professional options of the doers. Trade contractors can tell if a design is constructible. Knowing the constructibility of a project, in the beginning, will prevent many change orders and late-stage changes. Stakeholders must also agree to a stop date, a date that all nonessential, nonemergency, changes should be completed.



BIM and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) has been used to help contractors see a conflict in project designs before construction. Having an extra step to see issues can help prevent rework. BIM experts create a model for a project early in the construction phase. They share the model with stakeholders and can easily update the designs through BIM. Stakeholders share feedback and resolve conflicts before production when projects use BIM.


Project Management Software

Investing in project management technology will help a construction firm minimize rework by improving accuracy, communication, visibility of activity, etc. Subcontractors will be able to see everything that is occurring on a project in real-time and may be able to catch a mistake before it happens. As mentioned before, technology fosters collaboration and quick communication that will save time in decision-making. Technology aids in detailed record keeping and keeps documents in a centralized place, which improves accuracy that contributes positively to productivity. Failure to keep detailed documents is a major cause of scrap and rework that is ultimately avoidable.


Why This Matters?

Rework costs the construction industry billions; it can damage relationships between owners and contractors, and others. Rework impacts the construction industry’s bottom line and cannot be ignored. Business practice changes make a world of difference in productivity and profitability, and with the construction labor shortage are more crucial than ever.