The Costs of Jobsite Rework and How to Prevent Them

The Costs of Jobsite Rework and How to Prevent Them


Rework is the act of redoing or correcting work that was not done correctly the first time.  Rework can happen for a variety of reasons such as lack of supervision, insufficient information, limited resources, or failed communication.  Despite rework being generally avoidable, it still occurs on almost all projects and negatively effects cost, time, productivity, and client satisfaction.


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 by 300%.  This means that for every part of a project that is reworked, it negatively affects the project’s productivity three times over because time is spent doing the task, redoing the task, which is all time spent not doing something else.  If a rework occurs in the construction phase it could increase costs of the project 10-15% higher than the contract price, and even more money is spent on rework during the design phase.  The amount of reported rework costs about 4-6% of the total project cost, but when overhead such as labor, materials, and other indirect costs are accounted for, the number is closer to 9%.  If this number was brought down to 2%, productivity could be improved by 70%.


How your business can avoid rework?

Even though rework exists in nearly 100% of construction projects, professionals see it as avoidable and unnecessary.  Therefore, construction firms must make conscious efforts to avoid it by improving communication, streamlining processes, and keeping detailed records.



Due to the large amount of people involved on any given construction project, there are many communication points in which communication can fail.  Failed communication can lead to rework because one party will think that a job is being done a certain way while it is actually being done another.  Mobile technology can improve communication and lead to more collaborative decision-making, which will lead to more accuracy in implementing a project and a higher chance of catching a problem in its early stages before it has a chance to affect other parts of a project.


Minimize changes

Although changes are sometimes necessary as new information is uncovered, unnecessary changes can cause confusion between parties.  All stakeholders must agree on a “freeze-date” in which no more changes can be made unless necessary to adjust to unpredicted situations.  This will ensure that once all stakeholders are informed of the decisions after the freeze-date, no further changes will need to be communicated with stakeholders.


BIM or virtual design

With recent advances in BIM and virtual design in construction, workers can detect possible problems before they occur.  BIM creates a model for a project early in the construction phase, which allows the design to be shared with all stakeholders earlier than would be possible without BIM technology.  This early sharing creates the ability for all feedback and conflicts to be resolved before the production begins rather than after.


Project management technology

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.


What’s the big deal?

Rework is costing your business money, time, and productivity.  Something with this big of an impact on your bottom line cannot be ignored.  Simple changes to your business practices will make a world of difference in your productivity and profitability.


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Posted in Best Practices, Construction Software, Technology.