Construction is the combination of art, science, and engineering to build buildings, bridges, structures, roadways, highways. airports, etc. The construction business is a challenging and promising business worldwide with certain risk factors involved. Increasing demand for mankind leads to the growth of several construction companies which specialize in different construction projects. These construction companies initiate their construction process under certain agreements and time durations called the construction contract.

The construction industry is at the forefront of economic contributors in the United States with more than 7 lakh employers employing 7 million employees. The construction company undertakes long-term and high-quality construction projects and generates $1.4 trillion revenue each year, the data can be referred from various construction-related articles available on the internet. For instance, Bechtel, Turner corporation, AECOM, Skanska USA, and AGC Inc. are some of the construction companies which has huge annual turnovers.

But with different construction projects, there lies major challenges, drawbacks, and problems which lead to construction issues. Construction issues can be anything, starting from human factors to environmental factors, the main concern lies with the construction industry about the way it deals with the problem to deliver the construction projects on time without significant delay.

This article emphasizes the major problems and issues which are required to face by the construction industry while undertaking various construction projects.

A construction project initiated by a construction company
CC BY-SA 4.0 | Image credits: | Abel111222

Major construction issues

The present section addresses some of the major issues and problems faced by the construction industry.

Lack of business plan

An improper business of various construction companies has led to a major downfall of various construction companies. A proper business plan with a contingency plan is equally essential just like a plan involved for a particular construction project. A good and smart business plan involves all the finances, marketing, and business operations.

Improper document management

Whether in a paper format or digital format, managing, storing, and updating all the business-related documents is very crucial for successful project execution. A typical construction document involves lists of contracts and contractors, a list of people involved, budget estimations, change orders, submittals, legal permissions, material details, invoices, material costs, stakeholder information, etc. Improper management of these documents will lead to project delays or project failures.

Use of different technologies by the general contractors

In this advanced era of technology, the implementation of modern software and technique is a primary rule. General contractors use software that incorporates the construction technology in it, these general contractors provide access to this software to their subcontractors. But as subcontractors work with multiple general contractors, they get the opportunity to learn and implement new technologies and software. But this, in turn, benefits the general contractor and not the subcontractors which might lead to a dispute. This ultimately delays the project completion time.

Safety issues

The work of construction is indeed dangerous and hazardous. The negligence of construction companies in providing proper safety training and health insurance to their workers has led to a lack of availability of people for the project, which results in poor productivity in work.

Apart from companies, it is the sole duty of the government to impose stricter punishment in lieu of dangerous practices and manslaughter in the construction sites.

Rising materials costs

Construction projects making use of steel, aluminum, and timer as the raw materials have to deal with huge material prices, which in turn increases the overall construction cost. This further shifts the profit margins of the contractors. An improper budget plan mitigates project completion and creates room for wiggle in the construction, this in the end, leads to downfall or project failure.

Environmental factors leading to construction issues

Besides the above-mentioned factors, there are certain environmental factors that lead to project delays and construction as well. Some of the factors are outlined below.

Inadequate rainfall

The majority of the construction projects involve dealing with concrete which requires large volumes of water. Construction companies heavily depend on natural water sources like lakes and rivers to meet the water requirements. Inadequate rainfall will lead to insufficient water availability to prepare the concrete mixture and will result in a project halt.

National emergency

The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is one of the prime factors that lead to the major economic breakdown of the construction industry. With a major amount of people required to stay indoors, there has been a complete stop in construction works.

Natural disasters

Natural disasters like storms, tornados, hurricanes, and cyclones account for primary construction damages and failures. Newly formed buildings and structures are sensitive to wind and water and require time to harden and gain natural strength. Subjecting them to harsh environmental conditions during the initial stage either leads to complete breakdown or leads to damage initiation, which propagates over time and reduces the longevity of the structure.

Role of project managers in project execution

Project managers are the head of a construction project. These people are in charge of overseeing the planning, execution, and timely delivery of projects. These people thrive to direct projects and ensure they are within the proposed budget. Project managers are involved in proper commination with their subordinates and fellow managers to figure out bottlenecks in the work and provide solutions to ensure smooth workflow. Project managers play a significant role in resolving system disputes which might lead to a construction issue due to internal potholes.

Context and Applications

This topic finds its existence in different undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses of

  • Bachelors of Technology in Mechanical engineering
  • Bachelors of Technology in Civil engineering
  • Masters of Technology in Mechanical engineering
  • Masters of Technology in Civil engineering
  • Masters of Business Administration (Finance)

Practice Problems

1. What is the primary construction material used by construction companies?

  1. Concrete
  2. Steel
  3. Timber
  4. Aluminum

Answer: Option a

Explanation: Concrete forms the base of every civil engineering construction project. Hence, it is the primary material used by every construction company.

2. Which of the following is the natural cause for the construction issue?

  1. Inadequate rainfall
  2. On-site theft
  3. Lack of communication
  4. Worker disputes

Answer: Option a

Explanation: As the majority of construction projects need concrete as the primary raw material, the requirement of water is a crucial element in construction. Inadequate rainfall in certain areas leads to unfilled lakes, ponds, and rivers which are the primary water sources.

3. Which of the following is the role of project managers?

  1. Oversee construction projects
  2. Remove internal disputes
  3. Maintain healthy relationships between workers
  4. All of these

Answer: Option d

Explanation: The main role of project managers in a construction company is to oversee construction projects, remove any internal disputes between workers and clients, and maintain a healthy employee and employer relationship.

4. Due to which of the following reasons, majority of construction companies experience project failures?

  1. Improper documentation
  2. Lack of proper business plan
  3. Natural disaster
  4. All of these

Answer: Option b

Explanation: Due to the lack of a proper business plan, majority of construction companies experience project failures.

5. Which of the following is the content of the construction document?

  1. Change orders
  2. Bill of materials
  3. Workers details
  4. All of these

Answer: Option d

Explanation: A typical construction document should possess all the details related to change orders, bills of materials, and all details of all the workers employed for the project.

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