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5 reasons projects fail according to construction project manager

13 May, 2024

In life, we are all bound to fail at some point. It’s how we choose to learn from our failures that ultimately lead to our successes in the future.

Thomas, from Trähus, shares his top reasons that can cause construction projects to fail.

1. Misaligned expectations

One of the main reasons I’ve found projects fail is when what the client thinks they’ve ordered, versus what the construction company thinks they are delivering, is misaligned. 

It’s important that the Project Manager bridges this gap in communication and ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the deliverables.

I always try to make sure that my client has realistic expectations. Expectations that my team can actually accomplish in terms of time, work and, of course, budget.

Misaligned expectations can cause a huge point of contention between you and your client. They might not understand the realm of work that is realistically within their budget and the cost implications of change requests and so it is up to you, as the Project Manager, to make this clear from the get-go.


2. Ineffective briefing

In any given project, there are a number of different people involved. From the Project Manager down to the last worker, everyone on the team needs to be briefed effectively. 

Much like misaligned expectations, it all boils down to a basic breakdown in communication

If the person in charge of the project merely assumes that everybody knows what’s going on, it opens the door to a variety of errors to be made.

I use Buildbite to communicate with the whole team. It enables me to brief my workers in as much detail as possible ensuring the message is received loud and clear.

Always remember that just because certain information may be in your head, doesn’t mean the whole team is thinking about it too! That’s why constant communication is super important, it ensures that no details are lost along the way.

I constantly check in on my team so I am certain that they understand what is expected of them.

Trähus x Buildbite 12

3. Insufficient documenting

Another issue that may cause a project to fail is not documenting progress sufficiently. This is particularly critical when it comes to any shifts in the original plan.

While changes during a project are inevitable, they should never be done without approval from the client. 

When changes are made, costs will increase and timelines will deviate. The client needs to be kept in the loop at all times in order to adapt their expectations.


4. Unrealistic schedules

Giving your client a realistic timeframe in which you can complete the project can greatly impact the overall success of your project. An unrealistic schedule will put your team under unnecessary pressure to finish the job as quickly as possible.

This stress causes your team to overexert and ultimately leads to careless errors and poor quality of work. 

Always allow your team to work at a reasonable pace. This way, they can focus on doing the job properly rather than quickly. Make sure your client understands the reasoning behind these timelines as well.

When I use Buildbite, I am able to structure projects according to realistic timelines, making sure each phase is well thought out and planned to a realistic schedule.

It helps my clients to understand exactly how much work is involved in each phase of the construction process.

I’m always sure to keep my clients updated so they have a clear and realistic understanding of how long the project will take.



5. Complexity of the logistics

Lastly, in order for a project to succeed, a Project Manager needs to be able to navigate a variety of different resources and networks.

From subcontractors to service providers, being able to efficiently juggle the logistics of all parties involved reduces the risk of your project failing.

For example, if you have a specific material that is meant to be delivered on a certain day and this delivery is not planned properly, it will lead to that phase of the project being delayed. This can cause a chain reaction of events that ultimately add unexpected costs and time to your project.

Following up on a multitude of logistics can be a challenge however I use Buildbite to help me update all the information and stay organized. I can foresee any potential problems so that I am always ahead of the game and the project runs as smoothly as possible.

Trähus x Buildbite 1

Your recipe for success

While there are a variety of reasons why projects could fail, there are also many things that are within your control to help you succeed.

Communicating is one of the most important aspects of any job. Communicate effectively with your customer, your team and your contractors in order to prevent unnecessary setbacks.

A high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is important in managing professional relationships. It assists with understanding your customer's point of view and in turn, allows you to express yours too. Your client will better understand where you’re coming from which aids in managing their expectations.

Lastly, maintain a structured and disciplined approach to managing your project. Make use of tools like Buildbite to assist with improving efficiency.

Remember that with the right tools, a great team, and some trial and error, success is well within your reach.

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